My Summer visits started ironically enough in Wales! The reason being that my wife had kindly bought me an intensive two day photography course near Brecon for Christmas, so when free from my teachings I would take off down to the Brecon and Talybont Kennels. Here Master and Huntsman Mark Powell kindly allowed me to accompany him whilst walking his Hounds out. This was almost reminiscent of my school days when I would suddenly slip away from any potential exam practice and go off hunting with the Hursley!
So with a website called For the Love of Hunting England there may be some that will think that we have erred from my path already. Not a bit of it. Whilst hunting in England is widely regarded as being the centre piece of our activities, it is important that this website is there to help enhance the sport’s reputation anywhere in the world. The importance of these Summer visits highlight the huge amount of work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes. Therefore, I am sure you will understand just how privileged I feel to have spent so much time with these true Professionals and to have witnessed their everyday work. So being allowed to share this with you our readers gives me great pleasure.
Just below the the canal at the back of the City of Brecon is the Brecon and Talybont Kennels. There have been hounds kennelled therefor many years and the Hunt is as much part of life around the City as other institutions such as the local Rugby Club who are their neighbours and many more. Mark Powell is the Joint Master who is responsible for the Kennels and also hunts the Hounds and what an interesting pack they are.
As you would expect there is a very strong Welsh influence in them but there is also other blood which he tells me plays an important part in their breeding. This has produced a pack suitable for modern day conditions. There is also a considerable American influence, which is not surprising considering the time Mark spent out there and in Canada. As well as this there is a fair degree of Beaufort blood which also has played an important and valuable part in their breeding.
Whilst walking down across the Brecon Showground to the River Usk he pointed out Kickback and Kindly, a dog and bitch quite literally out of the top drawer! They certainly would not have been out of place in the English ring at Builth Wells and quite possibly Peterborough! Just what Mark’s Welsh colleagues will have to say about that remains to be seen, however I very much hope to be there if they do appear at one of those shows! As well as being very much broken coated as you will see from the photos, the quality which is required is very much in evidence. Whilst taking their daily dip it was equally fascinating for me to look over the rest of the pack and to see the real traditional Welsh Hounds quite obviously being the very centre piece of the pack as you would expect. Coming from a family whose forebears fought off any idea of Whelsh blood being allowed to influence the breeding of the Puckeridge Hounds, (until very recently), made this whole visit all the more enjoyable.
As we walked back Mark was telling me about the challenges of hunting a pack of Hounds in Wales in the 21st Century. The enthusiasm that he has was infectious, not only about his hounds but the determination he has to keep going. This, as well as his Kennels being spotless and the Hounds being in top class condition was what impressed me most. With guys like Mark at the sharp end of hunting, there is no doubt, the sport has a future and a positive one at that. We are delighted that Mark will be becoming a correspondent for our Website and we very much look forward to his first article – Hunting a pack of Welsh Hounds.
I am sure many of the locals look forward to the season ahead and the Brecon and Talybont Hounds continuing to be very much part of everyday life, in and around the City of Brecon, as they have been for years. This is the same sentiment that will be felt all around both Wales and England, indeed Scotland too!