In 1972 petrol cost 35p per gallon, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was on our TV screens and Rory Dicker brought his Test Valley Harehounds to Lincolnshire, thus starting the East Lincs Harehounds. The first seven years (1972-79) of the East Lincs’ history is ably described by David Hindle in this excellent short volume. David’s knowledge of this period is first hand, because as he describes, he first hunted with the East Lincs on their sixth outing in Lincolnshire, before taking the Mastership from 1975-79. David’s account of his appointment as Master is typical of his semi-autobiographical style, stating, “I . . . knew nothing about running a pack of hounds but, I was eventually requested to “volunteer”, as nobody else had come forward. . .”
David’s own recollections and anecdotes bring the book to life, giving it personality and making “Away Back!” so much more than a mere description of history. Having said that David describes the historical facts in great detail, considering that he has condensed 7 years into only 45 pages! His accounts of hunt balls, puppy shows and other events alongside lists of meets, name checks for hunt staff and locations of kennels all paint a picture of life with the East Lincs in the 1970s. What is evident is that they enjoyed travel, visiting the Hunsley Beacon Beagles, Ireland and the Colne Valley Beagles during the period in question. Indeed the relationship with the Colne Valley was clearly a close one, with a joint meet being enjoyed in each country every season. The text is well illustrated with 17 photographs and a number of maps and a newspaper cutting, which help to give a flavour of what the East Lincs looked like. Apart from obvious changes to vehicles and the like I suspect the scene looked very much as it does today, with the hunt uniform having changed little since the mid-1970s.
In short “Away Back!” is a beautifully written, concise history of one of the limited number of Basset Hound packs in the UK. It will be of undoubted interest to anyone interested in Basset Hounds, hunting in Lincolnshire or hunting history in general. I commend it to you.
A limited number of copies are available priced at £7.00 (inc. p&p) from Alan Pickering (East Lincs Hon. Sec.) at email@example.com or on 07801 053 523.