One of the more niche leisure activities we have in our county is hound trailing, a sport that is now back in season.
If you've ever come across cars parked up the length of a country road, with open boots and dog cages and beds in the back or spotted someone dragging a scented cloth bag along a path in the countryside- you're likely to have spotted hound racers and trailers before.
Dating back to the 18th century, Hound Trailing is one of Cumbria’s oldest and most popular pastimes with meetings taking place up and down the Lakeland countryside.
Its origin can be traced to disputes between local farmers claiming to have the fastest pack of hounds.
In turn, drag hunting was formed, allowing farmers to race their hounds over designated trails in order to discover who had the fastest packs. The sport of Hound Trailing was born.
Over the years Hound Trailing gained popularity within the local Lakeland communities, and in 1906 the governing body, the Hound Trailing Association (HTA) was formed under the direction of Robert Jefferson, a Whitehaven man.
Since then the sport has grown under the Association’s guidance and at present has more than five hundred members.
Racing takes place over moorland, fields and fells, with the hounds following a trail made of a mixture of paraffin and aniseed.
Two individuals affectionately known as ‘Trailers’ are responsible for laying the trail with both carrying ‘rags’ to the halfway point and then walking away from each other, one towards the start and one towards the finish.
How cool would it be to see this on one of your fell walks!
This year's season started in April and will finish in October, giving you plenty of time to hunt the scent for getting involved over the summer and autumn months.
To find out more information, check out the Lakeland Hound Trailing Association website.