With the hunting season about to start Jacqui Broderick takes a look at 'True to the Line'

True to the Line A Hunting Life by Adrian Dangar

There couldn’t be a better time to launch this book. The hunting season is just about to start and Christmas is very definitely on the horizon.

In the hunting world Adrian Dangar is a legend in his own lifetime. Appointed MFH and huntsman of the Spooners & West Dartmoor Hunt at the tender age of 24, MFH of the  Yorkshire Sinnington and only the second amateur huntman in the history of the Quorn to be appointed MFH. Anyone who has hunted with this legendary pack will know what an incredible man he was to follow across the big Leicestershire country. He went on to become a hunting correspondent, hunting with packs worldwide and later set up a riding and exotic travel company. Dangar is certainly a man who knows his subject. Not only did he hunt hounds but also was well respected as a judge of hounds at a number of elite hound shows around the world.

This is a book which will be devoured with relish by anyone who has the remotest connection to hunting. Dangar’s knowledge of the hunting world is demonstrated within the text, where all life is thrown together from the eccentric and flamboyant to the ancient doyens of the sport.

Having been married to an MFH I could certainly relate to some of the more controversial stories Dangar recalls in the book and recognised many of the personalities and hunting country.

Dangar’s love of horses and hounds is clearly demonstrated in the book, but perhaps the best thing about this hunting memoir are the gossipy controversies he brings into the mix. Most hunting folk, no matter how dedicated often merely turn up on the day, pay their cap, enjoy the sport provided and go home with little or no thought to the thankless hard work that goes on before and after the day. However, countless hours are spent liaising with farmers fed up of having their fields and boundaries trashed by thoughtless riders, plus the inevitable infighting that occurs on every committee. That is to say nothing about the constant worry of the danger posed by some of the more violent anti hunt brigade.

Dangar writes in a chatty, easy to read style that makes the book perfect for dipping into on long dreary winter afternoons. The book contains beautiful illustrations as well as some stunning hunting photographs.

As a negative it would be hard to imagine the book being of much interest to anyone without a love of hunting, but for those who the mere sound of a hound speaking brings them out in goosebumps this is the perfect book and one that will hopefully find its way into many Christmas stockings this year.