On Saturday 24th January, despite the freezing conditions in the morning, 17 Route hunt members and visitors met at the home of Lesley and Freddie McDowell at Ballyversal, Coleraine.
Hot port was on offer and was welcomed by all before setting of just after noon.
There was a short hack along the Ballyversal Road to the laneway which lead to the first jump of the day which all cleared with ease. There was then a chance for a good canter in stubble fields before the next jump which was rustic poles with a heafty drop into the next field. After this was a watery ditch which all crossed successfully before heading for the stone wall.
Some riders missed this out and used the gateway to the next field for another rustic style fence. It was here that the hounds picked up scent and were off at full pace. To follow them it was necessary to cross another ditch where one horse and rider parted company.
Once the hounds were gathered, after a short hack on the road it was back to jumping. The rest of the afternoon was spent clearing hedges with a small stream crossing added in.
Despite a bit of a rain shower the weather had been good and all returned back after a good two and a half hours in the saddle in high spirit despite the offs throughout the day.
Thanks goes to Lesley McDowell, Jonny Butler and Lee Johnson for setting up another good day out for the Route hunt and to the farmers and landowners who give the hunt the use of their land.
The next hunt is at noon on Saturday 31st January. The organisers hope to see a good turnout of members and visitors and welcome anyone who wishes to follow the hunt on foot.