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Crowds gather for Derwent Hunt's New Year's Day ride out in Thornton-le-Dale
9:11am Thursday 2nd January 2014 in News
Members of the Dewent Hounds, led by Master of the Hunt Sean McClarron, meet at the Old Hall Lodge, Thornton-le-Dale before setting off on the traditional New Year’s Day ride
RIDERS and their hounds embarked on a New Year’s Day tradition stretching back more than 200 years as crowds gathered to watch an annual North Yorkshire hunt ride out.
About 50 members of the Derwent Hunt were set on their way across the Ryedale countryside from outside The Hall in Thornton-le-Dale yesterday morning.
Master of the Hunt Sean McClarron said he was “delighted” with the support they received.
Although fox hunting is now banned, Mr McClarron defended the tradition.
He said: “It was never about killing for fun, it was a balanced method of wildlife management.
“I can appreciate it is difficult for anybody without any first-hand experience of hunting to understand what we do and why, but we welcome them to see it for themselves.”
Mr McClarron said those involved in the Derwent Hunt had “a true passion for hound and horse, the countryside and the local rural community”.
The pack was founded in 1808 by Richard Johnson Hill, who kennelled the hounds at The Hall. It was then his home but later became a pub and hotel as well as a care home, leading the hunt to make it their traditional meeting-point.