Road to Alston

News has reached the HSA that all is not well with the Weardale & Tees Valley Beagles (WTV), organisers of the notorious Alston Hare Week hunting festival.

Until recently the WTV were one of the few beagle packs to still enjoy 'professional' status: they had their own kennels and a paid employee to feed and hunt the hounds. Now, however, they find themselves in such dire financial straits that they have been forced to sell off their kennels and become an 'amateur' pack. The hounds will be kennelled with a neighbouring foxhunt and their kennel huntsman, Gary Wingar, has already defected south to become huntsman of the Easton Harriers.

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Why this sudden downturn in the fortunes of the WTV Beagles? It's all to do with the collapse of their annual hunting festival, Alston Hare Week. This event involved southern beagle packs travelling north every October to hunt hares in the WTV's wild upland country. The visitors paid through the nose for this privilege and were further fleeced at a series of social events held throughout the week.The HSA sabotaged Alston Hare Week in 2014 and, the following two years, prevented it from happening at all. Deprived of this extra revenue the WTV have hit hard times, and it seems less likely than ever that they will be able to resurrect their cruel hunting festival.

However, the HSA is not complacent and we are determined that Alston Hare Week will never happen again. Our specialist operatives are already monitoring the situation on the ground and we are grateful to the many Alston residents who continue to send us information about the decline of the Weardale & Tees Valley Beagles.