Entrepreneurship and beagling

Back in September we were helping out at a Young Countryside Alliance Ball in Northamptonshire and got talking to Philip Price, who had provided the bucking bronco and laser shooting for the evening. At that time we were in the process of organising our Muddy Marathon and were looking for interesting young rural entrepreneurs to visit on our travels.

When we found out that, at only 32, Philip had already set up two successful businesses – one called Corporate Game Hire (which is why he was at the ball) and another called Fantastic Fencing – we pretty much invited ourselves to come and stay!

The plan was to spend the day with him ‘A Day in the Life of Philip Price’ style, and write about the challenges facing young businesspeople setting up shop in the countryside. That was until he let it slip he is also the kennel-huntsman to his local pack of beagles and, interested in all facets of country life, we invited ourselves beagling instead!

As kennel-huntsman, Philip is a paid hunt employee whose primary role is the care of the beagles. He is also responsible for bringing them to and from the meet and will whip-in (assist the huntsman in controlling the beagles) at the meet.

The day we were there happened to coincide with their Opening Meet and so we helped Philip gather up the excited beagles and get them in the back of his truck before meeting everyone else mid-morning at a local pub.

The beagles awaiting the off.

Beagling is the hunting of hare on foot, although since the ban it is now more accurately the hunting of scent of hare on foot, with a scent trail being laid by the hunt staff using a dead hare. Foot and mouth restrictions allowing, it takes place between October and March and is accessible to all as followers need no special clothing or equipment and don’t even need to be terribly fit.

A cheap and sociable way to enjoy the countryside; we thoroughly enjoyed our first day out beagling and now suspect it won’t be our last!

The beagles follow their master down the track..

Although traditionally followed on foot, Philip sometimes takes his horse out as it is quicker to reach the beagles.

The hunt heads home at the end of a busy day.

Although he is only a part-time employee of the hunt, caring for the beagles is without doubt a full-time commitment, with long hours and little opportunity to get away. He does his fencing and contracting work during the day and the laser shooting (which by the way is so much fun!) and bucking broncos in the evening, but still gets up at the crack of dawn to take the beagles out.

In fact, he is probably one of the busiest people we’ve ever met but somehow (we have no idea how), he’s also found time to be a bit of an inventor!