5 minutes with Trevor Adams

Scottish Sporting Gazette

A hugely influential figure, with 40 years of hunt service to his name; 25 as Master and Huntsman of The Duke of Buccleuch's Foxhounds.

How did you get into hunting?

Just outside the village where I was brought up, Meysey Hampton in Gloucestershire, was the kennels for the Vale of the White Horse Hunt (VWH). The huntsman at the time, Sidney Bailey, encouraged the young to visit the hounds and get involved, and that's where my interest developed.

My father used to follow the hunt on foot and I was fortunate to be lent a horse during certain days of the season.

Your start to hunt service?

I left school at 15 without a single qualification to my name, and the same summer I started in the VWH stables looking after the hunt horses. Then I was lucky enough to move into the kennels as a kennel hand for the following season. Next, at the age of 17, was a move to the Ledbury Hunt as a first whip.

The apprenticeship of hunt service is a routine that keeps you moving around a lot to get experience, and so after four years I joined the Meynell and South Staffordshire for three seasons.

Then came the big change. I'd always harboured an interest in running a hunt and a fantastic opportunity arose to be the joint Master of the East Sussex and Romney Marsh. I spent three seasons there and then went to the Albrighton Woodland Hunt in the West Midlands.

Then, in 1989, I moved up to the Duke of Buccleuch's Foxhounds, and retired in early 2014 after 25 years as huntsman and master.

What kept you in the role for so long?

It's a way of life. I love the hounds, the people and the incredible country we hunt in. Hunting is a great institution - one that welcomes and unifies people of all backgrounds; on a horse, in a car or on foot.

There's great excitement with every meet. Never in all my 40 years of hunt service did that wear off - the buzz was there till the last day, and it will remain. You can never have a bad day's hunting; some are just better than others.

Your most memorable moment?

The move to Scotland and the Buccleuch is a highlight. As is the way in which we, and all the hunting community, rallied during the political campaign of 2002. We were able to get what was looking to be an outright banning bill changed to a regulating piece of legislation instead.

The two-week court case in 2004 for alleged illegal hunting was a defining moment. The media coverage was phenomenal, almost ridiculous. It was a very important case for fox hunting in Scotland that eventually ended in our favour.

But above all, the most memorable aspect I have from my time in hunt service is the friendships that I have made. You don't go through 40 years of any career without a hiccup or two, but 99.9 per cent of it I would love to do all over again.

What do you do now in retirement?

I'm going to pursue some other things now, but I'm keeping a couple of horses and I'm certainly going to carry on hunting regularly. I want to see what it is like on the outside after four decades on the inside.

I live in the Buccleuch country, but I won't hunt with them - not for a season at least. I need to let the new team settle in and allow the hounds to make the transition to the new huntsman. I will certainly hunt with them in the future, but for now I'm joining a neighbouring hunt called the Jed Forest and I plan on doing a fair bit of visiting as well. As I said, hunting is a way of life, and one that I don't plan on ending anytime soon.

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