In 2014, Trevor Adams completed 25 years as master and huntsman of the Duke of Buccleuch’s, a long period of stability by any hunt’s standards. After giving up the hounds, he took a year’s sabbatical before joining the Buccleuch as a subscriber, enjoying a novel chance to hunt without the hassle associated with being a master. He reiterates this now, sitting beside the fire in the Ednam House Hotel in Kelso.
“Subscribers haven’t got a clue how lucky they are. They pay a few quid, go hunting when they want, go home when they want. The telephone never rings, and they even have a chance to complain once a year at the AGM,” he says.
He seemed so content with the new arrangement that it was surprising two years ago to hear that he had taken on the mastership of the Jed Forest, with his friend, Jamie Scott, another former master of the Buccleuch. What possessed him to throw his hat in the ring again?
Trevor takes up the story: “Someone on the Jed Forest committee rang me to say that their huntsman had left at a late stage of the season. They’d had too many changes recently and would I help them out? I wasn’t keen and told them, ‘No, I’m too old.’”
It transpired that the Jed (as they are known locally) were harbouring a keen, amateur whipper-in called Gavin Scott and, having been rebuffed, they came back with a new proposal.
“They told me that they would like Gavin to have a go [at hunting the hounds] and he will, if you agree to help him,” recalls Trevor, “so I told him I would be very happy to do that.”
Trevor immediately went to see his friend Jamie Scott with an idea for how this could work: “We’ll run half the country each and tutor ‘Plodder’, everyone’s affectionate name for Gavin.”
All was set. When pressed on why he changed his mind, he says, “I’d had a little time out. I enjoy organizing the country and farmer negotiations. And Gavin wanted me, which was the main thing. If I’d had a go [at hunting the Jed] and been lucky enough with a good scenting season, they would have said I was great, but I’m getting older and they wouldn’t have had a future. Now they have a future.”
TREVOR is enjoyable, easy company, stories pouring out of him in his just-detectable Wiltshire burr. He explains how it works out hunting: “I’m in radio contact with Gavin and he does have me nipping in his ear. I’m training him. Occasionally I have to tell him to make haste and pull his finger out.”
It is obvious that Trevor is enjoying this new role and watching his protégé grow.
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