The Countryman's Weekly

Ratting

Ratting
April 25
08:04 2018

WEB4-25-04-18Having a clear out of rats  

by Bill Doherty.

WHAT a beautiful area of Great Britain the county of Northumberland is. Every form of game abounds and many landowners have capitalised on this bounty. There are some large estates and well-organised shoots amid this land beyond beyond. After the organised shooting season of 2018, a number of us were lucky to be invited by a keeper friend on one such estate in north Northumberland, for a day helping clear out rats from around feeding areas – an invite we just couldn’t refuse.

We met up at what must be the best beaters’ retreat I have ever been in; a stone-built cottage, with amenities including a kitchen and a games room with dartboard and a shower. This surely beats any bothy or barn where in the past I have ate my packed lunch midway through a day’s beating.

The lads I travelled up with included Ian Barnfather, Neil Stafford and Gordon Robson, all terriermen from Northumberland, with Plummers a Westie and a Plummer JRT. On our arrival we were introduced to some great characters and other dog lads, with various dogs including a Bedlington lurcher, a couple of Bull crosses and an array of other terriers. This was a formidable pack.

Before setting off into the fields, a sweepstake was drawn up, with everyone guessing what the final tally would be. On hearing numbers of 300, 400 and 500 being mentioned, my initial thoughts were that a bigger memory card might be required for my camera.

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