A POIGNANT trophy created in memory of a hound trail manager will be awarded at the Grasmere Sports and Lakeland Show.

The Chris Swainson Trophy honours Chris, who passed away during the pandemic after 50 years of being involved with the hound trails, having started as a young boy.

The Chris Swainson Trophy will be awarded to the best young handler on the day, technically aged under 30 but likely to be a child who has assisted with preparing, slipping and catching the dogs for the races.

Preparing a dog for a hound trail will entail ensuring they are in tip-top condition, having followed a healthy diet and got into good physical shape for the task ahead. That task is one of navigating the undulating fells terrain, following a specially laid aniseed trail, and completing the trail from start to finish in the fastest time.

There will be four hound trail races at Grasmere Sports and Lakeland Show. In the first three - the Puppy Trail, the Open Restricted Trail and the Veteran Trail – the hounds all run five miles, with finishing times typically being between 18 and 22 minutes.

The fourth hound trail race at Grasmere Sports and Lakeland Show is the Senior Hound Trail sees the dogs run over a 10-mile course. The winning time for this course is usually between 32 and 34 minutes.

Trails are laid by ‘Trailers’ who head to a halfway point together and then separate, with one laying the trail to the start and the other completing the trail to the finish line. As the trails are specially laid, there is no chance of any practice sessions being held on the fells in advance, so it’s all down to the strength, stamina and scent detection skills of a hound on the day.

Grasmere Sports and Lakeland Show’s Sports and Field Manager, Deborah Black, said: “We were so saddened by the passing of Chris, at a time when Grasmere Sports was forced to cancel due to Covid. However, we are delighted to have our new and special trophy to commemorate him and we are sure his family are very proud.

“Chris’s legacy lives on through our new Hound Trail Manager, Mike Thornton, and our hound trail races remain in great hands. We shall be delighted to see the Chris Swainson Trophy presented to one dedicated young handler.”

The show will take place on Sunday, August 28.

Visit: www.grasmeresports.com