SPORTS AND PASTIMES.
as required. The chief steeplechase of the year is the Liverpool Grand
National, run for in March; the course is upwards of 4'/2 II. long and
the value of the stakes is about 10002. The Grand National Hunters' Steeple¬
chase is for horses coming under the definition of hunters, and takes place
on a different course each year. Hunt Steeplechases, confined for the most
part to horses which have been ridden with specified packs of hounds, are
frequent in March and April.
Hunting. Nearly the whole of England is hunted over by hounds of
some kind or another, and no difficulty need be experienced in seeing a
pack at work. In most counties hunters may be hired at a charge of
2-3 guineas a day. — The Devon and Somerset Staghounds hunt over Ex-
moor (p. 175) and the Quantocks, pursuing the wild red deer which is
found by the 'tufters.' Horses may be hired at Dulverton (p. 134), Taun¬
ton (p. 133), etc. With the exception of the New Forest Pack, all other
packs of staghounds hunt the carted deer. Fox-hunting, however, is the
most popular branch of this sport, and is seen in its glory in the so-called
'Shires', including Leicestershire (the chief), Northamptonshire, and parts
of Rutland and Warwickshire. Most packs are maintained by subscrip¬
tion; and though anyone may hunt with them for a day or two without
giving anything, more frequent visitors are expected to contribute to the
support of the hounds. The packs of harriers are very numerous. The
hunting season is opened by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds in the
second week in August (comp. p. 175), and cub-hunting begins in September.
Regular hunting begins on Nov. 1st, and lasts till about the middle of April,
though in some counties a May fox is killed.
Fishing. Wherever there is a river in England and Wales, some kind
of fishing may be had; and full information as to the conditions may
generally be obtained at the local fishing-tackle shops. A good deal of
the water is free, but in some cases a charge is made to anglers while
in others fishing is granted as a favour only. Slapton Lea near Dartmouth
merits notice, as the lake is close to the sea, and salt and fresh water
fishing can be had within a stone's throw of each other. Deep-sea fishing
can be indulged in at any of the seaside-resorts, but it is useless for the
stranger to try it without a fisherman.
Shooting. Though a few hotels advertise the right of shooting over a
considerable area as open to their visitors, this is seldom of much account;
and this pastime is practically confined to the owners and hirers of shootings
and their friends.
Aquatics. Boating is practised on all rivers wide and deep enough.
The beauties of the Thames are well-known, and a favourite trip is to
descend from Oxford to London by boat (see p. 228). The chief rowing
fixture of the year is Henley Regatta (p. 230). — The Yachting season
begins on the Thames and ends with the regattas on the Devonshire Coast in
September. Comp. pp. 75, 137. — Sailing on the Norfolk Broads, see p. 496.
Cricket is played everywhere, and the visitor who makes a prolonged
stay will find no difficulty in joining a club. The best cricket is to be
seen at Lord's and the Oval in London, on the grounds of the 'first-class'
counties, and at Oxford and Cambridge. The 'first-class counties' are
York, Surrey, Middlesex, Nottingham, Lancashire, Kent, Sussex, Somerset,
Gloucester, Derby, Warwick, Essex, Hampshire, Worcester, and Leicester.
The cricket weeks at Canterbury (p. 33; in Aug.) and at Scarborough
(p. 461; Sept.) also deserve notice. The Marylebone Club (at Lord's) is the
chief governing body in the cricket world.
Lawn Tennis. Courts open to strangers on payment are found here
and there in old skating-rinks, drill-halis, public gardens, etc., but as a
rule this game cannot be seen to perfection except in the grounds of clubs
or private persons. Tournaments, open to visitors on payment, take place
in London, Buxton, Leamington, Torquay, and many other centres. Tennis
lawns are often attached to the large hotels in fashionable resorts.
Golf. Golf-links are to be found at almost every seaside and summer
resort, as well as near most large towns. Strangers are usually permitted
to play for a weekly fee of 2s. Gd.-lQs., or on introduction. The head¬
quarters of the game is St. Andrews. Other good links in Scotland are