Country mouse on the Game Fair

There was barely a whiff of the recession at the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle last weekend. Country men and women had decided in their thousands that whatever else was going on in the murky outside world, they were going to make the most of their passions and pastimes, whether it be shooting, fishing or sporting art.

Many stands reported their most successful show ever, and clearly the fair benefited from losing some of the dross stalls that characterised previous efforts. It was a proper countryside gathering of the rural clans. Even the weather played its part, which was an extra blessing as I camped with my daughter Anna in the shadow of the castle.

At the Country Life debate, the biggest cheers of the three days were for two things: foxhunting and the British soldier. That General Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, could wander round the show with his wife looking at ferrets and fishing demonstrations without bringing the show to a security meltdown was a further testament to being British try and imagine the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doing the same. The world of fieldsports proved, once more, that it is in bullish health.