Thomas A. Alspaugh
Plain Hunt on N

# Example: the 3, on Seven

Plain Hunt is the simplest repeating pattern a group of bells can ring. All bells that participate ring exactly the same pattern (so we say Plain Hunt is a principle), though each one begins at a different point in the pattern. At each stroke, each bell either stays in the same place (if it is at the front or back) or exchanges places with a bell next to it. For Plain Hunt on N bells, after N pulls (i.e. 2N strokes) every bell is back where it started. See the diagrams at right for a visual representation of what each bell is doing.

# Basics

## Coursing Order

The coursing order for Plain Hunt on N is 2-4-…-N-…-3-1 (evens course up, odds course down). Although we conventially list one cycle through the coursing order starting with the 2, it repeats itself without end as in the circle at right.

• Plain Hunt on Four: 2-4-3-1
• Plain Hunt on Five: 2-4-5-3-1
• Plain Hunt on Six: 2-4-6-5-3-1
• Plain Hunt on Seven: 2-4-6-7-5-3-1
• etc.

The coursing order is the order in which many things happen:

• You ring over the other bells in the coursing order.
• The bells come to the front in the coursing order.
• The bells go to the back in the coursing order.

Within the coursing order, two bells are particularly useful to know:

• your course bell, the bell that precedes you in the coursing order; and
• your after bell, the bell that follows you in the coursing order.

When you are at the back, you will always find yourself striking over your course bell and then over your after bell.

Plain Hunt on Five: if you are the 3, your course bell is the 5 and your after bell is the 1.

Immediately before you come into leads, you always ring in 2nds over the 5.

Immediately after you finish leading, you always ring in 2nds over the 1.

Plain Hunt on Six: if you are the 2, your course bell is the 1 and your after bell is the 4.

When you are at the back, you always ring over the 1 and then over the 4.

(When ringing methods later on, in which the treble rings a different pattern than all the other bells, the treble is not counted in the coursing order. However, for Plain Hunt all the bells ring the same pattern, and the coursing order won't help you unless you include the treble.)

## Terminology

You hunt out (= hunt up) by holding up one position each time, so that after ringing in nths you then ring in (n+1)ths. You continue to hunt out until you are at the back, or ringing after all the other bells, which is as far out as you can go.

(At the back has no connection with backstroke or with being at back = in the backstroke half of a full pull).

You hunt in (= hunt down) by hurrying one position each time, so that after ringing in nths you then ring in (n-1)ths. You continue to hunt in until you are leading (= at the front), or ringing before all the other bells, which is as far in as you can go.

## Landmarks

The Back

The two landmarks in Plain Hunt are:

Having hunted all the way in (to leads or 1sts place), you ring two strokes in leads (hand, back) before hunting back out.

Before Leads, you were ringing more quickly at hunting-in speed; in Leads, you ring at rounds speed; after Leads, you will start ringing more slowly at hunting-out speed.

2. The Back

Having hunted out to the back, you ring two strokes at the back before hunting back in.

• For Plain Hunt on an odd number of bells, the two strokes at the back are hand-back.
• For Plain Hunt on an even number of bells, the two strokes at the back are back-hand.

Before The Back, you were ringing more slowly at hunting-out speed; at The Back, you ring at rounds speed; after The Back, you will start ringing more quickly at hunting-in speed.

Each bell hunts out to The Back, then hunts in to Leads; where in this cycle you start depends on your bell.

(Strictly speaking, where in the cycle you start depends on what place you were in at the last backstroke before you begin hunting; for beginners, Plain Hunt always starts from rounds, so your bell number and your place number are the same, but after you become more advanced, you may find youself starting Plain Hunt from sequences other than rounds.)

Odd bells begin by hunting out; even bells begin by hunting in.

# Making It Happen

If you have learned to ring in rounds, you have an idea of the amount of oomph you need to put into the rope at each stroke to keep the bell ringing steadily.

 Bell rings if it swings because you pulled Faster Slower Gentler Lower Higher Harder

In order to make the bell ring faster, you have to allow it to ring lower, by pulling the previous stroke with less oomph. For successive strokes, once you have it ringing lower (and thus faster), you'll probably add just a bit of oomph to keep the bell ringing at that height.

In order to make the bell ring slower, you have to allow it to ring lower, by pulling the previous stroke with more oomph. For successive strokes, once you have it ringing higher (and thus slower), you'll probably subtract just a bit of oomph to keep the bell ringing at that height.

You'll find ringing Plain Hunt easier if you can practice and develop the habit of adjusting your oomph appropriately for Leads:

… and for The Back:

You'll want to practice the right amount of oomph at The Back for both odd N, where the two strokes at the back will be back-hand, and for even N, where the two strokes at the back will be hand-back.

# The Sequence of Landmarks

For Plain Hunt on N:

• If you are ringing an even-numbered bell, you will start by hunting in. Your first landmark will be Leads, which will occur when you get to leads.
• If you are ringing an odd-numbered bell less than N, you will start by hunting out. Your first landmark will be The Back, which will occur when you get to Nths.
• If you are ringing the odd-numbered bell at the back, i.e. the N, you will start by ringing a stroke in Nths place, which will be the second stroke of The Back. Then you will hunt in. Your next landmark will be Leads.

# Ringing Speeds

You will be ringing at three different speeds:

1. Rounds speed.

This will occur between your blows in leads and at the back; you won't be trying to move out (ringing more slowly) or move in (ringing more quickly).

All the strokes at rounds speed are at about the same speed (but see below for the difference between handstroke and backstroke).

2. Hunting-out speed.

This will occur while you are hunting out. Each blow will delay one position longer than rounds speed.

All the strokes at hunting-out speed are at about the same speed (but see below): they don't get successively slower, they just ring successively later (but by the same amount each time).

You will need to ensure you pull with enough oomph and let the bell rise enough to allow this slower swing to happen, especially for the first hunting-out stroke when many novice ringers place their blow only about a half-place out rather than a full place out.

3. Hunting-in speed.

This will occur while you are hunting in. Each blow will hurry one position shorter than rounds speed.

All the strokes at hunting-in speed are at about the same speed (but see below): they don't get successively quicker, they just ring successively sooner (but by the same amount each time).

You will need to ensure you pull with less oomph and keep the bell from rising too far to allow this faster swing to happen. Novice ringers often do not decrease the oomph enough at the first hunting-in stroke, and place their blow only about a half-place in rather than a full place in.

For example, for bell 2 in Plain Hunt on Four:

1. ring at rounds speed between blows 1 and 2 (in leads);
2. then at hunting-out speed from blows 2 to 5;
3. then at rounds speed between blows 5 and 6 (at the back);
4. and then at hunting-in speed from blows 6 to 9.

Note that these three speeds involve four different intervals between blows, because of the handstroke pause that occurs between a backstroke row and the next handstroke row. Ideally (at least at my home tower), one leaves a pause between the last bell of a backstroke and the first bell of the next handstroke, in contrast to the last handstroke bell which is immediately followed by the first backstroke bell. This pause is one bell's worth (or perhaps a little less). Thus when I am counting the strokes for six bells, I will count this pattern steadily:

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 oh 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

Speed Strokes Interval between blows
Rounds speed Handstroke to backstroke
Backstroke to handstroke
Hunting-out speed Handstroke to backstroke
Backstroke to handstroke
Hunting-in speed Handstroke to backstroke
Backstroke to handstroke

(This topic is also discussed under Ringing Speeds.)

# You'll Want to Know These Facts

1. Odds start out, evens start in.

Odd bells initially hunt out (odds start out), even bells initially hunt in (evens start in).

It has to be this way, since the treble (the 1) can only hunt out; it can't get any earlier than its initial position before all the other bells, so it has to begin by moving to 2nds. That means somebody has to move to leads so the treble can be in 2nds after it, and the only bell that can get to leads in time is the 2, so the 2 begins by hunting in. The same reasoning applies by induction to all the higher-numbered bells.

There is an exception, though: Odd last bell starts in place, then in. If an odd number N of bells are hunting, the N rings another blow in Nths while everyone else is starting in or out, and then starts in.

2. There are two ways of knowing when to ring: by keeping track of your position (leads, 2nds, 3rds, etc.), and by following the bell that rings immediately before you.

(If you are in pretty close to the right position, you can also confirm you're in the right spot—and adjust the next blow more exactly—by listening to when your bell strikes. And you can look for the eyes and expressions of the ringers around you, to confirm that the ringer who should be ringing over you is looking at you and that no one is giving you puzzled or you're in the wrong place looks.)

It's most effective to use a combination of all these.

3. How to watch for the bell that rings immediately before you:
1. Sequence of which bell to
watch for Plain Hunt on 6

Sequence of which bell to
watch for Plain Hunt on 5

Jump two. The bell that you follow in Plain Hunt jumps around the circle of bells two at a time, following the coursing order (2-4-…-3-1). So at each stroke shift your glance two bells over in preparation for the next stroke.

When you get to the end you can't shift your glance two bells over, because there is no bell two bells over.

1. If there is still one more bell in that direction, look at it. At the next stroke, change the direction your glance is moving, and resume shifting two bells over.
2. If you were already at the last bell (and had jumped two over to get to it), change the direction your glance is moving now and look one bell over in the new direction. At the next stroke, resume shifting two bells over in the new direction.
2. Can't follow yourself. If you follow strictly in the coursing order, there would be two points at which you would be following yourself. For example, ringing the 4 on Plain Hunt on 6 you would follow the 3 in rounds and then when Plain Hunt begins follow 1-2-4-…, but you are the 4. You can't follow yourself; what do you do?

Instead of following yourself, you strike two blows at leads, following the tenor (if there is one) or ringing in the right spot after whichever bell is in Nths.

Then hunt out, striking your blow in 2nds over the next bell after yours in the coursing order (your after bell) and resume Jumping Two.

2. At The Back

At the back, simply skip yourself in the coursing order. If you work it out in the chart, you will see that you strike your first blow at the back following your course bell, and (since you skip yourself) you will strike your second blow at the back following your after bell.

Suppose you are ringing bell 4 in Plain Hunt on Nine. Even bells begin by hunting in (evens start in), so you are prepared to hurry up your first stroke. In rounds you are in 4ths place following bell 3. The coursing order for Plain Hunt on Nine is 2-4-6-8-9-7-5-3-1, repeated over and over; since you are initially following the 3 in rounds, let's list the coursing order starting from there: 3-1-2-4-6-8-9-7-5. Your course bell is the 2 and your after bell is the 6. In the coursing order, 3 is succeeded by 1; so when the hunt begins,

1. your first blow will be in 3rds over (after) the treble (1).
2. your second blow will be in 2nds over the 2.
3. your third blow will be in leads and would be over the 4, but that's you, so take that as a confirmation that you have hunted in to Leads and it's time to ring two blows in leads.

Remember to give your first stroke in Leads a little extra oomph so you slow down to rounds speeds for the second stroke, and give your second stroke in Leads even more oomph so you can hold up a bit on the next stroke to hunt out to 2nds.

4. your fifth blow will be in 2nds over the 6 (resuming in the coursing order).
5. your sixth (seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth) blow will be in 3rds (4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, 8ths, 9ths) over the 8 (9, 7, 5, 3, 1, 2).
6. your next blow would be over the 4, but that's you, so you take this as confirmation that you just struck your first blow at the back, and your next blow will be after 6 (skipping yourself) as your second blow in 9ths (at The Back).

Remember to give your first stroke a little less oomph so you'll be in rounds speed for the second blow, and to give your second stroke even less oomph so you'll be able to hunt down at the following stroke, placing it cleanly in 8ths (after the 6).

And so forth.

3. Where are ringers looking? In general a ringer will look for the bell they are about to ring over, just as you yourself are doing. If you notice a ringer looking at you, it doesn't mean anything is wrong — they are probably ringing over you.
1. If you are hunting out, then they are hunting in and you will ring over them next.
2. If you are hunting in, it's less helpful: you just rang over them at the previous blow (which you should have known already).
4. Even or odd position at hand or back? Handstrokes Even-Out, Odd-In.

This isn't essential, but it's helpful when you get lost.

It always works (in Plain Hunt) and doesn't rely on ropesight, which is good for me because when I get lost it's often because my ropesight has temporarily failed me.

Hunting in or out? At handstroke At backstroke
Out Even position Odd position
In Odd position Even position

I find it most helpful for hunting in; no matter where I get lost, sooner or later I will need to hunt down to leads, and I'll have to arrive at leads (position 1) at handstroke. There's a good chance someone will shout advice to me; in my tower this is often something like Follow the 2 down! which tells me

1. I should be hunting down right now, and
2. the blow I just struck was late, so I need to cut to speed up the blow I'm about to strike, and
3. I should be pulling two positions after the 2 (the bell they told me about) which I can usually approximate by waiting the appropriate (brief) passage of time after the 2 pulls, at least until the 2 gets into leads, and
4. if the 2 suddenly seems to have slowed down and I'm at back(stroke), then the 2 is probably in its second stroke in leads and I'm probably in 2nds about to arrive at leads,

and unless I'm completely scrambled I'll be arriving at the critical moment of leads myself at a handstroke, not a backstroke.

But it also turns out to be broadly helpful whenever I'm not sure I'm in the right spot, both in Plain Hunt and in more complicated patterns.

5. Course and after facts:
1. You always take your course bell off leads. This means that when you hunt in to leads, your blow in 2nds is over your course bell, and (though you won't pay much attention to this at first) your first blow in leads is under your course bell in 2nds.
2. Your after bell always takes you off leads. Your second blow in leads is under your after bell (though you won't pay much attention to that at first), and when you start to hunt out, your blow in 2nds is over your after bell in leads.
3. You always take your course bell off the back, and your after bell always takes you off the back. Your first blow at the back is over your course bell, and your second block at the back is over your after bell.

(You probably won't notice at first that your last blow before you arrive at the back is under your course bell, or that your first blow after you come off the back is under your after bell.)

6. Whom do you lead off?

Lead off the tenor, if there is one. If there is a tenor behind or two or more covers, it's easy: you lead off the tenor.

Otherwise,
Lead off the bell(s) almost halfway round the coursing order from you.

 Odd N: Lead off the same bell twice. Even N: Lead off two different bells, in coursing order.

The second of the two will be exactly across from you in the coursing order.

Don't try to memorize this table! You may find it interesting, though.

Don't
memorize
Singles
(3)
Minimus
(4)
Doubles
(5)
Minor
(6)
Triples
(7)
Major
(8)
1 leads off 2 2 then 4 4 4 then 6 6 6 then 8
2 leads off 3 4 then 3 5 6 then 5 7 8 then 7
3 leads off 1 1 then 2 2 2 then 4 4 4 then 6
4 leads off 3 then 1 3 5 then 3 5 7 then 5
5 leads off 1 1 then 2 2 2 then 4
6 leads off 3 then 1 3 5 then 3
7 leads off 1 1 then 2
8 leads off 3 then 1

# Example: the 2, on Four

The coursing order is 2-4-3-1.

The 2 is following the treble (1) in rounds. Evens start in so the 2 will begin by hunting in.
1234
1 is succeeded by 2 in the coursing order, but can't follow yourself.
You are hunting in, so you must have reached Leads; strike two blows in leads.
12143
22413
22413
After Leads, hunt out. Follow 4, which succeeds 2 (you) in the coursing order.
34231
4 is at an end, so change directions and follow 3. Skip two to follow 1 (treble) next.
44321
44321
1 is at an end, so change directions. 2 is next (can't follow yourself), so since you were
hunting out you are at The Back; skip yourself and look two over at 4 for your second blow.
53412
63142
63142
4 was at the end, so change directions and follow 3.
71324
Skip two from 3 to follow 1 (treble).
81234

# Example: the 3, on Seven

It's actually easier for larger numbers of bells, since then you can get more of a rhythm going of shifting your glance two-bells-over in between the times you have to do something different (at an end, at yourself).

The coursing order is 2-4-6-7-5-3-1.

The 3 is following the 2 in rounds. Odds start out so the 3 will begin by hunting out.
1234567
Jump two, from following 2 to following 4. Your glance changed from right (2) to left (4).
12143657
Jump two, 4 to 6.
22416375
22416375
Can't jump two, not enough bells. Step from 6 to last bell 7.
34261735
Glance stepped to end (7), so jump two in other direction to 5. Next would be 3 (you),
so you must be at The Back; skip yourself and jump two more to 1 to strike a second blow there.
44627153
44627153
56472513
Jumped to the end (1), so step back and follow 2. Hunting in.
66745231
66745231
Jump two, 2 to 4. Your glance changed from right to left.
77654321
Jump two, 4 to 6.
87563412
87563412
Can't jump two, not enough bells. Step from 6 to last bell 7.
95736142
Glance stepped to end (7), so jump two back to 5.
105371624
105371624
Can't follow yourself. You were hunting in, so
113517264
123152746
123152746
Skip yourself (3) and jump two to 1.
131325476
Jumped to the end, so step back to 2.
141234567

Plain Hunt on Two
(same as Places in 1-2)

Plain Hunt on Three

Plain Hunt on Four

Plain Hunt on Five

Plain Hunt on Six

Plain Hunt on Two
with tenor behind
(same as Places in 1-2)

Plain Hunt on Three
with tenor behind

Plain Hunt on Four
with tenor behind

Plain Hunt on Five
with tenor behind

Plain Hunt on Six
with two covers

1234
12143
22413
22413
34231
44321
44321
53412
63142
63142
71324
81234

123456789
1214365879
2241638597
2241638597
3426183957
4462819375
4462819375
5648291735
6684927153
6684927153
7869472513
8896745231
8896745231
9987654321
10978563412
10978563412
11795836142
12759381624
12759381624
13573918264
14537192846
14537192846
15351729486
16315274968
16315274968
17132547698
18123456789