What could be more romantic than a proposal in the field? Alexandra Henton lists some successes.

Whether the way to your beau’s heart is on horseback, the river bank or even a boar hunt, for proper country sorts, the best proposals require a sporting setting and one muddy knee. Such intentions declared in the field are rarely rejected. But the field is not always the place to easily facilitate a romantic moment. So how to go about it?

Valentine’s Day dinner?

Most sensible types will be among the vanguard organising cracking dinner parties, a spot of pigeon shooting or a bracing February meet. When it comes to love and romance, the field man follows some basic but strong guiding principles. Always be prepared, never alarm the quarry, and never, ever attempt dinner à deux on St Valentine’s day (a sure-fire damp squib). However, the sweetest way to your beloved’s heart could be by serving up our recipe for salted caramel chocolate mousse.

When it is time to pop that question everyone knows it’s not what you say but the way you say it, this is what makes the best proposals. The staunchest of birds can become the flightiest with an incautious word or rash deed. Who does not recoil from the ring ‘n’ restaurant cycle?

Salted caramel chocolate mousse

Our salted caramel chocolate mousse is guaranteed to melt hearts

Best proposals

While fishing and romance are rare bedfellows for the best proposals in the field, there are some exceptions. A secluded picnic blanket by the side of a gurgling chalkstream in summer has allure, and there are fishing huts on the Test where nymphing starts in May. But the waders, Polaroids and bottles of Gink are more likely to drive a wedge between a courting pair than facilitate a declaration and one of the best proposals.

Bearing all this in mind, Charlie Ramsay – founder of Historic Britain – who is an all-round sportsman and Highland hero, set about orchestrating one of the best proposals in the field with military precision. Heading north to engage the salmon, the plan was marshalled.

best proposals when fishing

Coolest proposals

“I decided on a pool on the River Lyon that was rarely fished, so the only risk would be from other fishermen,” he confides. Intent on preserving the element of surprise he tied the ring to the end of a 9lb line. This was hooked on to an overhanging branch and lowered into the pool to dangle until the allotted hour. Casual passers-by would see nothing but a caught line, the common by-product of a careless cast. A dashing flourish was added by anchoring a bottle of champagne to 16lb monofilament and lowering it into the pool within easy gaffing distance.

Fishing was duly suggested and the deserted pool became centre stage for one of the best proposals. “I was standing on the rock casting and said, ‘Look, someone has caught a line.’ With no further hint my girlfriend started to pull the line out of the water. She was obviously expecting a fly or a hook and I think I might have noticed her jaw drop fractionally when she realised what had come out of the water,” he recalls. Up came the champagne, down went the knee and yes was the answer.

Best proposals. Hunting

A different take on gate-shutting.

Hunting proposals

One Grafton hunting girl, Tamarisk Woods (now Leeming) says: “The day we got married I went autumn hunting in the morning with about 60 of our guests – a great start to the day.”

If not taking part in a traditional fieldsport, then ski slopes are particularly popular. The snow brings out the chivalrous nature of the most hardened country types. Over the past few years almost every bunch of friends returning from a ski trip has reported an engagement. A usually robust chap became so nervous about the consequences of the annual Meribel jaunt that he’s refused to sign up this year.

Away from the field the hunt ball remains the essential pre-proposal ground. Numerous are the country cads who have met their match in the early hours in a Shire marquee; for better or worse. I tripped over Mr Right while visiting the Wynnstay hunt ball. He proposed on a hill overlooking Quorn Friday country (the way to any hunting girl’s heart) and, reader, I married him.

Proposals sealed with a sporting gift

For those in search of a sporting gift with which to mark the occasion – or perhaps hide a sparkling ring in the bottom of a shooting sock or secreted in a cartridge bag – The Field has a plethora of guides to the very best kit. These include best shooting socks, ties, coats, cartridge bags and gumboots. And you can never go wrong with chocolate. Read The Field’s guide to chocolate here.


This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.