Dating for people who love the outdoors

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"The internet has opened up a fun and less embarrassing way for people to meet new people in their area." Young country dwellers also organise their social lives on Facebook. I tell as many people as possible about the website now." But the internet can't solve the problem of geography."It's how you hear about hunt balls, Young Farmers meetings and parties, and you can see who is going," says Vittoria Pannizon, 27, who lives in Gloucestershire. "After that we kept bumping into each other and eventually went out for supper in Cirencester." Vicky Cooke, 34, a teacher living in a village near Rugby, met her fiancé, Richard Jones, 33, from Sutton Coldfield, on My Single Friend. "Dating in the country is always a problem due to distances," Mary Balfour says."I'd never go to one on my own," Charlotte says, "but as long as I have a wingman, I'm fine." This is exactly the right approach, according to dating expert Mary Balfour."Find a dating buddy; someone who is in the same situation as you," she says."A lot of people say it's the rural dating agency," she says."Jamie lives less than eight miles away but I'd never met him."Communities are small and people work long hours," she says. "I've gone to so many hunt balls this year, I've become a bit of a joke among my friends.

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"We organise rural singles' events such as regional pub grub nights, sailing trips and an annual ball." More than 300 people, mainly in their forties and fifties, attended the Mud Lovers ball last year.

This year's ball in Sywell, Northamptonshire, on May 22 has a "black tie with a muddy twist" dress code.

Tickets for the event cost from £60 and there will be a live band, three-course meal and casino.

Horsey girls aren't that bad really." It shouldn't be difficult to meet a like-minded person in the countryside, given that there is a structured calendar of rural social events, including races and point-to-points.

But according to Patricia Warren, a farmer's wife from Derbyshire who runs the Country Bureau, a rural introduction agency, the country dating scene can be bleak, whatever age you are.

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