I've decided to give up keepering and take up entymology instead. I managed to pick up another bug a few days ago- the Noro Virus this time- and it's been a real healthy specimen. Which is more than can be said for me.
What this means is that I've had fewer adventures on the hill to tell you about. So what has been happening?
Just a few days after my last blog I shot ANOTHER hind with 'carbuncles'. She was a yearling and the reason I'd selected her was that she had a broken foreleg. The growths weren't as extensive as on the first hind but still way more than I've come across previously. I wonder if it's anything to do with the fact that she'll have been lying up a lot with her injury. I did take photos but they make it look like I was out stalking in a London Pea-Souper. With the way that the weather has taken a turn for the colder, I suspect I'm going to have a lot more trouble with lenses misting up.
And talking of which, the TV news has been full of stories of mayhem and carnage as Britain enters it's next ice-age. Maybe we've been missing out up in this neck of the woods (we've 2"-3" snow) but it all appears to be rather exaggerated. Correct me if I'm wrong.
But on the estate now, we're winding down for Christmas. The hill ponies are all back from their outposts on the various beats. The farrier is up today and they are all being reshod. Any hinds shot today will have to be 'handy' ones- and I use that term in it's very loosest sense-that can be dragged to a land-rover or boated across the loch.
Other than that, pheasant feeders will be topped up and land-rovers cleared out prior to tomorrows shoot. This is a little rough shoot we have to ourselves once a year, but it still requires a bit of planning and organising.
And that's about it. I have to say I'm REALLY looking forward to resting up for a few days. It feels like it's been an almighty struggle this season and our cull numbers back this up. Normally 3 of our beats aim to have 100 hinds each by Christmas but it just hasn't happened. We'll just have to hope that this snow sticks around for a while and we get the benefit of it once we're back to the cull in the new year.
Before I go, I'd just like to thank those of you who left comments. Your messages of encouragement were a much-needed tonic.
Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas.