Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Where Eagles Dare
I'm on my hols and thought, as I'm having a break from my ramblings, I'd give you a break from them also. But you don't get off that lightly.
Last week was one of extremes. For the first 2 days nearly all I had to do was 'jaw work'. The Monday was spent giving the Dean of the Conservation Faculty of George University (South Africa)a guided tour. He was in Britain for his holidays and, having heard much about the place from a former student- namely one Dylan Smith-felt he had to come and have a look for himself.
Then on Tuesday I was talking to a group of schoolkids as part of their 'Rural Skills' studies. As I was neither subjected to torrents of abuse, nor called a 'murdering bastard', nor even pelted with rotten vegetables I'll say both days went well.
The rest of the week was 'paw work'. I had my turn of a hired digger (and driver) and sorted a lot of the roads that were damaged by last Novembers floods. Cue the thunderstorms......
I'm also posting a couple of pics taken today. I went out with a group of lads to fit satellite trackers on a couple of Golden Eagle chicks.
In the process I ended up on a bit of my ground that I've never been on before (and there aren't many keepers can say that after being on the same beat for 6 years.) The place was a steeply sloping, narrow ledge high up in a corrie with a 200ft vertical rock face below it. I've spied it often and thought it might be POSSIBLE to get up there, but never had a reason- or the inclination- to try it.
Now I know it is, in fact, possible. But I still wont be back.
As it was the operation ran like clockwork; the tick tock sound effects were provided by my knocking knees and my alarm didn't go off until we were back on terra flatta. One of the pics is of Ed and I watching two of the group abseiling off over the edge. I've got a neck like a giraffes, but I can assure you that there's no way I was shifting my bum for a better look. (Anyway, I was using it to grip onto a wee bit of heather.)
Seriously tho', it was well worth it to get a good look at one of these awesome (but somewhat malodourous) birds. The website by which you can follow it's wanderings isn't up yet but when it is, I'll let you know. Thanks for having me along, lads.
One last bit of news before I go; I've been offered a monthly column in 'The Scots' magazine. Uh oh, there go those knees again!