As our shooting season approaches, our duties go through a gradual transition. The onus shifts from all-out war on our vermin to making those final preparations prior our guests arriving.
When we have a good forecast and a morning free of other demands, we'll still go out at dawn and see if we can fall in with a fox. But mostly, there are other jobs demanding our attentions now.
In the next three weeks I've got grouse butts to maintain, bridge supports to repoint, roads to patch, grit piles to cover over and fencing, concreting and dyking all needing done. And I could do with getting a load of firewood in. Yes, I KNOW it's the height of summer but once we get guests in the lodge, we'll be busy with them every day until the end of October. And as soon as we've finished with them, I've got a few hundred hinds needing my attention. No rest for the wicked? I'm thinking Auld Nick has some competition.....
I made a start on my butts today. It's gruelling work cutting and carrying divots and digging out floors and drains. Torrential rain overnight has saturated the ground making the work (and the divots) heavier. We -myself and the three ghillies (seasonal assistants)- came home just black with peat.
However, I did save some energy to go down to the river and try for a salmon this evening. Conditions were perfect so I persevered for longer than usual. And the result- two of my favourite lures sacrificed to the River God and one welly full of water.
There's no justice.