Thursday, 15 July 2010

A Pain in the Butt

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.


  1. Exciting to hear the final preparations for the grouse... please could you give us an update on how they have fared and your thoughts for the coming season?

  2. Give me another week and I'll know for sure as we're just about to start our counts. I will stick my neck out and say that there SEEM to be plenty about.
    I predict a good season.

  3. Excellent, look forward to hearing about the counts! Could the weather etc still have an impact on them, or are they now all past the vulnerable stage?

  4. As you can imagine, the bigger and more mobile they get, the better their chances. But I'm still seeing some little ones going about (saw a covey of day-olds yesterday)- and the weather has taken a turn for the colder/wetter of late. Initial counts are showing two areas up and one area down on last years numbers. We're on tenderhooks here!