Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Done In

As promised, we walked the biggest corrie on the place today. In it there are dozens of cairns and holes where a fox might have a den. And hundreds of places a fox might lie up for the day. It's just not possible to find and check all the places, but we give it our best shot.

We work along the slope in a line. On a big slope we can be over a hundred metres apart. Whenever we spot a likely place the nearest person clambers up or down to it, checks it out with his terriers and returns to his place in the line. Big cairns will have two or three of us converge on it.

It's really demanding work. Not only do you have to negotiate steep rough ground, you also have to clamber through cairns and creep your way along narrow ledges. All the while you're moving as quietly as possible, constantly watching for a fox getting up from anywhere round about you.

You also have to watch your terriers to make sure they dont go straight off a precipice as they push through the rank heather which invariably grows in these steep sheltered places. You also need to monitor the progress of your colleagues to keep the line good.

While all this is going on you keep an eye out for any signs of foxy- kills, pad marks, scats. And you you watch the trees and cliff faces for crows or their nests.

It was another tough day. So much so that I'm going to have to leave Maisie (my 3 year old Border Terrier)at home tomorrow. She's all done in.

And I'm not far behind her.

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