Friday, 15 April 2011

Needing a Fire Break

It turns out that yesterday was the last day of heather burning for us. I was planning a blog to commererate the fact but I didn't have the strength left to lift the lid on the laptop.

Twice before I had travelled out to a certain row of grouse butts. I was determined to give them a 'clean out' before the burning season ended. (Rank heather around the butts makes picking the shot grouse a nightmare.) Anyway, twice before the fire just wouldn't take.

I knew I was running out of time. Officially, we can burn until the 15th- or until the end of the month if it's over 2000ft.

As it turns out, I WAS out of time; I put up a hen grouse off 3 eggs before I got to the butts. I'd come all this way, so I decided to keep going but resolved that this would be my last burning for the season.

I got the butts cleaned out without incident then, for my piece de resistance, went down to a nearby bed of ancient heather that I'd been eyeing up for ages.

Well the fire made short work of the long heather- but then continued to smoulder it's way through the green strip where it was meant to stop. It ended up burning right up to the top of the hill. And we (our trainee was with me) had to rub and scrub every inch of the way to get the sides out. Probably about 1km.

I was out digging more grit piles (by hand again!) today and was in a position to get a picture of the fire. It looks pretty tame from a mile away.


  1. I have a question regarding a piece you wrote on (sorry it is not related to this post but I didn't know where else to ask). You say that gamekeepers are allowed to shoot feral cats - how do you know that the cats that you are shooting are feral and not domestic (i.e. pets). Thanks in advance for your reply.

  2. Also, if it should so happen that a domestic cat has been shot (I assume you would know because the cat has been neutered), what is a gamekeeper supposed to do?

  3. It's one of the great joys of living in a small community that everybody knows everybody.

    I can tell you in absolute certainty that there is only one domestic cat within a radius of 10++ miles...and it's 15 years old, obese and has agraphobia!

    A good few years ago we participated in a research project. The conclusion was that not only are feral cats an abomination on wildlife, but they've also eradicated the Scottish Wildcat from this region through hybridisation.