Saturday, 22 December 2012

On The Silver Screen

Well I managed to survive until the Christmas break. Out of the last 6 working days, 5 have featured mist, wind and lashing rain.

On the last stalking day I managed to bag 4 beasts. Although it was a refreshing change to get more than one shot off, it did come at a price. That price was that this required 2 trips with the horse.

 I got so cold waiting for Eric and Fergus to return that any distraction would taking pictures of  my misery, for example.

On a similar note, I had a filmmaker-Rob- out with me a few weeks back. He was doing a promotional video for wild venison. As luck would have it, the day he came out was a fair representation of what a days hind stalking entailed.

As we trundled away from the larder in the morning, Eric asked as to whether he had a rain cover for his (rather expensive looking) camera. When he responded in the negative, Eric offered to fetch a bin-liner.

By the time we came off the hill, that bin-liner was in tatters. Those tatters, however, were still being carefully wrapped around the camera after each sodden attempt at a take. By the time the stalking party was down on the flats of the glen, the misted lenses rendered the camera useless. Which was a pity as a pair of salmon were putting up an excellent display of spawning in a shallow pool just a few yards away.

As it turned out Rob returned for another day and managed to get the shots he needed. You can get a sneak preview of the drier parts of our first outing on . Hopefully I'll be sharing the second outing with you soon.

Finally, I'd like to thank all you folk out there in cyberspace for your continued support. My last blog must have had an air of despondency about it. It garnered a few comments of encouragement which were just the tonic I was needing.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Army Fatigues

As I suspected, that's been a full-on week. The snipers have now vacated the village hall and I suspect they'll be near the end of their journey home by now.

As for me, I feel near the end of my tether. Sure, it's been a busy week. And there's no doubt it takes more energy and effort to take a guest stalking than to just do it yourself. But it's more than that. Stalking red deer on the open hill is not something you can do half-hearted. Do that and you'd be as well not bothering.

I've been stalking nigh every day since the start of October. Every day I've been giving it my level best (to use a particularly inappropriate expression for the hill) and I'm starting to feel a little.....frazzled.

It's been a day of rain, sleet and snow. High winds and low spirits. As I type this the storm is still raging outside. But for now I'm sat in front of a roasting fire. I've a glass of wine at hand and Lil'Lots asleep at my feet.....and the whole weekend in which to recover before I do it all again.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

New Bloods

A couple of blogs ago, I mentioned that we'd behaving a different sort of group coming stalking for the week. Well they're here- and they couldn't be more different from the group who were staying at the lodge last month.
This lot are dossing down on the floor of the village hall. There's not a square inch of tweed to be seen. And, although a lot of them have never stalked before, they know one end of a rifle from the other.
They are a group of army snipers and this is 'Adventure Training' for them. When I hear that expression my brain automatically replaces it with 'Busmans Holiday'.
A lot of them were here for the first time last year (see blog of 16th December 2011) and it's great to catch up with them again. But it's also nice to see there are some new faces with them. This means we'll get to give the new bloods a blooding. As I've said many times, I love introducing 'virgins' to what I consider to be the most challenging and rewarding of all fieldsports.
It's also great to see that the weather has improved; although some would not see -10C as an improvement. As you'll see from the pics we've also had a bit of snow. Not enough to shove the deer right 'in aboot' but enough to have totally stymied the delivery driver who took his van down my drive to deliver one tiny parcel.
Speaking personally, my only regret about the snow is that I have to leave Lottie (my young terrier) at home. She's not yet steady enough not to dance about while I'm stalking in. This isn't too much of a problem on 'black ground' but she sticks out like a sore thumb on the snow.
The forecast sounds like there will be a lot of rain arriving at the end of the week so maybe it'll be 'business as usual' for us both come Monday.
In the meantime, there's a lot of miles to do with this lot. And they don't ever seem to need to stop for a 'breather'. Unfortunately.