Sunday, 14 September 2014

The deer hunter of Aultguish

Oh it was all so exciting! 

As my friends might already be aware, I am an aspiring but to date unsuccessful deer hunter.

We have a lot of red deer in Scotland. Often times, on walks through the pine woods and over the heathered uplands, the prey instinct has kicked in at the glimpse in the distance of a fast-moving antler, but sadly so far all I have had to show for my efforts has been a series of severe tellings off from Gail.

Many large shooting estates operate in the north of Scotland and 'deer stalking', a traditional pursuit of the British upper classes, is big business.

Last Thursday evening, Gail and I found ourselves in a remote Highland hostelry, the Aultguish Inn (waiting for the A832 to Torridon to reopen following a crash involving a stolen police car several hours earlier).

Standing at the bar in this lonely spot were a cluster of  tweed clad humans  who would not have looked out of place at an Edwardian country  house party. 

Now Gail and I are both guilty, from time to time, of eavesdropping. On this occasion it was a bit of a challenge for me to make out what was being said as the conversation was being conducted in the distinctive 'born to rule' accents of those educated at certain English public (i.e. private) schools, a manner of speaking we rarely hear in Aberdeen but guaranteed to raise the hackles of any self-respecting Scottish Nationalist. 

So far so unremarkable, but my flappy little ears pricked up when it was mentioned, in congratulatory tones, that the chap on the left had "brought one down this afternoon", meaning that he had shot dead a stag.

Well when I heard this I was all for bouncing  over to shake paws, and to ask for hunting tips.

As you know, Gail can be quite the spoilsport. She told me firmly to calm down and concentrate on enjoying my chicken flavoured chew while she finished her haddock and chips and then we would be on our way.

For some reason, she seemed to think it unlikely that the successful marksman  would have any relevant knowledge to impart to an eager-to-learn wire haired fox terrier with an unsatisfied hunting urge.....

And so I had to content myself with gazing in awe upon my new hero.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I can't believe she didn't buy me some...

...of these sausages.

Yes, that's right, Gail looked inside the meat cabinet in the farm shop, took a photo and then came home with just blue cheese and yoghurt.


Oh, and I guess you would like to see a few pictures from my weekend walk up Craigendarroch, a steep wee hill just outside Ballater.

Looking beyond Ballater to the Balmoral estate, where the Queen too must be fretting about the future of her realm.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Not so surprising after all?

Remember my wee adventure in the 'East Neuk' last month?

At the end of the two day coastal walk, Gail's friend Alison said something which got me thinking.

"You know, this trip has been quite an eye-opener. I had no idea just how many people stop and talk to you when you're accompanied by a dog".

Gail replied along the lines of she supposed she'd just got used to it over the years.

Alison (who is ever so nice) seemed to think it sad and a sign that many folk care more for dogs than their own species.

But Gail, who always likes to think the best of everybody, said as she see it humans - especially the reserved British* variety - need a little encouragement to help them communicate, and pups like me act as a conduit through which warmth, humour and compassion can flow more easily.

Strangely, neither Gail nor Alison seemed to consider the (to me) obvious point that if you are an exceptionally handsome/cute/appealing/adorable specimen then of course people will stop and talk!

What Gail didn't let on to Alison was that even more people stop to chat when she is out on her own with me. 

*And what will being 'British' mean, in two weeks time?