Pete Carr reminisces about taking a team of friends to the Angus glens in pursuit of hill hares.
Striking out up the shank hill, our team of guns snaked ever higher following our guide, gamekeeper Stuart Donald. It was the first weekend in February and we were about to start our annual hare hunt on the Airlie estates. This involved a weekend’s hare driving on two separate beats. Today we would drive the dog hillock on Glen Moy and the following day’s excursion was to be the white hill drive on the Rottal beat.
Reasonable fitness is required, as for any sport on the Highland hills. Land Rovers and tracked vehicles can only take you so far and most of the way will be on ‘shank’s pony.’
“Good grouse stocks were evident but quiet, until the odd pair or trio erupted at one’s feet and whirred away issuing an agitated alarm call.”
It was a long pull uphill in this wild environment. A flock of snow buntings flitted forward before us and alighted again and again, almost taunting us to keep up. The wildlife here obviously scratched out a harsh living in this windswept landscape. Good grouse stocks were evident but quiet, until the odd pair or trio erupted at one’s feet and whirred away issuing an agitated alarm call. Apart from the alarmed grouse and the melancholy whine of the wind the only other sound was the occasional ‘kronk kronk’ of an overhead raven passing by.