Every day is different. Different weather, different area, different activity, different people, different outcomes…
September update from our Tour Guide, Andy Malcolm
”One of the great joys of my job is the variety. Every year has its different seasons. I’ll be stalking hinds though the depths of winter, burning heather in the early spring, raking the far-flung corners of the estate for foxes and their dens in the late spring. In the summer heat I’ll be fixing roads and preparing grouse butts. Later, the whole team will be working together, driving grouse. As the leaves start to turn I’ll be starting to stalk stags.
And within those seasons, every day is different. Different weather, different area, different activity, different people, different outcomes.
Of course there are times and jobs that I prefer over others but, despite this, I always look forward to the changeover to the next season. The wildlife tours sort of overlay the burning/foxing/roads and butts. The start coincides with the arrival of the migrants and the ‘coming alive ‘ of the hill. It’s a great spectacle to share with visitors and-dare I say it- it makes my job as tour guide easy.
However, by the time July ends I look forward to making the transition back to full-time gamekeeper. Some of the migrants are already away. Young animals and birds have grown and have grown more shy. Parent birds have stopped displaying. The hill is a quieter place. For me, I feel the approach of the shooting season in my blood. It’s like when you’re asleep but still aware the alarm is about to go off.
Of course I’ll still be guiding people on the hill; still sharing my world but it’s fundamentally different. Unless you’ve done it, you’ll never understand how much your perspective changes when you step onto a piece of ground to hunt. I can use words like ‘purpose’ ‘care’ and ‘responsiblity’ but that can’t begin to describe it. Somehow, everything else can only feel like recreation.
But this year there is yet another difference. This year the tours are being extended into the shooting season and, particularly, into the Red Deer rut. We’ve found a worthy guide in Jackie while I return to my gamekeepers role. Anyone who goes on a tour with her can’t fail to appreciate her knowledge and enthusiasm. That, coupled with the world class wildlife experience of the rut; experienced first hand in the remote areas of the East Grampians and you’ve got to have a winner.”
Andy Malcolm, September 2018