Caledonia TV have teamed up with Ardnamurchan Estate, West Highland College and West Highland Hunting's Niall Rowantree (at right in photo, standing with Estate stalker Stevie Grant) to begin the training of three young women as stalkers.
The girls started with a five-day deer management course at Thurso which gained them a deer stalking qualification at level 1, and since the beginning of this week they've been with Niall and Stevie getting a first taste of the practical side of stalking - so they've already been out with clients shooting stags.
The girls' experiences are being filmed by producer Julie McCrone and director Les Wilson of Caledonia TV, working with researcher Ramsay MacMahon. The programme, in four 30-minute episodes, is due to go out on BBC Alba, the BBC's Gaelic channel, in early 2014. Caledonia TV, on their website, describe the programme thus, "Three girls leave the cosy comfort of home to train as ghillies on a Highland Estate. They'll swap their mascara and hair-straighteners for tick-removers and guns. These girls have never met a deer, let alone shot one! They will have to pull the trigger on Bambi, gralloch (or gut) a deer and cut off its head and legs, charm wealthy hunters and beat to raise game birds - while avoiding being shot themselves! There are challenges - physical, mental and social. Have they got what it takes?"
This sounds like great television, but the very fact that the programme is being made indicates how closed the stalking world has been to women. If they stick with it, these young women will bring their own, refreshingly new approach. We wish the three girls the very best, and look forward to watching the programmes.