Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Red Deer

Dawn, for a change, held some promise of a fine day, so we drove out to....

....Loch Mudle and set out to walk along the edge of the forestry that clothes the slopes of Beinn nan Losgann.  Odd patches of mist oozed out of the pine trees, and what is usually a superb view to the north was already obscured by drizzle.

We were aiming to walk along the edge of the forestry before striking out across more open land to climb into the saddle between Beinn na h-Urchrach, pictured, and Ben Hiant.

This is all Ardnamurchan Estate land, which we've avoided during the last few weeks as it's been the stag stalking season.  Although the hinds are now being culled, this continues for some weeks, so we feel less inhibited.

This is the best time of year for watching red deer at their best.  The first we saw were in a small herd of mixed stags and hinds, but....

....we also saw this pair of stags....

....and small groups of hinds on their own.  Considering it is the stalking season, they seemed remarkably unperturbed by our passing, and only moved off reluctantly.

We love walking amongst wildlife like this, and do everything we can to avoid disturbing the animals.  When we first see deer we stop and wait for them to see us.  If they don't move away, then we circle round to avoid them.

We climbed up to the edge of the saddle but the drizzle was becoming increasingly persistent.  We also spotted yet more deer up in the saddle and knew that, if we moved into it, we couldn't help but disturb them.  So, after stopping for a few moments to look back across the land we'd crossed, we reluctantly set off for the car.

The colours in the land were superb.  All we needed was some sunshine to set them on fire, but the sun refused to show itself.


  1. Is the culling of deer done by the estate by the traditional method of stalking? Perhaps the tourist stalkers make all the necessary kills? Does the estate have an abattoir for the butchery and where does the meat go for sale? Is there such a thing as stalking without shooting: with a camera or binoculars, for instance?
    I always have a Red deer haggis from the village shop when I visit. Wonderful!

  2. With so many Highland stalking parties now using the wide variety of wheeled ATV to get into the hills, then using very high powered rifles with laser sights from considerable ranges, dare I suggest that anyone approaching close on foot, nowadays, will be dismissed by the 'all seeing Red deer', as hardly any threat at all. !

  3. Hi Derryck - I'll reply to your questions, as best I can. Visiting stalkers come from all over the world to shoot deer on the estate. It's a major source of income for the Estate, and provides local jobs. All the butchery is done on the Estate. I don't know where most of the meat goes to, but, as you know, it's available at the Ferry Stores. Wild Highland Tours is the section of the business which deals with photography - they're on the internet. Jon