Where did summer go?

I was in London last week and looked forward to getting home and on the hill. But the day dawned wet and with low cloud wrapping all the hills; pretty hopeless weather for spying and stalking. I looked back at my recent posts and realise that if you were judge the weather from the photos you might conclude we had been bather in sunshine for July and August. Nothing could be further from the truth. The weather has been consistently cold and wet for much of the past few weeks. The only saving grace has been that it has been windy too, so the midges have not been quite their usual curse. I just hope that the weather will improve for the rut because with good weather it is such a magical time to be here.

So we spent the morning instead planting some new trees which had just arrived from Bluebell Nurseries in Derbyshire, our source of interesting trees which can survive in this climate. Around the house we added to our growing collection of unusual birches with the addition of three Chines red birches (Betula Albosinensis ‘Septentridnalis’). These arrived some seven feet tall so they have made an instant impact. I just hope they are not consequently set back too much this winter. We also planted some shrubby black pussy willow by the burn, which promise to provide black catkins in the spring.

We have also decided to plant a few specimen trees in the filed between the house and the river, and started yesterday with a golden beech (Fagus Sylvatica ‘Zlatia’) which was apparently first discovered in Serbia in the 1890s. The leaves are already turning a wonderful golden colour so if it prospers it should make for some great autumn colour in the years ahead.

The weather started to improve marginally in the afternoon so we were able to plant tress and go stalking. Earlier in the week we had walked only to miss the shot. Yesterday, stags started to emerge from the wood at about 4.00pm very close to the river and the road. Our stalk consisted of walking about 100 yards to a convenient spot and then watching and waiting to see if any suitable deer appeared. Carol rightly points out that ‘this is hardly stalking’, but on the other hand if we are going to reach our cull target we have the opportunities as and when they present themselves. So by half past five we had two good cull stags (18st 8lbs and 15st 8lbs) in the argo and were heading back to the larder. I doubt that any other of our stalks this year will be that straight forward.



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