McMaybe, sometime

Bess, the pointing terrier

One of the great things about spending more time at Croick is that not everything has to be planned.

This morning we were planning to go stalking for the day. But we woke to a fresh day after a nights rain with the river looking in perfect order. So we decided to fish first. As I was walking down to my favoured spot a fish swirled in the water as I passed. I decide to stop there and cast a line over the fish. Ten minutes later I had a feisty, fresh 7lb salmon on the line. He didn’t want to be caught and as I had only a 10 foot rod I could not immediately control him. The result was a great scrap as he took me down to the backing, forced me to walk 50 yards down the river and wrapped me round a stone. Despite all this I was eventually able to land and release him; a great start to any day’s sport.

A little later Ali suggested that it might be opportune to see if we could do a MacNab; which would be a first for Croick. As it was now a beautiful day it seemed to good a chance to miss so I grabbed a gun and we headed out for grouse.

Now, grouse numbers at Croick are strictly limited; you don’t exactly trip over one with every step. You need to know where they might be, and you need a dog to help find them. Fortunately we had counted grouse a few days earlier so knew where we had found birds. And while we did not have a pointer, we did have Bess the pointing retriever.

So we set off to climb up to where the birds had been spotted. Fairly quickly, Bess started to get very excited and I raced to get into position. A covey rose about 20 yards ahead of me, larger than any we had seen when counting, I fired two shots ……. nothing fell. And that was the only grouse we saw.

After lunch we headed out for a stag. There were lots of deer enjoying a rare day of sunshine on the hill and so we were able to spy some potential stags quite quickly and stalk into range. Half an hour later after two shots there were two stags dead on the hill; both of them good shootable stags, past their prime and ‘going back’.

All in all it was a great day and certainly made me confident that it is possible to ‘do a MacNab’ at Croick. So maybe, sometime, some one will do it. I hope they have half as much fun as I did today.

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