Roaring Islay

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My wife’s first stag, an old 10-pointer from the hills of Islay

Several recent articles seem to have begun with an apology for the sporadic nature of this blog over the past few months, but this time I can claim genuine legitimacy. I’ve been staying for the last week in an old farmhouse on Islay without any electricity or even the merest suggestion of internet, but the days have not been idle – we’ve been stalking on some of the most fantastic and dramatic hill country I’ve ever seen, and we’ve come home with something to hang our hats upon.

Just as I’m occasionally (and with extreme good fortune) asked to shoot driven grouse and thereby see the sport from the end user’s perspective, this holiday was a fascinating glimpse into the creme de la creme of Scottish stalking; bells, whistles and all. This kind of sport is rightly hallowed as some of the finest in the world, and while we were primarily there to enjoy ourselves as part of a special one-off treat, the experience has filled in all kinds of blanks on a broader understanding of why hill stalking is so vastly compelling. This understanding (and hands-on experience) is crucial in wider discussions about sport and land use, and I’ve come away with as much food for thought as for the dinner table.

More to come

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