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THE DEER FORESTS 

OF 

SCOTLAND 



Only 500 copies of this book will ever be published. 



THE DEER FORESTS 



OF 



SCOTLAND 



BY 

A. GRIMBLE 

AUTHOR OF 

DEERSTALKING," "SHOOTING AND SALMON FISHING 
AND "HIGHLAND SPORT" 



ILLUSTRATED 



LONDON 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO. 

LIMITED 

Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road, W.C. 
1896 



J, a > ■ 

» > > 









LONDON : 
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, 

STAMFOUD STREET AND ClIAKING CROS^. 



LIST OF CONTENTS. 



PACK 

Preface xvii 



CHAPTER I.— ABERDEENSHIRE. 

Balmoral, Ballochbuie and Abergeldie . . r 

Glenmuick and Bachnagairn 4 

Glen Tana 7 

Invercauld Q 

Mar lo 

CHAPTER H.— ARGYLLSHIRE. 

Ardtornish 12 

Black Mount 13 

conaglen 21 

DaLNESS 2 2 

Glen Etive 23 

KiNGAIRLOCH AND GlENSANDA 24 

Jura 25 

Laggan, Lochbuie, Isle of Mull .... 44 



9S4740 



viii UST OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER III.— BANFFSHIRE. 

Glenfiddich 55 

Glenavon 57 

CHAPTER IV.— BUTESHIRE. 

Isle of Arran 59 

CHAPTER v.— CAITHNESS-SHIRE. 

Langwell and Braemore 64 

CHAPTER VI.— FORFARSHIRE. 

Caenlochan 71 

Glencalley 75 

Invermark 76 

CHAPTER VII.— INVERNESS-SHIRE. 

Abernethy 81 

Achnacarry . 83 

Affaric , 93 

Amhuinsuidh and Ardvourlie 94 

Ardverikie . 96 

Arisaig 97 

Arnisdale and Loch Hourn ...... 98 



LIST OF CONTENTS. ix 

PAGE 

Balmacaan lOO 

Ben Alder io8 

BoBLAiNE 117 

Braulen 117 

Caennocroc, North . . 119 

coignafearn 121 

Corriechoillie 125 

CORROUR WITH BeNEVRICH 1 26 

CucHULLiN, Isle of Skve 135 

Culachy 136 

Dundreggan and South Caennocroc . ' . . 141 

Erchless 142 

Farley 143 

Fasnakyle 143 

Gaick 146 

Glencannich 157 

Glendoe 158 

Glenfeshie 162 

Glengarry 168 

Glenmore 170 

Glenquoich 172 

b 



Ji LIST OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

guisachan ^77 

Inchnacakdoch and Portclair 178 

Invereshie 179 

Invermoriston 180 

KiNVEACHY 183 

Knoydart 184 

Macdonald or Sconser, Isle of Skye . ." . 188 

Mamore or Kinlochmore 190 

MORAR 194 

Rothiemurcus 197 

Struy 198 

CHAPTER VIII.— PERTHSHIRE. 

Atholl . ". 201 

Craganour 209 

Dalnacardoch and Stronphadrick. . . . 209 

Fealar 210 

Glenartney . . . .210 

GlENBRUAR 212 

Rannoch .... 214 

Tulladh-a-Beithe . 217 



LIST OF CONTENTS. xi 



PAGE 



CHAPTER IX.— ROSS-SHIRE. 

ACHANALT, StRATHBRAN AND LoCH ROSQUE . 2I9 

achnashellach 226 

Alladale 227 

Aline, Stornoway 228 

Amat 230 

Applecross 230 

Attadale or Bendronaig 232 

Ben Damph and New Kelso 234 

Benmore 237 

Ben Wyvis 238 

Braemore . 242 

Clunie 265 

corriehallzie 266 

Corriemullzie 267 

COULIN 267 

Deanich 269 

DiBIEDALE 270 

Drumrunie or Coulmore . . ... . . 271 



xii LIST OF CONTENTS. 



I'AGK 



dundonnell 273 

Fannich 274 

Flowerdale 276 

Glencalvie 280 

Glencarron 281 

Glenshieldaig 283 

Inchbae, Strathrannoch and Tolmuick . . 283 

Inverlael and Glenbeg 286 

Kildermorie 286 

KlNLOCHEWE 287 

KiNLOCH-LUICHART 288 

Leckmelm 290 

Letterewe, Fisherfield and Ardlair . , . 291 

MONAR 300 

Patt, Killilan, Riochan and Glomach . . 301 

Rhidorrach 302 

Scatwell 305 

Shieldaig 306 

StRATHCONAN 307 

Torridon -,q8 



LIST OF CONTENTS. xiii 



PAGE 



CHAPTER X.— SUTHERLAND. 

Ben Hee and Corry Kinloch 312 

Glen Dhu, Glen Coul and Ben Strome . . 317 

Gobernuisgach 321 

Kinloch 322 

Glencanisp 323 

Uppat 324 



/ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Scavengers of the Forest . . . to face page 4 



A Jura Cromie 
Gaick Forest Lodge 



Glenquoich Lodge .... 
Mr. D. H. Barry's Three-Horn 



Braemore 

Calf attacked by Eagle 
Lochmore Lodge . 



40 
148 
172 
198 
242 
278 
312 



PREFACE. 



The kind reception given to my book of " Deer- 
stalking," in 1888, by deerstalkers as a body, 
coupled with the fact that sportsmen in general 
passed a favourable verdict on " Shooting and 
Salmon Fishing " in 1892, and on " Highland Sport" 
in 1894, has induced me once more to put pen to 
paper on a subject for which I think there is still 
room in the literature of sport, for, as far as I am 
aware, no one has hitherto attempted to describe or 
relate the anecdotes and statistics of the Scotch Deer 
Forests. Before, however, proceeding further with 
these pages, I wish to say, as I have previously said 
in each of my other books, that I wholly disclaim any 
pretension to literary merit. I write as a sportsman 
for sportsmen, resting my hopes of success not at all 



c 



xviti PREFACE. 



on neatly turned ear-pleasing phrases (would that 
the gift were mine), but solely on the ability to 
state in plain simple words a number of facts and 
fancies collected together on a subject in which I 
know many brother-sportsmen are greatly interested. 
In "Deerstalking" I tried, to the best of my power, 
to describe the habits and wily ways of the wild 
Red Deer of Scotland, and how best to circumvent 
them ; for these reasons in that book I wrote entirely 
of stag and stalker, saying but little that gave 
any idea of the wilds, the morasses, and wastes 
of moorland and mountain, over which the red deer 
range in unmolested freedom for ten months of 
every year. In a word, my " Deerstalking " 
treated of the inhabitants of a territory without 
describing the nature of the country in which they 
lived : for this reason those gentlemen who have 
read my "Deerstalking" need not be under any 
apprehension when perusing the following pages that 
they will be likely to meet with old matter dressed 
up in a new form for book-making purposes. To 



PREFACE. 



speak with absolute correctness, I ought not to style 
myself the "author" of this book; "the collector of 
these notes " would be the better term, as the real 
authors are the forest owners and renters themselves, 
with nearly every one of whom I have been more 
or less in correspondence. At the present moment 
there are just 130 deer forests in Scotland, covering 
2.552,383 acres, and of each one I hope to say 
something reliable, for the information in all cases 
has been derived from the very best of sources, 
viz., either from owner or renter, and further afield 
I have not sought to go, having received an 
early caution from a forest owner, who wrote me 
to the following effect when kindly sending the 
particulars of his own forest : "You should be careful 
about keepers' and gillies' information ; one man near 
here I found adding in a newspaper report two stone 
and some points to a stag killed on his ground, and he 
laughed and said it was necessary 'to make things 
good for the papers.' Some stalkers about here also 
allow a stone if a stag is left on the hill for a night." 



PREFACE. 



The reader will see for himself that the knowledge 
gathered has in some instances been more copiously 
given than in others, but in all cases my best and 
most grateful thanks are due to the ladies and 
gentlemen who have so courteously and so kindly 
helped me, for without their friendly aid I should have 
felt it almost impossible to put these pages together in 
a sufficiently interesting and authentic form ; and now, 
at the end of my task, my earnest hope is that in 
them no one will be able to find anything to which 
they can fairly take exception. In a very few cases 
I have not been able to get any information given 
me, and in these circumstances I have stated this has 
been the case, while merely mentioning of such forests 
that which is public property and known to everyone 
who cares to make enquiries. 

The wild, romantic, and beautiful scenery of the 
deer forests quickly imbues in most men a feeling 
of admiration, romance and desire of being able 
to soar above mere prose, so as to describe in verse 
those ever-changing beauties of nature with which 



PREFACE. xxi 

this sport brings him into daily contact, and I can 
hardly recall to mind any of my friends who have 
been much on the hill, who have not confessed 
to having had their feelings, chivalrous, poetic, and 
romantic, quickened and enhanced as "they sat 
by the mossy fountain on the top of the hill of the 
winds," while searching with their glasses the depths 
below for those whose " skins gleam red in the 
sunshine." Granted that the presence of a good 
stag in front of one does away with every feeling of 
romance or enjoyment of beautiful scenery, yet it 
often so happens that stags are not visible for many 
an hour — or the stalker may be called on, as is so 
often the case, to " play patience " and endure the 
tedious monotony of a long wait on a lying deer, let 
us say on the banks of the Sword Loch of Corrour ; 
surely then it will help him to pass such time 
more quickly and pleasantly if he be acquainted with 
the story of how the loch won its name, and so enabled 
to recall to life and picture to himself the curious 
scene, such a mixture of treachery with chivalrous 



xxii PREFACE. 



confidence, that was once enacted on the banks of 
Loch-an-Claimadh. With regard to these stories, 
most of them founded on actual fact, for there is no 
deer forest in the north, or hardly a hill in any 
of them, but what has at one time or other been a 
witness to deeds and events, a knowledge of which 
could not fail to make the country more interesting 
to those pursuing their sport therein ; therefore, as far 
as I have been enabled to do so, I have mentioned 
all such details of bygone days, and regretting not to 
have been qualified to do more in the same direction, 
I take this opportunity of humbly suggesting to 
forest owners and renters that they would derive 
additional pleasure from their days on the hill if 
they were to make themselves "well acquaint" with 
the traditionary incidents of the old times of the 
particular forests in which they are interested. The 
counties, together with the deer forests in each, have 
been dealt with alphabetically, but no mention has 
been made of rentals, for many are never let, while 
those that have tenants are subject to variations just 



PREFACE. xxiii 

the same as other marketable things, and I can only 
assure anyone thinking of renting deer ground that 
he will speedily discover that to find out " how much 
to pay ? " is the easiest part of the business. 

It has been a custom with me to dedicate 
my books to some kind friend who has given me 
happy days with deer or grouse or salmon, but 
death, alas ! has been busy in their ranks, for first 
Sir Robert Bateson Harvey, then Henry Spencer 
Lucy, and lastly, in October of this year, my old 
friend Colonel John Hargreaves, for so long the 
renter of Gaick Forest with Glentromie grouse shoot- 
ings, have each joined the great majority, and the 
longer I live, the truer I find the saying that "the 
deaths of our friends are the milestones of our lives." 
Yet, however, I am loth to abandon my old habit, 
and therefore I dedicate these pages to His Grace 
the Duke of Westminster as a trifling acknowledg- 
ment of the kindness shown me by him, the 
Duchess and all their family at Lochmore, where this 
past season I had the good fortune to stalk over 



xxiv PREFACE. 

one of the most wild and beautiful parts of Suther- 
land. For over thirty years the Duke has been 
the renter from the Duke of Sutherland of four 
forests rolled into one, namely, Lochmore, Stack, 
Ben Hee, and Gobernuisgach, or the whole tract of 
ground once known as " Lord Reay's country ; " and 
I doubt if any gentleman has a better knowledge of 
deer and forest management generally, and this, com- 
bined with an almost too chivalrous regard for the 
deer themselves (for from the moment a stag roars 
at Lochmore he is safe from the rifle, and stalking is 
discontinued some time in the first week of October), 
has ended in producing an average yearly kill over 
the whole ground of nearly two hundred of the 
heaviest-bodied stags to be heard of in Scotland. 



THE 

DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND.:... 



• • • • 






Chapter I. 

ABERDEENSHIRE. 

In this county there are only five deer forests, but 
as they spread over an area of some 230,000 acres, 
it will be seen that, though numerically small, they 
are very large in extent. Taking them then ill 
alphabetical order, there comes first : — 

HER majesty's FORESTS OF BALMORAL, BALLOCHBUIE, 
AND ABERGELDIE. 

This latter ground is rented from Mr. Hugh 
Mackay Gordon, and the three forests together 
represent an area extending to about 50,000 acres 
of lofty mountains covered with moss and grey 

B 



3 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

granite boulders, broken up by corries of green 

grass ; the less high hills being heather-clad, 

and these again having their bases clothed with 

■yvpod consisting of Scotch fir and patches of birch 

' bordering on two sides with the open forest, and 

"as the shelter thus offered covers some 15,000 

• acres of ground, it more than takes the place 

of a sanctuary. 

The forest marches on the south and east with 
Glenmuick, and on the north and west with Inver- 
cauld. The highest hills are Loch-na-gar, 3,800 feet, 
which being interpreted by Gaelic scholars is by 
some said to mean "The Moaning Rock," and by 
others " The Loch of the Rock ; " then comes Cuidhe- 
Crom, 3,552 feet, "Crooked Wreath," followed by 
Cairn Taggert, " Priest's Cairn," 3,430 feet, and 
many hills nearly as high. Clearing was commenced 
in this forest in 1848, although for many years 
previous to that there were always deer on the 
ground. It will carry three rifles every day of 
the season, and sometimes towards the middle of 



A DERDEENSHIRE. 



October there is a deer drive. The head forester's 
name is Donald Stewart, and the usual kill of stags 
is a little over lOO, which show an average of 
15 stone without heart or liver. 

This being the first time that the weight of deer 
is mentioned in these pages, I will ask my readers 
to understand that in all subsequent allusions to 
this matter " quite clean or clean " will refer only 
to beasts weighed without heart or liver, and in 
the remainder of these pages wherever the weights 
of deer are mentioned and not stated to be " clean," 
the different methods of taking the weight will be 
duly stated, and, moreover, my readers will find 
this subject of the various modes of weighing more 
fully discussed in the chapter on the Forest of 
Achnacarry. 

The widest head killed in Her Majesty's forests 
has measured 35^ inches across, and the thickest 
horn 6^ inches in circumference immediately above 
the coronet, which, though a good stout horn, is not 
anything extraordinary. Golden eagles frequent the 



4 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

forest in plenty, often nesting in the giant firs, 
which they seem to prefer to the precipitous cliffs 
usually chosen by them. During the last decade 
pole-cats have been sometimes killed, but they now 
appear to be extinct ; badgers are still to be found ; 
while foxes, as in most other forests, are inconveniently 
plentiful and difficult to keep down. To compare the 
sport of one forest with that of another is not my 
province, but with regard to the deer grounds of 
the county under discussion, I think I may safely 
assert that in respect of climatic conditions they rank 
before all others, and that on the summits of the 
Aberdeenshire hills less rain is to be encountered, 
and more bracing, finer, health-giving air is to be 
met with than can be found anywhere else in all 
Scotland. 

FOREST OF GLENMUICK AND BACHNAGAIRN. 

Glen-na-muig, " The Stormy Glen," or according to 
some Gaelic scholars "The Glen of the Pig" — i.e. the 
ancient word for the wild boar — belongs to Sir Allan 



. • • •• 



• . •• 




'•. • 




.:•• 




•••. 


• •• 


• • 




• • • 


•♦•. 


.:•'• 


..•• 


.••• 


..•• 




«•• 


• 


..•• 



ABERDEENSHIRE. 



Mackenzie, and extends to over 19,000 acres. It is 
somewhat long for its breadth, and on the east and 
north-east marches with Invermark forest ; on the 
south with some sheep ground and Glendoll forest, 
which continues to bound it on the west ; on the 
north it runs with Balmoral. At one time this 
property was owned by the Gordons of Aboyne, and 
tradition says — although I vouch not for its accuracy 
— that one day the laird of Aboyne met the laird of 
Invercauld, both being belated in pursuit of deer, at a 
small farm-house on Glenmuick, and finding a pack of 
cards, they began to play. Fortune was dead against 
the laird of Aboyne, who, exasperated by an incessant 
run of bad luck, eventually staked as his last coup 
the property of Glenmuick against a corresponding 
extent of Invercauld, and losing the game, Glen- 
muick passed into the hands of Invercauld, from 
whom it was purchased by the late Sir James 
Mackenzie in 1870. That gentleman planted large 
stretches of low-lying moorland with larch, spruce and 
Scotch fir, which thriving wonderfully well affords 



6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

at present splendid winter shelter for the deer ; it 
likewise offers the foresters an easy chance of hand 
feeding during very severe winters, and although this 
sort of feeding is never very satisfactory, as it is rarely 
that the beasts in sorest need get the food so given, 
yet it is better than nothing. Sad to relate, the big 
stag is a selfish fellow, for not until he has had his fill 
will he allow his weaker kin to join in the feast. 
When this forest was first made in 1870 it yielded only 
twenty to twenty-five stags each season, but now it 
gives from sixty to sixty-five, with an average weight 
of 1 4 stone quite clean, and the heaviest stag ever got 
on it scaled 19 stone 11 lbs. Owing to the narrow- 
ness in some places, this ground requires extra care, 
with great knowledge of the wind ; but it is fine 
ground to stalk over, and the present owner, Sir 
Allan Mackenzie, in one day was once fortunate 
enough to get seven stags, averaging 16 stone 3 lbs., 
in five different stalks. 



A BERDEENSHIRE. 



FOREST OF GLEN TANA BY ABOYNE. 

This forest, the property of Sir William Cunliffe 
Brooks, takes its name from the river Tana which runs 
through it: Tana signifying "small" or "shallow," 
as compared with the mighty Dee in which it loses 
itself about a mile above Aboyne suspension bridge. 
It is not to be called Glen "Tanner" as if it were 
the haunt of the hide dresser or the Cockney glen 
of sixpence, and neither is it spelt with an r as if 
it were " Annar Mariar." Tana is a Gaelic word, and 
there is the same one with the same significance in 
Welsh, viz. tanen — likewise tonos in Greek and tiny 
in English. With an area of some 22,000 acres, 
it is about thirteen miles long by some seven at the 
greatest breadth, the low-lying parts being splendidly 
timbered, chiefly with Scotch fir, which portions are 
well fenced off from the arable lands around Aboyne. 
From these low-lying lands the forest gradually 
spreads to the west and south-west until it reaches 
the 3077 feet summit of Mount Keen, where it marches 
with Invermark Forest. 



8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

From time immemorial there have been deer in 
Glen Tana, and in the old days more than once 
it has been attempted to extirpate them or drive 
them clean off the place, but though the whole country- 
side gathered together and formed a compact line, 
and although there was a great slaughter, the plan 
failed and the deer returned, to become as numerous as 
ever. For the last ten years the average kill has 
been sixty-one stags, scaling 14 stone clean. The 
normal character of the horns is broad, strong, and 
wild, and the heads of many good royals adorn the 
splendid ballroom of Glen Tana House. 

At one time the fastnesses of Glen Tana were 
favourite sites for the operations of the illicit still, but 
as the amount of the fine \wzx^2&^A pari passu with the 
activity of the excisemen, these stills gradually dis- 
appeared, and nothing now remains but a few ruins 
of these attempts to get cheap whisky. I have had 
the pleasure of spending a few days at Glen Tana, and 
it is not possible for me to leave this forest without 
making mention of all the other sport this grand 



ABERDEENSHIRE. 



place offers. Of grouse and every other description 
of shooting there is ample, while of fishing there is 
perhaps the very best in all the kingdom, for upwards 
of a thousand spring fish have been killed by the 
rods on this water in one season, and any keen 
sportsman could commence at Glen Tana on the 
1 1 th of February, the opening day of the Dee, and 
till the next nth of February came round he could 
have either rifle, gun, or rod in his hands, with 
first-rate sport every day of the year. Truly a 
sportsman's paradise ! 

FOREST OF INVERCAULD. 

Of this forest, belonging to Mr. A. H. Farquharson, 
I have not had any authentic information given me. 
Having applied to the owner and a gentleman who 
once rented it, and receiving no answer from either, I 
did not think it right to go out of my way to col- 
lect information which may perhaps have been with- 
held on purpose, though more probably it has been 
done by inadvertence, for both gentlemen have many 



lo THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



important matters to occupy their attention; there- 
fore I proceed on my way, much regretting that 
I am unable to say more of this ancient and well- 
known forest than that I have read it is i8 miles in 
length from east to west, and from 4 to 5 miles wide, 

FOREST OF MAR. 

This splendid forest, belonging to the Duke of Fife, 
is one of the most ancient, if not actually the oldest, 
of all the Scotch forests. It consists of 70,000 acres 
on the north side of the Dee, with other 40,000 acres 
on the south side. It marches with the forests of 
Glenmore, Glenavon, Glenfeshie and Atholl, and in 
addition to a large sanctuary, there is a considerable 
extent of wood on both sides of the Dee for wintering. 
The forest is full of high and rocky hills, and of these 
Ben-mac-Dhui, 4,298 ft., and Cairn Toul, 4,241, are 
the two highest. Ronald McDonald is head forester 
over the whole, while his brother Ewan has charge 
of the ground on the south side of the Dee. It will 
carry five rifles every day of the stalking season, and 



ABERDEENSHIRE. ii 

With a favourable wind as many as seven have often 
been out. Towards the end of the season a deer 
drive takes place at times, and also occasionally deer 
are " moved " when they are in places where it is not 
possible to stalk them. The annual kill of stags is 
about 200, of 14 stone clean, while in the low ground 
stags of 17 and 18 stone are got each season. The 
Duke of Fife is himself a very keen hard-working 
stalker, and I doubt if any other gentleman of the 
same age as His Grace has ever killed more stags 
to his own rifle. 



12 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCO! LAND. 



Chapter II. 
ARGYLLSHIRE. 

FOREST OF ARDTORNISH BY MORVEN. 

Of this little forest no authentic information has 
reached me of the numbers or weights of the stags 
killed. Belonging to Mr. T. V. Smith, it is situated 
on the Sound of Mull ; Loch Aline bounds it on the 
west ; the waters of the Sound on the south, and Loch 
Linnhe lies on the south-east, and thus these lands 
form a peninsula, although not a very pronounced 
one. On the north-east they march with the deer 
ground of Kingairloch, and on the north-west with 
the sheep-walks of Morven. Although the highest 
hill does not exceed i,6oo ft., yet the beauties of 
this property are great, the distant views afforded 
by an island-dotted sea more than compensating 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 13 



for the somewhat desolate-looking surroundings of 
the mainland. 

THE BLACK MOUNT BY TVNDRUM. 

This magnificent and ancient forest, the property of 
the Marquis of Breadalbane, extends to some 80,000 
acres, the eastern and southern boundaries being 
entirely under sheep ; on the west and north-west the 
property marches with the forests of Dalness, Etive, 
and the waters of Loch Etive ; on the north it runs 
for a long distance with a narrow strip of sheep 
ground, on the other side of which lie the well- 
known forests of Mamore, Corrour, with Benevrich 
and Rannoch, a buffer state which, as the rutting 
season begins, the stags are incessantly crossing 
on their travels from one deer ground to the 
other. 

In these pages I have endeavoured to keep as 
much as possible to the spelling considered correct in 
the county containing the deer forest under discussion, 
and as a simple illustration of the difficulties which 



1 4 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

beset the speller of Gaelic names I will take the 
prefix " Ben " borne by most of the high Scotch hills, 
which some Gaelic specialists maintain means moun- 
tain, while others hold that "ben" is merely a 
corruption of " ban," pale, and is applied to only those 
hills that continue snow-capped longer than the 
surrounding ones. Gaelic spelling and pronunciation 
likewise vary greatly according to the county, and as 
proof of this may be mentioned the different methods 
of spelling and articulating the Gaelic for the "red 
mountain," for spelt in Perthshire " Ben Derg " and 
pronounced " Ben Jerig," in Ross-shire these become 
" Beim Dearg " and "Bin J arrack " ; again, in Perth- 
shire, a very good Gaelic scholar taught me to say 
" Fie-eh,' as correct for Feidh, deer, while an equally 
well informed Ross-shire authority vowed that " fay " 
was the only correct method of articulating the word ; 
and so, finding that a smattering of Perthshire Gaelic 
would not help in Ross-shire, I gave up any attempt 
to acquire a small knowledge of the throat-breaking, 
nostril-stretching language. 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 15 



In the Black Mount there are many high, rocky 
and precipitous hills, of which Stob Ghabhar (3,563 
feet) and Ben Staray (3,541 feet) are the highest, 
and around the bases of all these high hills are 
splendid corries. As a rule, and in all ordinary 
seasons, this forest yields 100 stags to the rifle, but 
the seasons of 1893 and 1894 were phenomenal, and 
as showing what a great difference a good or bad 
season makes to even a very old forest, Lord 
Breadalbane has very kindly given me the following 
particulars of these two seasons. 

The stalking season of 1893 in the Black Mount 
was one of the wettest ever known there, and the 
incessant rain with the accompanying mists so 
interfered with stalking that but eighty-four stags 
were put into the larder, with an average weight of 
13 stone 6 lbs. 14 ozs., of which the heaviest was 
17 stone, and the lightest but 9 stone. In this forest, 
however, it is the invariable rule that everything 
shot is entered into the book, whether laid low by 
mistake or not, the deer being then weighed quite 



1 6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

clean without heart or liver, and the average at 
the end of the season is struck so exactly that ounces 
are counted, which is the only instance I have met 
with of such accurate weighing. In many forests 
small beasts killed by accident are not entered in 
the deer book, and of course such an omission greatly 
increases the average of weight. The winter of 
1893 ■^^s o"^ of the worst ever experienced in this 
forest, and upwards of 140 good stags were found 
dead, many of them with very fine heads, while as 
to the young stags that perished, it was not possible 
to make any estimate, as the horns were all that 
were left to tell the tale of the fate of their bigger 
brethren. The stalking season of '94 that followed 
this severe winter turned out to be one of the driest 
ever known, and for the greater part of the season the 
wind blew from the north-east, which is the worst 
possible one for this forest, and but seventy-four 
stags were killed, with an average weight of 13 
stone 10 lbs. \q\ ozs., of which the heaviest scaled 
16 St. 8 lbs., and the lightest ii st. 4 lbs. It was 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 17 



also remarked that both in season '93 and '94 
the heads, usually so famed for their size and wild 
beauty, were decidedly below the average. In the 
dry season of 1894 the weather was so fine that 
it made the deer very hard to approach, as they 
did not frequent their usual haunts ; also in this 
season it was a noticeable fact that nearly all the 
misses were caused by gentlemen shooting low, and 
Lord Breadalbane when in conversation with the 
forester of an adjoining forest, without first mention- 
ing the matter, heard from him that he also had never 
seen so many misses as during that season, all of 
which he likewise attributed to low shooting, and the 
fact may perhaps be accounted for by some peculiarity 
of light caused by the remarkably dry season ; 
the matter is certainly worthy of the deerstalker's 
attention, for if gentlemen who are known to be 
trusty with their rifles miss many fair chances, it 
may be taken as certain that there is some good 
reason to account for it. In 1894 Lord Breadalbane 
had a chance of testing the weight of a stag 

D 



i8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

before and after the gralloch ; it was shot on 
September 25, and weighed as he fell 18 st. 
9f lbs., but when clean he scaled only 13 st. 8 lbs., 
leaving 5 st. i^- lbs. as the weight of the gralloch, 
including heart and liver, which is somewhat under 
the usual estimate of one-third of the gross weight. 
Mr. Scrope, however, estimates the gralloch as 
one-fourth the entire weight, and probably it varies 
according to the size and condition of the animal. 
It is somewhat remarkable that each of the seasons 
'93 and '94 in the Black Mount should have been 
decidedly below the average, while accounts from 
other forests reported great numbers of heavy deer 
to have been got, and perhaps it was late in the 
season, and after stalking had been discontinued in 
the Black Mount, that the numbers were obtained ; 
for some forests depend almost entirely on the last 
ten days of the season to make up the bag, and 
then of course many stags which are far run are 
bound to be killed. In the Black Mount the 
stalkers have the strictest orders not to stalk: stags 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 19 



that are not in perfect condition, and such an order 
(although it greatly improves the breed of deer, 
and is much to be commended and where possible 
imitated) cannot fail in early rutting seasons to 
reduce the number of stags killed. The golden 
eagle breeds securely in the Black Mount, and 
although most of the old naturalists speak of the 
!' eagle-stone " as possessing both magical and 
medicinal properties, and assert that from the 
eagle downwards no bird of prey can hatch their 
young without a stone in the nest, the ornithologists 
of the present day make no mention of these stones, 
and it would be interesting to find out how such a 
tradition arose. 

: In the old days of clanship during the period 
when feuds were incessant, the Black Mount, like 
almost every other part of the Highlands, was not 
exempt from scenes of strife. It was in the mountain 
fastnesses of these lands that the proscribed clan 
Macgregor took shelter after they had nearly 
^terminated the Colquhouns of Luss at the battle 



20 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

of Glenfruin in 1603, when they were led by their 
chief Alexander Macgregor of Glenstrae. 

For this the Macgregors were outlawed, Alexander, 
their chief, was taken prisoner and treacherously done to 
death in Edinburgh. Tradition tells that some years 
prior to the death of this gallant man, his son, while 
out after deer one day in the Black Mount, met the 
young laird of Lamond travelling from Cowal to 
Inverlochy, and together they dined at a house lying 
between Tyndruni and King's House. During the 
evening they quarrelled, dirks were drawn on both 
sides, when Macgregor was killed, whereon Lamond 
fled, hotly pursued by the attendants of the young laird, 
but outrunning his pursuers, he reached the house 
of Alexander Macgregor, the very man whose son 
he had just slain, and without mentioning what had 
happened, he so earnestly begged protection, that 
the chief pledged him his word that whatever he had 
done, no harm should befall him as long as he was 
with him. Then arrived the pursuers to inform 
the father of the true state of affairs, but Alexander, 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 21 



considering his word was pledged, would not allow the 
slayer of his own son to be harmed, and restored 
young Lamond to his people unhurt, an act for which 
the name of Alexander Macgregor of Glenstrae has 
rightly been handed down to posterity as a typical 
example of a gallant Highlander's unswerving deter- 
mination to keep his plighted troth at all hazards. 
Some sixty years later there appeared on the scene 
a descendant of this Alexander, the celebrated " Rob 
Roy," but I cannot discover that he was ever in the 
Black Mount, and indeed his energies always appear 
to have been turned more to his neighbours' cattle 
than to their deer. 

CONAGLEN BY ARDGOUR. 

This small forest, belonging to the Earl of Morton, 
extends to between ten and eleven thousand acres, 
with a highest altitude of 2,300 feet. It is situated 
near the head of Loch Linnhe on the western shore 
and due south of Loch Eil. No authentic information 
has been obtainable. 



22 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

DALNESS OR ROYAL FOREST BY TAYNUILT. 

This forest, one of the most ancient of all the deer 
forests, having been afforested as far back as the time 
of James IV. of Scotland, belongs to Mrs. Elizabeth 
Mary Stuart, and consists of some seven to eight 
thousand acres of a most mountainous district, em- 
bracing the western ridges of the Grampians. These 
secluded and almost inaccessible fastnesses with their 
lovely corries have ever formed a natural home for 
the red deer, imparting also a wildness to their 
heads which greatly enhances their beauty, and the 
fine stout long brow antlers of the stags of Dalness, 
that have broken out of the forest during the rutting 
season, can still be traced in the surrounding deer 
grounds. Stalking is not commenced before the ist 
of September and is ended on loth or 12th of October, 
according to the year; the stags average 16 stone 
quite clean, and as some twenty of these good beasts 
may be got each season, it is certainly one of the best 
small forests in Scotland. The highest altitude in 
Dalness is 3,345 feet, but the whole forest is composed 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 23 



of hills nearly as high — very steep and very stony. 
Of late years it has not been let, and it is essentially 
a young man's forest, for each day in it is nothing 
more or less than stalking a succession of gigantic 
sugar loaves, and the stalker has no sooner toiled to 
the top of one hill than he finds he has to descend 
and mount a fresh one equally high and equally steep. 
From the nature of the ground many shots have to 
be fired nearly directly down hill, but, nevertheless, 
it is a grand little forest for anyone who is still on 
the right side of fifty. 

GLEN-ETIVE FOREST BY TAYNUILT. 

This is a small forest belonging to Mr. E. S. 
Greaves, situated at the head of Loch Etive and 
marching on the north with Dalness ; the remainder 
of the forest marches on the other three sides with 
very rough sheep ground. It has not been afforested 
many years, and I have not been able to obtain any 
authentic information as to the number of deer killed 
eacl\ season. 



24 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FORESTS OF KINGAIRLOCH AND GLENSANDA BY ARDGOUR. 

This forest in the Morven district marches on 
the south-west with that of Ardtornish, the remaining 
boundaries being sheep ground. It belongs to Mr. 
J. B. Sherriff and is at present rented by Mr. Henry 
Piatt of Gorddinog. The total extent is some 32,000 
acres, Glensanda having been afforested about ten 
years ago and Kingairloch at two different times since, 
and except where Glensanda marches with Ardtornish 
it is mostly low ground. Kingairloch rises abruptly 
from the sea shore of Loch Linnhe to a considerable 
height, and on it there are two splendid corries which 
being kept as a sanctuary hold deer of all sorts the 
whole year through. Owing to Mr. Piatt's careful 
nursing, he is reaping his reward in sparing the 
heaviest stags and best heads by an annually im- 
proving increase in weight. Up to the present time 
thirty stags have been the season's total, but Mr. 
Piatt hopes to make this up to thirty-five, which 
number he considers will be the maximum. The 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 25 



Stags Stay chiefly in Kingairloch, while Glensanda is 
more useful for keeping hinds and nursery purposes. 
The deer are weighed quite clean, and a stone is 
then added to the weight for the heart and liver, 
and thus estimated they averaged 14 stone for season 
'94, the heaviest of the lot weighing 1 9 stone 2 lbs. 

FOREST OF JURA BY PORTASKAIG. 

This beautiful western isle, described by Sir 
Thomas Turner in 1640 as "that horrible island only 
fit for the habitation of deer and wild beasts," now 
contains the largest, best and most southern of the 
island deer forests. Owned by Mr. James Campbell 
of Jura, it has been rented for many years past by 
Mr. Henry Evans of Derby, who has taken the 
greatest pride and interest in the deer, while from the 
unrivalled facilities an island forest offers for the 
purposes of observation, he has been enabled to throw 
considerable fresh light on their natural history, and 
the result of these investigations Mr. Evans has 
garnered together in the shape of a small book called 



26 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

"Jura Red Deer," which, although never purchaseable, 
has been freely distributed amongst his personal 
friends and others interested in the matter. 

This book lies before me as I write, and having 
the author's full permission to make use of it, I have 
not hesitated to avail myself of the kind offer. Jura 
Forest — and some authorities say that " Jura " means 
"deer island" — consists of 27,000 acres divided into 
four sections. On the west coast lies " Scrinadale," 
4,500 acres, and to the south of that section lies 
" Inner," 7,000 acres. On the east side of the 
island are " Gatehouse," 7,000 acres, and " Largy," 
9,000 acres. Gatehouse is bounded on the north by 
Loch Tarbert, a sea loch which nearly divides Jura 
in two. 

On the extreme south the divisions of Inner and 
Largy are bounded by the sea-girt sheep ground of 
Ardfin, 9,500 acres. To the north of the Gatehouse 
section lies the sheep ground of Corrienaheira and 
Tarbert, the two together covering some 24,000 acres. 
The winters are occasionally severe, but artificial 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 



feeding cannot be resorted to owing to the difficulty of 
distributing the food over so large an area. With 
regard to the age of deer, Mr. Evans puts the outside 
duration of a stag's life at thirty years, which I believe 
is much more in accord with the facts than the reports 
and traditions of stags and hinds that have lived to 
attain ages varying from fifty to over one hundred 
years, Mr. Evans bases his theory of the length 
of stag life chiefly on the fact that in every forest 
where they get the chance of living long enough, 
it is common to kill them with some or even 
all their front teeth missing, and he contends that 
an incomplete mouth is an absolute indication of the 
first sign of decay ; and as it is proved that stags begin 
to lose their teeth even at fourteen years old, it is 
probable that they do not attain a greater age than 
thirty years. On the sheep ground of Tarbert Mr. 
Evans shot a stag he had seen every season for sixteen 
years ; this beast had been caught and marked as a 
calf by Mr. D. Fletcher, the tenant of Tarbert, so 
no possible mistake could be made, and when he fell in 



28 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

his sixteenth year he had already lost one tooth and 
was rather lean. Little appears to be known about 
the longevity of hinds, but as apparently they are quite 

m 

as hardy as stags, do not fight, grow no horns, and do not 
run down very low in condition every season, there is a 
possibility that they are naturally longer lived than 
stags, and also they are not often picked up dead or 
killed with missing teeth.* It is possible that wood 
stags maintain their prime longer than those living on 
the open hills ; certain it is that they come to maturity 
more speedily, and a remarkable instance of this rapid 
growth of a wood stag happened in Jura. A calf stag 
having lost its mother, strayed on to the Ardfin 
enclosures and pastured amongst the crops on the farm, 
and became well known to all about the place. On 
the 30th August, 1872, when he was eight years 
old, he was shot by mistake in a mist and then 
weighed perfectly clean 26 stone 4 lbs. ; his head 
was what could be called a good head, but nothing 

* It will be seen later on that two cases are mentioned in 
the mainland forests of hinds having lost their teeth. 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 29 

more. As to hill stags, there is but little doubt 
that these attain their prime at twelve years old, 
and this they maintain for five years, when they 
begin to "go back." That this is correct I quite 
believe to be the case, and I remember killing a 
stag at Corrour which old Allan MacCallum, the 
veteran stalker there, told me he had known for nearly 
twenty years. This beast weighed 17 stone 10 lbs. 
quite clean, but neither horn was more than 7 inches 
in length, while five of his eight front teeth were 
missing, and his face was nearly white. He was only 
fairly fat, and well do I remember old Allan saying that 
five years ago he would have been 20 stone at least. 
With regard to the age of Jura hinds, there was rather 
a tame hind with very peculiar ears, and Mr. Evans 
knew her for twenty-two years, and she was a large 
hind with a calf by her side when she first came under 
observation. During the twenty-two years she reared 
twenty calves and was yeld but once. In November 
of 1889 she fell over some rocks and broke her 
neck, but she was then looking very ragged and feeble, 



30 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

and had with her a poor and sickly calf, which did not 
long survive its mother. As she was put down as five 
years old when first observed, she must have been 
twenty-six or twenty-seven years old at the time 
of her death, but in spite of her advanced years 
she had a perfect set of teeth. Mr. Evans' theory 
of the age of deer does not at all agree with Mr. 
Scrope's assertion that "stags live to 150 and even 
180 years;" and in support of his theory Scrope 
quotes the case of Captain Macdonald of Tulloch in 
Lochaber, who dying at the age of eighty-six knew 
the white hind of Loch Treig for the last fifty years 
of his life, while his father knew her for an equal time, 
and his grandfather knew her for sixty years of his 
time, which seems to make this white lady to be 160 
years old. In further support of his belief Mr. Scrope 
also quotes the old Highland saying as if he fully 
believed in it, that 

" Thrice the age of a dog is that of a horse, 
Thrice the age of a horse is that of a man, 
Thrice the age of a man is that of a deer, 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 31 



Thrice the age of a deer is that of an eagle, 
Thrice the age of an eagle is that of an oak." 
The first two propositions contained in this wisdom 
of old days are nearly correct, but the third makes deer 
live to over 200 years ! eagles to over 600 years ! ! 
and oaks for some 2000!!! Therefore the probable 
explanation of the reputed long-lived hind of Loch 
Treig is that there was a succession of white ladies, 
always supposed to be one and the same animal. 

There is no doubt that healthy hinds continue 
to breed nearly as long as they live, and the result 
in calves will be satisfactory or the reverse according 
to the exposed or sheltered nature of the ground 
during severe winters, and more calves will die that 
are born of poor hinds than of those belonging to 
well-conditioned ones, which is established by the 
fact that the Inner division of Jura, which is the 
most exposed breeding-ground, shows only twenty- 
eight calves alive to every hundred hinds in the 
February following their birth. On Largy division, 
which is the choicest, best sheltered ground of 



32 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

the forest, the return is forty-five calves to every 
hundred hinds ; in arriving at this result, Mr. 
Evans has reckoned as " hinds " all the female 
deer of one year old and upwards, and it is to one 
hundred of these that the rate has been calculated, 
as it was thought this method of reckoning was less 
liable to error than attempting to deduct the yearlings 
and two-year-old hinds and ascribing the calves to 
the balance left, though, of course, the calves must 
be due to that balance, whatever it may be. 

In Jura hinds usually breed when twenty-eight 
months old, and present the forest with their first 
fruits when three years old, and I believe the same 
rule holds good for the deer forests of the mainland. 
With regard to woods for winter shelter. Jura is 
not too plentifully provided, the sheep-ground of 
Ardfin being best off in this respect. In the early 
Jura winter the sea blasts wither up the herbage, 
while, on the other hand, the spring feeding is ready 
much earlier than in the mainland forests. March 
and April are, however, the months most fatal to 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 33 

deer, and, as will be seen, the four divisions of the 
forest differ very much in fertility. In the month of 
February, 1890, in the Inner district of 7,000 acres, 
there were counted 426 hinds, 118 calves, together 
with 150 stags of all sorts, which gives 10 acres to 
each deer on the best breeding-ground in the forest. 
On the same date the Scrinadale section of 4,500 
acres showed 133 hinds, 61 calves, and 96 stags of 
all sorts, or one deer to 15^ acres. On the 7,000 
acres of Gatehouse there were counted 220 hinds and 
96 calves, with 1 94 stags, or 1 4 acres to each deer, and 
in addition to this there are usually some fifty good 
stags from Gatehouse which winter on the sheep- 
ground of Corrienaheira. In Largy division, of 9,000 
acres, the count was 170 hinds, 80 calves, and 250 
stags, or one deer to 18 acres. From these figures 
it will be seen that Inner and Scrinadale, both on 
the west side of Jura, give a total of 559 hinds, with 
1 79 calves ; while Gatehouse and Largy, both on tne 
east side of the island, give 398 hinds, with 176 
calves, and the great contrast in fertility shows 

F 



34 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

right well how much the situation and lie of a forest 
have to do with the well-being of deer. Wherever 
the sea-shore is favourable the Jura deer, like horses 
and sheep, eat a great deal of seaweed, and likewise 
they devour all horns and bones of dead deer pretty 
quickly, and are not even at all particular how soon 
they begin on them, for Mr. Evans once found a large 
piece of deer's hide the size of a pocket handkerchief 
chewed full of holes in the stomach of a stag he 
shot. Twice also has he seen stags with large pieces 
of skin and leg-bones entangled in their horns, and 
he relates how one of these bone-carriers was the 
terror of his friends, for when he trotted or galloped the 
leg-bone rattled with a great noise against his horns ; 
thus one day, on getting wind of Mr. Evans and his 
stalker, this stag in dashing off set several others 
on the run : these were urged to top speed by the 
music " bones " played behind them, the result 
being a desperate, but ludicrous, race, till at length 
hunter and hunted disappeared over the sky line. 
On the Inner beat, in 1888, a fine stag was found dead 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 35 



with the skull of a calf firmly fixed in his mouth, and 
several times others have been picked up dead, choked 
by bones, and nearly always these have been stags, so 
that it is an error to suppose, as is sometimes thought, 
that only hinds eat bones and horns. 

Mr. Evans is a great advocate of heather burning in 
a forest, and having pursued this plan for the last six 
years, he has found a considerable lessening of mor- 
tality ; therefore, with this knowledge to guide them, 
other forest owners might well give heather burning 
a trial. In addition to the husk parasite Mr. Evans 
has observed five other varieties in the island. Neither 
fluke nor sturdy are rare in deer of all sorts, while 
stags especially are liable to be infested by a very 
large worm adhering to the throat and lower part 
of the tongue. This worm, usually found in the 
spring, is nearly as thick and as long as the little 
finger, with a most repulsive, leech-like appearance, 
and for a long time nothing quite certain was known 
of how it came to be in the stags' throat. 

The so-called "bark" of a suspicious hind is a 



36 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND 

sound but too well-known to deerstalkers, but Mr. 
Evans relates that on four different occasions he has 
heard a stag bark as loudly and as often as a hind, 
and of this I have never before heard, and I imagine 
it will be news to many. 

There was at one time rather a heavy death-rate 
amongst the deer of Jura, where there is an average 
rainfall of 65 inches per annum, but such mortality 
could not be attributed to wet weather only, for there 
are other forests in the north where the downpour is 
much heavier ; therefore Mr. Evans has come to the 
conclusion that many deer die of the hair-like lung- 
worm causing the disease called "husk," and in 1890 
two freshly dead stags were found with their lungs 
full of these parasites, which makes it a matter for 
regret that dead deer are seldom found fresh enough 
to permit of any prolonged and close examination. 
Recently Mr. Percy H. Grimshaw, when pursuing 
his investigations on this parasite in Ross-shire, 
has established the fact that this worm is the child 
of the bot-fly. Deer also suffer from warbles pro- 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 37 



duced by some insect probably of the gad-fly type, 
for each warble contains a grub, and there is a perfora- 
tion of the skin immediately above the warble. It 
is highly probable that a careful study of parasites, 
accompanied by special knowledge, would result in 
discoveries sufficiently important to warrant great 
alterations in the management of sheep and deer, 
which might eventually lead to the permanent 
reduction of the present heavy death-rate prevailing 
amongst these animals. Mr. Evans is confident that 
burning considerable tracts of heather almost entirely 
checks parasite mischief ; but of course there must be 
a limit to this remedy, as in burnt ground there is 
hardly any feeding for the first winter after burning, 
and, therefore, good judgment as to where and how 
much to burn is essential to the success of this plan. 

That the mortality in all deer forests is heavy 
may be taken for granted, the following having been 
the death-rate in Jura, which, from its position, should 
be better off in this respect than the forests of the 
mainland : — 



38 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

In Jura the search for dead deer is carried on 
strictly and continuously, and if this were not 
done, it would be quite easy to overlook many, 
for it is surprising how quickly the bodies disappear, 
only to leave behind them for a short time a 
gruesome carpet of hair ; so consequently the search, 
unless carried on systematically, is nugatory, and 
many foresters will declare it is rare to find dead 
deer on their grounds simply because they do not 
half search for them. 

In the ten years from 1879 to 1888 the bodies 
of 222 stags, 326 hinds, and 443 calves were found; 
or a total of 991 deer, which, as it is not likely that 
every carcase was discovered, gives a death-rate of 
fully one hundred deer a year. Those gentlemen 
who rent forests for one season only too often appear 
to think that stags grow out of the heather, and 
accordingly they shoot every good one they get a 
chance at, and then take their departure, bequeathing 
their leavings to the next tenant, who in his turn will 
again strive his utmost to kill the best beasts he can 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 39 



get at ; thus a forest that changes hands often is 
almost sure to suffer a deterioration in the quaUty 
of its deer, and I would suggest to those forest 
owners who let by the year that they would do 
well to have a strict agreement with the tenant, not 
only as to the number to be killed but also as to 
their quality, a condition which should apply equally 
to stags and hinds. In a satisfactory forest the 
most important feature must ever be the possession 
of a full complement of fine healthy hinds, and such 
a result can only be arrived at by abstaining from 
killing them ; as soon as the desired result has been 
reached, then it can be maintained by exercising 
great care in not selecting the flower of the flock 
for slaughter ; better by far to kill sixty ragged 
poor hinds than thirty of the fattest and best. 
Of course overstocking must be guarded against, but 
it would be better protection to kill weakly hinds 
and even weakly calves than to reduce the numbers 
of strong healthy matrons. The Jura hinds average 
8 stone I2 lbs. quite clean, while with regard to twin 



40 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

calves, Mr. Evans is of opinion, after long observation, 
that they only occur but once in several hundred 
births. 

Mention must now be made of an extra- 
ordinary curiosity of the Jura Forests, called "the 
cromie stag," Gaelic for " crooked." In Jura only do 
these stags exist ; how they got there or whence 
they came no one knows, but there they have been 
from time immemorial, and confident I feel either 
that they are a distinct race, or that some stag from 
foreign lands once managed to get to Jura in days 
gone by and left his mark behind him. Even in 
Jura these " cromies " are very scarce, living only 
in certain parts of the island, where perhaps three 
or four "cromies" may be seen to one hundred 
others, and the whole forest may not contain a 
score of them. In twelve years Mr. Evans has 
shot but eleven, and for several seasons past none 
at all, although by this it must not be inferred that 
absence from the larder means absence from the 
hill, for, thanks to Mr. Evans' care, there are still 



.••• •♦. 




u 

o 
u 
<: 



«■ , t" ' 



,'• ..<• 



► V * • ' 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 41 



"cromies" in Jura. The horns of the "cromie" 
slope backwards and are set on the head at a totally 
different angle to those of the ordinary stag ; likewise 
the beam is seldom round like the usual horn, but 
tends to varying degrees of flatness, and in a cast 
horn, kindly sent me by Mr. Evans, that part above 
the coronet is nearly quite flat. I consider these 
"cromie" heads so curious, so interesting, and so 
difficult to convey any idea of by words, that I have 
deemed the head of the " crooked one " well worthy 
of illustration, and the drawing shows most accurately 
the remarkable features of the best " cromie " head 
ever got in Jura, and though at first sight it 
may appear ugly as compared with that of the 
usual monarch of the glen, I am sure all deer 
fanciers will eventually agree with me in regarding 
the head as a wild and beautiful one, while the 
sight of it cannot fail to arouse speculation as 
to its origin. According to the season, the. average 
weight of the Jura stags varies from 14 stone 
to 14 stone 7 lbs., but this does not include 

G 



42 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

the small stags of the Paps and Scrinadale, and 
other very stony hill-tops. Throughout Jura the 
deer carry very heavy coats of hair, much more so 
than those of the mainland, but the small fellows 
that frequent these stony hills are extra hairy, and 
from living so much in mist they have become light 
in colour, and very similar to the Harris stag 
both in body and horn ; they are most excellent 
venison, while as showing how small they are, it 
may be mentioned that a very pretty royal from 
the Paps weighed but 1 1 stone clean. Mr. Evans 
is of opinion, in which I agree, that only a certain 
number of stags are born to the purple, but be that 
as it may, in Jura any vigorous monarch is more 
often than not safe from the rifle, being preserved 
for breeding purposes, while endeavours are made to 
collect the shed horns. By this system of searching for 
cast horns Mr. Evans has discovered that even "royals" 
have their bad years, and that their heads increase or 
diminish in glory, according to the season. It must 
not, however, be supposed that no royals have been 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 43 



killed in Jura during the last ten years, for that is 
not at all the case, albeit certain favoured ones have 
been spared. Mr. Evans states that he had a three- 
year-old very tame six-pointer stag, the grandson 
of a Ross-shire hind, and as he had one ear cut off 
to render him bullet proof, there can be no possible 
doubt as to his identity. This stag passed two years 
as a knobber instead of one, and then threw out 
six points the next year, which is a somewhat 
awkward fact for the cock-sure division of observers. 
Mr. Evans also possesses a fossil stag antler, dug 
up in Jura gravel, which clearly demonstrates that 
the Jura red deer are pre-historic. To improve 
the breed, deer have been introduced from Athol, 
Black Mount and Kildermorie Forests, and how 
they have increased since 1844 "i^y be imagined, 
when in that year it is a fact that Mr. Campbell's 
forester searched from Ardfin to Screeb, a distance 
of eight miles, before he could find a shootable 
stag for the Duke of Argyll's wedding, while the 
forester of that date declared there were not sixty stags 



44 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

on the whole of the ground, which now yields sixty 
good beasts each season. In taking leave of this bonnie 
island forest, which the kindness of Mr. Evans has en- 
abled me to deal with at length, I cannot refrain from 
expressing a strong opinion that that which he has 
found beneficial and good for the welfare of his 
island deer will also be found equally advantageous 
for their relations on the mainland. 

FOREST OF LAGGAN, LOCHBUIE, ISLE OF MULL. 

This small forest on the south side of the Isle 
of Mull extends to a little over 6,000 acres, 
situated on a very pronounced peninsula. It 
is the property of Maclaine of Lochbuie, and 
possesses a small sanctuary, while the hills in it 
run from 1,500 feet to nearly 2,000 feet high, 
with rocky, stony summits, and bases covered 
with a mixture of fine grass feeding, natural 
wood and heathery corries. Although there have 
been Maclaines and deer in Mull from the days 
of Noah, this ground has only been absolutely 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 45 



cleared of sheep for the past eight years, the 
present owner having introduced fresh blood from 
the Black Mount and Ashridge and Vanol 
Parks. The place carries one rifle comfortably, 
but as for the last few years all the best stags 
have been kept for breeding purposes, the average 
weight has not exceeded 15 stone, weighed quite 
clean. On the deer ground there are also some wild 
goats and four-horned sheep from St. Kilda, while 
both species of the eagle nest annually in the rocky 
hills. The sea views to be enjoyed by the stalker 
are superb, the Isles of the Sea, Scarba, Jura, 
Colonsay and Isla, all appearing in the panorama. 
The Maclaines have ever played a stout part in the 
feuds and wars of days gone by ; Eachuin, their 
chief, fell at Flodden in a gallant attempt to save the 
life of King James from the arrows of the English 
bowmen, the clan fought for Montrose, and, almost 
needless to say, were "out" in 1715. These, how- 
ever, are matters that will not appeal so much to 
the deerstalker as the following telling poem of the 



46 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

chase by the Marquis of Lome. It speaks for itself 
and needs no praise. 

THE WILD REVENGE OF HECTOR MALCOLM ; 

Or, a Legend of the Maclaines of Lochbuie, Isle of Mull. 
A POEM BY THE MARQUIS OF LORNE, K.T. 



Part I. 

Dark with shrouds of mist surrounded 
E.ise the mountains from the shore, 

Where the galleys of the Islesmen 
Stand updrawn, their voyage o'er. 

Horns this morn are hoarsely sounding 
From Lochbuie's ancient wall, 

While for chase the guests and vassals 
Gather in the court and hall. 

Hounds whose voices could give warning 
From far moors of stags at bay, 

Quiver in each iron muscle, 
Howl, impatient of delay. 

Henchmen, waiting for the signal, 
At their Chief's imperious word. 

Start, to drive from hill and corrie 
To the pass the watchful herd. 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 47 



Closed were paths as with a netting, 
Vain high courage, speed, or scent; 

Every mesh a man in ambush, 
Ready, with a crossbow bent. 

" Eachan,* guard that glade and copsewood ! 
At your peril, let none by 1 " 
Cries the Chief, while in the heather 
Silently the huntsmen lie. 

Shouting, by the green morasses, 
Where the fairies dance at night, 

Yelling 'neath the oak and birches, 
Come the beaters into sight, 

And, before them, rushing wildly, 
Speeds the herd of driven deer, 

Whose wide antlers tossed like branches 
In the winter of the year. 

Useless was the vassal's effort 

To arrest the living flow, 
And it passed by Eachan's passage. 

Spite of hound, and shout, and blow. 

"Worse than woman! Useless caitiff! 
Why allowed you them to pass ? 
Back ! no answer ! Hark, men, hither, 
Take his staff, and bind him fast." 

• Gaelic for Hector. 



48 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Hearing was with them obeying, 
And the hunter's strong limbs lie, 

Bound with thongs from tawny oxen, 
'Neath the Chieftain's cruel eye. 

" More than two score stags have passed him : 
Mark the number on his flesh 
With red stripes of this good ashwood. 
Mend we thus this broken mesh ! " 

" Ah ! Lochbuie ! faint and sullen 

Beats the heart, once leal and free. 
That had yielded life exulting, 
If it bled for thine and thee. 

" Deem'st thou that no honour liveth, 
Save in haughty breast like thine ? 
Think'st thou men, like dogs in spirit, 
At such blows but wince and whine? 

" Often, in the dangerous tempest, 
When the winds before the blast, 
Surging, charged like crested horsemen 
Over helm, and plank, and mast, 

" He, and all his kin before him. 

Well have kept the Clansman's faith. 
Serving thee in every danger, 

Shielding thee from harm and skaith. 

" Mid the glens and hills in combat, 

AVhere the blades of swordsmen meet. 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 49 

Has he fought with thee the Campbells, 
Mingling glory with defeat. 

" But, as waters round Eorsa, 

Dark and deep, then blanch in foam, 
When the winds Ben More has harboured 
Burst in thunder from their home ; 

" So the brow fear never clouded, 
Blackens now 'neath anger's pall. 
And the lips, to speak disdaining. 
Whiten at revenge's call ! " 

Part II. 

Late, when many years had passed him, 

And the chiefs old age began. 
Seemed his youth again to blossom. 

With the birth of his fair son. 

Late, when all his days had hardened 

Into flint his nature wild. 
Seemed it softer grown and kinder, 

For the sake of that one child. 

And again a hunting morning 

Saw Lochbuie and his men. 
With his boy, his guests, and kinsmen. 

Hidden o'er a coppiced glen. 

Deep, within its oaken thickets, 
Ran its waters to the sea; 

H 



so THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



On the hill the Chief lay careless, 
While the child watched eagerly. 

'Neath them, on the shining ocean, 

Island beyond island lay, 
Where the peaks of Jura's bosom 

Rose o'er holy Oronsay. 

Where the greener fields of Islay 

Pointed to the far Kintire, 
Fruitful lands of after ages, 

Wasted then with sword and fire. 

For the spell, that once had gathered 
All the chiefs beneath the sway 

Of the ancient royal sceptre 
Of the Isles, had passed away. 

Once, from Rathline to the southward. 
Westward to the low Tiree, 

Northward, past the Alps of Coolin, 
Somerled ruled land and sea. 

Colonsay, Lismore and Scarba, 
Bute and Cumrae, Mull and Skye, 

Arran, Jura, Lew's and Islay, 
Shouted then one battle cry. 

But those Isles that still united 

Fought at Harlaw Scotland's might. 

Broken by their fierce contentions, 
Singly waged disastrous fight. 



ARGYLLSHIRE. il 



And the teaching of forgiveness 
Grey lona's creed became, 

Not a sign for men to reverence, 
But a burning brand of shame. 



'o 



Still among the names, that Ruin 
Had not numbered in her train, 

Lived the great Clan, proud as ever, 
Of the race of strong Maclaine. 

And his boy, like her he wedded, 
Though of nature like the dove. 

Showed the eagle spirit flashing 
Through a heritage of love. 

Heir of all the vassals' homage 
Rendered to the grisly sire, 

He had grown his people's treasure, 
Fostered as their hearts' desire. 

Surely safety guards his footsteps. 

Enmity he hath not sown ; 
Yet who stealthily glides near him, 

Whose the arm around him thrown? 

It is Eachan, who has wolf-like 
Seized upon a helpless prey ! 

Fearlessly and fast he bears him. 
Where a cliff* o'erhangs the bay. 



Called to this day "Malcolm's Cliff." 



52 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

There, while the sea-birds scream around them, 
Holding by his throat the boy, 

Eachan turns, and to the father 
Shouts in scorn and mocking joy : 

" Take the punishment thou gavest. 
Give before all these a pledge 
For my freedom, or thy darling 
Dying falls from yonder ledge 1 

" Take the strokes in even number, 
As thou gavest, blow for blow ; 
Then dishonoured on thine honour, 
Swear to let me freely go." 

Silent, in his powerless anger. 
Stood the chief, with all his folk, 

And before them all the ransom 
Was exacted stroke for stroke. 

Then again the voice of vengeance 
Pealed from Eachan's lips in hate : 
" Childless and dishonoured villain, 
Expiation comes too late ! 

" My revenge is not completed ! " 
And they saw, in dumb despair, 
How he hurled his victim downward 
Headlong through the empty air. 

Then they heard a yell of laughter, 
As they turned away the eye ; 



ARGYLLSHIRE. 53 



And they gazeJ again, where nothing 
Met their sight but cliff and sky ! 

For the murderer dared to follow, 

Where the youthful spirit fled 
To the throne of the Avenger, 

To the Judge of Quick and Dead. 

There are deer more or less all over the island 
of Mull, and it is satisfactory to relate that their 
numbers are increasing. At Glenforsa Colonel 
Greenhill Gardynne, whose Glenforsa check of brown, 
blue and white is hardly discernible from a rock, 
has always deer on his ground, and has at various 
times mingled fresh blood from the parks of 
Windsor, Powerscourt, and Stoke, and this property 
is well suited to a forest, as there are many rough 
and high hills in it, the two tallest, Dun-dha-gavith 
(the hill of the two winds) and Ben Tulla (the hill 
of rich soil), each rising to 2,000 feet, with their 
bases full of fine corries and well-wooded slopes. 

At Gruline (which was formerly part of the 
Glenforsa estate) Mr. Melles also always has deer, 
no less than fifty-two being in sight at once one 



54 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

day last spring. On the mainland of Argyll there 
are likewise many grounds on which, although not 
afforested, a good few stags are annually got. Of 
these, the chief are Strontian, at present rented by 
Colonel Henry, Belsgrove, let to Sir R. M. Brooke, 
and Ardshellach, let to Lord Howard of Glossop ; 
the yield of these three grounds, which march with 
each other and belong to Sir Rodney S. Riddell, 
being some thirty to forty stags annually. Also on 
the shootings of Ardgour, Achdalieu, Acharacle, and 
Craig by Dalmally, a fair number of stags are 
killed each season. 



55 



Chapter III. 
BANFFSHIRE. 

FOREST OF GLENFIDDICH, BY DUFFTOWN. 

There are but two deer forests in this county, both 
belonging to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, 
Prior however to 1745, the Earls of Huntly owned 
all the country lying between Ben Avon in Banffshire, 
right across Scotland to Ben Nevis, a distance of 
some seventy miles, and in this tract were included 
the districts of Glenmore, Glen Feshie, Gaick, 
Drumchalder, Ben Alder, and Loch Treig, in all 
some 200 square miles. This vast property the 
Earls of Huntly ruled with absolute power, and 
severe were the penalties these chieftains made 
against deer poaching ; men were hung for the offence, 
and history relates that one John Our, being detected 



56 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

in " honest theft," as deer stealing was then called 
by the poachers, had one of his eyes put out and 
his right arm cut off, but surviving these barbarities 
by the aid of a strong constitution, and having an 
ineradicable love for the chase, he yet in spite of his 
crippled state managed to kill many more deer. This 
vast property eventually became split up between the 
predecessors of the present Marquis of Huntly and 
those of the present Duke of Richmond and Gordon, 
whose ancestor was a son of a sister of one of 
the Lords of Huntly, and by degrees the western 
parts of the estate were sold. The forest of Glen- 
fiddich, which lies some dozen miles south of 
Craigellachie on Speyside, is retained by the Duke 
for his own use. It takes its name from the Fiddich, 
a tributary of the Spey, which rises in and runs 
through the whole forest, which extends to some 
25,000 acres of moor and moss, with some small 
quantity of wood. Although entirely surrounded by 
sheep farms, these lands contain some high and 
rough ground, Corryhavvie being over 2,500 feet, 



BANFFSHIRE. 57 



and Cook's Cairn just under that height. It has been 
a forest from time immemorial, and will easily carry 
two rifles every day of the season, while as it is very 
carefully shot, no sanctuary is required. No driving 
is done. Lovat mixture is the best coloured cloth 
to wear, and the annual average kill is fifty stags, 
which are weighed clean, but information has not 
reached me as to the mean weight. 

FOREST OF GLENAVON BY BALLINDALLOCII. 

This fine forest, of which the late Lord Henry 
Bentinck was for a long time the tenant, is at present 
rented by Mr. Godman, and marching on the north 
with the forests of Abernethy and Glenmore, on 
the south it runs with those of Mar and Invercauld. 
It contains 40,000 acres of wild rocky ground, in 
which lie some of the highest hills in Scotland, and 
on their steep sides several pairs of eagles nest each 
season. 

Ben Macdhui, 4,296 feet, Cairn Gorm, 4,084 feet, 
and Ben Avon, 3,845 feet, together with many other 

I 



58 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

hills nearly as high, are all within the confines of 
this property, the lower lying portions of which 
abound in fine corries and splendid pasture. The 
estate, which was cleared in 1841, hardly grows any 
wood, but quiet and shelter are offered the deer in 
a sanctuary of some 5,000 acres. Three rifles can 
go out daily, while just at the end of the season 
a fourth can join in the sport. No driving is done, 
and the limit of eighty-five stags is nearly always 
reached by fair stalking. At the foot of Cairn- 
Gorm lies Loch Avon, in close proximity to which 
is the celebrated "shelter stone," in which a dozen 
men can rest, and here in the days of Highland 
feuds and cattle lifting many good Highlanders, 
intent on bloodshed or pillage, passed their nights. 
For some twenty miles the Avon River, renowned 
for the clearness of its waters, runs through the 
forest till it reaches the Lynn of Avon, near the 
forest lodge, and there each autumn congregate many 
spawning salmon from the Spey. 



59 



Chapter IV. 

BUTESHIRE. 

Here there is but a single forest, the celebrated one of 
Arran, belonging, but a short time past, to the late Duke 
of Hamilton, and left by him to his infant daughter, 
the Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton. Although 
there have ever been a few deer in Arran, it was 
first regularly afforested in February, 1859, and in 
that month Captain Robert Sandeman took to the 
island, for the late Duke, fourteen hinds in calf, 
along with six young stags from Knowsley Park, 
^nd now deer are more or less over the whole 
property, although they stay chiefly between 
Brodick Castle and the Lodge of Dubhgharadh, 
in which latter part there is the sanctuary of some 
3,000 acres, while at Brodick a quantity of natural 



6o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

birch, Scotch fir and larch plantation affords splendid 
wintering. 

Grey cloth is best suited to the ground. The highest 
hill is the well-known Goatfell, 2,866 feet, or the 
hill of the wind. No driving is done, and the average 
kill is 45 stags, with a mean weight of 17. stone 
4 lbs., heart and liver included. Having started his 
forest in February, 1859, the late Duke, whom I 
had the pleasure of knowing for many years, and 
who was a fine rifle shot, commenced stalking in 
1862, and up to 1880 he killed many very big 
stags, of which the heaviest weighed 29 stone 8 lbs. 
From that date both heads and bodies began to get 
smaller, and since then fresh blood has been introduced 
on nine different occasions. John Mackenzie, the 
head forester, has been in Arran with the late Duke 
for over thirty years, and he relates that prior to 
1879 there had not been an eagle's nest in the 
island for many a day, when in that year a pair 
returned to nest on Goatfell, and since that 
date there has always been one or two pair, 



BUTESHIRE. 6i 



which shows how quiet and preservation will tell 
eventually, for needless to say these birds are strictly 
preserved. While speaking of the preservation of 
these splendid birds, and indeed of all rare birds, 
I cannot refrain from expressing my detestation 
at the ways of some of our bird stuffers and o.^^ 
dealers, who send circulars to foresters, keepers, gillies, 
and shepherds, containing a printed list of the birds 
and eggs they require, with the price they will pay 
for the same marked against each variety. Many of 
these circulars must fall into the hands of poor men, to 
whom the offer of a pound or more is of considerable 
import ; many, however, must fall into the hands 
of men above want and holding responsible positions, 
and I would advise the employers of such to ask them 
to forward all circulars to them, and then I think 
if the senders were "gibbeted" in The Field, 
that it might perhaps make some of their customers 
fight shy of dealing with them, and thus the fear 
of loss of trade might force an abandonment of this 
odious plan of tempting servants and others to supply 



63 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

them with specimens of birds that without preservation 
will eventually become extinct. In December, 1894, 
the late Duke turned down a wapiti hind, and 
though at first the ladies of the red deer family were 
mortally afraid of her, they became good friends by 
degrees, and it only remains to be seen if she will 
breed. 

A remarkable feature of the island is the absence 
of foxes, stoats or weasels, neither ever having 
been known to exist there, but badgers are in 
plenty, all having sprung from a single pair turned 
down by the late Duke. 

The grand hall at Brodick contains a splendid 
show of horns, while the lodge of Dubhgharadh 
on the west side of the island presents a most 
unique and remarkable appearance, as it is covered 
outside with over two hundred pairs of horns. It is 
on this side of the isle that stalking is commenced, and 
continued later at Brodick as the season advances, 
where many wild stags come into the park and 
appear quite tame, but well they know that there 



BUTESHIRE. 63 



they are never interfered with, and that they can 
come and go as they please ; the moment, however, 
they regain the hill they resume all their cunning 
and wildness. 



64 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



Chapter V. 
CAITHNESS. 

FORESTS OF BRAEMORE AND LANGWELL BY BERRIED ALE. 

This fine ground, the only afforested part of the 
county, belongs to the Duke of Portland, and the 
two estates together contain some 40,000 acres, 
covering about 63 square miles. Up till 1880 Brae- 
more was a separate estate, when it was purchased 
and cleared by the present Duke, and added to 
Langwell proper, on which last-named ground afforest- 
ing had been commenced in 1857, and ultimately 
completed in 1864, and on both properties very large 
sums have been expended. The interior of this 
forest presents a continuous succession of hills and 
valleys, following the course of the Braemore and 
Langwell streams, and though the valleys are narrow, 



CAITHNESS. 65 

Steep and rugged, they are yet clad with fine pasture, 
while many of their bases are well wooded with natural 
birch and hazel, affording good winter shelter for the 
deer. Although the hills do not display peaked and 
jagged outlines, they are yet steep and sterile, rising 
to their highest altitude of 2,313 feet on the summit 
of Morven, or the Big Hill. The lowest forest ground 
is chiefly peat, moss and heather, well cut up with 
water-courses, which are frequently the only friendly 
cover the stalker finds, and along which, clad in 
the yellow and white mixture found best suited to 
the ground, on hands and knees the stalking party 
must make their way to the quarry. On the north 
the forest is bounded as well as sheltered by an 
almost unbroken range of high hills, comprising the 
Skerabins, or Hill of Scars, 1,500 feet. The Maiden 
Pap, Morven, and Cnoc-nearnach, or Hill of the 
Irishman, so named "from a tradition that a native 
of the Emerald Isle once perished on it. Between 
Morven and Torbreach, and near the top of the 
forest, there is a sanctuary of some 2,000 acres. 

K 



66 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Donald Ross, the genial and veteran stalker, who 
first went to Langwell in 1848, is now pensioned 
off, and Archibald McEwan reigns as head forester 
in his stead. The ground will carry four rifles every 
day, who make up the bag by fair stalking only, and 
depending on the fineness of the season, the total 
kill varies from eighty to one hundred stags, scaling 
on an average 16 stone each, with heart and liver 
included, and in this number there are always some 
royal heads. In 1888 a melancholy event occurred 
here, for on the 26th of August of that year Sir 
John Rose, while out after deer, died on the hill. 
Up to the moment of his sudden death he had 
been in his usual good health, but on that day, 
after firing at a stag, he dropped down and expired 
from apoplexy. 

The following further particulars of Langwell will 
be of interest to sportsmen, as they show the length of 
time required to make a forest under favourable cir- 
cumstances, and how speedily efficient and persevering 
preservation of grouse produces the desired result. 



CAITHNESS. 67 



These notes are collected from a statement made 
by Donald Ross for the present Duke of Portland, 
to whose kind courtesy I am indebted for them 
and all else I have to say about this forest. 

Donald Ross came to Langwell as gamekeeper 
in 1848, the estate then belonging to Mr. Donald 
Home. As Ross naively observes, gamekeepers in 
the north at that period were not so numerous as 
at present, and one man would often be expected 
to look after 40,000 acres of ground, and Donald 
himself well exemplifies how that one man with 
his heart in his work can accomplish wonders. 

In 1848 pole-cats, now quite extinct, were plentiful 
in Langwell ; wild cats abounded, and these, if not 
quite done away with, are so nearly gone that the 
capture of one is quite a remarkable event. At 
these vermin Donald went with a will, for during the 
first year of his service he destroyed fifty pole-cats, 
twenty-eight wild cats, five foxes, two otters, one mar- 
ten cat, and over two hundred weasels, together with 
a number of ravens, " hoodies," harriers, falcons, and 



68 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

various other hawks : a wonderful total ! The grouse 
bags in Langwell at that time ranged from nine to 
eighteen brace a day to two guns. The whole estate 
was under sheep, while few deer frequented it, and 
but some half-dozen, hinds included, were got each 
season. In 1857 the late Duke of Portland bought 
the property and at once began to afforest it. In 
1859 the game bag for the season was four red deer, 
two roe, sixty-nine hares, one hundred and eighty- 
eight rabbits, seventy grouse, and seventeen part- 
ridges, while in the two following years it was much 
about the same. From 1868 to 1875 Viscount 
Galway and the Hon. G. Monckton shot Langwell. 
In 1868, nine years after being cleared. Lord Galway 
had twenty-four stags and Mr. Monckton twenty-six, 
or, fifty between them ; but as in those days Langwell 
did not possess a weighing machine, no mention 
can be made of weights. In 187 1 Lord Galway 
got forty-two stags and Mr. Monckton fifty-one ; 
the ninety-three averaged 14 stone 5 lbs., with heart 
and liver included, and the best twenty beasts gave a 



CAITHNESS. 69 



mean weight of 18 stone 5 lbs. In addition to the 
stags, 1,115 brace of grouse were shot, which speaks 
volumes in favour of preservation as compared 
with the eighteen brace a day only sometimes 
got in i860. In 1877 the forest was not shot, 
and but twenty stags were killed by Donald by 
the Duke's orders, and distributed amongst the 
tenantry and others. In 1878 the Earl of Cork 

and his party got 45 stags and 1,600 brace of grouse, 
and again in 1879 49 stags with 2,000 brace of 
grouse. From this it will be seen that Langwell 
Forest developed itself well and speedily. 

From 1858 to 1868 but 43 stags were killed in 
the nine seasons, and then the fun began, as already 
related, with a score of 50 for the tenth season. In 
1868 there were between 900 and 1,000 deer of all 
sorts on the ground, as compared with about 120 in 
1859. In this rapid increase it must not be over- 
looked that in those days there was no railway in 
Kildonan Strath, and thus Langwell profited to some 
extent by the Sutherland deer coming into the freshly 



70 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

cleared ground. As showing how far deer will travel 
when there is no barrier against them, such as 
is made by a railway, Donald mentions that in 
1873 a three-horned stag was shot in Langwell by 
Mr. Monckton which had been shot at in Inchbae 
forest by Garve, in Ross-shire, in 1868; there is no 
chance of any mistake, for Donald Ross knew the 
stag well, and so it turned out did his brother, John 
Ross, who was at that time stalker in Inchbae to 
my old friend. Major Vaughan Lee. The railway 
having cut off the interchange of blood with other 
forests, park deer from Welbeck were introduced to 
Langwell in 1877, and right well they have answered 
their purpose. 



71 



Chapter VI. 
FORFARSHIRE. 

FOREST OF CAENLOCHAN BY ALYTH. 

This forest, formerly the property of " the gracious 
gude Lord Ogilvie," so styled in the ballad of the 
battle of Harlow, fought in 141 1, now belongs to 
his descendant, the present Earl of Airlie, and is 
now let to Mr. G, W. Henderson. It extends to 
a little over 9,000 acres, and was first cleared of 
sheep about sixty years ago, while as it marches 
with the forests of (Irlencally, Glendoll, and Inver- 
cauld, the deer can wander from one to the other 
as they choose, and thus the interchange of blood 
is continuous. A striking feature of the ground is 
the large glen running north, through the centre, 
which, on nearing the head of the forest, divides 



72 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

into Glencannes on the east and Caenlochan on 
the west. This forest contains the highest hills in 
the county, of which Glass Maol, 3,502 feet, is the most 
lofty. There are 400 acres of well-grown plantations 
for winter shelter, and the ground, in favourable 
winds, will carry two rifles each day, who should 
get, by fair stalking, 50 to 60 stags each season, 
averaging j 3 stone 1 2 lbs., weighed with heart 
and liver included. This property has been owned 
by the Ogilvies from almost time immemorial, and 
at one period the tenants of the Earl were bound, 
by a clause in their agreement, to bring in to 
Cortachy Castle all deer killed in Caenlochan from 
the spot where they fell, but as there is an ancient 
foot and bridle-path belonging to the ground, and 
passing right through it, this was not probably such 
an onerous condition as may at first sight appear. 
In days gone by this path was much used by cattle 
lifters, and it was on this track that one Mudie of 
Crandart and his five stepsons, Grewar by name, 
once surprised and slew with their broadswords a 



FORFARSHIRE, 73 



much larger force of raiders. All the caterans but 
one fell before the sword of Mudie, and the solitary 
rascal that escaped fled, vowing vengeance ; he was 
as good as his word, for a short time afterwards 
three of the Grewar brothers were surprised by the 
relations of the vanquished men ; they immediately 
fled, and separated for greater security ; one fleet- 
footed brother saved his life by hiding in the rocks 
of the Dhu Loch, near Loch-na-gar ; a second, 
equally active, secured his retreat by leaping the 
Altoetch Burn, swollen on that day by heavy rain 
to an impossible size, and the spot still goes by the 
name of " Grewar's Leap " ; the third brother had 
nearly made good his escape when he trod on a 
patch of frozen snow, near the top of Monega, and 
slipping, he fell right down to the very feet of his 
pursuers, who quickly killed him, and that spot in 
the forest is yet called " Grewar's Gutter." At one 
period there was a good deal of poaching in this 
forest, carried on by otherwise quite respectable 
people, and when any of them were caught in the 

L 



74 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

act a fine was usually imposed by the forester's 
employer, which was paid without a murmur, and 
there all proceedings ended. 

Whatever may be the origin of the Airlie drummer- 
boy, he is at times reputed to quit Cortachy Castle 
and play his tattoo round Tulchan Lodge in Caen- 
lochan Forest. One tradition is to the effect that 
a drummer-lad having in some way angered an 
ancient Earl of Airlie, he was ordered to be shut 
up in his drum and thrown from the walls of 
Cortachy, and ever since that deed the drummer-boy 
never fails to beat his tattoo at Cortachy or Tulchan 
Lodge whenever disaster or death is coming to the 
" bonnie house of Airlie." 

There is also a legend, in Caenlochan, that one 
McCombie once surprised, caught, and carried 
off a mermaid to his house at Crandart, where 
his captive began to negotiate for her freedom, and 
McCombie demanded, as his price, some fore know- 
ledge of the time, place or manner of his death ; 
whereupon his prisoner, pointing out a large stone on 



FORFARSHIRE. 75 



the hill, told him he would surely die with his 
head immediately above it. To make certain of 
defeating this prophecy, which McCombie regarded 
as indicating a violent death, he took up the stone 
and built it into his cottage wall. Some years later 
McCombie fell ill, and his couch being moved from 
one room to another, he died in his bed, with his 
head over the very stone, as predicted by the captured 
mermaid ! 

FOREST OF GLENCALLEY BY GLENISLA. 

This small but good little forest of 3,000 acres, 
formed in 1872, belongs to Sir John Kinloch of Kin- 
loch, and at present is rented by Mr. C. B. Lambert. 
It marches with Caenlochan and Glendoll, and on 
it are the high hills of Final ty (3,000 ft), and Bywalps 
(2,900 ft.). It carries one rifle nicely, whose average 
kill should be 27 stags of 15 stone each, without heart 
or liver. A royal head or two is usually got each 
season, and, in addition to the cleared ground, there 
is 5,000 acres of good grouse shooting. 



76 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

FOREST OF GLEN DOLL BY KERRIEMUIR. 

This forest is owned by the heirs of Mr. Duncan 
Macpherson, and is usually let. It extends to a little 
over 10,000 acres, and marches with Bachnagairn, 
Glencally and Caenlochan. There is a small sanc- 
tuary, and later on there will be good wood for 
wintering, but it is too recently planted to be of any 
immediate use. The highest hills are Tombuie, the 
yellow hill, and Tolmont, the peat hole, both about 
3,000 ft. high. It will carry two rifles, and 40 stags 
is the annual kill, all got by fair stalking, with an 
average weight of 14 stone, heart and liver included. 
The late General Craelock, whose drawings of the 
deer forest are so well known, rented this forest in 
1890, and it is very fully described in his deer 
stalking book. 

FOREST OF INVERMARK BY BRECHIN. 

This forest, the property of the Earl of Dalhousie, 
is at present jointly rented by Lord Hindlip and 
Lord Dudley and spreads over some 20,000 acres 



FORFARSHIRE. 77 



of forested land, in addition to which there is about 
10,000 acres of extra good grouse ground. On 
the west and south-west these lands march with 
Glenmuick, Glendoll, and the Hunthill sheep walks ; 
on the south-east they spread away up to the summit 
of Mount Keen, 3,000 feet, on the watershed of which 
hill the boundaries run with the forest of Glen Tana. 
There is a good road from Brechin to Invermark 
Lodge, a distance of twenty-two miles, over which I 
made several pleasant journeys in the autumns of 
1884 and 1885, when the late Sir Robert B. Harvey 
leased this forest and I had the good fortune to be 
one of his guests. About a mile before reaching 
the present house of Invermark the road passes 
the ruins of the old castle, formerly a stronghold 
of the Lindsays and most picturesquely placed on 
the banks of the North Esk. 

The forest is divided into three beats ; over the 
southern one John Mitchell, the head forester, used 
to preside when I was at Invermark ; John Mac- 
gregor ruled over the north beat, and a third man 



78 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

had charge of the middle one. It is a fine open 
"rolling" country and without any very rocky hills; 
some of them are yet thought by many to be 
quite high enough before the top is reached. They 
range from 1,500 feet up to 3,000 feet, but they 
are big "lumps" of hills and do not rise to jagged 
peaks ; for this reason they are in places somewhat 
bare of stalking cover, and more often than not 
long shots have to be taken — that is, at distances 
ranging from 1 20 to 200 yards. 

There is no sanctuary and no wood for wintering, 
and many of the Invermark deer seek shelter in 
the dense woods of Glen Tana and Glenmuick, 
while a few come down to the grouse ground at 
Invermark, and the banks of the North Esk, on 
which there is a certain amount of natural wood. 
The forest will carry three rifles daily. The south 
beat is the best, and between the other two there 
is nothing to choose. There are good pony paths 
in the forest, and the one that winds up "The 
Drum" is of a nearly sensational character. This 



FORFARSHIRE. 79 



hill being of the shape of half a sugar loaf cut 
through lengthways, the path zig-zags along the face, 
and each time a turn is taken the pony track comes 
very close to the edge of a precipitous descent, down 
which if the pony slipped it would be good-bye to 
all things. 

Many royalties and celebrated men have stalked 
in this forest, and Her Majesty has passed through 
it and over the summit of Mount Keen on her 
way to Balmoral, and at the foot of the ascent 
" Her Majesty's Well " still remains as a memento 
of her visit. On the occasion of royal visits it has 
sometimes been the custom to have just one deer 
drive, but as a rule all the stags are killed by 
stalking ; they do not run very large either in body 
or horn, and the average kill is about fifty, weighing 
just under 14 stone clean. To judge the Inver- 
mark stags of the present by the horns of their 
ancestors which decorate the various rooms of the 
Lodge, the deer of to-day must have deteriorated 
very much during the last twenty or thirty years, 



8o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

for the old heads are far finer in all respects than 
any that can now be seen in this forest. In the 
early part of the season large bags of grouse are 
made in the deer ground round the heather-clad 
bases of the high hills, and the deer do not seem 
to mind the noise of the shooting, &c., in the least, 
for when first disturbed they merely trot off to 
some high grassy top, and there they will stand 
watching the proceedings of the shooters in the 
valley. 



8t 



Chapter VII. 
INVERNESS-SHIRE. 

FOREST OF ABERNETHV, BY NETHY BRIDGE. 

The Dowager Countess of Seafield is the owner of 
these lands, which were first cleared in 1869, and 
spread over 26,000 acres, about one-third being 
wood, affording a vast tract of fine winter shelter for 
the deer. The forest marches with that of Glenmore, 
and contains many high hills, chief amongst these 
being Cairn-gorm (4,084 ft.). The yearly total is 
60 stags a season, showing an average of 14 stone 
each, weighed with heart and liver included, and 
here one of the best beasts of recent years was shot 
in 1892, by Mr. Payne — a fine fourteen-pointer of 
18 stone. 

In or about the year 1630 this forest was the 

M 



82 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

scene of bloodshed, as one James Grant, of the 
Carron family, having in some feud made matters 
unpleasantly uncomfortable for himself, escaped to 
these regions, and, collecting a party of fellow 
desperadoes, he proceeded to harry all the district 
round about, and especially the lands of his chief 
enemy and relation. Grant of Balllndalloch. As a 
nephew of his, John Grant, of Carron, was one day 
cutting timber with seven or eight others in Aber- 
nethy forest, Balllndalloch suddenly pounced on him 
with a force double in numbers and thoroughly armed, 
and, under pretence of seeking James Grant, John 
Grant's party was attacked and John himself 
was killed after a desperate resistance, for he and 
his companions sold their lives very dearly. Sir R. 
Gordon, the historian of those days, in his remarks 
on this encounter, quaintly says : " Give me leave 
heir to remark the providence and secrait judgement 
of the Almightie God, who now hath mett Carron 
with the same measure that his forefather, John 
Roy Grant of Carron, did serve the ancestor of 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 83 



Ballendallogh (being the eleventh day of September) 
the verie same day of this month was Carron slain 
by John Grant of Ballendallogh, many yeirs there- 
after. And, besides, as that John Roy Grant of 
Carron was left-handed, so is this John Grant of 
Ballendallogh left-handed also ; and moreover it is to 
be observed that Ballendallogh, at the killing of this 
Carron, had upon him the same coat of armour or 
maillie-coat which John Roy Grant had upon him 
at the slaughter of the great-grandfather of this 
Ballendallogh, which maillie-coat Ballendallogh had, 
a little before this tyme, taken from James Grant in 
a skirmish that passed between them. Thus wee doe 
sie that the judgements of God are inscrutable, and 
that in His own tyme He punisheth blood by blood." 

FOREST OF ACHNACARRY BY FORT WILLIAM. 

This fine and historical property, belonging to 
Cameron of Lochiel, is at times let for the season, 
but is also often kept by the proprietor for his own 
sport. Those parts of the lands of Gulvain which 



82 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

scene of bloodshed, as one James Grant, of the 
Carron family, having in some feud made matters 
unpleasantly uncomfortable for himself, escaped to 
these regions, and, collecting a party of fellow 
desperadoes, he proceeded to harry all the district 
round about, and especially the lands of his chief 
enemy and relation. Grant of Ballindalloch. As a 
nephew of his, John Grant, of Carron, was one day 
cutting timber with seven or eight others in Aber- 
nethy forest, Ballindalloch suddenly pounced on him 
with a force double in numbers and thoroughly armed, 
and, under pretence of seeking James Grant, John 
Grant's party was attacked and John himself 
was killed after a desperate resistance, for he and 
his companions sold their lives very dearly. Sir R. 
Gordon, the historian of those days, in his remarks 
on this encounter, quaintly says : " Give me leave 
heir to remark the providence and secrait judgement 
of the Almightie God, who now hath mett Carron 
with the same measure that his forefather, John 
Ruy Grant of Carron, did serve the ancestor of 



INVERNESS-SHTRE. 83 



Ballendallogh (being the eleventh day of September) 
the verie same day of this month was Carron slain 
by John Grant of Ballendallogh, many yeirs there- 
after. And, besides, as that John Roy Grant of 
Carron was left-handed, so is this John Grant of 
Ballendallogh left-handed also ; and moreover it is to 
be observed that Ballendallogh, at the killing of this 
Carron, had upon him the same coat of armour or 
maillie-coat which John Roy Grant had upon him 
at the slaughter of the great-grandfather of this 
Ballendallogh, which maillie-coat Ballendallogh had, 
a little before this tyme, taken from James Grant in 
a skirmish that passed between them. Thus wee doe 
sie that the judgements of God are inscrutable, and 
that in His own tyme He punisheth blood by blood." 

FOREST OF ACHNACARRY BY FORT WILLIAM. 

Tins fine and historical property, belonging to 
Cameron of Lochiel, is at times let for the season, 
but is also often kept by the proprietor for his own 
sport. Those parts of the lands of Gulvain which 



86 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

subsequent replacement of the sheep ; this somewhat 
remarkable fact, which certainly is not the case 
with other sheep grounds, is accounted for by the 
protection afforded to the deer by the thickness 
of the old wood and old heather, and the further 
guard against all disturbance provided by the 
water boundary of Loch Arkaig side. This method 
of working answers well when Achnacarry is 
let for the season, as thereby is afforded a very 
large extent of what is practically, though not strictly 
speaking, forested ground, while even if anything 
should go wrong the tenant has to deal with the 
landlord only, and not with third parties. Loch 
Arkaig, which is some fourteen miles long, bisects 
this ground, and by the aid of a steam launch it 
forms an exceptionally useful and pleasant way of 
sending sportsmen to and from their beats on either 
side or at the far end of the loch. Achnacarry and 
that part of Gulvain going with it yield an average 
of about sixty stags each season ; a greater number 
could doubtlessly be killed, but it is rarely that 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 87 

more than two rifles go out except quite at the 
end of the season, and then perhaps, if the wind 
is in the right airt and the house full of guests, a 
third is sometimes given a chance. Also with regard 
to the number of stags killed, it must be borne in mind 
that the number of stalks to be got each day is some- 
what curtailed by the fact that at Achnacarry there 
are no paths up the hills so as to shorten the time 
taken by each party to reach the scene of actual opera- 
tions. Neither does the owner of Achnacarry pick 
his guests on account of their being good shots ; a 
bad one is as welcome as a good if he be but a 
keen sportsman. 

The stags weigh exceptionally well, and the 
average, after casting one or perhaps two small 
beasts killed by accident, has for some years past 
been over 16 stone, including heart and liver, which 
are always weighed here on the ground that they 
are edible, and brought home for the express purpose 
of being eaten. 

In the season of 1894 the seven best deer made 



88 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

19 Stone, and twenty-one of them were just over 
1 7 stone. These good weights the owner of Ach- 
nacarry attributes in a great measure to the fact 
that most of his neighbours have joined him in a 
compact not to shoot stags out of season or " far 
run" or even "run" at all, and on the loth of 
October stalking is ended. 

With regard to Lochiel's method of weighing, 
viz., with heart and liver left in the carcase, there 
are also many gentlemen who follow this system ; 
at the same time it should not be overlooked that 
part of the poch-a-buie — the tripe — is also brought 
home for eating, and yet that is never by any chance 
included in the stag's weight. I am sure all stalkers 
will agree with the idea that there should be but 
one recognized method of weighing deer, and if 
such a plan were adopted, then in future there 
never could arise any misapprehension as to a deer's 
real weight. It will be seen from a perusal of 
these pages that there are more people who weigh 
their stags "quite clean" — that is without heart. 



INVERNESS.SHIRE. 89 

liver or lungs — than there are of those who include 
these in the weight ; this then being the case, may 
not the question be put as to whether the minority- 
should not yield gracefully to the majority in a 
matter of no real importance ? Certainly, as regards 
the forest with which I am now dealing, it could 
not possibly make any difference, for sixty stags of 
over 16 stone with heart .and liver, or sixty stags 
of over 15 stone without heart or liver, is distinctly 
a very fine average which is not often surpassed. 
Of course in a forest where beasts average a little 
over 13 stone, with heart and liver, it will sound 
perhaps better to speak of them in this way instead 
of alluding to them as a little over 12 stone v/ithout 
these appendages ! 

By ceasing to stalk strictly on the loth of October, 
and in early seasons even a few days sooner, the 
calves become the offspring of the best sires of the 
forest and not of some chance and perhaps small stag, 
who steps into the shoes of the big one that has 
been killed. Some time ago a very curiously marked 

N 



90 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Stag suddenly appeared in Achnacarry ; he had a 
perfectly white face, and after every enquiry had 
been made from the neighbours, it could not be 
discovered that he had ever been seen before, 
although he was a full-grown beast with six points — 
not a very big stag, but yet not a very small 
one. For ten years he remained in Achnacarry, 
with the exception of one season, the eighth, when 
he was not seen ; at the end of the ten years he dis- 
appeared as suddenly and as mysteriously as he had 
come, and has never been seen or heard of since. If 
killed, it must have been poachers' work, for all the 
neighbours knew of him, so that no rifle was ever 
pointed at him, and although the deer-stealer may 
perhaps have accounted for his vanishing, it is after all 
not so remarkable as his first sudden appearance, and 
where he came from must ever remain a puzzle, for 
no one could have failed to notice a beast so strange, 
as the whole front of his face from forehead to tip 
of nose was so purely white and so conspicuous 
that even at a good distance he could be seen 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 91 



without a glass when it was necessary to use one to 
find his companions. 

It is not possible to write of Achnacarry without 
recalling to mind scenes of strife and warfare, both 
historic and clanish. For nearly two centuries the 
Camerons and the Mackintoshes were at bitter 
enmity, and countless were the combats, large and 
small, that took place between these rival clans. 
The renowned Sir Ewan Cameron had a great deal 
to do with gaining the battle of Killiecrankie, as 
before the fight commenced he went round to his 
men individually, exacting a promise from each to 
conquer or die, and the rush of the Lochaber men 
was the decisive moment of the day. The hero of 
so many fights died in his bed at the age of ninety. 
Of this chieftain tradition relates that, being over- 
taken by darkness on a winter's day while crossing 
some hills when on a warlike expedition, as he 
and his followers laid themselves down in the snow- 
covered heather, he detected one of them making 
a large snowball to serve him as a pillow, whereupon 



92 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Sir Ewan upbraided him bitterly with his effeminate 
desire to make himself comfortable ! This gallant 
gentleman also, when out on a skirmish with the 
Fort William garrison, becoming detached from 
his men, was surprised by an English officer of much 
greater size and strength, who called on Sir Ewan 
to surrender. That, however, was the last thing to 
be thought of, and the two closed with equal fury ; 
at length Lochiel struck his adversary's sword from 
his hand, when both closed and fell to the ground, 
where for long they wrestled in deadly grip. Bit by 
bit the weight and strength of the Englishman began 
to tell, until at last, being fairly above Lochiel, he 
stretched out his neck to make himself free to draw 
and use his dirk, when the chieftain, seizing the 
opportunity, sprang at the throat of his foe like a 
dog, and biting it right through, he held on so tightly 
that he brought away his mouthful and killed his man. 
Sir Ewan was worthily succeeded by his grandson, 
though his father was still living, and only died one 
year before him — "the gentle Lochiel," who suffered 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 93 

SO severely in that ill-fated attempt of 1 745 to restore 
Prince Charlie to the throne of his ancestors. In 
that year Achnacarry was plundered and burnt by 
the Duke of Cumberland's soldiers, and, like his 
prince, the gentle Lochiel had to hide in the hills. 
For eight days Prince Charles Edward lay hidden 
in the wood of Torvuilt, opposite the ruins of 
Achnacarry House ; while later, on August 26th, 
1746, Captain George Munro, of Culcairn, a brother 
of Sir Robert Munro, met his death on the banks 
of Loch Arkaig by a bullet from the musket of 
Dugald Roy Cameron, a devoted adherent to the 
Pretender. 

FOREST OF AFFARIC BY BEAULY. 

This is one of the most western of the six Chisholm 
forests, as it reaches nearly to the sea at Loch Duich, 
on the west coast. It covers some 30,000 acres, and 
marches on the south with sheep ground ; on the west 
with Kintail ; on the east with Guisachan ; and on 
the north with Braulen. In season 1895 it was rented 



94 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

by Mr. Arnold Morley, but I have not been able to 
collect any reliable details of what sport he or any 
previous tenants have had, although I have heard 
that in 1894 well over one hundred heavy stags 
were got, a large number, taking into consideration 
the extent of the forest. When, in 1893-4, Mrs. 
Chisholm's factor gave his evidence before the 
Highland and Island Commission, he stated the 
three forests of Affaric, Glen-Cannich, and Erchless 
held nineteen peaks, all reaching an altitude of over 
3,000 feet, while the combined acreage of these three 
properties was stated to be 80,000 acres, let to three 
tenants at \s. 6d. an acre, or ^6,000 a year, but 
I doubt if this rental has been maintained. 

FOREST OF AMHUINSUIDH AND ARDVOURLIE BY 
STORNOWAY. 

These two grounds, for Ardvourlie has been 
joined to Amhuinsuidh for over twenty-two years, 
extend to some 55,000 acres, and are the property 
of Lady Farquhar. Cleisham, the highest hill, 



JNVERNESS-SHIRE. 95 

rises to 3,200 feet, but the whole ground is hilly, 
rocky, entirely devoid of all timber, and of a 
peculiarly barren, sterile appearance. Owing to the 
amount of rocky ground, the stalker here will do 
best to clothe himself in mixtures of light blue and 
grey. Deer drives are never resorted to, as four 
rifles can go out daily ; the stags are weighed with 
heart and liver, and scale about 12 stone 4 lbs. ; 
seventy five is the usual total kill, and although it 
will be noticed that the weights are very small, as 
compared with those of the mainland, the venison 
is excellent ; indeed the Harris stags appear to be 
of an altogether smaller breed than the Ross-shire 
deer, and even if some of them were transplanted 
to English parks, and given the full benefit of fine 
pasture and good climate, it is very doubtful if 
they would increase to the size of the stags of the 
mainland. They are very thickly coated with hair, 
and often are lightish in colour, while naturally their 
horns are in proportion to their bodies ; but a Harris 
royal is usually as pretty a small but strong wild 



96 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

head as one could wish to see. Eagles nest each 
season in this forest, and under the watchful eye 
of Frederick McAulay, the head forester, they are 
never molested. Although Stornoway is the post 
town of Amhuinsuidh House, so beautifully placed 
on the sea-shore, it is more easily reached by those 
coming from the south by steamer from Oban to 
East Loch Tarbert. 

FOREST OF ARDVERIKIE BV KINGUSSIE. 

Of this place I have not been able to collect any 
authentic details. In my map of the deer forests it 
is put down as containing 26,990 acres, with the 
greatest altitude 3,569 feet. On the south-west it 
marches with the forest of Ben Alder — the only forest 
which it joins — so that probably the deer of Ard- 
verikie and those of Ben Alder are one and the same 
animal, and the stags of this latter place are famed 
for their bodies and heads. Ardverikie is always let 
each season, and has had a good many tenants during 
the last twenty years. It belongs to Sir James 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 97 

W. Ramsden, by whom it was purchased some twenty 
years ago, together with Ben Alder, from Cluny 
Macpherson. 

It was in this forest that Landseer painted a series 
of frescoes on the walls of the old Ardverikie House, 
comprising studies of his celebrated pictures, " The 
Challenge," "The Stag at Bay," "Children of the 
Mist," "The Dead Stag," and "The Forester's 
Daughter." When the old house was burnt down, 
the whole of these perished, but photographs of the 
originals still remain in the possession of Sir George 
Macpherson Grant, of Ballindalloch. In connection 
with the destruction of old Ardverikie House may be 
mentioned the curious coincidence that it should have 
been burnt down on the very day that Landseer was 
buried. 

FOREST OF ARISAIG BY FORT WILLIAM. 

Tins is a small forest owned by Mrs. Nicholson, 
and at present let to Mr. R. G. Dunville. It is 
situated on a peninsula, and covers between three 

o 



98 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

and four thousand acres, but I have not been able to 
collect any reliable details. 

It was in this forest that Prince Charles Edward 
found himself on July i8th, 1746. On that day he 
arrived at the summit of a hill at the eastern ex- 
tremity of Arisaig, called Scoorvuy, and, having rested 
there, he started afresh on that wonderful series of hair- 
breadth escapes and wanderings which only terminated 
when he was safely at sea, on his way to France. 

FORESTS OF ARNISDALE AND LOCH HOURN BY GLENELG. 

These two properties, owned since 1890 by Mr. 
Robert Birkbeck, and purchased in that year from 
Mr. Baillie of Dochfour, march with the forest of 
Glenquoich and the Glenelg and Ratagan estates of 
Mr. Baillie. The Loch Hourn ground covers some 
14,000 acres of very steep, broken, high, rocky, sterile 
country. The grazing is excellent, while the natural 
woods offer perfect wintering for deer. These 
grounds were cleared of sheep in 1890, and being 
a new forest, at present only thirty stags are killed 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 99 

on Loch Hourn during the season ; they are, how- 
ever, exceptionally heavy ones, the top-weight of the 
lot scaling 20 stone 7 lbs., clean. The Loch Hourn 
division is kept by the proprietor for his own sport, 
while Arnisdale is let each season, the present tenant 
being Mr. Sellar, and it yields, off much the same 
extent and nature of ground, a nearly similar kill 
as Loch Hourn. 

Both these forests are subject to the very heavy 
rainfall of over one hundred inches a year, deep lies 
the snow in winter, while the cold is often so intense 
as to freeze the salt water of Loch Hourn. The hills 
rise so abruptly from the sea that within half a mile 
of the shore they reach 2,000 ft. in height, and there 
are several peaks that exceed 3,000 ft. In some of 
the valleys the sun only shines during the longest 
days of summer, while at Loch Hourn head, as early 
as November, the sun sets at one o'clock, and in 
winter this is, indeed, a country in which the would-be 
weather-wise "might easily perish by conceit of their 
own fancied knowledge." Often also hay may be 



loo THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

seen rotting in the fields in November, and before the 
place was cleared of sheep, many hundreds perished 
annually during the winter months. Like all other 
gentlemen who purchase new property, Mr. Birkbeck 
has spent considerable sums in improvements, the 
crofters especially benefiting at his hands, for 
he has greatly bettered their houses, which were 
in a dreadful plight when he took possession ; none 
of their dwellings were water-tight, chimneys and 
windows were rare, roofs and walls were rotten, and 
in wet weather the floors were deep in mud. Now, 
however, water-tight houses with slate roofs are every- 
where, and Mr. Birkbeck's crofters are fully alive to 
all the kind works that have been done for them, 
while many of them are employed at good wages 
by the generous-hearted proprietor of these two 
estates. 

fOREST OF BALMACAAN BY INVERNESS. 

This fine forest, on the banks of Loch Ness in 
Glenurquhart, is owned by the Countess Dowager 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. lor 



of Seafield, and leased to Mr. Bradley Martin. 

It spreads over some 28,000 acres of grassy corries 

and fairly high hills, of which the highest is Meal- 

fourvie, 2,284 feet. In addition to the excellent 

pasturage, there are some 2,000 acres of wood, with 

good grazing in them. It is bounded on the east 

by Loch Ness ; on the west by the forest of Inver- 

moriston ; while the other marches are sheep walks. 

It was first afforested in 1857, and was cleared solely 

because it was found impossible to let the grounds to 

any sheep-farming tenant. Three rifles can go out 

daily, and it now yields an average kill of sixty-twQ W'.},'',';;' 

stags of 14 stone, heart and liver included. ^, , .\: '] ;,'."{' 

The late Earl of Seafield killed many heavy stags 
of upwards of 20 stone, the fine heads of which 
now hang on the walls of Balmacaan House ; and 
here, too, General Hope Craelock often stalked, 
and on this ground took place many of the scenes 
and adventures so vividly illustrated in his " Book 
of the Deer Forests," The present tenant has 
spent considerable sums of money on the place, 






I02 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

and by his banker's book it was proved before the 
last Deer Forest Commission that his expenditure 
had averaged over ^10,000 a year during the 
whole period of his tenancy. 

In Balmacaan, which is Gaelic for " The town of the 
son of Hector," also occurred one of those deplorable 
tragedies of conqueror's cruelty, common to the history 
of all nations, as after the battle of Culloden a party 
of fugitives, having taken refuge in a barn, were 
surprised by some of the Duke of Cumberland's 
soldiers, who surrounded their refuge, set fire to it, 
; ind either burned or killed the whole party, with the 
.'•exception of one MacLean, who made good his escape 
and alone lived to tell the tale. 

On the confines of this forest, on the shore of 
Loch Ness, are the ruins of the celebrated Castle 
Urquhart or Urchard, and the loch itself, according 
to traditionary legend, was formed in the following 
manner : At one period the great glen, which now 
lies under the waters of Loch Ness, was a beautiful 
and fertile valley, containing a wonderful spring, 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 103 



which having been blessed by one Daly the Druid, 
its waters became for ever after an unfailing remedy 
against all disease. The Druid, when bestowing this 
healing power on the waters of the spring, placed a 
stone over it, strictly enjoining that whenever it was 
removed for reaching the water it should immediately 
be replaced, or desolation would overtake the valley 
the day his commands were disobeyed ; thus his 
words became law with the people of the vale, and 
year by year passed away in peace and plenty. 
One fatal day, however, a woman went to draw 
water, when just as she had removed the sacred stone, 
a cry came from her cottage close by that her child 
had set his clothes on fire, and back she flew to 
save her infant, but forgetting to replace the stone. 
On this the waters of the spring rose rapidly in such 
a great volume as to overflow the valley, driving 
the dwellers therein to take refuge on the hills, 
until from all sides arose their cry of lamentation. 
" Tha loch nis ann ! " " Tha loch nis ann ! " " There 
is a lake now ! " which has remained ever since. 



I04 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

while to this day the splendid sheet of water is 
called Loch Nis or Loch Ness. 

Incredible as this story of course must be, it may 
yet however be true that at one time Loch Ness did 
not exist, for beneath the waters of Lochnell near 
Oban, some thirty years ago, there could be seen 
on still bright days the remains of a sunken village 
some fifteen feet below the surface. Nothing is 
known in the neighbourhood as to how this village 
became submerged, but there is the fact for certain, 
and that which has occurred on Lochnell may also 
have happened on a large scale to Loch Ness. 

Early in the 13th century Castle Urquhart was 
captured by King Edward and the English after a 
protracted siege ; later on it became the chief strong- 
hold of the Lords of the Isles, while after their 
defeat at Harlaw to Sir Duncan Grant was entrusted 
the command of the castle and the restoration of 
order in those disturbed and out-of-the-way districts. 
The Grants of Strathspey were originally a Strath 
Enrick family, of whom tradition says tha.t they lost 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 105 



their last possessions at Foyers on Loch Ness in 
the following manner : the bride of Gruer Mor of 
Portclair went forth, as was then the custom of 
newly married women, to receive the presents of 
her friends. At Foyers she was grossly insulted 
by Laurance Grant, and the matter being reported 
to her husband, he at once started to punish 
the offender, sailing from Portclair with several 
galleys full of fighting men. Grant and his clan 
rowed out to meet them, when a desperate fight 
took place in the bay to the west of Foyers, to 
this day known as " Camus Mhorbh Dhaoine," 
" The Bay of the Dead Men." 

Grant was eventually defeated, pursued, overtaken 
and slain, at Ruidh Laurais, " Laurence's Slope," 
above Ruiskich, and Gruer seized and retained 
Foyers. The clan Ic Nian at that time held castle 
Urquhart, and long and stoutly they and the Mac- 
donalds of Glenmoriston fought against the Grants 
and the men of Strathspey, whom they roused to 
fury by surprising and slaying a small party of 



ic6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

their men, whose heads they cut off and sent to 
John Grant, the chief of the clan, better known by 
the name of the " Red Bard." Slowly but surely 
the power of the Grants won the day, and The 
Bard taking possession of Urquhart Castle ruled the 
whole district with a strong hand, and history states 
that in 1502 he sold the king "sixty-nine marts with 
skins for £^1 2s. od." Later on in 1509 the properties 
of Urquhart and Glenmoriston were bestowed on The 
Bard in recognition of his services by a grateful 
monarch, and all went pretty well until 15 13, when 
one Sir Donald Macdonald of Lochalsh, who revived 
and claimed the title of the Lord of the Isles, being 
at enmity with the Grants, collected his forces and 
seized Castle Urquhart, together with a great booty, 
while for the following three years he forcibly held 
the lands. At the end of this period the Grants 
once more prevailed and returned to Castle Urquhart, 
but in 1545 their possessions were again seized by 
John of Moidart and his friends, who committed 
depredations so serious that it took the glen several 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 107 



years to recover therefrom, and to this day the 
natives speak of the incursion as " The Great 
Raid." In 1581 there appeared in the person of 
the reigning John Grant, known as " Big John 
of the Castle," a chieftain remarkable alike for his 
personal strength and his influence with his neigh- 
bours. Many are the tales still extant of his 
extraordinary strength, one being to the effect that 
when challenged to combat in Edinburgh by a 
very strong Englishman, he shook hands with him, 
as was customary at the outset of combats, and then 
and there by pure force he squeezed the hand of the 
Englishman into such a jelly that it ended the fight, 
a feat, however, which within the last sixty years 
has been imitated by a noted Cornish wrestler. On 
another occasion when Big John of the Castle was 
in London, he proved himself a man of resource as 
well as of sinew, for on some gentleman referring 
with a sneer to "the fir candles" still in use in 
Glen Urquhart, Big John at once made a wager with 
the scoffer that he would produce from his Highland 



io8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

property a finer candlestick and more brilliant light 
than could be found in London ; the wager was 
duly made, and Iain MacEobhain Bhain was sent 
for from the wilds of Glen Urquhart, a man distin- 
guished alike for his wit, grace and fine figure. 
At the appointed time Big John's opponent appeared 
with a splendid silver candelabrum holding a great 
quantity of the best wax candles, when in reply 
to a signal from Grant, MacEobhain stepped forth 
from behind a screen, arrayed in full Highland 
costume, holding a blazing torch of pine in each 
hand, while the delighted and astonished spectators 
with one accord proclaimed " Big John " the winner 
of the wager. Sad to relate, the name of this great 
man is associated with the contemptible plunder and 
murder of a pedlar in Glenmoriston. 

FOREST OF BEN ALDER BY KINGUSSIE. 

This is another of Sir James Ramsden's forests of 
which I have not been able to gather any information 
as to very recent doings. It contains 28,880 acres, 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 109 



and marches with the forests of Rannoch and Corrour 
on the south and west, Loch Erricht bounds it on 
the east, and Ardverikie on the north. It is very 
rugged, sterile-looking ground, and Ben Alder rises 
to 3.757 ft-, while at about 2,500 ft. above sea 
level there is a loch called Beallach-a-bhea of some 
two miles in circumference, full of good trout. 

In the days when I used to stalk at Corrour many 
and long were the spies I had into this ground, and 
at that time (1880) plentiful were the stags to be 
seen on it. Well, also, do I remember meeting the 
late Mr. Gretton in the train going north from 
Perth in the days when he paid a big rent for 
Ben Alder, and how greatly I was amused by his 
naive admission, " that when he took to stalking he 
had no idea it would interfere so much with racing." 
The Leger week had just ended, and Mr. Gretton 
was going up to the forest for a few days, only to 
hasten back to the south to his more favourite pastime, 
and after telling me this, he finished up by saying, " I 
mean to have a deer drive one day whatever way the 



iio THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

wind may blow or Clarke may say." Three days later 
Mr. Gretton did have his drive, for on that same 
day I was shooting grouse at Corrour, on the sheep 
ground of Ben Alder glen, when suddenly in many 
places in the sky-line there appeared large herds of 
trotting, frightened, galloping deer; I think from five 
to seven hundred beasts of all sorts must have been 
put on to our ground, while later I heard Mr. Gretton 
had insisted on his drive in spite of a bad wind and 
all the entreaties of Edward Clarke, the then head 
forester. Poor Clarke ! for nearly forty years he 
had been in Ben Alder, till in the winter of 1888 he 
met with his death from an accident in the forest he 
was so devoted to ; for when out after hinds with his 
son in the winter snows on the neaily precipitous 
sides of Ben Alder, as bad fate would have it, they 
sat down side by side on some snow-covered heather, 
and the next second they were both rolling headlong 
down the hill in the midst of a small avalanche. The 
son escaped with a severe bruising and a broken 
leg, which caused his progress in search of help 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 1 1 1 

to be very slow, for in order to reach assistance, he 
was compelled most reluctantly to leave his father, 
who was still breathing ; a terrible snow-storm then 
came on, and when at length the search party 
arrived near the scene of the disaster, much precious 
time was wasted in seeking out the exact spot 
where poor Clarke had been left ; which, when it was 
at length found, only disclosed, on the removal of the 
snow, the forester's body frozen stiff beneath its 
white shroud. 

Ben Alder, afforested in 1838, had the Marquis 
of Abercorn for its first tenant, and since then, 
in addition to others. Lord Henry Bentinck, the 
Earl of Zetland, Mr. Gretton and Baron J. W. H. 
Schroder have each been tenants of this forest. 
For many years it yielded from ninety to one 
hundred stags each season, a total which has not 
of late years been maintained. In 1886, when 
Baron Schroder had it, he killed, with a view to 
nursing, but thirty-one stags, which made the fine 
average of 16 stone clean, and by degrees, under 



112 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

his good management, the number of the slain was 
worked up to fifty or fifty-five stags of the same 
very heavy weight. 

It was in this forest that Cluny Macpherson hid 
for so long in the time of the Pretender, as for nine 
years after Culloden he laid low in huts, caves and 
vaults in this district, while during all that time a 
heavy price was placed upon his head. A good part 
of these years of concealment he passed on Ben Alder 
in a singular natural retreat known as " The Cage," 
and here, when Prince Charles Edward escaped from 
the Western Isles, he was entertained by Cluny for 
some three months as well as circumstances would 
permit. 

When the Prince arrived in Ben Alder he was 
actually in rags, but his devoted host soon put matters 
right for him, Charles Edward then passing his spare 
time in the study of Gaelic ; while, as he had for com- 
panions both Cluny and Cameron of Lochiel, whose 
trusty Highlanders kept them well supplied with the 
necessaries and even some of the luxuries of life, it is 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 113 



probable these three months passed in " The Cage " 
must have been the pleasantest and most cheerful 
time the Pretender had experienced since the fatal 
day of Culloden. 

When at last Cluny made up his mind to follow 
the example of so many of his other brother chieftains 
by seeking safety in France, he went to take leave 
of Mr. Macdonald of Tulloch, an old deerstalking 
friend, and on Cluny saying how much he wished 
to kill one more deer in Ben Alder ere he quitted 
his beloved country for ever, Macdonald and he at 
once proceeded to put the plan into execution ; 
arriving in the forest, they soon discovered a solitary 
stag, but, on getting nearly within shot, something 
alarmed him, and he bolted off full-tilt for about 
two miles ; then suddenly stopping, he seemed to be 
considering whether there was any real cause for 
alarm ; at the end of the pause he abruptly wheeled 
about and most deliberately cantered back to the 
very spot he started from, where he was shot dead 
by Cluny, who looked upon the manner of his last 

Q 



114 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Stalk as being a very good omen for the time to 
come, in which he was not wrong, as proved by 
future events. 

It is impossible to read the accounts of Clunie's 
adventures, during the nine years of his wanderings, 
without being impressed with the chivalrous daring 
of his character. Clearly he was a firm believer in 
the old Highland saying of: "Better trust to a 
bulwark of bones than a castle of stones," and if 
ever there was a chieftain who was both " steel lord 
and skin lord," Cluny Macpherson was he. The old 
Highlanders used to call those chieftains " steel " 
lords who kept and held their lands by the sword ; 
the " skin " lords were those who relied on their title- 
deeds engrossed on parchment to prove their rights. 

One of the most ancient stories in connection 
with Ben Alder relates to the days when wolves 
were common in the mountain fastnesses. At that 
period a Mr. Macpherson of Breakachy having 
charge of this forest, was one day in quest of 
venison accompanied by a servant when they came 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. iij 

on a wolfs den, the master promptly asking his man 
whether he would choose to enter and destroy the cubs 
or remain outside to keep guard against an attack 
from the old ones, should they return ; the man 
electing to stay without, his master forthwith crept 
into the lair, and had no sooner disappeared from 
view than the old wolves were seen approaching, 
whereupon the man at once took to his heels without 
even warning his laird of the danger. Macpherson, 
however, being a strong, active man and well-armed, 
killed the old wolves one after the other, and then 
coming out of the cave, he saw his servant a long 
way oif, and dissembling the contemptuous anger he 
felt at his servitor's cowardice, he recalled him and 
continued his way, merely saying that as it was now 
late he intended to remain for the night in a forest 
bothy near by. It was quite dark by the time this 
was reached, and Macpherson, who entered first, 
stretched out his hand to gather some dry heather 
from the bothy bed in order to get material for a 
fire, when to his surprise he found his fingers resting 



ii6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

on the face of a dead man. Hiding all feelings of 
astonishment, he turned to his servant, saying, " I 
don't like the comforts of this bothy ; we shall get 
better in the other one a short distance off," and 
accordingly they sallied forth in search of this fresh 
shelter, which being duly reached and a fire lit, 
Macpherson, pretending he had left his powder-horn 
on the bed of the first bothy, sent his man back 
for it, and it may be readily guessed what a terrible 
shock the dead body gave to the nerves of this 
faint-hearted retainer, who fled back at top speed to 
where he had left his master, but on regaining the 
hut he found to his great dismay all was dark 
and empty, for Macpherson had set off home as 
soon as he saw his valiant man depart for the 
powder flask. Tradition says the fright nearly cost 
the man his life, "for he fevered and was many 
weeks before he recovered." 



INVERNESS-SHIRE.- ny 



FOREST OF BOBLAINE, 

This is a small forest of Lord Lovat's, let with 
Beaufort Castle to Mr. Lucas Tooth. It is similar 
ground to Farley, but has a larger area, and probably 
contains the biggest wood in Scotland, of 2,500 acres 
in extent. It marches with Lord Seafield's and 
the Eskadaile shootings, but I have no particulars 
of the number of stasfs killed. 

FOREST OF BRAULEN BY BEAULV. 

This is one of the seven deer forests owned by 
Lord Lovat, and was afforested in 1835 by the 
grandfather of the present Lord. The late Lord 
Lovat was in the habit of letting Braulen and Struy 
as a whole, and in those days the two combined 
went under the name of Forest of Glenstrathfarrar. 
Braulen, rented for the season of 1895 by Mr. J. W. 
Baxendale, covers about 30,000 acres, in which are 
many fine bold corries, and altogether it is a big- 
featured ground of one long wide glen, with the sky- 



ii8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

line the march on either side. Scour-na-lappich, the 
Ridge of Mires, and Scour na Corrie Glas are both 
well over 3,500 feet, and there are many other high 
hills in the forest. It marches with Struy on the 
north, with Glencannich on the south, and Patt 
and Monar on the west. On the south side of the 
glen, opposite the lodge, there is a large sanctuary, 
while the slopes of some of the hills are well wooded 
for wintering, although many of the Braulen deer 
descend to the lower ground of Struy for winter 
shelter. The kill is limited to ninety stags, which 
average about 14 stone 10 lbs., clean. Braulen was 
at one time one of Mr, Winans' chain of forests, 
which reached from sea to sea and practically made 
one vast sanctuary, out of which Mr. Winans had 
the deer driven into Braulen, where he killed them. 
When the late Lord Lovat first let Glenstrathfarrar 
to Mr. Winans, there were fully 1,200 stags of all 
sorts in the sanctuary, while during the last two 
years of his tenancy Mr. Winans killed, by driving, 
188 and 220 stags. 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 1 19 

FOREST OF CAENNOCROC (nORTh) BY GLENMORISTON. 

This is a good forest, belonging to Mr. J. M. Grant 
of Glenmoriston, and is at present let to Lord Tweed- 
mouth, who works it in conjunction with his own forest 
of Guisachan. Cleared early in the century, it consists 
of some 21,000 acres of fine corries, excellent grazing 
and good stalking ground, the highest point of which 
is Sgur-nan-Coubhairean, 3,682 feet. There is a 
good-sized sanctuary and a small amount of wood, 
which is, however, not much used by the deer for 
winter shelter, as the lower lying woods of Glen- 
moriston offer better quarters, to which most of the 
North Caennocroc deer wend their way in hard 
weather. This forest will carry three rifles, and, 
independently of Guisachan, should yield upwards 
of seventy-five heavy stags each season. 

A rising ground near Caennocroc is still pointed 
out as the scene of the battle in 1647 between the 
Camerons and the Gordons, led by the Marquis of 
Huntly ; and according to the glen tradition, Huntly. 



I20 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

being severely wounded, owed his life to the kindness 
of one Macdonald, of the Glenmoriston race of Mac 
Iain Chaoil, who carried him on his back off the 
battle-field. For this service the Marquis was so 
grateful that he inscribed over the gate of his castle 
the words, " Cha bhi Mac Iain Chaoil a mach, agus 
Gordonach a stigh," " A Mac Iain Chaoil shall not 
be without and a Gordon within." 

Also in this forest, close to the public highway, there 
is still to be seen the cairn that marks the spot where 
the gallant young Roderick Mackenzie fell. The son 
of an Edinburgh jeweller, he took up the cause of 
the Stuarts, and, after Culloden, was hiding on the 
lands of Caennocroc, when he was surprised by a 
party of the king's soldiers, and bearing some personal 
resemblance to Prince Charles, he was at once shot 
down in order that they might gain the ;^30,ooo 
reward that was placed on the Prince's head. This 
devoted adherent made no attempt to deceive the 
soldiers, and drawing his sword, refused to surrender 
alive, and expired exclaiming : " You have murdered 



INVERNESS-SHTRE. 121 

your Prince ! " an act of self-sacrifice that went a long 
way to ensure the Prince's safety, as for some 
time it was believed Mackenzie was really the true 
"adventurer from France"; and, until Government 
was undeceived, the watchfulness of the pursuers was 
much slackened. 

FOREST OF COIGNAFEARN BY INVERNESS. 

This magnificent sporting property, belonging to 
the Mackintosh of Mackintosh, spreads over 38,500 
acres, of which nearly 30,000 acres are afforested, the 
remaining 9,000 acres being good grousing ground, 
an adjunct which it is certainly most desirable 
to have in connection with a forest, for even 
" deer always " are apt to become monotonous, 
and there is many a forest I know of from which 
I would knock off three or four thousand acres 
of low-lying good heather ground to turn them into 
grouse shooting. Coignafearn has a large sanctuary 
of some five miles long by three wide, while plenty 
of birch wood with juniper offers shelter in severe 

R 



122 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

weather. This fine tract of country quite won all 
the sporting instinct and nature of that charming 
writer, the late Mr. St. John, who in his beautiful 
book, "The Wild Sports of the Highlands," devotes 
a whole chapter — " The River Findhorn " — to what is 
now Coignafearn forest, and he ends it by saying : " I 
wonder Mackintosh does not turn this into a deer 
forest, for which it is specially adapted." This was 
written about the year 1850, but it was not until 
1883 that Mr. St. John's suggestion was carried out. 
Situated in the Monadhliah mountains, the forest is 
a splendid stretch of wild ground full of springs, 
burns, tarns, grassy corries, while no less than three 
good-sized rivers rise in and flow through it, viz., the 
Croclach, the Eskin and the Dalveg, the three 
eventually forming the Findhorn, of which this forest 
is the watershed. Coignafearn is at present rented 
by Mr. J. Bradly Firth, where a previous tenant, 
Mr. Holland Corbett, once killed three thousand 
brace of grouse entirely over dogs. It is high ground, 
the house itself being 1,100 ft. above sea level, while 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 1J3 



many of the hills run to over 3,000 ft. More than 
two rifles seldom go to the hill, and the usual kill 
is from 38 to 40 stags, which in the season of '93 
averaged 15 stone 2 lbs. clean. 

Some time about the middle of the sixteenth century 
a tragedy, arising out of the following circumstances, 
took place in the fastnesses of Monadhliah mountains. 
Some of the clan MacNiven having insulted a 
daughter of Cluny Macpherson, a very large force of 
that powerful sept surprised the MacNivens, and in 
a furious battle nearly the whole of this latter clan 
was killed ; only eighteen men survived, who, escap- 
ing to the recesses of the Monadhliah mountains, 
built themselves a strong house, to which as a further 
protection they added a secret room built behind 
the back of the fire-place, thus gaining additional 
safety with warmth at the same time, and in this 
secret den these eighteen men lived undiscovered 
for some years, getting their subsistence by 
lifting cattle and poaching deer. At last their 
house was found out, while the frequent cattle 



Ii4 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

thefts began to make people think these outrages 
might in some way be connected with the missing 
MacNivens. Therefore it happened that one 
Alexander Macpherson, a heavy loser by these 
constant depredations, determined to try to find 
out something about the inhabitants of this mysterious 
house ; accordingly he feigned illness until his beard 
had grown, and then disguising himself in other ways, 
he arrived at the suspected house late in the evening, 
pretending he had lost his way and was starving. 
The door was opened by an old woman, who freely 
offered him plenty of food, while sternly refusing 
shelter. But Macpherson proved such a good beggar, 
that at length he got leave to lie down in a corner, 
where, curling himself up, he feigned sleep. Towards 
midnight the eighteen MacNivens returned from a 
foraging expedition, and not noticing Alexander, 
they pulled back the slab by which they gained 
the secret room. Alexander having been a witness 
of the whole thing, then slipped off and returned 
to his home with all speed, and summoning the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 



125 



neighbours far and near, he retraced his steps next 
day, when the whole of the remaining MacNivens 
were killed after a desperate resistance. 

FOREST OF CORRIECIIOILLIE BY FORT WILLIAM. 

This forest belongs to Lord Abinger, and in 
compliance with his wish I give but such meagre 
details of it as are published for the benefit of the 
world at large in the last blue book of " The 
Highlands and Islands Commission." Before that 
somewhat prejudiced, one-sided tribunal his lordship's 
factor stated that Corriechoillie consisted of 22,500 
acres of wild, broken, high and sterile ground, the 
highest part of which reached an altitude of 3,990 
feet. Afforesting was commenced in or about 1870 
and finished in 1883, the ground now yielding forty 
stags, but no mention was made of weights. The 
arable lands adjoining this forest have been protected 
from the deer by some nine miles of wire fencing. 
The autumns at Fort William are very wet, the 
average rainfall for the year being about 75 inches, 



126 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

April being the driest month, while the bulk of the 
moisture descends from September to February, 
which must interfere somewhat with the pleasures 
of stalking just at the very best of the season. 
It was through Corriechoillie that Montrose marched 
into Glen Nevis with his army on the ist of 
February, 1645, to fight the battle of Inverlochy 
with the Duke of Argyll, whose army, panic-stricken 
by the first onset, fled in all directions and were 
much cut up by the victorious Highlanders, many 
of the fugitives being overtaken and killed in 
Corriechoillie. 

CORROUR WITH BENEVRICH BY KINLOCH RANNOCII. 

These lands were purchased not very long ago 
by Sir John Stirling Maxwell from Colonel Walker, 
and extend to over 30,000 acres of every description 
of ground, which, until the recent railway to Fort 
William was brought through the moor of Rannoch, 
was always a "remote and inaccessible" part of 
Scotland. 



INVERNESS -SHIRE. 127 



The hill of Benevrich — Ben-y-vricht or Ben Vreek 

— the Corrie of Corriecraegacht or Corriecraegus, 

and the braes of Loch Treig have ever been famed 

for their deer, and it was of this ground the 

old Scotch hunter-bard sang when so pathetically 

bemoaning in Gaelic his old age, in the well translated 

poem commencing — 

" Great was my love in youth and strong my desire 
Towards the bounding herds, 
But now broken and weak and helpless, 
Their remembrance wounds my heart." 

In days gone by when I stalked at Corrour with the 
late Mr. Henry Spencer Lucy, the whole ground was 
not afforested. Corrie Craegus, Corrie Vallich, Corrie- 
na-cloich, with the Green Face, which joined Ben 
Alder and Rannoch, were cleared ground, and there 
the most of our deer were got, but Ben Eibhinn, 
3,611 feet, and Ben-na-lapt, 3,060 feet, have both 
been put under deer since those days, so that pro- 
bably the present kill is nearly double to what it 
was then, when two rifles used to average twenty-five 
stags a season, scaling about 14 stone 12 lbs. clean. 



128 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

The heads were unusually stout, wild, rough and 
black, for before Mamore was entirely wired in by 
the late Mr. Thistlethwaite, the hinds of Corrour 
found mates from there, from the Black Mount, from 
Ben Alder and Arderikie, so that no forest could 
possibly be better placed for incessant change of 
blood, and the " hind ground " of Corrour was ever 
doing good service as a nursery to the young 
stags of all those adjoining forests. In the rutting 
season so incessantly continuous was the coming to 
and fro of stags that Allan MacCallum, the head 
stalker, who during the season lived chiefly at Corrour 
Lodge, ever kept an early look out over "the flat" 
of Corrour, across which the Black Mount deer were 
accustomed to travel, and more than once Allan 
was in time to arouse his master and get him into 
the pass leading to Corrie Craegacht for which the 
deer usually made, but as on these occasions Mr. 
Lucy, forced into a hasty toilet, merely pulled on his 
knickerbockers and hurried a covert coat over his 
nightshirt, while thrusting his stockingless feet into 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 129 

his "hardy brogues," he thus presented an appearance 
at which we had many a hearty laugh. 

The celebrated hunter-bard already quoted was one 
Donal MacFinlay, who lived in Fersit, on the very 
spot now occupied by the shepherd's house ; he passed 
his days on the hills of Loch Treig and tells how 
in Corrie Chreagaich and Dhulochan he killed 
wolves as well as deer with his arrows, for no 
other weapon did Donal ever use. He died at 
a very old age at Inverlair, not far from Fersit, 
and in accordance with his last request he was 
buried, wrapped in a deer hide, on the brow of 
a hill overlooking Loch Treig, where, as he said, 
" the deer could couch on his bed and the little 
calves rest by his side " ; and to this day where 
breathes the deer-stalker who could wish for a more 
suitable or pleasanter resting-place ? 

At the east end of Corrour, and now, I believe, in 
view of the railway, is the celebrated Loch-an-Chlaid- 
hamh, or Sword Loch, The story of how it won this 
name is so interesting and so well authenticated that 

s 



I30 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

no excuse need be made for relating it here. In 
the middle of the i6th century Cameron of Lochiel 
then owned Benevrich with Corrour, with most of the 
adjacent lands ; a long-standing dispute existed, how- 
ever, with the Earl of Athol as to their marches and 
the grazing rights of certain of the eastern slopes of 
Benevrich, which were then, even as they are now, 
famed for their rich pasturage ; therefore many, but 
sanguinary, were the petty fights over this disputed 
point which were continually taking place between 
the followers of the two lairds. It happened that 
Lochiel and the Earl of Athol met by chance in 
Perth, when the Earl expressing his regret at the 
constant loss of life entailed by the dispute, 
proposed they should both meet on the property 
in question, each bringing but two retainers, to 
endeavour, on the spot and in a friendly manner, 
to settle the boundaries. Lochiel at once consented 
to such a reasonable offer ; a date was fixed, and 
the day before the meeting was arranged to take 
place he started with his two followers in order to 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 131 



be in good time at the appointed rendezvous. On his 
way he was met by the wise woman of Moy, who, 
on hearing his errand, ordered him to turn back and 
gather together " three score and five " of his stoutest 
men, and to take them with him. In those times 
no one dreamt of disputing the commands of a 
reputed wise woman or witch, therefore Lochiel clid 
as he was bidden, and marching off with his men, 
he concealed them in a hollow close to the trysting 
place. Before leaving them to meet the Earl, he 
explained the purpose of his journey to his retinue, 
and then showing them the cloak he wore had 
a grey outside with a red inside, he said he would 
meet the Earl with the grey side out, while if 
there should be any sign of treachery he would 
instantly reverse it to the red side, on which signal 
his men should promptly advance to his aid. 

At mid-day the parties duly met, each with his 
two followers ; then began the discussion, which, 
starting amicably, eventually developed into hot 
words ; suddenly the Earl waved his bonnet, at 



132 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

which signal fifty fully armed Athol men bounded 
into sight from behind a hill that had hidden them. 
Lochiel sternly asked the Earl what these men might 
mean, and received for reply : " Oh ! these are just 
fifty Athol wedders come to graze on Benevrich, so 
now, Lochiel, as you are powerless, you must submit 
to my terms for the settlement of dispute." In the 
meantime Lochiel had taken off his cape and turned 
it inside out, at which signal his sixty-five men 
darted into sight as he replied to the Earl, "And 
here are sixty-five Lochaber dogs, each one thirsting 
to taste the flesh of the Athol wedders." As it 
happened, the Lochaber men were nearer to the 
Earl than his own men, so seeing at a glance 
that it would be folly to engage a superior force 
with the certainty of being killed himself, he frankly 
admitted Lochiel had outwitted him, and immediately 
agreed to yield all points in dispute, while then 
and there he swore on the hilt of his sword — in those 
days the most solemn Highland oath that could 
be taken — that he would give up all claim to the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 133 



grazings of Benevrich, in token of which he hurled 
his sword into the loch, "to remain for ever as 
an acknowledgment of this compact." This done, 
each side having fraternized, departed to their homes 
with mutual good wishes. In the year 1826 this 
very sword, or all that remained of it, was picked 
out of the lake in a season of great drought, by the 
son of the Caimb herd, who took it to a collector 
of curiosities, the Rev. Dr. Ross of Kilmonivaig. 
The story, however, got wind, and presently the 
reverend gentleman was waited on by twelve stout 
Lochaber men, who demanded back the sword as 
a relic which no one had a right to remove, and 
having obtained it, the remains of the old weapon, 
of which nothing remained but the basket hilt and 
a few inches of rusty blade, were once more deposited 
in the loch with great solemnity. 

Prince Charles Edward, when making his way 
from Lochaber to shelter in the Cage of Ben 
Alder with Cluny Macpherson, passed a few days 
in Corrour, in a bothy on a hill called Mealaneach ; 



134 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

here Lochiel with two attendants was also hidden, 
and the Prince was for some time in danger of 
meeting his death at the hands of his devoted 
adherent, for they were at first taken for foes, and 
Lochiel being wounded in the ankle, resolving to sell 
his life dearly, the muskets of the bothy party were 
actually levelled at the prince and his friends before the 
mistake was happily found out. No trace of this bothy 
now exists on Mealaneach, and many a good stag 
has been killed on this hill since those days. It is 
very stony, rocky, broken ground, where, if a solitary 
stag chanced to be lying down, only very good and 
sharp eyes could detect him. It was on this hill on 
one Sunday in August, when taking a stroll with Mr. 
Lucy, that we both saw the best head either of us had 
ever seen on a living stag. We each had our glasses 
with us and got within a hundred yards of him, but 
he passed on to Corriecregach without being aware 
of the two pairs of envious eyes fixed on him, or 
the murmured expressions of our bad luck in not 
being able to follow him up then and there. Next 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 135 



morning we were both out at break of day, but 
never again did we see this splendid head of fourteen 
points, each of which was a real big one, neither 
were we ever able to hear of any record of his death. 
Sir John Stirling Maxwell is now building a new 
house on the shores of Loch Ossian in the centre 
of the ground ; there is a railway station close by, 
probably the inevitable hotel will follow, while the 
absolutely solitary hills and glens I knew so well 
will sooner or later become the resort of the tourist 
and the angler. 

FOREST OF CUCHULLIN BY SLIGACHAN, ISLE OF SKYE. 

This forest, belonging to Macleod of Macleod, 
and rented at present by Mr. M. B. Byles, covers 
some 35,000 acres, on which there is much high, 
rocky and broken ground. It is, however, only a 
forest in name, for, although the corries are splendid 
and well suited for deer, the tourists from Sligachan 
are all over the ground on their way to Loch 
Coruisk, Scuir-na-Gillian and Corrie-na-Creiche, and 



136 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

during the months of August and September the 
ground is never quiet ; added to this, there are 
also sheep on some parts, so that it may be easily 
guessed that chances at deer are not plentiful, and 
from four to five stags a season is the most to be 
expected, and these, too, not very good ones. 

This ground is more often called Glendrynoch 
than the Cuchullin Forest, and poor as the stalking 
may be, the other sport, in spite of the very wet 
climate, is good ; for in addition to a fair bag of 
grouse, black game and ptarmigan, a heavy score 
of woodcocks and snipes can usually be made. 

FOREST OF CULACHV. 

This forest, of about 9,000 acres, marches with 
that of Glendoe ; it has a small sanctuary, good 
wintering woods, and the highest ground of 3,000 
feet is reached on the summit of Corriearrick. When 
the wind is right two rifles can go out, and thirty 
stags a season is the usual kill. It has been occupied 
by the present proprietor, Mr. M. K. Angelo, for the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 137 



past eighteen years, who has been both tenant and 
owner, as he purchased the property when it reverted 
to the Lovat estate on the death of Frazer of 
Abertarf, who was a direct descendant of the well- 
known Simon, Lord Lovat. 

This is the only forest in Scotland where " cold " 
deer are habitually killed by deerhounds, for out 
of the thirty stags got in season 1895 nearly one 
half were taken with dogs. The deer are some- 
times approached with these hounds just in the 
same way as if a "rifle" were making the stalk; 
at other occasions, when the wind is favourable and the 
deer hidden from sight, the hunter can trust to the 
scent of the hounds, which is wonderfully keen ; as 
they near the quarry, the dogs, straining at the leash, 
are permitted to see where the deer are, and then 
instantly made to lie down. It now requires no 
small amount of skill with patience to slip the hound 
at the desired stag, which cannot be done until he 
separates himself sufficiently from the herd so as 
to allow the dog to see him — and him only. A 

T 



138 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

good hound, once having had a view of his quarry, 
will never change his stag, and it is marvellous to 
see how truly they hold to the original beast they 
have been slipped at, even though he may have 
forced himself into the midst of a herd of other deer 
in the hope of baffling pursuit. 

These hounds of Mr. Angelo's, when used only 
after wounded deer, soon learn to pick the wounded 
one out of a herd, and as they possess the ability 
to kill, are much quicker and more powerful than 
trackers, collie or ordinary Scotch deerhounds, a 
wounded beast is put out of his misery in less 
time than would be required by the ordinary hound. 
In this coursing of cold deer only one dog is 
slipped, the other being let go as soon as it is seen 
the first hound has gone right ; the second dog is then 
sure to follow the first, and as they are not slipped 
at deer in very unfavourable places, a good view of the 
chase with the eventual kill can usually be obtained. 
These hounds of Mr. Angelo's are the result of long 
and careful breeding for power combined with speed. 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 139 



In height and weight they far exceed the ordinary 
Scotch deerhound, while retaining all the supple 
activity of the breed. A Siberian sire and an 
Irish wolfhound mother have given dogs — "Goth" 
to wit — of thirty-four inches high at the shoulder, 
weighing, when in running condition, 135 lbs., or nearly 
ten stone. Although these dogs are of splendidly fierce 
aspect, yet withal their manners are most gentle, until 
slipped at a stag, and then their ferocity and courage 
are truly remarkable. Mr. Angelo has also another 
breed in " Bran II." from an Irish wolfhound dog in 
the possession of Lord Caledon, from a mother of the 
same species, which run up to thirty-two inches at 
the shoulder and weigh 130 lbs. Now Scotch deer- 
hounds have been bred to reach thirty inches, but 
when so large they are rarely of any use in the 
field ; twenty-eight or twenty-nine inches is their best 
size, so therefore it can easily be imagined what an 
advantage any dog would have when standing five 
or six inches higher and yet possessing equal speed. 
Mr. Angelo is likewise a great believer in the 



I40 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

benefits to be derived by deer from feeding off fresh 
pastures, and he has sub-divided his forest into five 
portions. From No. i division the deer are excluded 
and Highland cattle turned in ; the season following 
these are replaced by sheep, and the cattle are put 
on to No. 3 division ; then the sheep are removed 
from No. i to No. 2, and the deer re-admitted to 
No. I, and to this fresh pasture almost the whole 
of the deer in the place will gather ; thus there 
are successions of cattle, then sheep, then deer, on 
each division of the forest. In addition to the benefit 
to the deer, there is also by this method of manage- 
ment a reduction of forest rent, as ground suited to 
cattle and sheep fetches even yet a fair price. 

During the extremely severe weather of January, 
1895, Mr, Angelo noticed that very large numbers of 
deer came into a hillside covered with thick whins, 
and that not only did they shelter here, but they lived 
on the whin bushes, which fact may perhaps give 
a hint to those gentlemen in whose forests trees will 
not thrive, for I believe the whin will prosper any- 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 141 



where when once it has laid hold of the soil. In days 
gone by the country people used to keep utensils and 
implements specially for bruising and breaking up the 
gathered whins, which their cattle then devoured 
with avidity. 

FORESTS OF DUNDREGGAN (tHE MEADOW OF 

THE dragon), INVERWICK AND SOUTH CAENNOCROC 

BY GLENMORISTON. 

These three properties all belong to Mr. Grant 
of Glenmoriston, and are let as one to Mr. J. G. 
Bannatyne. The two first-named consist of 11,200 
acres of forest and some 7,000 acres of grouse 
ground and wood. South Caennocroc is about 
12,000 acres of cleared ground, with a little over 
3,000 acres of grouse ground. The forest marches 
with Invermoriston, Inchnacardoch, Glenquoich, and 
North Caennocroc. Part of the ground has been 
for ages under deer, and indeed as regards this 
particular portion there is no record that it has ever 
been anything but deer forest. It will carry three 



142 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

rifles ; the bag is made solely by stalking, and 
averages sixty-five stags of about 15 stone, but 
of how they are weighed I have no information. 

FOREST OF ERCHLESS BY BEAULY. 

A BEAUTIFULLY Situated but small Chisholm pro- 
perty, of which some 8,000 acres are under deer. 
On the north it marches with Scatwell Forest, on 
the south with Urchany, on the east with sheep 
ground, and on the west with Corriehallie. Erchless 
— written also Erglass, Earghlas and Easterglass — 
means in Gaelic " the grey valley," and here in his 
castle, in 1689, the Chisholm of those days manfully 
resisted a siege by his enemies, and it is of this 
hero the story is told that on hearing some rival 
chieftain spoken of with the prefix "the" attached 
to his name, he proclaimed loudly and with in- 
dignation that only three people in the world were 
entitled to such distinction, namely, "the King, the 
Pope, and the Chisholm." 



JNVERNESS-SHIRE. 143 



FOREST OF FARLEY AND URCHANY BY BEAULY. 

This small forest of Lord Lovat's is let to Major 
Paynter, and contains some 4,500 acres of open 
moor and planted ground. It marches with Erchless 
deer ground on the west, while in all other directions 
a deer fence divides it from the low-lying grounds 
adjoining. The kill is limited to 35 stags, which 
average 16 stone clean. 

FOREST OF FASNAKYLE OR FASNAKOIL BY BEAULY. 

This is another of the Chisholm properties ajid 
is let to Sir John Edwardes Moss. It covers about 
31,000 acres of ground admirably suited to deer, 
and marches with the forests of Glencannich, Affaric 
and Knockfin. There is no regular sanctuary, but it 
is usual to avoid one of the favourite hills for deer early 
in the season, and in addition to this many of them 
being fringed with birch wood for miles, also afford 
good wintering ; it was in these very woods Prince 
Charles Edward hid for three days when hard 



144 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

pressed to escape from the royal troops at Fort 
Augustus. There are several high hills, of which 
the highest rises to 3,400 feet. As a rule, the forest 
carries two rifles all through the season, though 
towards the end of the time and in good wind a 
third can be sent out. This forest has a history of 
its own, as from 1880 to 1893 it formed one of 
the Winans group, and on good authority I am 
told that during all that time no shot was fired on 
it, and that, as far as the actual killing of deer on 
this ground was concerned, it had a twelve years' 
jubilee, although probably the deer were at times 
driven off it into Beauly forest, for Mr. Winans' 
deer-drives ; thus many fine beasts were produced, 
but, nevertheless, during all these twelve years 
in-breeding was telling its tale, and for one good 
stag that was reared, there were half-a-dozen poor 
ones which never came to anything. In 1893, 
when Mr. Winans gave it up, Mr. W. H. Walker 
rented it, and got from one hundred to one 
hundred and twenty of the best stags in the forest, 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 145 

which was more than the ground would fairly 
stand. Sir John took it for 1894, which was a 
very late season in this forest, for on the 3rd of 
October he saw a seven-pointer still in full velvet ; 
in that season he was limited to seventy-five 
stags, and having killed sixty-seven by the 27th 
of September, he stopped on that date owing to 
the beasts being then already far run. In 1895 up 
to the 1 6th of September, Sir John had but fourteen 
stags and but two real good ones in the lot. It 
was in this district that that good sportsman, the 
late Mr. Edward Ross, commenced his career as 
deerstalker, when in 1854 he killed his first stag 
in Glencannich. In those days none of the Chisholm 
property was afforested, but beyond the head of 
Loch Afifaric Mr. Ross on his first day out fell in 
with some of the real big ones in a very steep and 
wild corrie beyond Cralich, his first shot result- 
ing in a splendid royal of 20 stones clean ; he 
slept that night in a wooden bothy at Alt Beg, 
and was out at dawn next day, when he again had 

U 



146 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

the good luck to fall in with this herd of "great 
gentlemen " in some very rough broken ground, on 
which in four shots he got four others of the herd, 
two of which were also royals. Five shots and 
five stags, three of which were monarchs, as may 
well be supposed made a great impression on the 
lad of seventeen, as indeed it ought ! 

THE FOREST OF GAICK, OR GAIG, OR GAWICK, BY 

KINGUSSIE. 

This forest, together with the others of the 
Badenoch district, is of great antiquity, the whole 
of them at one time having belonged to the Earls 
of Huntly. Two hundred years ago that nobleman 
owned Gaick, Glenfeshie, Glenavon, Glenmore, Drum- 
ochter, Ben Alder, and the Loch Treig district 
right up to Fort William, or some 220 square miles 
of truly magnificent property. In those days none 
of the forests were appropriated entirely to the 
deer, for the tenants were allowed to put up shielings 
on the edges of the deer grounds, and their cattle 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 147 

could pasture where they listed all the day through, 
on the strictest understanding that every beast 
should be herded back to the shieling each even- 
ing, and any that were left in the forest were 
liable to be poinded, only to be recovered by the 
payment of a smart fine, all of which regulations 
worked very well in those days. 

After 1745 the whole of the Badenoch forests 
except Gaick were let as grazings, but this forest 
the Duke of Gordon kept in his own hands as deer 
ground until 1788, when it also was let as a sheep 
walk, and so remained until 1826, when it was once 
again placed under deer. 

Gaick covers between twelve and thirteen thousand 
acres of fine stalking ground, and now belongs to Sir 
George Macpherson Grant of Ballindalloch, who 
bought it in 1830 from the Duke of Gordon, and 
as showing what a desirable forest this is, it may 
be mentioned that since that time it has had but 
five tenants. For the last twenty-one years it was 
held by the late Colonel John Hargreaves, of Maiden 



148 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Erlegh, that staunch friend and good sportsman, who 
early in last October died at Glentromie Lodge, in 
the country he loved so well, and Gaick is now 
held by his sons. The other previous tenants have 
been Sir Joseph Radcliffe, Captain Littledale, Lord 
Lilford and Mr. Edwards Moss. 

The forest lodge, of which a drawing is given, is 
quite a unique building of the old days, which, 
however, is to my mind more in keeping with its 
wild rugged, surroundings than any more modern 
or prettier style of architecture could be ; while 
once inside a house of this sort the interior will 
usually be found more solid, warm, and comfortable 
than the present-day shooting box, for on entering 
the hospitable doors of Gaick Lodge the scene 
quickly changes, and it can be recognized at a 
glance that the very thick walls must not only keep 
the lodge warm, but offer sure protection from and 
resistance to the fierce gales that periodically sweep 
the valley with such force as to make even this 
stout building rock, shake and quiver like a ship 



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o 
a 
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mVERNESS-SHIRE. 149 

Struck by a big sea. Stern, white, angular and 
uncompromisingly plain, Gaick forest lodge stands 
out by itself against a background of peat, heather, 
and green hill, towards which it turns its pallid 
front. Near the back of the lodge is the sanctuary 
of some two square miles on the shore of Loch- 
an-t-Seillich, by some erroneously called Gaick Loch, 
in which the natives vow there dwells a giant 
species of fish called Dorman or Dormain ; powerful 
fellows with very big heads, who, the legend says, 
pass their lives in trying to hinder the salmon from 
the Tromie from entering the loch, but in this they 
are not always successful, for Mr. John Hargreaves 
tells me he has caught salmon above the loch. 
Facing the house, but further up the valley, are Loch 
Vrotten and Loch-an-duin. At the back of the first- 
named loch the Doune hill rises sharply from the 
waterside to 1,000 feet, and has a remarkable appear- 
ance, as it is somewhat in the shape of a house, 
but there are many higher hills in Gaick, amongst 
them " Stac-meall-na-Cuaich," " the hill of the cup," 



ISO THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

" Bogha-Cloiche," "stoneybow," and A Chioch, "the 
pap," are each just about 3,000 ft. high. 

The forest is divided by a natural conformation 
of deep ravines into three distinct beats, north, east 
and south ; of these the east is the best, and over 
it Edward Ormiston, the head forester, most ably 
presides, for no gentleman could wish a better, 
bolder, more brilliant stalker, or pleasanter companion 
on the hill. The south beat, when I was last at 
Gaick, was well cared for by one " David," while 
" Big John " did the honours of the north division, 
and each of these men was above the average 
of stalkers. Gaick is splendidly suited to deer, 
being joined on all sides but one by other fine forests, 
for on the west and south-west come the recently 
cleared grounds, belonging to the Duke of Athol, 
of Stronphadrig, South Dalnamein, and Glas Choire. 
On the south-east. Glen Bruar and Atholl join in, 
while Glenfeshie runs on the north, and this latter 
forest divides Gaick from Mar by but a narrow slip 
of land. The annual kill varies a good deal, according 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 151 



to the wind that prevails during the stalking season, 
and ranges from forty-five to sixty good stags, with 
a mean weight of 14 stone 7 lbs., clean. During 
the twenty years Colonel Hargreaves had Gaick he 
killed just under a thousand stags, which makes an 
average of a fraction of close upon fifty stags a season. 
The worst winds for this forest are long spells of 
south and south-easterly ones, while breezes that 
continue to blow from north and north-west are the 
best. The present lodge has been built nearly a 
hundred years, and near it may still be seen the 
ruins of old Gaick Lodge, which, being placed too 
near the over-hanging brow of the steep hill on 
the left of the illustration, was in 1800 destroyed 
by an avalanche, by which Captain John Macpherson 
of Balachroan, together with his four attendants and 
some deerhounds, were all killed, for they had most 
unfortunately sheltered in the house only that very 
night in order to avoid the fury of a hill snow- 
storm in which they had been overtaken when out 
in pursuit of the hinds. The body of Captain 



152 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Macpherson was found lying face downwards on 
his bed, but so great was the force of the rush of 
snow and stones that it not only laid the house low, 
but carried the bodies of the four servants to a 
considerable distance from the ruins. About half 
way up the steep ravine, called the Gairb Gaick, 
which divides the south from the east beat, a track 
called Comyn's road runs into it at right angles, 
and at this spot, somewhere about 1390, Walter 
Comyn of Badenoch, a descendant of " The Wolf," 
met with his death. Tradition has it that this 
Walter, who inherited all the fierce tyrannous nature 
of his ancestor, Buchan the Wolf of Badenoch, had 
commanded a number of his farm girls to appear, 
clad in nothing warmer than the garb of mother 
Eve, at one of his farms at Ruthven, where they 
were to reap a field of corn. On the day fixed 
for the carrying out of this infamous project, Walter 
Comyn started on horseback to travel through Gaick 
to reach Ruthven, where he was to witness this 
outrage on maiden modesty, but his advent was 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 153 

represented only by his horse, which arrived bathed 
in blood, while from a stirrup there hung one of 
Comyn's legs still in its boot. A search was at 
once made, and his body was discovered at the spot 
where this ancient track descends sharply into the 
Gairb-Gaick ravine, and seated on it and busily 
engaged in tearing it to pieces were two large eagles ; 
and though there is nothing surprising in these birds 
making a meal from a dead body, yet the country 
folk, one and all, agreed that they were two of 
the mothers of two of the girls who were to have 
reaped the corn, and that magic power had been 
granted them to assume eagle shapes on purpose 
to attack Comyn, and defeat the accomplishment 
of his barbarous design, while to this day the fate 
of Walter is yet proverbial amongst the Highlanders, 
for when any of them are much incensed, without 
the means of revenge, it is not uncommon to hear 
them utter, " May the fate of Walter in Gaick 
overtake you." At the time of the avalanche there 
was an idea then prevalent, which is even now not 

X 



154 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

entirely exploded, that babies could not come into 
the world unless the mother had plenty of whisky, 
and at the time of this catastrophe one of the Gaick 
foresters was returning from the purchase of a cargo 
of whisky (carried ozUside him) for his wife when 
he met the party in search of Captain Macpherson, 
and having joined them, it is almost needless to say 
the whisky did not reach the wife. The baby was, 
however, born all right, and without the help of spirits, 
was duly named Donald Macpherson, and lived to 
become head forester in Caennocroc, where he died 
not so very long ago, for he lived to a great age. 

Stories of witches and fairies are rife in every 
forest, and indeed for that matter all over Scotland, 
Gaick being no exception to the rule, and the follow- 
ing two may serve as specimens for this forest and all 
the others : — A noted deerstalker was out early one 
morning in the forest, and observing some deer at 
a distance got near them, but without being quite 
within shot ; on taking a peep at them over a 
knowe, he was astonished to see a number of tiny 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 155 



women, dressed in green, milking the hinds, one of 
whom had a hank of green worsted thrown over her 
shoulder, at which, while she was milking, the hind 
made a grab and swallowed it. The fairy in a rage 
struck the hind with the leather band which she had 
been using to tie its hind legs during the milking, 
calling out at the same time : " May a dart from 
Murdoch's quiver pierce your side before night." 
Now Murdoch was no other than the silent witness of 
this scene, and, fearing to be detected, he turned the 
other way and departed to seek venison elsewhere. 
Later on in the same day he killed a hind, in which, 
when he gralloched her, he found the identical hank 
he had seen the deer swallow in the morning. On 
another occasion this same Murdoch, who appears to 
have been somewhat favoured by the fairies, had got 
within shot of a hind on the Doune Hill, and as he took 
aim he saw it was a young woman, and not a hind, 
that stood before him. He at once lowered his 
weapon, when immediately the thing was once more 
a deer, and this happened several times. When, how- 



156 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

ever, the sun set, he again took aim, and on firing 
the object fell dead in the actual shape of a deer. 
Murdoch being then suddenly overpowered by sleep, 
laid down in the heather to rest, when in a few 
minutes a voice thundered in his ear : " Murdoch, 
Murdoch, you have this day slain the only maid 
of the Doune ! " and, jumping up, he retorted : 
"If I have killed her, you may eat her!" while 
he at once bolted off as fast as his legs would 
carry him. In the present prosaic days this story 
sounds uncommonly as if stalker Murdoch had a 
weakness for the whiskey bottle, but be that as it 
may, his successors claim that the celebrated Mr. 
Sheridan was descended from one of Murdoch's 
daughters. Another commonly prevalent supersti- 
tion was the belief in a Leannan Stieth or fairy 
sweetheart, and all those stalkers who passed their 
days and nights in the forest were credited with such 
a connection, from which the earthly wife was ever 
supposed to be in great danger on account of the evil 
wishes and designs of the fairy one. 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 157 



Glentromie Lodge, about eight miles from Gaick, 
and only three from Kingussie, is usually let with the 
forest, and with this there goes some 11,000 acres 
of most excellent grouse shooting, the two places 
combined making one of the best of the many fine 
sporting estates of Scotland. 

FOREST OF GLENCANNICH BY BEAULY. 

This is one of the Chisholm forests, of which I 
regret having no particular information. On the 
north it marches with Monar and Braulen, on the 
west with Attadale and Patt, on the south with 
Benula and Fasnakyle, and sheep ground bounds 
it on the east. The glens of Affaric and Cannich 
are both very steep and narrow, and Longart at 
the head of Glencannich is perhaps the wettest 
place in all Scotland, and for this reason the river 
Glass, a tributary of the Beauly, is subject to most 
violently sudden floods from heavy rains or melting 
snow, which renders any cultivation of the low- 
lying lands on the banks of the river not only 



ts8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

most unprofitable, but nearly impossible, while the 
washing away of roads and bridges is a common 
occurrence. 

FOREST OF GLENDOE BY FORT AUGUSTUS. 

This good forest, formed in 1877, belongs to 
Lord Lovat, is rented by Colonel A. H. Charlesworth, 
and consists of some 18,000 acres of fine deer 
ground, of which the west beat is very steep and 
rocky, while that to the east is fine open undulating 
hill. Murligan wood, sloping to the shores of 
Lochness, affords splendid wintering, while the loch 
itself forms a good water march on the north of 
the forest. On the west Mr. Angelo's deer ground 
to Culachy comes in, while on the other side it joins 
the sheep grounds of Killin shootings, and one of 
Sir J. Ramsden's moors. The highest hills are 
Carn-na-hullin and Meal-na-caca, from which latter 
hillside issue springs nearly as potent as those of 
Hunyady, and hence the Gaelic name, which is not 
translatable to ears polite. In the middle beat is 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 159 



a sanctuary of considerable extent, zealously looked 
after by Rory Chisholm, the head forester. The 
usual kill is from forty to forty-five stags, which 
average the fine weight of 15 stones 6 lbs. clean. 
During the life time of Mr. Edward Ross, he and 
the present Lord Lovat shared this forest between 
them, and one day when stalking together they 
approached a stag in Corrie Arrick on a side wind, 
when, having got to about three hundred yards from 
their quarry, the beast laid down, and they had to 
wait on him ; suddenly the deer sprang up to 
bolt full tilt towards them, a proceeding which 
was followed by bang ! bang ! from the opposite 
side of the corrie, while two bullets smacked on the 
rocks not very far above the heads of the lawful 
stalkers. The poacher had clean missed his stag, 
which came galloping full tilt past Lord Lovat, who 
killed him dead, and after running up to cut the 
throat, but without waiting to perform the gralloch, 
the whole party dashed off in pursuit of this daring 
fellow, but Lord Lovat's shot had of course given 



i6o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

him warning, so what with the good start he 
thus got and aided by the broken nature of the 
ground, the would-be deer-slayer managed to escape 
scot-free. In this forest Mr. Edward Ross made 
a remarkable piece of good shooting at a fourteen- 
pointer, who after a difficult stalk got wind of 
the party when they were some 1 50 yards distant ; 
off he galloped best pace, and when at about 
180 yards Mr. Ross sent in his first bullet, the 
"smack" of which could be heard as it struck the 
stag, who, however, did not stop, but turned end on, 
giving no further chance till about 250 yards off, 
when an opening at length presenting itself Mr. 
Ross fired again, and the stag fell dead. On 
reaching the spot, it was seen that the first bullet 
had passed through the heart, while the second one 
had almost exactly followed the same line, for the 
two bullet-holes were not an inch apart. 

Old Murdoch, who was forester in Glendoe until 
old age forced him to retire from active service, 
relates a pretty story of the kind-heartedness of the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. i6i 



late Lord Lovat. One day when out stalking, and 
being near to Murdoch's hill-bothy, he went in, as 
was his wont, to have a chat, when, whilst sitting 
at the open door, there appeared a very fine stag 
feeding over the sky-line not 300 yards distant. Lord 
Lovat sprang to his feet to seize his rifle whilst 
saying to Murdoch, " Look at that splendid stag ! 
It is more than a royal." To this the veteran replied, 
"Yes, my lord; he is just a grand fourtecn-pointer, 
and o'er yon knoll he comes most days about this 
hour, until at last I've learnt to look for him and treat 
him as a friend." On hearing these words Lord 
Lovat at once laid aside his rifle, simply saying, 
•' Well, Murdoch, it will never be levelled against any 
friend of yours ; " and thus to please his old servant he 
denied himself a chance such as few deerstalkers 
would have been able to resist. 

During the occupation of Fort Augustus by the 
Duke of Cumberland's army, the hills of this forest were 
silent witnesses of many cruelly savage reprisals on 
the Highlanders by the royal soldiers. Indeed, the 



l6a THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

whole immediate district around Kil Chuimein, or the 
present Fort Augustus, became but one hundred 
and fifty years ago the scene of atrocities which, if 
historians are to be beheved, nearly equalled those 
Armenian horrors against which all civilized Europe 
is at present indignantly protesting. 

FOREST OF GLENFESHIE BY KINGUSSIE. 

This most excellent forest, so seldom in the market, 
belongs jointly to The Mackintosh and Sir George 
Macpherson Grant of Ballindalloch ; this last-named 
gentleman owns the larger portion, but unless the 
two properties are let as one, Glenfeshie would not 
be the good forest it is. Mr. Macpherson of 
Ballindalloch purchased his part of the forest in 
1812 from the Duke of Gordon. For the past 
four seasons it has been rented by the Baron J. W. 
H. Schroder, and covers some 38,000 acres, in which 
however is included about 12,000 acres of grouse 
and low ground shooting. More than two parties 
are never sent to the forest, which is essentially 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. ,63 



a Stag ground, the number of hinds being com- 
paratively small, as they prefer the lower lands 
of Mar, Atholl, Gaick and Glenbruar, which almost 
surround Glenfeshie. The late Mr. Ellice was here 
the introducer of the well-known "Glenfeshie Mix- 
ture," a shepherd's plaid with a large red check 
running through it, which, though here not now 
much used, still remains a favourite cloth in the 
adjoining forest of Invereshie, while later on, when 
Mr. Ellice bought Glengarry, it became the standard 
pattern for that ground also. The stalking is not 
difficult, as, although many of the hills are high and 
exceed 3,000 ft., the stags are more often found 
round the bases than on the tops of these very tall 
ranges. Brae Riach, "the brindled top," an admir- 
able description, is 4,248 ft; Monadh Mor, "big 
mountain," 3,651 ft.; Meall Tionail, "the gathering 
hill," 3.338 ft.; and Carn Ban, "the pale cairn," 
3,445 ft., while there are many others nearly as high. 
At the present time the season's kill is between 
105 and no stags, weighed with heart and liver 



l64 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

included, while for the past four years they have 
averaged about 14 stone, although every care has 
been taken not to kill small beasts. The present 
lessee attributes this shortness of weight to two 
causes : first, the grazing is not so good as could 
be wished ; and, secondly, owing to the small 
number of hinds, all the best stags desert the 
forest as soon as the rut commences, to make for 
the adjacent ones, in which the bulk of the hinds 
are quartered. Since Baron Schroder has had Glen- 
feshie, his best season was in 1893, when he got 
several fine stags of from 19 to 16 stone, one of 
which had a splendid head of thirteen points, with 
a span of 34 inches inside and 38 inches outside 
measurement. 

Since 1892 there has been a beautiful white hart 
in this forest, which has grown into a fine beast with 
a good head, but up to July, '95, he had not made 
his re-appearance, albeit the Baron has no doubt of 
seeing him again, as he has the assurance of all his 
neighbours that they will not touch him. In a case 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 165 



like this it would almost make the enthusiast wish that 
the old law of death to the poacher, of Henry III. and 
even later monarchs, should be revived in favour of 
this beautiful creature. Before Baron Schroder ruled 
in Glenfeshie, Sir Charles Mordaunt had it for 
fourteen years, and I can testify to the many splendid 
trophies from this forest that adorn the walls of 
Walton Hall, Sir Charles' house in Warwickshire. 
In a letter to me Sir Charles describes Glenfeshie 
as "a perfect place for all-round sport," and states 
that to him it will ever remain " I lie terrarum mihi 
praeter omnes angulus ridet," which is a pretty use of 
a quotation that also shows Sir Charles has not 
forgotten his Horace. 

In this forest Landseer painted many pictures, 
being especially fond of studying the deerhounds bred 
by old Malcolm Clark the Fox-hunter. At one period 
there were two sets of huts in the glen, in one of 
which, on the Mackintosh portion, Landseer painted a 
group of deer with a suspicious hind on the plaster 
above the fireplace; but as the huts came to be 



i66 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

disused, this chalk drawing was left exposed to the 
damp, and though the remains of it are still to be seen, 
they are in a very dilapidated condition. The other of 
these huts was for a long time occupied by Georgina, 
Duchess of Bedford, who was greatly attached to the 
place, and so much so that when the Mackintosh 
proposed to sell some of the pine wood, she purchased 
most of the finest trees, and her mark, consisting of 
a tablet with her coronet and initials, may still be 
seen identifying some of them, although, horrible to 
relate, many of these badges have been removed by 
tourist visitors to the glen. 

Landseer's well-known pictures of " Waiting for the 
Deer to Rise" and "Stealing a March" are both 
scenes in Glenfeshie, and the former contains the 
three portraits of Captain Horatio Ross, Charles 
Mackintosh, the stalker, and a then well-known 
character in Badenoch, one Malcolm Clark, commonly 
called Callum Brocair — "Malcolm the Fox-hunter" — 
who is drawn holding the nose of a deerhound. 

The following story of this man's great strength 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 167 



is Still often spoken of in the district : — Captain Ross 
and Clark had followed a herd of deer on to Cairn 
Toul, where they put them into a precipitous hollow 
above Lochan Uaine, from which they could only make 
good their escape by ascending the steep face very 
slowly. As the stags came into shot, they fell one by 
one, until five had bitten the dust, when the firing was 
brought to a standstill, because, in the heat and hurry 
of loading, a bullet was rammed down the rifle barrel 
before the powder had been put in. On examining 
the slain. Captain Ross was so pleased with one of 
them that he turned to Clark, saying, " I would 
give twenty pounds to see this stag taken home 
whole." Clark replied that it should not cost the 
Captain that sum, so, bending down, with the help 
of his master the big stag was hoisted on to his 
shoulders, which he then carried to such a place as a 
pony could come to, when the stag was put in the 
saddle, eventually to be laid out later in the presence 
of the Duchess of Bedford, on the green in front 
of the Doune House, at Rothiemurcus. This deer 



i68 THE DEER FORESIS OF SCOTLAND. 

scaled i8 stone, and the other four were all brought 
to the pony in halves ! 

FOREST OF GLENGARRY. 

This nice forest of 17,730 acres is the property 
of Mrs. Ellice, whose husband, for over forty years 
the well-known member for the St. Andrew's Burghs, 
purchased it from the late Lord Dudley, in 1862, for 
;^ 1 20,000, the then Lord Ward having previously 
purchased it from the Marquis of Huntly for ;^9 1,000, 
the Marquis being the first "stranger" owner of 
the estate after Macdonnell of Glengarry was forced 
to part with his hereditary property. It was afforested 
in 1866, and the whole ground is admirably suited 
to deer. Much of it is high rocky heights, 
Coire Ghlais and Ben Tee each being 3,000 feet, while 
large quantities of sheltering woods run along the 
shores of Lochs Lochy and Garry, out of which 
latter lake flows the Garry, so famed for its early 
spring salmon fishing, which is perhaps the best in 
Scotland. Loch Garry also bounds this forest on the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 169 

north, while Loch Lochy is another water march on 
the east, the sheep-ground of Lochiel surrounding it 
on south and west. There is a small sanctuary rising 
from the shore of Loch Lochy, which is taken good 
care of by John McLennan, the head forester. The 
best-coloured cloth is the Ellice plaid, a black and 
white check with large red squares running through 
the web. The ground carries two rifles comfortably, 
and though, when it is found necessary to push the 
stags out of the dense woods on the edges of the 
forest, an occasional drive is perforce resorted to, 
the bulk of the deer are killed by stalking. The 
usual kill is forty-five stags, averaging 14 stone, 
clean. 

When Mr. Ellice purchased this property he built 
a good house on Loch Oich, which Mrs. Ellice retains 
in her own hands, together with the forest, and keeps 
up all the many hospitable kind usages of her late 
husband. From Invergarry House the forest is 
easily accessible, as carriage roads and pony tracks 
have been laid out for this special purpose. On the 

z 



I70 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

shores of the north end of Loch Lochy was fought, 
in 1544, the celebrated battle of Blar-nan-leine, or 
"The Field of Shirts," in which Lord Lovat and 
his eldest son, together with three hundred Frasers, 
were routed and slain by the Clanronald. That 
day, the 3rd of July, being unusually hot, both 
sides stripped to their shirts before commencing 
the fray, in which five hundred of the Clanronald 
men were faced by but three hundred of the Frasers, 
tradition relating that only four of the Frasers with ten 
of the Clanronald survived the contest, while had it 
not been that later on eighty of the wives of eighty 
of the slain men presented eighty fatherless sons to 
the clan Fraser, there would have been great danger 
of the total annihilation of this old sept. 

FOREST OF GLENMORE BY AVIEMORE. 

This nice forest, formed in 1859, and covering 
some 15,000 acres, is the property of the Duke of 
Richmond and Gordon, by whom it is at present let 
to the Earl of Zetland. On three sides it joins other 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 



171 



forests, while on the fourth the deer are fenced off the 
low-lying lands ; it touches Abernethy on the north, 
Rothiemurcus on the south, and Glenavon on the 
west. There is a sanctuary of some 2,000 acres, with 
about an equal portion of very old fir wood, in which 
not only the stags of Glenmore, but also large 
numbers from the surrounding forests, pass the 
winter. In the centre of the wood lies Loch Mor- 
lich, on the bank of which stands a very large fir 
tree, for many years used as a nesting-place by the 
ospreys. Their last appearance was in 1893, when, 
in spite of all precautions, they appear to have been 
wantonly disturbed, and since then they have not 
again visited Loch Morlich. Most of the ground is 
very high and wild, as may well be supposed, when 
the highest hill is the well-known Cairn-gorm, of 
4,084 ft. The ground carries two rifles, and should 
yield 50 stags each season, but of late years this 
number has not been obtained, only because the 
ground has been lightly shot and not from any scarcity 
of deer, for the present lessee, the Earl of Zetland, is 



172 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

as much devoted to fishing as to all other sport, as 
is witnessed this autumn of '95 by his capture of a 
54 lb. salmon from the Tay early in October — a time 
which is just the very best for the hill. Fifty-four- 
pounders are, however, extremely rare, and there are 
but few deerstalkers who are also anglers who would 
not prefer to kill a monster to the rod in preference 
to "a real big one" with the rifle. 

Tradition says that the forest of Glenmore is 
haunted by a fairy knight known as Lhamdearg, 
or " Red Hand," but, as his last authenticated 
appearance was in 1669, it is more than likely that 

something has happed to the knight, or that the 
whiskey of the district is less potent, and belated 
stalkers can return home in the dark fearlessly. 

FOREST OF GLENQUOICH BY INVERGARRY. 

Like Glengarry, this famous forest, of 46,347 
acres, also belongs to Mrs. Ellice. The two 
estates are contiguous, the whole at one time 
forming the ancient possessions of the Macdonnells 



LWERNESS-SHIRE. 173 

of Glengarry. For the past twenty-five years 
this forest has been rented by Lord Burton, and at 
his hands it has had careful nursing, with all the 
benefits and advantages of large outlays in numerous 
improvements, for even in the single matter of roads 
alone upwards of a hundred and thirty miles of 
carriage drives and pony tracks have been made, by 
which means the lodge on the shore of Loch Quoich 
has been placed in communication with all parts of the 
deer ground. The bulk of the lands of Glenquoich are 
very high and extremely steep, the bases of the hills 
being well covered with rich pastures. The very 
highest ground is reached on the summit of Glourvach 
(3,396 ft.) at the back of the lodge, while there 
are upwards of a dozen other hills over 3,000 ft. 

Glenquoich marches on the west with the deer 
grounds of Loch Hourn, while on the north-west and 
north it runs with Clunie Forest, Glengarry comes in 
on the east, and Glen Kingie on the south. This 
last-mentioned property, of nearly 16,000 acres, belongs 
to Lochiel, being quite a good forest in itself; Lord 



174 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Burton rents it to join it on to Glenquoich, and it 
was on these lands that he killed the famous twenty- 
pointer of 1893. At the back of Glenquoich Lodge 
is a sanctuary of several thousand acres, together with 
a few hundred acres of plantations, while in sheltered 
situations in other parts of the forest are numerous 
detached woods of natural birch. The greater part 
of these lands have been frequented by deer from time 
immemorial, but until about fifty years ago Eastern 
Glenquoich was not actually cleared, while later on in 
1878 the western portion followed. 

James Henderson fills the place of head forester to 
the satisfaction of all, while stalkers and gillies are 
uniformly clad in a neat brownish check, which 
experience has proved to be the most suitable for the 
ground. Three rifles, who are expected to kill all 
deer by fair stalking, can take the hill daily, and though 
no limit as to number is imposed on Lord Burton, and 
though more deer could doubtlessly be got, he contents 
himself with a modest annual kill of one hundred good 
beasts, which for many years past have maintained the 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 175 

fine average weight of 1 5 stone clean. On the walls of 
Glenquoich is displayed as fine a collection of modern 
horns as can be seen in all Scotland, some distin- 
guished for their great span, others for their uncommon 
massiveness, and again there are those with exception- 
ally long and graceful points. Here hang royals 
in plenty, a fair lot of fourteen-pointers, a few of 
sixteen, and one — the king of the whole collection — 
has twenty tines. This last-mentioned head Lord 
Burton laid low in 1893, ii^ ^ somewhat curious way. 
Early in that season, and before stalking had fully 
commenced, he and a party were crossing the hills 
from Glenquoich to Loch Nevis, when coming suddenly 
on a company of stags, and seeing that there was 
no way of getting round them, or of approaching 
nearer without abandoning the trip to Loch Nevis, 
Lord Burton, who had his rifle with him, determined 
to try a long shot at fully three hundred yards, and 
dropped the stag dead, whereupon a gillie was sent 
off to do the gralloch, while the party resuming their 
route, it was not till he arrived home that Lord Burton 



176 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

knew he had got a head the like of which has, perhaps, 
never before been seen in Scotland. The Honble. 
Nellie Bass and Mr. Baillie of Dochfour were both 
witnesses of this good shot, and when they were 
married, the people of Glenquoich and Glengarry gave 
them as an appropriate wedding present the head and 
figure of the great stag most correctly modelled 
in silver. 

When the Macdonnells owned this fine tract of 
wild country for over two hundred years, it was the 
scene of incessant bloodshed and strife ; for the Clan 
Ranald and the Clan Mackenzie of Kintail were ever 
at loggerheads, and neither appears to have had 
sufficient preponderating force to deal to the other 
a death-blow. That the Macdonnells were entitled to 
be proud of their sept is quite certain, for, after the 
Campbells, they were the most numerous and powerful 
of all the others, and so greatly was this fact impressed 
on one ancient chieftain of Glengarry, that on an 
occasion when he unexpectedly arrived at a feast 
given by a neighbour, apologies were made to him 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 177 

that he had not been placed at the head of the 
table, and to these his answer was, "No matter — 
wherever Glengarry sits, that is the head of the 
table." An assertion of " I am cock of the walk," 
which was allowed to pass unchallenged. 

From time immemorial the Macdonnells were a 
hunting and a fighting race. They joined Montrose, 
and were "out" in 1715 and 1745. The last of 
the clan who ruled at Glengarry was Col. Alexander 
Macdonnell, who adhered strictly to the dress and 
mode of living of his ancestors ; he was a typical 
Highland chief, and as Fergus Maclvor he figures in 
" Waverley." His son, finding his estate hopelessly 
encumbered, sold it to the Marquis of Huntly, and 
he and his family, together with a large number 
of the clan, emigrated to Australia. 

FOREST OF GUISACHAN. 

This forest, which is about twenty-two miles from 
Beauly, covers some 16,000 acres, and belongs to 
Lord Tweedmouth. It disputes with Glen Urquhart 

2 A 



178 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

and Assynt for the honour of the death of the last 
wolf destroyed in Scotland, which was in 1743. Of 
the kill of stags or their weights I have been unable 
to obtain authentic information ; but as a further 
instance of how stags ramble and roam, it can be 
stated that Lord Tweedmouth shot a stag in this 
forest the morning after it had been stalked at 
Beauly, a distance of fully twenty-two miles as the 
crow flies. 

FOREST OF INCHNACARDOCH AND PORTCLAIR 
BY FORT AUGUSTUS. 

This is a very easily-walked forest of Lord Lovat's, 
formed in 1870, and now let to Col. Charlesworth. 
It covers about 15,000 acres of rolling slopes, some- 
what like exaggerated Sussex downs, the highest 
ground being 1,800 feet. It is bounded on the 
south by Loch Ness, whose wooded shores give 
splendid wintering ; on north and east it marches 
with Glenmoriston, while Inverwick (also called 
Dundreggan) meets it on the west. Th^ kill is 



INVERNESS-SHTRE. 179 

limited to forty-five stags, which average about 
14 stone 8 lbs., clean. 

FOREST OF INVERESHIE, OR SOUTH KINRARA, OR 
INCHRIACH, BY KINGUSSIE. 

Tins small forest, rented, together with the grouse 
and low ground shootings, by Mr. Heywood Lonsdale, 
belongs partly to The Mackintosh and partly to Sir 
George Macpherson Grant of Ballindalloch, and 
unless the two grounds go together — when united 
they make some 9,000 acres — neither would be 
of much use as deer forest, although when joined, 
as they are at present, they yield an average kill 
of twenty-five stags a season, with a mean weight 
of 14 stone, clean. Invereshie marches with the 
forest of Glenfeshie on the south, and with that 
of Rothiemurcus on the east and north-east ; there 
is no sanctuary, but abundance of old natural wood 
and thick juniper for wintering. The hills are high, 
somewhat peaked, and with stony tops. Sgorr-an- 
dubh, the "black peak," is 3,635 feet, and Sgorr 



i8o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Gavith, the "windy peak," is 3,358 feet. The cloth 
called Glenfeshie mixture, already described, is chielly 
used, and suits the ground exactly, which will carry 
one rille comfortably. The first tenants of Invershie 
were Mr. Farquharson of Finzean and Mr. Barclay 
of Urie, the former gentleman once killing with one 
dog and a flint gun seventy-five brace of grouse in 
the day ! 



FOREST OF INVERMORISTON BY GLENMORISTON. 

This ground, of 10,700 acres of good stalking, 
belongs to Mr. J. M. Grant of Glenmoriston. 
Glen-mhor-essan, " the glen of the great falls," 
has been cleared for many years, carries two 
rifles, and is at present rented by Captam A. 
H. O. Dunnistane, and to him and his friends it 
gives from twenty-five to thirty stags each season, 
which work out, taking one with the other, just 
under 15 stone, but how weighed I have not been 
able to ascertain. As a rule, several royals are got 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. l8i 



each year, and the walls of Invermoriston House 
show heads running up to seventeen points. 

It was mainly owing to the true aim of a Glen- 
moriston man that the Highlanders charged with 
such confident fury at Killiecrankie ; for just before 
the battle began Lochiel, who was supposed to have 
the gift of foretelling events, was questioned as to what 
he thought of their chances. " That side will win 
who first spills blood," answered he ; and on hearing 
that prophecy Iain a Chragain turned to a noted 
Glenmoriston deerstalker, shouting to him, " Do 
you hear that ? Do you hear that ? " while pointing 
out an officer of General Mackay's, who, mounted 
on a white horse, had rashly galloped out of his 
lines to survey the scene of the forthcoming battle. 
The stalker instantly firing, the gentleman fell 
from his horse shot through the heart, while on 
seeing this happy omen the hillmen with exulting 
shouts rushed to the fray. 

There have always been deer in Invermoriston, 
as is proved by the name of the mountain stretch 



i82 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

lying between Affaric and Corrie Dho in Glen- 
moriston, which for centuries has been called " Tigh- 
Mor-no-Seilg," " the great house of the hunting." 
In 1746 Glenmoriston House, with every cottage 
near by, was destroyed by the Duke of Cumberland's 
orders, a proceeding which forced the numerous 
Highlanders of those parts to seek safety on the 
hill-sides. Amongst these was Patrick Grant, together 
with three of the Chisholms, two of the Macdonalds, 
and a Macgregor. These " seven men of Glen- 
moriston " fled to the hills, binding themselves 
together by a solemn oath never to yield to the 
English, but to stand by each other to the last 
drop of their blood. They were all strong, active 
men, and making their home in the Cave of 
Uamh Ruaraidh na Seilg, " the Cave of Roderick 
the Hunter," in Corrie-Sgrainge, they commenced 
to lead a life of adventure, losing no chance 
of harming any small parties of soldiers or Whig 
Highlanders. They pillaged convoys, shooting the 
guards, and in carrying off the proceeds they 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 183 

murdered one Robert Grant, a Strathspey man, 
whose head they fixed on a tree close to the high road 
at Blairie, where it stayed until well on in the 
present century. When Prince Charles Edward 
escaped from the Western Isles, to commence 
his wanderings on the mainland, he was forced to 
seek shelter in Glenmoriston, and had to place 
himself in the hands of these seven men, who 
entertained him to the best of their ability, and after 
binding themselves by a great oath to stand by 
the Prince until he was out of danger, asked that 
" their backs might be to God and their faces to 
the Devil " if they did discover to man, woman or 
child that the Prince was in their keeping. This 
oath they observed so well that not until a whole 
year after the escape of Charles to France was 
it so much as known he had been amongst them. 

FOREST OF KINVEACHV BY BOAT OF GARTEN. 

This is one of the Countess Dowager of Seafield's 
properties, at present let to Sir Spencer Mary on 



184 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Wilson, being entirely surrounded by the grouse moors 
and sheep grounds of the Duke of Richmond. It was 
first cleared in 1875, the highest point of the 11,000 
acres of which it consists being reached at the 
summit of Carn-sleam-huinn, 2217 feet, while of the 
total area no less than one-third is thick wood, 
offering a vast dense shelter to the deer. Two 
rifles can go out, who should kill twenty stags a 
season, which will average 14 stone, with heart 
and liver included. In the season of 1891 the 
present tenant had the good fortune to secure one 
of the best beasts shot in Kinveachy in recent years, 
a heavy stag with fourteen good points. 

FOREST OF KNOYDART BY ISLE ORNSAY. 

This estate is of surpassing wildness and beauty, 
being full of steep, narrow glens, with high hills 
peaked, jagged, and fantastic in outline, with their 
tops nearly sterile. Sgur-na-liche is the highest 
ground and rises to 3,610 feet, but there are 
five more hills of over 3,000 feet, and twenty- 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 185 



one that exceed 2,000 feet, while as a good part 
of this ground is sea-girt, with the hills close to and 
rising abruptly from the salt water, it can easily 
be imagined the walking is severe, while even the 
most "hardy brogues" soon wear out during a 
month's stalking here. At one time, for more than 
two centuries, Knoydart was the property of the 
Macdonnells of Glengarry ; the late Mr. James 
Baird bought it in 1857, and was succeeded by his 
nephew, Mr. John Baird, in 1876, with whom it was 
once my good fortune to stay at Inverie House to 
stalk over these romantic hills. In 1893 my friend 
sold Knoydart to Mr. E. S. Bowlby, of Gilston Park, 
Hertfordshire, and each of these three proprietors 
spent largely on the place. There are some 50,000 
acres under deer, with a fine house at Inverie, on 
Loch Nevis, and a good lodge at Barrisdale, but 
it is from Inverie House that the bulk of the stalking 
is done. The present owner limits his kill to one 
hundred stags, which average 15 stone clean, but 
in the season of 1894 he contented himself with just 



2 B 



1 86 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

over half this number, as the severe winter destroyed 
many good beasts, no less than thirty-eight having 
been found dead, and of course all the carcases 
were not discovered ; of these fifty stags shot in '94, 
five were royals, nine had eleven points, and twenty- 
one had ten. Knoydart marches on the land side 
with Glenquoich and North Morar, having, in addi- 
tion to a small sanctuary, some useful woods for 
wintering. From the earliest days of the Mac- 
donnells Knoydart has seen a great deal of clan 
warfare. In 1643 Alexander Macdonald, (the cele- 
brated Colkitto of John Milton), a Highland relation 
of the Earl of Antrim, landed in Knoydart with 
a force of Irish for the assistance of Montrose, 
and joining him, they shared in all his victories and 
formed part of his troops when the Marquis made 
that remarkable forced march over the snow-clad 
hills between Fort Augustus and Ben Nevis, which 
the day following led to the surprise and nearly 
total annihilation of Argyll's army at Inverlochy. 
The last bloodshed that took place in Knoydart was 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 187 

in 1745, when an officer of the King's forces, in 
command of a detachment of soldiers pursuing the 
fugitives from Culloden, sought shelter from the fury 
of a storm in a lonely hut in Knoydart. Only the 
woman of the house and her infant were at home, 
and the child beginning to cry, the officer exclaimed, 
"Curse that child! If it lives it will only grow up 
to be a rebel like its father;" on hearing this, the 
sergeant of the party at once passed his sword through 
the child, the distracted mother being a witness of 
the brutal deed. When the storm subsided the 
soldiers departed, with their officer mounted on a 
white horse, but he, fearing pursuit and vengeance 
from the father of the murdered child, shortly 
after starting dismounted and proceeded on foot, 
in the meanwhile placing on his own horse a prisoner 
he was taking to Fort William. That which this 
gallant officer feared shortly happened, for the out- 
raged father, who had fled to the hills at the 
approach of the soldiers, returned home as soon 
as they had departed, and vowing vengeance, he 



i88 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

pursued them until he headed the detachment, when, 
as they came up to him, he at once shot the rider 
of the white horse dead. He saw his mistake too 
late, but escaping scot-free, he again came up with 
his persecutors, when the officer, thinking that all 
was safe, having resumed his horse, also paid the 
penalty of his cruelty, and the injured father once 
more escaped. 

In the time of the Armada one of the Spanish 
ships was wrecked on the Knoydart shores, and to 
this day there are a race of Catholics settled there, 
who show all those well-marked peculiarities of 
feature which belong to the Spanish race. 

FOREST OF MACDONALD, OR SCONSER, BROADFORD. 

This is an ancient forest of nearly 10,000 acres, 
belonging to Lord Macdonald, and at present let 
to Mr. A. H. Sharp, in whose rental is included 
the wages of four keepers, all rates and taxes, and 
the up-keep of the lodge. It is mostly rough, bare, 
black, moorland ground, cut up by precipitously rocky 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 189 

hills, of which the highest is 2,600 ft. It is bounded 
on the north by Loch Sligachan, on the east by 
the Sound of Raasay and Loch Ainort, and on 
the west by Macleod of Macleod's ground of Glen 
Drynoch. There are no crofters on this property, 
but the tourists are very troublesome, keeping the 
deer constantly on the move, and spoiling many 
stalks, so much so that the average kill is but 
twelve stags a season. Deer are said to swim to 
and from the Island of Skye to the mainland across 
Loch Alsh, and also even to come from Applecross 
in Ross-shire, swimming first to Raasay and from 
thence to Skye. This property has been in the hands 
of the Macdonalds of Sleat for several centuries, and 
although there have been other claimants to the proud 
title of " Macdonald of the Isles," the honour rests at 
this day with the present owner of Sconser. From 
towards the end of the year 1590 numerous were 
the clan warfares these Macdonalds took part in, 
especially with the Macleans of Dowart, and in 
1 591 each of these chieftains was condemned to 



igo THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



pay a fine of ;^4,ooo to the king, as a pledge that 
they would keep the peace, but the penalties were 
shortly forgotten, and a year later the Macdonalds 
and their neighbours, the Macleods, fought a desperate 
battle on the hill of Benquillin, when the latter clan 
was nearly cut to pieces. The Macdonalds joined 
Montrose, and were "out" in both 1715 and 1745; 
and the then chief was the first to commence the 
battle of Sherrifmuir ; they likewise did much to 
protect and shelter Prince Charlie, when he arrived 
at Mugstot, in the north of Skye, the residence 
of Sir Alexander Macdonald, after a perilous voyage 
from Benbecula, disguised as Betty Burke, the Irish 
maid-servant of the celebrated Flora Macdonald. 

FOREST OF MAMORE, OR KINLOCHMORE, BY ONICH, 

A FOREST celebrated for the size of the horns and 
weight of its deer, belonging to Mrs. Cameron 
Campbell of Monzie, by whom it is let to Sir 
Charles Mordaunt, the previous tenant for many 
years having been the late Mr. A. F. Thistle- 



JNVERNESS-SHIRE. 191 

thwaite, who enclosed the forest with wire. Though 
there have always been deer on this ground, 
it was only in 1852 that it was afforested. It 
spreads over 35,000 acres of high, stony hills and 
grassy corries ; the two highest points being Beinnein 
Mhor, the "big peak," 3,700 ft., and A Ghruagach, 
"the maiden," 3,442 ft. There is a sanctuary of 
about 4,000 acres, and good woods on the sea-shore 
of Loch Leven, and hence the deer, having the 
protection of this low-lying cover, rarely suffer much 
even in the most severe winters. Up to the time 
of his death, the late Col. Campbell of Monzie 
kept the forest in his own hands, and many were 
the fine beasts he got, for he was a good and keen 
stalker, while probably no man, gentle or simple, had 
a better knowledge of deer than he had. 

Here in the autumn of 1862 a somewhat curious 
and laughable adventure was witnessed by the 
Colonel, who, having wounded a good stag near 
the top of Corrie Gail, bade Jamie Macpherson slip 
the deerhound. The stricken beast made its way 



192 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

to the foot of the corrie, and plunged into a large 
deep pool of the river Nevis. It happened that 
the Achreach forester was about at the time, and 
seeing what was likely to happen, he raced down 
to his side of the pool, while Jamie being on the 
other side with the baying hound, the stag swam 
round and round, till, on nearing Jamie's bank, he 
at once jumped plump astride the animal, " Just 
like the rash little man he was," as Mrs. Campbell 
is well warranted in saying. Jamie was then carried 
about till he managed to open his knife with his 
teeth, and forgetting that he could not swim, in 
sticking the stag he scuttled his own ship, and 
would assuredly have been drowned had not the 
other man, by dashing into the water as far as he 
could venture, just managed to reach Jamie with 
his stick as he was sinking. The river Nevis was, 
however, eventually fatal to the poor fellow ; for a 
little time after this adventure, and purely to 
save himself a short walk to a bridge, he lost 
his life when attempting to jump from stone to 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 193 



Stone at a bad place when the river was in high 
flood. 

Mamore marches with the forests of Corrour, 
Inverlochy and Black Corries, but unless the fence put 
up by Mr. Thistlethwaite has been partially removed, 
these adjacent forests can be of no use to Mamore 
as far as interchange of blood goes. The present 
tenant is limited to seventy stags, the bulk of which 
are got by stalking by two rifles, and give a mean 
weight of 15 stone 6 lbs. clean, while in good seasons 
the average runs as high as 16 stone. 

In connection with the owner of Mamore and 
Meoble forests I must not omit to mention that 
Mrs. Campbell has been spirited enough to have 
translated into Gaelic for distribution amongst the 
Highlanders a pamphlet on the deer forests, most 
ably and impartially written by Mr. Malcolm, the 
well-known and popular manager of Mrs. Ellice's 
estates of Glengarry and Glenquoich, and to him my 
best thanks are due for the greater part of my informa- 
tion concerning these two last-mentioned forests. 

2 c 



194 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

In the above description of Mamore I have alluded 
to Mrs. Campbell of Monzie as the owner of the 
forest of Meoble, but this is hardly correct, as that 
part of her estate is let as a sheep farm, the tenant 
clearing a portion of it before the commencement of 
the stalking season, to ensure some good few heavy 
stags to his shooting tenant. 

FOREST OF MORAR BY FORT WILLIAM. 

This estate, afforested between 1880 and 1885 
and so well-known for its very heavy deer, is one of 
the Lovat properties, and on it the present lord 
killed his first stag. It covers some 13,000 acres of 
very steep rocky ground, the highest point of which 
is Sgur-na-natt, or " the hat hill," of nearly 3,000 
feet ; there are many fine grassy corries, and the 
absence of any wood for winter shelter is in a great 
measure compensated for by a small sanctuary, and 
the fact that the lower grounds of the forest descend 
to the salt water shores of Loch Nevis, where neither 
frost nor snow ever hold long sway. On the east and 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 195 

south-east it marches with Meoble, on the north-east 
with Lochiel sheep ground, while it touches Knoydart 
on the north. The kill is limited to thirty-five 
stags a season, which average nearly 16 stone 
clean, and in 1893 the present tenant, Mr. F. W. Gill, 
of Oswestry, made a remarkable bit of stalking and 
good shooting, as after getting up to a company 
of ten big stags he killed eight of them, which 
averaged 17 stone 7 lbs. clean. 

Towards the end of the fifteenth century this 
ground of Morar witnessed many battles and single 
combats between the members of the Glengarry clan 
and that of the Mackenzies of Kintail ; and later 
on, in 1745, after Culloden, Simon Fraser, Lord 
Lovat, hid himself here for a considerable time in a 
hollow tree. It was also in Morar, at the south end 
of Loch Nevis, where the present estates of Knoydart 
and Morar join, that Prince Charles landed, when 
making his escape from the Isle of Skye, and so 
hot was the pursuit in these out-of-the-way regions, 
that he was forced to pass three nights in the open 



196 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

air, and on the fourth, having placed himself under 
the guidance of John Mackinnon of Morar, Charles 
had a most narrow escape of capture whilst being 
rowed further down the loch to a place of greater 
security, for, coming suddenly round a corner of 
rock, they found themselves in the presence of a party 
of militia who had just landed, but before the soldiers 
could regain their boat, such a good start was got 
that the Pretender's party were enabled to save 
themselves by running ashore at a spot where a 
dense wood came down to the water's edge, in which 
they made a successful escape. The prince then 
sought shelter with Macdonald of Morar, taking the 
place of Mackinnon's servant on the journey. On 
approaching a swollen ford, Mackinnon, being anxious 
to keep Charles dry, asked their guide to carry " this 
poor sick fellow " across, a request which was angrily 
refused, the man saying, " The deil be on the back he 
comes, or any wretched fellow of a servant like him, 
but, sir, I will carry you over with pleasure ; " to 
this kind offer Mackinnon replied, "No, by no means, 



INVERNESS-SHIRE. 197 

SO if the lad must needs wade, then I will wade 
with him to see he comes to no harm," so taking 
Charles by the arm, they proceeded to ford the 
swollen waters. On reaching Morar House, they 
found Macdonald living in a hut, his own mansion 
having been destroyed by the king's soldiers, and 
Charles, fancying he was not too welcome, continued 
his journey to Borobol. 

FOREST OF ROTHIEMURCUS BY AVIEMORE. 

This ancient forest is one of the few of which I 
have not been able to collect any reliable information. 
It is owned by Mr. Sheriff Grant, rented by Mr. 
Hargreaves Brown, and covers some 19,000 acres 
of well-wooded, fine-looking deer ground, the greater 
part of which can be seen from the Highland rail- 
way, as the train runs from Kincraig to Aviemore. 
It was near the old castle of Rothiemurcus that the 
Marquis of Montrose pitched his camp when pursued 
by the Duke of Argyll, from whence he made a 
masterly retreat into the forest of Abernethy. Rothie- 



198 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

murcus is still famed for being one of the very few 
places where the nearly extinct osprey yet breeds, 
as on Loch-an-Eilean they continue to nest on a 
small island in the middle of a lake ; here also, in 
1526, there took refuge one James Malcolmson, who 
had murdered his kinsman, Lauchlan Mackintosh, 
" a verrie honest and wise gentleman;" the water- 
girt shelter, however, was of no avail, for during a 
dark night Lauchlan's friends crossed to the isle, 
surprised, and slew the assassin. 

FOREST OF STRUY BY BEAULY, 

This is another of Lord Lovat's forests, of about 
18,000 acres of big- featured high ground, very similar 
to Braulen, and now let on a long lease to Mr. 
Douglas H. Barry. Cleared in 1885, it is wholly 
surrounded by other deer grounds, for it marches 
with Braulen on the west, Strathconan on the north, 
Erchless on the east, and Cannich with Fasnakyle 
on the south ; there is no absolute sanctuary, but 
the hill of Cam Ban, 2,410 feet, is kept quiet till 




Di 

O 

■X. 

cu 

a: 
■X. 

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INVERNESS-SHIRE. 199 

late in the season, and added to this, on each 
side of the glen there is some six miles of wood. 
It carries two rifles, but takes a third during the 
last few days of the first fortnight in October. The 
kill is limited to sixty stags, which are weighed 
with heart and liver, and owing to careful nursing, 
combined with good management, a steadily increasing 
gain of weight is being established, for while in 
Mr. Barry's first year, of 1892, the average was but 
13 stone 6 lbs., it has been steadily increased, until 
in 1895 it reached 14 stone 5 lbs. ; an improvement 
which the lessee is hopeful of augmenting for several 
seasons to come. On the 9th of October, 1893, 
Mr. Barry had the good fortune to secure a re- 
markable three-horned stag, of whose head an 
illustration is given ; his curious head proved his 
death-warrant, for he was much run when shot, 
and only killed for the sake of the extraordinary 
horns, each one having a distinct coronet, the right 
horn being 26 inches in length, and the two left 
ones 22 and 22 J inches. In October, 1895, Mr. 



200 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Barry also had the luck to lay low the heaviest stag 
got in this forest for very many years, which scaled 
20 stone 10 lbs. 

The house of Struy — Gaelic, Strui, Streams — is 
built near the junction of the Farrar with the Glass, 
and close to it is the ford of Ath-nan-ceann, "the 
ford of the heads," which derives its name from a 
fight which took place there about two hundred years 
ago, when some of the clan Fraser being detected 
by a number of the Chisholms in a cattle-raiding 
expedition, the opposing parties actually met in the 
water, when in a fierce contest the Chisholms were 
victorious, although next day so many heads of both 
victors and vanquished were found in the ford that 
hence its name. 



201 



Chapter VIII. 
PERT HSH IRE. 

FOREST OF ATHOLL BY BLAIR ATHOLL. 

I CANNOT but feel the greatest diffidence in dealing 
with this magnificent tract of country, for it has 
already been most ably and elaborately treated of 
by Mr. Scrope in his " Days of Deerstalking." 

In addition to the splendid sport it affords, the 
estate abounds in historical recollections mixed up 
with traditions of clanish warfare and adventures, on 
which subjects alone a whole volume could easily be 
written. This is certainly one of the oldest, if not 
actually the most ancient, of all the Scotch forests, for 
there have been deer and Murrays in Atholl from 
time immemorial. As is well known. Queen Mary 
witnessed a great hunting in Atholl in 1563, when, 

2 D 



202 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

in addition to a number of deer, five wolves were 
included in the spoils of the day. Mr. Scrope states 
that in his time, 1838, the whole property extended 
to 135,451 imperial acres, of which 51,000 acres was 
forest, the rest being sheep ground, while he estimates 
the total head of deer of all sorts to have been 
between five and six thousand. It is probable that 
in the above-mentioned estimates there is included the 
areas and deer of the forests of Fealar and Glenbruar, 
both of which being now let to tenants, leaves the 
Atholl forest of to-day to extend over some 35,000 
acres of as fine deer ground as could be desired, of 
which the most prominent features are the two big 
hills of Ben Derig or Dearg— " The Red Hill "— 
{l^lZ'^ ft.), and Ben-y-Gloe (3,670 ft), which of itself 
contains no less than twenty-four separate corries, and 
even as in Scrope's day, it is still supposed to be the 
abode of a witch who, feeding on live snakes, has the 
power of assuming the shape of hind, eagle or raven, 
together with the ability to drive cattle into morasses, 
destroy roads or bridges, and commit other damages, 



PERTHSHIRE. 203 



which, however, the forces of Nature can usually 
accomplish but too well without the aid of witchcraft. 
The cloth worn as the most suitable to this forest 
is a peculiar slate-grey, which varies very much in 
appearance according to the light in which it is 
viewed, but doubtlessly well adapted to sunshine 
and shadow on stony ground. The "Atholl grey" 
was introduced about one hundred years ago by 
the fourth Duke, whose foresters' dress then consisted 
of an Atholl grey swallow-tailed coat, " yests to 
match " (as my tailor's bill puts it), red and green 
Tartan hose, with an Atholl Tartan kilt, the 
whole being topped by an Atholl bonnet — a sort of 
Balmoral, one, with a red, green, and white diced 
band, identical with the regimental ribbon of the 
old 25th King's Own Borderers, now the Scottish 
Borderers. When the present Duke succeeded in 
1864, he substituted black and red worsted hose for 
the Tartan ones, modernized the cut of the coat, while 
an Atholl grey stalking-cap, with peak's fore and aft 
and ear-flaps, took the place of the bonnet, and 



304 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Atholl now remains the only forest where the use 
of the kilt is still strictly adhered to. During the 
present Duke's time this small alteration in dress, 
together with the abolition of deer drives, have 
been the only changes made in the forest manage- 
ment since rifles and spyglasses first came into use. 
Towards the end of the fifteenth century saltpetre 
was being burnt on the hill, one Angus Baillie, 
of Uppat, having the credit of killing deer early 
in that century with his "glasnabhean," or mountain 
match-lock, although the rifle's helpmate, the spyglass, 
did not come into use before 1777. 

When Mr. Scrope stayed in Atholl, deer drives 
on a large scale often took place, and spirited indeed 
are his descriptions of them, while equally enter- 
taining also are his narrations of the adventures and 
hardships to be faced by the stalker ; but whether he 
discourses of stalking or driving, one cannot but 
notice the great number of stags he and his friends 
wounded, only to be eventually secured after a 
lengthy pursuit, and it has always seemed to me that 



PERTHSHIRE. 205 



these plentiful but not immediately fatal injuries must 
have been the fault of the high trajectory of the 
single-barrel rifle of those days, and probably if 
Mr. Scrope or his friends had been armed with 
the modern weapon, there would seldom have been 
any need to slip so many deerhounds. Times have 
altered also in other respects since Mr. Scrope's day, 
for I am quite certain there is not now living man 
or boy, who, for fear of spoiling sport, would of his 
own free will follow the example of Harry Lightfoot, 
Scrope's novitiate friend who chose to take the hill 
quite unarmed on the first day of his deerstalking 
career. Mr. Scrope makes us envious by telling of 
Atholl stags of twenty-four and up to twenty-seven 
stone in weight, but except in one instance he does 
not state whether this was clean weight, while when 
he does mention the manner of weighing it was " as 
the stag fell ; " for it is related how one of the Dukes 
of Atholl killed a wood stag at Dunkeld which scaled 
36 stone 6 lbs. before the gralloch. A few pages 
later Mr. Scrope estimates this as amounting to 



2o6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

6 Stone 6 lbs., which, if correct, brings the clean weight 
of the above-mentioned stag to 30 stone, and thus the 
one shot by Lord Greville in Glenmore, on October 
2nd, 1877, which was verified to be 33 stone clean, 
still remains the heaviest Scotch stag I can ever hear 
of I rather think Mr. Scrope's estimate of the weight 
of the gralloch is under the mark, and that as a rule 
in good-conditioned beasts one-third of the total weight 
is more nearly correct ; thus a stag scaling 1 8 stone 
as he falls will rarely turn the beam at anything over 
1 2 stone 7 lb. ; but as only on five occasions have I 
ever seen the whole carcass weighed, I may not have 
had opportunities sufficiently numerous to speak with 
confidence, and the foregoing remarks are derived 
solely from the small experience already mentioned. 
The beasts that I saw weighed, however, were fine, 
fat, healthy stags of from 18 to 27 stone gross weight ; 
and this being the case, I cannot see why the weights 
shown by these few should be incorrect when applied 
to larger numbers. 

Old Blair Castle stood several sieges, and was 



PERTHSHIRE. 207 



the scene of many tragedies. Early history tells how 
it was stormed by Angus Og, Lord of the Isles, who 
took the earl and countess prisoners to Isla, releasing 
them very soon after their arrival. In 1509 Allan 
Macruari or MacRory was beheaded in the courtyard 
of the castle in the presence of the Scottish king, but 
history does not record the reason. When Sir 
William Murray of Tullibardine came into the family 
estates in 141 6, he married a daughter of Sir John 
Colquhoun of Luss, and the union being blessed by 
seventeen sons, it is from them that the bulk of 
the numerous families of Perthshire Murrays are 
descended. Tradition states that these seventeen 
sons all lived to be men, and they one day went with 
their father to attend the king's court, at Stirling, 
" each with a servant, and their father with two." 
These thirty-seven men made a brave show, but as 
a law had just been passed forbidding anyone to go 
about with a large following, the Laird of Tullibardine 
was challenged on the subject by the king, who, when 
he learnt that they were only his sons, with a 



2oS THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



servant apiece, was so pleased with the matter that he 
presented each of them with small lands in heritage. 

In 1689 the Atholl men fought for Dundee, per- 
forming prodigies of valour at KilHecrankie, although 
not with their chief at their head, as he did not 
join the Viscount. An Atholl laird, Stewart of 
Ballechin, pursued the enemy so hotly, while wielding 
a tremendous broadsword, that at the end of the fight 
his hand had become so swollen that it could only 
be released from the basket hilt by sawing away 
the fret-work. Some traditions state that on Dundee's 
being mortally wounded he was carried to Blair Castle, 
and died there ; but the best authenticated records say 
that he was watering his horse, close to Urrard House, 
when a bullet, fired from one of the windows, laid 
low the gallant soldier, who, on receiving the wound, 
was carried to the inn at Blair to expire there ; but 
be that as it may, one of the most treasured relics 
in Blair Castle is the breast-plate, pierced by the 
fatal ball, just as Dundee wore it when he fell. 

I regret I am unable to give my readers the 



PERTHSHIRE. 209 

average annual kill and weights reached in this 
forest in the present day. 

FOREST OF CRAGANOUR BY KINLOCH RANNOCH. 

A PROPERTY of Sir Robert Menzies, on Loch 
Rannoch side, recently afforested, and at present 
rented by Mr. E. N. Buxton. It covers some 
12,000 acres of ground, of which 2,000 acres are 
sanctuary. The place is somewhat too much in its 
infancy as a deer-ground to say anything for certain 
of the kill of stags ; it works well in any wind, and 
is expected to yield from fifteen to eighteen stags, 
which by degrees should be increased to twenty-five 
or thirty. 

FORESTS OF DALNACARDOCH AND STRONPHADRICK BY 
BLAIR ATHOLL. 

A GROUND of the Duke of Atholl's, afforested about 
eight years ago, extending over some 15,000 acres 
of fine wild hills and corries, and marching with Gaick 
and Glen Bruar on the north, the other boundaries 

2 E 



2IO THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

being sheep-ground. It carries one rifle comfortably, 
but I have no information as to what sport it has 
hitherto yielded ; but in any case it cannot yet have 
arrived at its best. 

FOREST OF FEALAR BY PITLOCHRY. 

This property, of about 14,000 acres, joins Atholl 
Forest, and is really a part of it, and belongs to 
the Duke. It holds a great number of hinds, is very 
easy walking, and is best worked by one rifle, while 
the bag varies so considerably that no fair average 
can be stated ; but as many as sixty-three stags, with 
a mean weight of 14 stone 11 lbs. clean, have been 
got in a season. 

FOREST OF GLENARTNEY BY COMRIE. 

Belonging to the Earl of Ancaster, who keeps 
it in his own hands, this is a very ancient royal 
forest of some 20,000 acres, the highest ground on 
which attains an altitude of 3,210 ft. 

It is the most southern of all the mainland forests ; 



PERTHSHIRE. 211 



sheep grounds surround it on all sides, the nearest 
cleared lands being those of the Black Mount, some 
twenty-five miles distant. I have no authentic in- 
formation of the total annual yield of stags from 
this forest, but as the property is never in the 
market, and not likely to be, the omission is one 
which will not be of much importance to my readers. 
On the Callender end of the ground, a portion of 
the hill of Uam Var, made so well known by Sir 
Walter Scott, forms part of the forest, and the 
opening scene of " The Lady of the Lake " is laid 
here, when the hunted stag, who 

" Deep his midnight lair had made 
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade," 

is used as the means of introducing Fitzjames to 
the Lady of the Lake. 

In this hill of Uam Var is a great den or cave, 
reputed in remote ages to have been the abode of 
a saint, and in later years used as the abode of a 
very different sort of people, who were either cattle- 
lifters or robbers. It was in Glenartney in 1589 that 



212 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

some of the proscribed Macgregor clan, when on 
a poaching expedition, murdered one John Drummond 
of Ernoch, a royal forester, an incident which forms 
the foundation of Sir Walter Scott's " Legend of 
Montrose," and a barbarity that likewise led to 
many desperate encounters between the Macgregors 
and the clan of the murdered man. 



FOREST OF GLENBRUAR BY BLAIR ATHOLL. 

A GROUND of about 10,500 acres, marching with 
Gaick, Atholl and Glenfeshie. It belongs to the 
Duke of Atholl, and was let to Major E. H. Baldock 
for the season of 1895. There are but few corries 
on it, and a good deal of stalking has to be done 
over peat bogs, while, as much of this sort of ground 
is very bare, long and snake-like flat creeps are 
often the order of the day. The bag here varies 
very much according to the prevailing winds of the 
stalking season, while it likewise makes a great 
difference to the total whether the nearest adjacent 



PERTHSHIRE. 213 

ground of Atholl is much worked or kept quiet, as 
all the best stags are there ; thus with both conditions 
unfavourable, it is possible to go to the hill for many 
days in succession without seeing a shootable beast. 
The last tenant was limited to forty-five stags and got 
but twenty-four, which averaged 14 stone 8 lbs. clean. 
Major Baldock met with a curious experience in 
the month of this last September, for having wounded 
a stag, he lost sight of him after a long pursuit, and 
only came up with him late in the evening quite 
in the dusk, when the stag was seen on the sky-line 
going very slowly and stopping every now and again. 
The next day the Major was obliged to drive to 
Struan in the morning, so telling his stalker to 
start off to try and find the beast, he ordered him, 
if successful, to send word back to the house by 
mid-day. When Major Baldock returned, he found 
the stalker there to say that having made out the 
stag, he had left a man to watch him, whereupon the 
Major started to stalk the stag ; as he got near, the 
animal laid down, when, after waiting on him for 



214 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

half-an-hour, the poor beast suddenly rolled down the 
hill stone dead ! 

FOREST OF RANNOCH LODGE, KINLOCH RANNOCH. 

This is another of the properties of Sir Robert 
Menzies, which has been cleared for a considerable 
time. It is fine wild ground with several very 
large bold corries, holding both stags and hinds, 
and one rifle can go out in any wind, although at 
the end of the season a second rifle can usually take 
the hill when it blows from a suitable airt. The 
whole estate is some 24,000 acres, beautifully placed 
at the head of Loch Rannoch, of which 12,000 is 
forest, marching with Corrour and Ben Alder, with a 
sanctuary of 2,000 acres, the remainder being sheep 
and grouse ground. Five hundred acres have re- 
cently been planted on Loch Ericht side, where the 
trees are doing well, which, when once the deer can 
be admitted, will prove a great shelter to them. The 
limit at present is thirty stags, which with heart 
and liver average about 15 stone 7 lbs., and this 



PERTHSHIRE. 215 



number should always be got, and it is not the 
fault of the forest if the maximum be not reached. 

The lodge was built in 1803 ^^ the far end of 
Loch Rannoch, and looks on to one of the finest 
views in all Scotland, although the hurricane of 
November, 1893, has made the background appear 
somewhat bare for the moment, as no less than 
sixty acres of wood, planted when the house was 
built, were laid flat. It would be inconsistent to 
take leave of the Rannoch Forest without reference 
to the clan Menzies, who have been established there 
for many centuries. They fought for Bruce at Ban- 
nockburn ; many of them were "out" in 1715, and 
notably one laird — Menzies of Culdares — who, being 
taken prisoner at the battle of Dunblane, on receiving a 
free pardon, felt himself in honour bound not to join 
the rebellion of 1 745 ; in order, however, to show he 
was still devoted to the cause, he sent a valuable horse 
as a present to Prince Charles. The Highlander who 
had charge of the animal was arrested, and though 
offered his life if he would divulge the name of 



2i6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

his master, he nobly preferred death to betraying his 
trust. It was a descendant of this Menzies of 
Culdares that first introduced the larch into Scotland 
in 1737, and from two plants he gave one of the 
Dukes of Atholl come all the immense larch planta- 
tions that now flourish in that district. The present 
Sir Robert Menzies is well known as one of the 
most hardy and skilful deer stalkers of the north, 
and I believe I am right in saying that never yet 
has he availed himself of a seat on pony back either 
to get to or return from the forest, and as that book 
from which those who have titles to their names 
cannot escape, says that the popular baronet was 
born in 181 7, his powers of endurance are rendered 
the more remarkable, and all good sportsmen 
will join with me in wishing health and long 
life to the " gael us dearg au suas," or "the 
red and white for ever," which was the old Menzies' 
battle-cry and is descriptive of their tartan, to my 
mind the most handsome of them all. 



PERTHSHIRE. 217 



FOREST OF TULLADII-A-BEITHE BY KINLOCH RANNOCH. 

This is another of Sir Robert Menzies' recently- 
made forests on Loch Rannoch, marching with 
Camsericht, Rannoch Lodge, Loch Ericht, and 
Craganour. It covers some 14,000 acres of ground, 
well sprinkled with hills, woods and plantations on 
the Loch Rannoch side ; the low ground, on which 
grouse are shot for the first two months of the 
season, makes excellent wintering for the deer, 
while the high ground on Loch Ericht side 
gives good stalking for one rifle, although it does 
not work well in an east wind. The tenant is 
limited to eighteen stags, which are usually got, 
and average 15 stone with heart and liver. The 
forest lodge on the shores of Loch Rannoch, 
which was built nearly fifty years ago, has since 
then never been a season empty, and has had but 
three tenants, the present one being Mr. T, 
Weller-Poley, who, on October 12th, 1890, killed 
an eleven-pointer stag, which may be said to have 

2 F 



2i8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

been charging him. He had to risk moving some 
hinds in order to get near the stag ; as the ladies 
ran together, some small stags came in to join 
them, on which the big one stopped, promptly 
chased them out, and rejoined the hinds, who were 
all standing staring in the direction of the hidden 
stalkers ; on the big stag seeing this, he, evidently 
supposing the hinds were looking at other stags, 
started off full tilt for the spot where Mr. Weller- 
Poley was concealed ; the beast came straight at 
him full trot, stepping very high, and was but 
thirty-five yards off when he was shot in the 
chest. Here also the present tenant, whilst shooting 
grouse on a high beat, saw one of his retrievers 
kill a small black rat, which no doubt was one of 
the original British rats, and it is to be regretted that 
it did not receive the attentions of the taxidermist. 



219 



Chapter IX. 
ROSS-SHIRE. 

FORESTS OF ACHANALT, STRATHBRAN, AND LOCH 
ROSQUE BY DINGWALL. 

These three estates are the property of Mr. Arthur 
Bignold. Achanalt extends to 4,500 acres, Loch 
Rosque to 11,000 acres, and Strathbran to 14,500 
acres, making altogether some 30,000 acres of ex- 
cellent deer ground, and the Parliamentary return, 
which put the acreage of these three properties at 
45,000 acres, is altogether erroneous. These three 
estates, now rolled into one, are bounded by the 
river Bran on the south, by the forests of Loch 
Luichart and Fannich on the north, and the sheep 
grounds of Kinlochewe on the west. Achanalt was 
first afforested in 1879, Strathbran came next in 



aao THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

1887, followed by Loch Rosque in 1880. The three 
properties are excellent examples of what can be 
done with deer in a short time, for when Mr. Bignold 
first bought the property, there was nearly as good 
a chance of meeting with a Red Indian as of coming 
across a red deer. The Strathbran section holds, 
at the western end of Loch Fannich, the beautiful 
Cabuie Glen, together with a large part of " The 
Cailleach," or Old Woman Hill. The highest ground 
of the forest is in the Loch Rosque division, where 
an altitude of 3,060 feet is reached. During the 
last ten years the proprietor has planted some five 
million trees on the low grounds, while in addition 
to this the Achanalt part contains the natural birch 
- wood of Chuillim, which, extending for fully three 
and a half miles, is celebrated for the large stock 
of black game it holds, the numbers of woodcock 
breeding there every season, and the nesting of the 
golden eye and goosander on the wooded shores of 
Loch Chuillim. 

The Loch Rosque beat is under the charge of 



ROSS-SHIRE. 221 



Donald Mackintosh, the head forester, who has lived 
at Achnasheen for over thirty years. Duncan Fraser 
and John Mitchie look after the Strathbran portion, 
while Kenneth Gillanders takes care of the Achanalt 
section. In the Long Corrie of Ben Fin there is a 
large joint sanctuary for the three grounds, into which 
the deer begin to gather in May, and out of which 
they do not break until the first week of the October 
following ; and in this corrie, early in September of 
1894, no less than 870 stags were counted, besides 
knobbers and hinds, amidst them being a remarkably 
fine hummel, who has been on the ground for the last 
three seasons. This forest will carry three rifles, but 
not for every day of the season ; all deer are got by 
fair stalking, the average annual kill being from 
seventy to eighty stags (in 1895 it was eighty-three 
stags), which, with heart and liver included, show a 
mean weight of 13 stone 9^ lbs., but this total takes 
in the weights of some small beasts, shot by accident 
or by novices, which it would have been better to 
omit taking any notice of. The entire stock of 



222 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

deer belonging to the three grounds is somewhere 
between i,8oo and 2,000 head, while up to the 
present only two stags have been killed weighing 
over 20 stone. One was got by Count Szapary 
of 21 stone 6 lbs., and the other, with only six points, 
scaled a stone heavier. In an enclosed portion of 
the Chuillim wood Mr. Bignold has a nice herd of 
wild Japanese deer, the produce of some beasts given 
him by Lord Powerscourt some ten years ago. They 
are somewhat smaller than fallow deer, and are 
remarkably savage to strangers of their own species, 
for on two fresh stags being introduced to the 
herd, they were both promptly killed. At present 
these deer have not been turned wild on to the 
hills, but as they are very fleet of foot, quick of 
eye, and possess the most sensitive of noses, they 
should make exciting and difficult stalking whenever 
that time comes. With this herd there was also at 
one time a pair of Axis deer, imported by Mr. Bignold 
from the Himalayas, but the experiment did not turn 
out satisfactory, as the stag invariably killed his 



ROSS-SHIRE. 223 



offspring (dropped at Christmas time) as soon as 
they arrived at or about two years of age ; the 
old stag is now dead, and the hind alone remains. 
In the unenclosed part of this Chuillim wood there 
is likewise a herd of about two hundred fallow deer, 
free to roam where they like, and fresh blood has 
been introduced from Windsor Park. Amongst this 
herd there was at one time a white doe, well authenti- 
cated to have been twenty years old, who, after 
reaching that age, died from starvation through the 
loss of her teeth, this being one of the few instances 
of any beast dying of hunger on this ground, for the 
wintering is so good as to render such distressing 
occurrences most rare. The clearances made by 
Mr. Bignold have had the effect of opening up to 
deer a most extensive and continuous chain of 
forest ground, and they can now wander from north 
to south (or vice versa), from the southern boundary 
on the river Bran to the northern extremity of the 
forest of Rhidorrach, a distance of forty miles as 
the crow flies ; again, from the western march of 



2;»4 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Loch Rosque to the eastern boundary of Ben Wyvis 
Forest a similar chance is offered to the deer of 
travelling over a like distance, stretching from east 
to west. On the hill of Ben-y-vich, in 1894, there 
was a pair of dotterels, supposed to be almost the 
last of this race in the north of Scotland ; in the 
Faden Burn, on the west end of the ground, the 
golden eagle and the peregrine frequently nest, whilst 
among the rare small birds Ray's wagtail may be 
mentioned. In the winter of 1891 a sad accident 
happened in the enclosed deer park at Strathbran. 
With the tame deer there was a royal red deer stag, 
who had been taken as a calf out of Corrie Reoch 
in Fannich by John Maclennan, the forester there. 
It had been hand-fed with milk, and eventually 
turned out into this park, and was eleven years old 
at the time of the tragedy. In December, 1891, 
poor John came across the hill from Fannich early 
in the morning to reach Strathbran, and in order 
to avoid a very small detour he jumped the deer 
fence, and crossed the park where he well knew 



HOSS-SU/RE. 225 



this stag was, while at the same time he was equally 
aware he was a dangerous beast. The rash man 
had not even so much as a stout stick with him, 
and had gone but a short distance ere he was 
attacked and killed, his cries for help being heard, 
but not understood, by some women in the road. 
His cap was found where the struggle began, some 
sixty yards from his body, and clearly he had fought 
hard for his life, for Maclennan was a strong man 
of over six feet. The poor fellow was found lying 
with his head on his arm, very little knocked 
about, and pierced but in two places, one wound 
being in the stomach and the other in the heart. 
He lies buried in the churchyard of Lochbroom, 
and his epitaph, affixed by Mr. Bignold, is, "Tot 
cervorum victor non senectuti sed cervo cessit." 
Previous to the death of Maclennan one of Mr. 
Bignold's foresters, Duncan Fraser, had had three- 
quarters of an hour's fight for his life with this very 
stag, who surprised him quite unarmed, whereupon 
Duncan instantly jumped plump on to the stag's 

2 G 



226 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

head, holding on by the horns, and being a strong 
man, he contrived to keep his seat, while the stag 
kept carrying him round the enclosure. At last 
his cries for help were heard by a shepherd, the 
father of the John Maclennan this stag killed shortly 
after, who, armed with a spade, made haste to the 
rescue, and as good luck would have it, as he 
reached the gate of the enclosure the stag with 
Duncan came close past it, so the shepherd opening 
it smartly, Duncan bounded off his unpleasant 
steed, to make a dash for the opening, through 
which he just managed to squeeze in time for 
them to close it in the face of the infuriated beast. 
Once in safety, Duncan was so utterly exhausted 
by the prolonged struggle that he fainted clean away, 
and it was some time before he recovered sufficiently 
to proceed to his house. 

FOREST OF ACHNASHELLACH, " THE FIELD OF STORMS," 
BY ACHNASHELLACH. 

This forest, nearly surrounded by other deer 
grounds, was purchased not very long ago by 



ROSS-SHIRE. 227 



Mr. Emerson Bainbridge, from Lord Wimborne, who 
became the owner in 187 1. It covers a large extent 
of high, rough ground, but I have not been able to 
procure any reliable information. " The Field," which 
is rarely incorrect, states that twenty-eight stags were 
killed in this season of 1895, t>ut from other equally 
trustworthy sources I hear that the ground was very 
lightly shot, and that this forest, when harder worked, 
is capable of making a far better return from the 
25,000 acres over which it extends. Corrie Vanie is 
a large and celebrated corrie on this ground, and it 
was from here that the stags were driven when, on 
October 5th, 1870, Mr. Tenant, the then occupant, 
gave a deer drive to the Prince of Wales, which 
resulted in the death of nineteen good beasts. 

FOREST OF ALLADALE, ARDGAY. 

This fine ground of some 40,000 acres is the 
property of Sir Charles Ross of Balnagowan, and 
is let to Sir H. B. Meux, who joins it on to Deanich. 
On the east it marches with the forests of Amaf and 



228 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



Glencalvie, on the south and south-west with Deanich 
and Corriemullzle, and the Langwell sheep ground 
on the north and north-west. It contains no 
sanctuary, but there is a fair quantity of winter- 
ing woods on some of the lower slopes, while, if it 
is let on a long lease, no limit is made as to the kill, 
but on the other hand, if the let is a short one, then 
the proprietor imposes a limit, which is a reasonable 
and sensible way of dealing with long and short leases. 
For many years this ground has been more or less 
a forest, and the sheep have been cleared from time 
to time as was deemed expedient. The hills run up 
to 2,700 ft. The forest will carry three rifles, and 
yields from sixty to sixty-five stags of from 15 to 16 
stone clean weight. 

FOREST OF ALINE, STORNOWAY. 

Belongs to Lady Matheson, and is at present 
rented by Mr. H. Holmes. It has an area of some 
10,000 acres of chiefly burnt ground with but little 
heather, and thus the prevailing tint of the ground is 



JROSS-SHIRE. 229 



one to which a light yellow cloth is most suitable. 
The absence of either sanctuary or wood for winter 
shelter the deer remedy for themselves in severe 
weather, by shifting on to the adjacent forests of 
North Harris and Morsgail, according to the direction 
of the wind. The greatest altitude is 1,600 ft, which 
is reached on the summit of Lienthaid, Carnnabhal is 
1,240 ft., and Beinn-na-Mhuil — the hill of the mile — 
is 1,200 ft. This ground was first afforested about 
fifty years ago, only again to be put under sheep, 
and then, in 1890, it was once more cleared. It 
easily carries one rifle, with a limit of fifteen stags, 
which, like all the other Lewis stags, are handsome 
little fellows, scaling about 12 stone clean, with 
small, prettily-shaped horns usually carrying a number 
of points. 

I shall here take the opportunity of dealing very 
shortly with the remaining forests in Lewis, and for 
a description of the character of the ground and the 
size of the deer my readers can turn to the account of 
Lady Farquhar's forest of Amhuinsuidh, in North 



230 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Harris, which is a part of the county of Inverness. 
In addition then to Aline, Lady Matheson owns four 
other forests in the island. Park covers some 41,000 
acres; Morsgail, 20,000 acres; Scaliscro but 3,140 
acres ; while Arnish, a small home forest, or rather 
a big deer park to Stornoway Castle, extends but to 
2,776 acres. I regret to say that of none of these 
four grounds have I been able to procure good 
information. 

FOREST OF AMAT BY ARDGAY. 

This is a very small forest, touching Alladale on 
the west and Diebiedale on the south, the other 
boundaries being sheep and grouse ground. It 
belongs to Mr. Ross of Pitcalnie, and is at present 
let to Mr. F T. Gervers. 

FOREST OF APPLECROSS BY LOCH CARRON. 

This vast property, at one time the home of the 
clan Macdonnell of Glengarry, was purchased en d.'oc 
by the Duke of Leeds. It then consisted of 144,000 



ROSS-SHIRE. 231 



acres, which the Duke bought for ^135,000, or 
18-y. /[d. an acre. Later on the property was resold 
in several lots. In 1871 Lord Wimborne bought 
Achnashellach and Glenuaig, Mr. Ogilvy Dalgleish 
took Coulin, while Lord Middleton in 1861 became 
the owner of Applecross proper. The forest is a 
peninsular one, Loch Carron bounding it on the 
south and Applecross Sound on the west, while the 
other sides march with the forests of Glenshieldaig, 
Ben Damph and New Kelso. It is rough, stony, high 
ground, Ben Bahn being 2,936 feet, with several other 
hills ranging from 2,000 feet upwards. The grounds 
of the crofters, who are on this estate a really happy 
family, are carefully wired off from the forest, and 
Lord Middleton has spent over ;^ 100, 000 on the 
whole place since he bought it. I have heard on 
fairly good authority that from seventy to eighty 
stags are killed each season, but as the rainfall of 
these parts is returned at 60 inches a year, I should 
imagine that the numbers of the killed must vary 
very much, for in seasons where a good part of this 



233 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

rainfall came in September and October the bag 
would perforce suffer a considerable reduction. 

FOREST OF ATTADALE, OR BENDRONAIG, BY STRATHCARRON. 

Belonging to Sir Kenneth J. Matheson, and rented 
by the Baron W. Schroder, a brother of the lessee of 
Glenfeshie, the cleared ground of this estate covers 
some 15,000 acres, in addition to which there is 
other 13,000 of grouse ground. The proper ap- 
pellation of this forest is undoubtedly Bendronaig, 
for it is called after the big hill of that name which, 
rising to an altitude of 2,612 feet, lies in the midst of 
the deer ground, but owing to the Attadale shootings 
being let with the forest, the whole place by degrees 
has become known as Attadale. 

Although the ground is steep and rocky, the grazing 
is good ; the bag varies from thirty-five to forty 
stags of 14 stone clean, but the number killed is 
affected more or less by winds and seasons. It is 
said that Prince Charlie passed a night on Bendronaig 
while waiting for news of a scout he had sent to 



J?OSS-SH/NE. 



233 



Poolewe to lok for the arrival of a ship in which 
he expected d escape ; this messenger tradition 
states was killd on his road, after passing a night 
at a house in Gairloch, where he rashly opened 
his sporran to )ay for his entertainment, displaying 
thereby several nieces of gold ; the man of the house, 
McLean by naie, saw them, and resolving to make 
them his own, )ursued the scout and shot him dead. 
It was in tryiq; to get tidings of this messenger 
that Prince Chrlie came to Bendronaig, where he 
passed the nighiin a deep burn at the south-west end 
of the hill. Tfe murdered man was wearing a suit 
of yellow cloth at the time of his death, and for 
many years aftrwards it was remarked in Gairloch 
that McLean aii his family were to be seen wearing 
pieces of the saie material. There can, however, be 
no doubt that MLean did not know he was murdering 
a messenger of Pince Charlie, for such an office would 
have secured fre pass to anyone all over the High- 
lands, no matteihow much gold the messenger had 
carried about win him. The proprietor of this estate 
I 2 H 



234 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

has spent very large sums on repairs, improvements, 
plantings, buildings, and river embankments. 

FORESTS OF BEN DAMPH AND NEW KELSO, TORRIDOX. 

Purchased some years ago by the Earl of Love- 
lace from Mr. Duncan Darroch, these properties now 
belong to Captain the Hon. Lionel Fortescue King. 
The two forests make up 18,000 acres — Ben Damph 
being 12,500 acres and New Kelso 5,500 acres — 
of high rocky ground, with the hills standing out 
singly, their sides much cut up by watercourses, 
while on the very high ground there is but little 
feeding. The valleys and burn sides afford excellent 
grazing. The forests which to-day are known as 
Ben Damph and Torridon were cleared by Mr. 
Duncan Darroch in 1872, and up till 1885 that 
gentleman stalked the whole ground himself. In 
that year the Ben Damph portion was sold to the 
late Earl of Lovelace, who at once set to work to 
build a fine house on it, making roads, pony tracks, 
boat-houses, plantations, fences, otherwise spending 



ROSS-SHIRE. 335 



largely on the place, as is the wont with most pur- 
chasers of new properties. In 1888 New Kelso 
was bought by the Earl from Sir Kenneth Matheson, 
of Ardross, while as it joined Ben Damph on 
the east side, it was added to that forest, which 
marches on the north with Torridon, on the east 
with Coulin, Achnashellach, and New Kelso sheep- 
ground, while on the west Loch Torridon forms 
a water boundary, on which are the woods of Ard- 
more, which cover, together with the other woods 
on the shore of Loch Damph, the deer frequent in 
numbers during hard weather. The greater part 
(4,000 acres) of the hill of Ben Damph (3,000 feet) is 
devoted to a sanctuary. The ground carries two 
rifles until the end of September, and will then take 
a third in suitable winds. A cloth the colour of 
Aberdeen granite, in fact, a " Black Mount mixture," 
harmonises best with the prevailing tint of the 
surroundings ; from thirty to forty stags are got 
each season, weighing, one with the other, 14 stone, 
heart and liver included. Some royals are killed 



236 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

each year; the horns, however, appear to grow 
more to beam than to points, a fine specimen of 
this description of head being got in 1894 — a very 
massive nine-pointer with a 37-inch span. In 
1890 Mr. E. B. Jenkins shot a remarkable three- 
horned stag, with the right horn quite natural and 
of large size ; the left was nearly as large, but grew 
down over the cheek, while a third horn sprang 
from the base of this left one, growing in a natural 
position to a length of seven inches. This mal- 
formation was doubtless the result of an injury, 
but though the beast had all the appearance of a 
three-horned animal, it cannot be called a true three- 
horn, as there should be three separate coronets on 
the head ere such a distinction can be claimed. 
At Ardmore and Balgay there are small lodges for 
the use of stalkers or fishers, as occasion may require, 
for in addition to the deer the fish at Ben Damph 
are also a strong point, and salmon and sea trout 
are in plenty. 



ROSS-SHIRE. 237 



FOREST OF BENMORE BY ARDGAY. 

This property, belonging to Sir Charles Ross, of 
Balnagowan, and at present let to Mr. A. H. Heath, 
covers about 45,000 acres, of which upwards of 40,000 
acres have recently been put under deer. The hill 
of Benmore, from which the forest takes its name, 
is nearly in the centre of the ground, and rising to 
a height of over 3,200 feet, a number of fine corries 
lie around the base. On the north these lands touch 
the Duke of Westminster's forest of Glen Coul ; on 
the west the sheep-grounds of Tumore narrowly 
divide it from Glencanisp forest ; the eastern and 
southern marches also run with lands devoted to 
the production of mutton, on which there are always 
a good few outlying deer. The place carries three 
rifles, with a limit of sixty stags, which will average 
about 15 stone 7 lbs. clean. 

On this ground the present Sir Charles Ross put 
in a smart piece of stalking. He left his forester 
to watch a lying stag, while he went on about a 
mile to spy over the ridge they were then on ; while 



238 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Sir Charles was away, the stag the forester was 
watching got up and moved off, and the man not 
Hking to lose sight of him went on also, and thus 
when Sir Charles returned he found himself quite 
alone on the hill, and being unable to " pick up " 
his man by the aid of his glass, he turned short 
round and continued his way Into the forest, where 
he soon found two stags, which he stalked, killed, 
and gralloched for himself, and then before he came 
home late that evening he got one more stalk at a 
small herd, out of which he killed three, thus leaving 
five good stags on the hill for the ponies to fetch 
home next day, the heaviest of which was 21 stone 
and the smallest 16 stone. All five of these beasts 
fell on such steep ground that they had to be cut in 
halves, and carried by the gillies to a spot accessible 
to the ponies, sent from Inchnadamph. 

FOREST OF BEN WYVIS BY EVANTON. 

This well-known forest, so closely associated with 
the name of that devoted admirer of deer, the late 



ROSS-SHIRE. 239 



Mr. Horatio Ross, consists at the present time of 
some 20,000 acres, part of which was first cleared in 
1857, more in 1869, and finally the whole in 1881. 
The ground is remarkable for the conformation of the 
very high hills it contains, for Ben Wyvis is 3,429 ft. ; 
An Sveach, 3,295 ft.; Tom-an-Chonnich, 3,134 ft.; 
and Corrie Grand, 3,017 ft., while there are many 
others of over 2,000 ft. ; now all these "big fellows," 
unlike the bulk of the high grounds of Scotland, are 
neither rocky nor precipitous, but are great, bold, 
" rolling " hills, having grass-clad sides, with stretches 
of mossy ground round their bases. 

This forest, purchased by Mr. Walter Shoolbred, 
in 1885, from Mr. Colin Ross, marches on the 
north, north-east, and south with the sheep grounds 
of Swordale, Castle Leod, and Novar ; while 
on the remaining sides it joins the forests of Inchbae 
and Kildermorie. In the main valley, and close to 
the new lodge the present owner has built at the 
head of Loch Glass, there are three nice stretches 
of birch wood for winter shelter. The ground will 



240 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

carry two rifles each day of the season ; all deer are 
got by fair stalking, the average kill being fifty to 
fifty-five stags, which weigh, one with the other, 
14 to \\\ stone, heart and liver included. Charles 
Mackenzie, the present head forester, together with 
his father John, both stalked for Mr. Horatio 
Ross, who entertained a sincere friendship and a 
high opinion of them. It is almost needless to say 
that when Mr. Shoolbred took over the property 
" Old John " remained in welcome possession of his 
cottage at Corrie Vackie, at the door of which he 
may still usually be seen in the morning, spyglass 
in hand, and ready for a chat with any sportsman 
making his way to the forest. On the east beat here 
Mr. Shoolbred had a somewhat remarkable day on 
the 30th September, 1893. Up to lunch time he had 
three separate stalks, each of which owing to shifting 
wind was unsuccessful, and then, while seeking a 
sheltered spot to rest in for a short time, he saw the 
tops of a stag's horn coming towards him, and there 
was barely time to drop down and get the rifle out of 



ROSS-SHIRE. 241 



the cover before he came into view, and was promptly 
killed. The spyglasses were not idle during the short 
luncheon sit, and soon showed that in a corrie in front 
of the party there was a fine royal busily engaged 
in herding a lot of hinds. The other stags were 
broken into small lots, some feeding, some roaring, 
others rolling in the "poll buiridh," and plenty skirmish- 
ing with each other, so that there was nothing for the 
stalking party to do but to wait, watch, and hope 
that some of them would move to better ground. 
After a long wait two of the stags left the corrie to 
make their way towards the hill the party were on. 
As they neared the foot, one stopped and commenced 
to rub his horns on an old stump of a tree, but 
the other again came straight at Mr. Shoolbred, 
and was knocked over in due course. It was then 
naturally expected the second stag would be seen 
galloping away, but he was so taken up with tearing 
at the tree stump that he never heard the shot ; at 
last, tiring of his amusement, he commenced to look 
about for his companion, when not seeing him, he came 

2 I 



242 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

trotting on after him, only also to fall dead within ten 
yards of the friend he sought. Thus Mr, Shoolbred 
got three good beasts on the same hill without stalking 
either of them, of which the two last each weighed 
over 1 6 stone, while carrying respectively ten and 
nine points. 

FOREST OF BRAEMORE BY GARVE. 

Sir John Fowler purchased this property from 
Mr. Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, in 1865. At 
that time no part of the 44,000 acres of which it 
consisted was in forest, while some fifteen stags was 
the usual annual kill, obtained chiefly from the east 
side of the ground, where the corries of Beinn 
Dearg afforded food and shelter, which never failed 
to attract stags. During the years of 1866 and 1867 
the daringly placed house of Braemore was built, 
and while this was in course of construction about 
23,000 acres of ground had been cleared. With 
reference to the erection of the house, which stands 
some 750 feet above sea-level, the people of the 



'fi. 




HOSS-SfflRE. 243 



district were so surprised at seeing the loftiness of 
the selected site that regrets were freely expressed 
amongst them that Sir John's relatives were not 
consulted as to his state of mind, so that a stop 
might be put to the audaciously insane proceeding 
of building a house in such a spot, and at such a 
height above the level of the valley, which the people 
regarded as the only proper place fit for a habitation. 
The first visitors to Braemore included several 
remarkable men, and amongst them figure the 
names of John Gould, the ornithologist ; Edward 
Duncan, the artist ; John Campbell of Isla, Sir 
William Harcourt, Sir John Millais, Sir Richard 
Owen, and Sir Edwin Landseer, and the great artist 
stalked several times in this forest, although he had 
then nearly retired from active service on the hill. 
When Sir Edwin arrived at Braemore he had already 
commenced his famous picture of " The Ptarmigan 
Hill," a commission from Sir John Fowler, and the 
Gordon setters, which are such a prominent feature 
of the canvas, were both drawn from a dog the 



244 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

artist himself selected from the Braemore kennels, 
and carried off with him to the south to study from 
at his leisure. The visitors' book is one of the 
features of life at Braemore, and from the day of 
its commencement Lady Fowler has taken much 
interest in its yearly progress. Amongst other 
matters are two beautiful drawings by Landseer; a 
series of sketches by Millais, one of which illustrates 
an unsuccessful day's stalking, while another shows 
the adventures of a day on the hill, shared by Sir 
William Harcourt and himself. In 1869 Sir Roderick 
Murchison, the distinguished geologist, spent three 
weeks at Braemore, and revisited the scene of his 
labours on the west coast forty-two years earlier. 
His remarks in " the book" run as follows : " Adieu, 
Braemore, where the cordial reception of kind host 
and hostess have made an indelible impression on 
the old Silurian ! Forty-two years have lapsed since 
(when in company with Professor Sedgwick) I 
hammered the rocks at Ullapool, and now, by the 
active assistance of Sir John, and the aid of his 



ROSS-SHIRE. 245 



handy steam yacht, I have been enabled to place 
all the great rock formations, which are exposed on 
the shores of Loch Broom, in their true order of 
age and succession, from my Fundamental Gneiss 
(Laurentian), through the grand massive rocks of 
Benmore, the Lower Silurian Quartz rocks and 
Limestone of Ullapool, up to the overlying Grey 
Gneiss of Braemore (Metamorphic Lower Silurian), 
on which the mansion stands, and from which, 
looking northwards, the spectacle commands, in one 
unrivalled view, all the glorious geological series." 
The aforesaid book does not say if Sir Roderick 
was a deer slayer, but the above remarks have 
suggested to the author that possibly he would have 
given a novel, interesting, and perhaps puzzling 
description of a stalk, from his own point of view. 

In 1869 Millais again enriched the visitors' book 
with a drawing showing the effect of a Noah's flood 
at the lofty site of Braemore House ; then in the 
year following the names of Mr. Samuel Morley 
and Sir William Harcourt appear in the book, 



246 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

on which occasion great pains were taken by Mr. 
Morley's host to make him thoroughly understand 
the difference between the restricted capabilities of 
a mountainous Highland estate and the wild state- 
ments given to the world by his Radical friends 
of hundreds of thousands of acres kept out of 
cultivation, and withdrawn from civilisation, for the 
benefit of the deer and the indulgence of the 
sporting proclivities of the wealthy Conservative. 
Mr. Samuel Morley, having been blessed with a 
liberal share of common sense and quick perception, 
soon recognised the hollowness of these most 
fancifully erroneous assertions, and so much was this 
the case that at the present time Mr. Arnold 
Morley, his son, is himself a keen forest-renting 
stalker. In 1873 Sir William Harcourt wrote the 
following lines in the Braemore book, and while 
those who are of his political way of thinking 
can find no fault with them, the sentiments so 
prettily expressed are likely enough to cause a kinder 
feeling for the "big man" in the hearts of those 



ROSS-SHIRE. 247 



who, like myself, most widely differ with his views 
political : — 

" When the dull dreary session is over, 
And Patriots twaddle no more, 
How blithely I breathe the brave breezes 
Which blow round the braes of Braemore. 

" Though ' The Broom ' like our Gladstone meanders, 
Or foams down w'th froth in a spate ; 
Though the stalker, like Dizzy, in ambush 
For his prey is aye lying in wait ; 

" Yet here may we cast away care, 
And reck not of sorrow or strife ; 
But in jollity, friendship, and love, 
Rest awhile from the labour of life. 

" How sweetly the years fleet away ! 

Seven summers are gone — aye, and more — 
Since I first viewed with wonder and joy 
The beautiful Strath of Braemore. 

" Yet here, as the summers return. 

Midst friendships so faithful and true, 
I find kindness which never knows change, 
And beauties that ever are new." 

In 1874 Earl Cairns, then Lord Chancellor of 
England, first visited Braemore, and during this 
time the official "Chaff-wax" came to obtain the 



248 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Chancellor's seal to official documents, when Sir 
W. Harcourt wrote the following description of the 
incident : — 

" Braemore, Sept. 28, 1874. 

" A singular scene occurred one evening, there 
being occasion to affix the Great Seal, which the 
Lord Chancellor always keeps in his own custody, 
to authorize patents. The official ' Chaff-wax ' was 
busily occupied in melting the wax in the covered 
court where the deer are brought home, and it thus 
happened that by lamp light the unusual spectacle 
was observed of the solemnity of sealing being per- 
formed in the centre of a group of ponies laden with 
the Chancellor's dead deer. We are unhappily left 
to imagine how the pencil of Landseer would have 
illustrated so novel a Highland picture." 

Beneath these remarks Lord Cairns wrote as 
follows : — 

" About this date a great seal was for the first 
time seen on this part of the coast, and was allowed 
to depart, not only unmolested, but thankful and 



ROSS-SHIRE. 249 



happy, carrying away impressions of Braemore more 
lasting than any which it made while there." 

The area of ground under strict forest is 23,000 
acres, nearly surrounded by the deer lands of 
Strathvaich, Inverlael, Kinloch-luichart, Fannich, and 
Dundonnell. In 1865 and 1866, upwards of five million 
trees were planted on the eastern slope of the valley, 
which have now grown into a good plantation of 
1,000 acres. The sanctuary on the western extremity 
of the forest covers some 2,500 acres, and holding 
in itself shelter, solitude, and fine grazing, it makes 
an unusually good one, for in addition to its self- 
contained capabilities, the deer are also within easy 
reach of the grassy slopes of Beinn-Aonaclair, on 
which they can take their fill during the night, 
and ere day breaks regain the loneliness of the 
sanctuary. The highest ground on the estate is 
at the summit of Beinn Dearg, 3,547 feet above 
the sea level, but there are many other surrounding 
hills which rise to nearly 3,000 feet. From the 
period of afforesting in 1865, the average kill has 

2 K 



250 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



been sixty stags a season, all of which are got by 
fair stalking, and though a greater number could 
be obtained, yet as sixty is considered the proper 
quantity, it is never exceeded, except perhaps by 
one or two, while the average weight, in which all 
small beasts are included, works out at 14 stone clean. 
In 1868, Major Holmes had the good fortune to 
secure a very fine royal head with most perfect 
symmetrical equality of both horns, and when 
Mackay, the Inverness taxidermist, returned it to 
Braemore, he volunteered the information that " it 
was the finest head of many thousands which have 
passed through my hands in modern times." This 
head had a span of i']\ inches outside measurement, 
with a circumference of 6\ inches round the coronet, 
the horns measuring 26 inches in height, taking a 
straight line from the centre of the forehead. 

Mr. Robert Fowler, Sir John's brother, met with 
a remarkable adventure when stalking in Braemore, 
the like of which I have never heard of. He and 
McHardy, the head forester, who has been there 



ROSS-SHIRE. 251 



upwards of thirty seasons, having got up to some 
stags, Mr. Fowler fired both barrels, killing dead 
with the first, but wounding only with the second. 
On walking up to the dead quarry, they were 
greatly surprised to see another beast lying quite 
close by him ; their first impression was that the 
one bullet had been fatal to the two, but on 
nearer inspection it was seen, by the rise and fall 
of his sides in breathing, that this stag was not 
only alive, but totally unhurt, and merely indulging 
in a very sound sleep. After watching him for a 
few minutes, it was decided to try to catch him, 
for he was but a three-year-old staggie, and not 
worth putting into the larder, so simultaneously 
master and man seized him by the hind legs, when 
after a sharp but short struggle the stag broke loose, 
which was indeed a pity, as I believe the capture 
of a stag in such a manner would have been an 
unequalled performance, and had Mr. Fowler and 
McHardy only seized hold of a horn apiece instead 
of a leg, it is more than likely they would have 



252 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

been triumphant, for even one strong, heavy, 
resolute man getting such a hold of a stag has 
him at a great disadvantage, as the longer the 
horn the greater the leverage offered for twisting 
his neck. It was a curious coincidence that Mr. 
Arthur Fowler, Sir John's son, later on also surprised 
a sleeping stag, and got within a yard or two of 
him before the beast woke. Braemore Forest will 
carry two rifles each day, although when the wind 
is in the east greater care is required than when 
it blows from any other quarter ; this, however, is 
generally the case all over Scotland, there being 
some peculiar property in a sharp east wind that will 
often make deer very restless, and indeed at such 
times they will gallop off at full tilt for no dis- 
cernible reason. The whole of this forest is so 
scattered with huge boulders, big stones, and rocks, 
that a grey cloth similar to " The Black Mount 
Mixture" is best suited to the ground. Remains 
of whiskey stills are here, as in other forests, pretty 
numerous on the hills, though perhaps the most 



ROSS-SHIRE. 253 



interesting relics of olden days are the mounds of 
scoriae, found in spots where iron was smelted on a 
small scale to provide the rude weapons of the 
ancient inhabitants. These mounds are common in 
many parts of Ross-shire, and in those days there 
was doubtlessly sufficient wood for smelting the small 
quantity required, but as there is no iron ore on 
or anywhere near the spot, the question naturally 
arose as to whence it came. When Sir William 
Siemens was at Braemore, he was greatly interested 
in this problem, and after a very elaborate investi- 
gation by chemical analysis, he came to the conclusion 
that the north of Ireland was the only place capable 
of furnishing the particular ore which, when smelted, 
would form the scoriae he had analyzed. 

Although eagles are strictly preserved in this and 
the surrounding forests, and though they do not 
diminish in numbers, yet certainly they do not 
increase, and probably as long as high prices are 
offered for their eggs they are not likely to. Near 
Braemore House are three ancient stones placed 



254 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

eighteen feet apart, the spot being called " Rory's 
Leap," after a fine, active, gigantic fellow who had 
a home and wife at Ullapool, although he, being of 
a restless, unruly nature, was generally to be found 
in Perth, where he was ultimately put in prison 
to keep him quiet. Just at that time there was 
living in Perth a quarrelsome, giant Frenchman of 
whom the people were much afraid, and it was 
suggested that Big Rory of Ullapool should be 
released and introduced to the foreigner, which 
being done, the two quickly came to loggerheads, 
when Rory, challenging the bully, killed him in fair 
fight — an act for which he received a permanent 
pardon, whereupon, like a good husband, he started 
away for home, and arriving at this particular spot 
of " Rory's Leap," on catching sight of his native 
village, he was so overjoyed that he gave three 
tremendous bounds forward, each of them covering 
eighteen feet, which splendid performance, inspired by 
ardent affection, has been remembered from that day 
to this, and the stones placed on the exact spots 



ROSS-SHIRE. 255 



indicated by his heel-marks still keep this great deed 
fresh in the memories of the dwellers in and around 
Ullapool. The old road alluded to in the " Statistical 
Account of Scodand," published in 1845, by Black- 
wood, passed through Braemore for about eleven 
miles, and until its construction nearly a hundred 
years ago no road, except a shepherd's track, 
existed between the Cromarty Firth on the east coast 
and Loch Broom on the west coast. In many parts 
of this road the bends and angles were so sharp that 
it seemed an impossibility for anything on wheels, as 
we understand them, to be taken round such abrupt 
curves, but in " Burt's Letters from the Highlands of 
Scotland," in 1754, there are drawings of carts in use 
at that time, very small in size and with wheels not 
more than a foot in diameter, which would obviously 
be able to turn at any angle, however sharp. It was 
not till about forty years ago that the excellent mail 
coach road was made that now runs through Braemore 
to Garve. The wild cat, the pine marten or sable, 
as well as the pole cat, together with badgers and 



2S6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Otters, are still in Braemore, but all three of the 
former animals have become very rare. 

The hedgehog is quite a recent visitor, and is 
supposed to have been imported in baled hay ; 
foxes, as in other forests, are much too numerous, 
the annual kill of old and young being some fifty. 
Then coming down to " small deer," the natives 
assert that the old British black rat still exists, an 
animal much to be preferred to his ordinary brother 
of every-day life. In January, 1892, Braemore and 
the adjacent county was visited by a flood, scarcely 
less destructive to roads, bridges, and river-beds than 
the great Morayshire flood of 1829, so vividly described 
by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. On January 2nd snow 
began to fall in the Braemore district, and continuing 
nearly incessantly until the 8th, an average depth of 
nearly two feet was accumulated, while the drifts on 
the hills and in the valleys were of course of a far 
greater profundity ; all wheeled traffic became entirely 
suspended, and the mails were carried on horseback. 
On the 1 6th a gentle thaw set in, continuing 



ROSS-SHIRE. 257 



until the 27th, when a much warmer temperature 
with a high wind was followed by extraordinary 
torrents of rain. It was in the midst of the pitch- 
dark night of the 28th that the dwellers in the Loch 
Broom strath were woke from their sleep by the 
alarming roaring of the river Broom, which told them, 
only too plainly, that a flood of unusual violence was 
raging. The morning light exhibited the valley in 
a plight that will never be forgotten ; the whole strath 
was one vast lake ; Inverbroom House with many 
smaller ones were half submerged by the tearing 
flood, on which great trees, together with the bodies 
of cattle, sheep, and deer, were borne along at in- 
tervals, while for weeks afterwards the road between 
Loch Broom and Garve was rendered nearly useless, 
as every bridge on it had been washed away, so 
that passengers progressed but slowly from point to 
point only by exchanging conveyances at every broken 
bridge. 

The history of the Braemore plantation, already 
mentioned as holding five million trees, and covering 

2 L 



258 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

one thousand acres, may be of use to forest owners 
contemplating the formation of woods. The one 
under discussion was planted in 1865-6, on the 
eastern slope of the valley of the Broom, and 
commencing at an elevation of but fifty feet above 
the sea, it rises to an altitude of one thousand feet. 
The trees are chiefly Scotch pine and larch, although 
in the best soil, on the lower ground, a variety of 
hard wood trees were put in, such as ash, oak, elm, 
copper beech, birch, maple, sycamore, rowan, and 
chestnut, each being given a chance of seeing how 
they would fare in the Braemore soil. The height of 
the now thirty-year-old trees varies from a maximum 
of fifty-one feet, a larch, to a minimum of fifty inches 
in height, with a maximum girth of sixty-six inches 
to a minimum of six inches. This extraordinary 
variation is due to the richness of the low level 
soil as compared with nearly total absence of any soil 
at all at the highest points. The deer were kept 
strictly out of this plantation until the trees had 
reached a height of about fifteen feet, when they were 



ROSS-SHIRE. 259 



admitted to all parts of it, greatly to their gain in 
the luxuries of deer life. Alder, Scotch fir, birch, 
aspen poplar, and holly are indigenous to Braemore, 
and all these self-planted trees are found in places 
suited to their requirements. Speculation has ever 
been rife as to how the vast ancient forests dis- 
appeared, which at one time so evidently covered 
so much of the ground that is now heather and moss, 
and the following remarkable letter appears to offer 
a better and simpler solution of the problem than 
any other explanation of the matter. 

Extract of a Letter from George, Earl of 
Cromartie, to Dr. Hans Sloane, Secy. R. Soc. 

November i2>^h, 17 10. 

"In the year 1651, I being then about nineteen 
years old, and occasionally in the parish of Lochbrun 
(Lochbroom), passing from a place called Achnascaild 
in Dundonnell to Gruinard, I went by a very high 
hill, which did rise in a constant steepness from thence 
to the sea ; there is a plain about half a mile round. 



26o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



and from it the hill rises in a constant steepness for 
more than a mile in ascent. 

" This little plain was at that tine all covered over 
with a firm standing wood, which was so very old that 
not only the trees had no green leaves, but the bark 
was totally thrown off; which the old countryman, 
who was in my company, told me was the universal 
manner in which fir woods did terminate, and that in 
twenty or thirty years after the trees would ordinarily 
cast themselves up from the root, and that they would 
lie in heaps till the people would cut them and carry 
them away. They likewise did let me see that the 
outside of these standing white trees, and for the 
space of one inch inwards, was dead white timber, but 
what was within that was good solid timber to the 
very pith, and as full of rozin as it could stand in the 
wood. Some fifteen years after I had occasion to 
come the same way, and called to mind the old woods 
which I had seen. Then there was not so much as 
a tree, or appearance of the root of any kind, but in 
the place thereof, the whole bounds where the wood 



ROSS-SHIRE. 261 



had Stood, was all over a plain green ground, covered 
with a plain green moss. I asked the country people, 
who were with me, what had become of the wood, and 
who carried it away. They told me that nobody was 
at the pains to carry it away, but that, it being all 
overturned from the roots by the winds, the trees did 
lie so thick and swarving over one another that the 
green moss there (in the British language called fog) 
had overgrown the whole timber, which they said was 
occasioned by the moisture that came down from the 
high hill which was above it, and did stagnate upon 
that plain ; and they said none could pass over it, 
because the scurf of the fog would not support them. 
I would needs try it, and accordingly I fell in to 
the armpits, but was immediately pulled up by them. 

" Before the year 1699 that piece of ground was 
turned into a common moss, where the country people 
were digging turf and peat, and continue to do so. 
The peats, as yet, are not of the best, and are soft and 
spungy, but grow better and better, and, as I am 
informed, it does now afford good peats. 



262 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

" This matter of fact did discover the generation 
of mosses, and whence it is that many mosses are 
furnished with such timber." 

From the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 
Number 330. (April, May and June, 17 n.) 

The Forest of Braemore having offered the use 
of such a splendid name to conjure with as that 
of the late distinguished geologist, Sir Roderick 
Murchison, the author feels it would be throwing 
away a chance if he failed to avail himself of the 
opportunity of saying something about the geology 
of Braemore which will apply equally to all the 
forests of the west coat, as well as to many of 
those on the east. The whole of this ground 
belongs then to the Upper Gneiss or Lower 
Silurian series of rocks, which are stratified, and 
at the synclinal and anti-synclinal ridges are flexured 
and contorted in a very remarkable manner. The 
composition of the rocks is quartz, felspar, and mica, 
which in some parts is highly garnetiferous. Where 
it takes the form of mica slate it splits into laminae 



ROSS-SHIRE. 263 



of such regularity and thickness as to be valuable 
for the floors of houses and the roofing of buildings, 
although being laminated and not amorphous, it 
cannot be utilised for the corners of structures 
requiring sharp regular edges. One characteristic 
of the Gneiss and Mica Schist formation is the 
production of abrupt deep ravines, and in the 
Coire Hallach Ravine and Falls in Braemore the 
depth is 250 feet, while in the narrowest part the 
width does not exceed 60 feet. No fossils have 
been found in this portion of the Silurian rocks, or 
in the lower parts of the Silurian series, except in 
the Laurentian Gneiss, and then only the somewhat 
mythical " Eozoon." 

The same reasons which have induced the author 
to mention a little of the geology of the west coast 
have also led him to dip lightly into a short de- 
scription of the flora of this district, and for all 
information on this head he is indebted to the 
kindness of Mrs. Arthur Fowler, who is herself an 
ardent botanist. Nearly all the commoner varieties 



=64 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

of British field flowers may be met with in the 
Braemore meadows, but many less familiar species 
may be found, amongst which the following are 
worthy of notice. In the beds of the burns the 
earliest of the spring flowers may be found in the 
Purple Mountain Saxifrage {Saxi/rigis oppostifolia), 
whose rosy bell often appears before the end of 
February, while the hills are yet white with snow. 

The Rose Bay or French Willow Herb {Equi- 
lobrium angusiifiolium) is still occasionally found, 
although Macculloch, writing in 1824, says it was then 
very plentiful on Loch Broom. The Cloud Berry 
[Rubus chaemaemorus), together with the Dwarf Gomel 
(Conms snecica), so common in Norway, are both 
found at an altitude of 2,000 feet, and not far from 
the same spot also grows the Grass of Parnassus 
{Parnassi(B palustris) and the Water Lobelia {^Lobelia 
dortinamed). The Floating Barweed {Spargannum 
natatts), a plant peculiar to the north, grows in the 
Home Loch near Braemore House. A patch of 
the rare and diminutive trailing Azalea {Azalea 



ROSS-SHIRE. 265 



procumbens) may be seen on one of the highest 
hills, while nearer the sea-level grows the Greater 
Skull -Cap, Pale Butterwort and sweet-scented 
Orchis, together with the tuberous Bitter Vetch, 
the roots of which. Pennant says, were eaten by 
the Highlanders. The deep ravines of Braemore 
are the homes of many kinds of ferns, such as the 
Black Maiden Hair Spleenwort, Green Spleenwort, 
Brittle Bladder Fern, Wilson's Film Fern, Beech 
Fern, and Oak Fern, Only on one occasion has 
the very rare Forked Spleenwort Fern {Asplenhim 
septentrionale) been found, when some ten years 
ago the head forester brought home a plant of 
it which he found on some steep rocks, 3000 feet 
over the sea level, and indeed at these high altitudes 
grow many tiny plants that have not as yet been 
accurately identified. 

FOREST OF CLUNIE BY INVERGARRY. 

This property belongs to Mr. J. E. B, Baillie of 
Dochfour, and was occupied for upwards of twenty 

2 M 



266 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

years in conjunction with Glenquoich by Lord 
Burton. It is at present let to Mr. Frank Bibby, 
together with the grouse ground of Ratagan, which 
consists of about 10,000 acres, on which, although 
wired off from the forest proper, there are always 
deer. The cleared portion consists of nearly 14,500 
acres of chiefly high, steep ground, several of the 
hills being over 3,000 feet ; on the east it marches 
with Caennocroc, on the south with Glenquoich, and 
on the north with Kintail. The tenant is bound 
not to kill deer after the 1 2th of October, and limited 
to fifty stags, which have the reputation of weighing 
well. 

FOREST OF CORRIEHALLZIE BY BEAULY. 

This is a nice little forest of some 7,000 acres (in 
addition to which there is a fair extent of grouse 
ground), belonging to Mr. Gillanders of Highfield, 
and let to Mr. G. H. Cheetham. It is good for 
ten or a dozen stags, and marches with Scatwell on 
the north, with sheep ground on the north-east, 



ROSS-SHIEE. 267 



Erchless on the east, Achany on the south, and 
Struy and Patt on the west. 

FOREST OF CORRIEMULLZIE, BRIDGE OF OYKEL. 

A SMALL recently cleared forest of fairly steep 
and grassy ground, with a very bad road to it from 
Oykel Bridge. It belongs to Mr. W. E. Gilmour, is 
at present let to Sir Arthur Chichester, and should 
yield from twenty to thirty stags, as deer from 
Rhidorrach, Alladale, and Deanich can come to 
and from it as they choose. 

FOREST OF COULIN BY ACHNASHEEN. 

This ground formed the eastern extremity of the 
great Applecross property, purchased some fifty years 
ago by the late Duke of Leeds from the Mackenzie 
family ; at various times, later on, portions of this 
large estate were sold by the Duke, Coulin, which 
has changed hands several times, being amongst the 
number. Lord Elphinstone built the present house, 
lying between Loch Clair and Loch Coulin, when he 



268 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

held this estate some thirty years ago ; after keeping 

it for ten years, he parted with it to Lord Wim- 

borne, who in his turn sold it some five years back 

to the present owner, Mr. J. Ogilvie Dalgleish, of 

Errol Park, Perthshire. This gentleman, in addition 

to greatly improving the home grounds, roads, and 

stalking paths, has also planted about 800 acres to 

improve the wintering. The extent is about 15,000 

acres, the high ground being rocky and steep, for Ben 

Liath Mhor rises to 3,051 feet, while all portions which 

are under 1,000 feet give fine feeding. In addition to 

Coulin proper Mr. Dalgleish has a further 5,000 acres 

of the Kinlochewe estate, rented from Sir Kenneth 

Mackenzie. The sanctuary is large and contains 

a 3,000 feet hill, quite green to the top, with the 

base surrounded by birch and old Scotch fir, offering 

warmth and shelter in all winds. 

Coulin marches with Achnashellach on the south, 
Ben Damph on the west, Torridon on the north, 
and Kinlochewe on the east, and yields from thirty 
to forty stags, according to the season, while as 



JiOSS-SH/RE. 269 



the grazing is extra good, some unusually heavy ones 
are got each year ; they are weighed clean after 
being left on the hill all night, and in 1893 there was 
one of 23 stone, another of 22 stone 8 lbs., while 
the average weight of the thirty-four stags put into the 
larder in that year was 15 stone 8 lbs. Owing to 
the nearly incessant rains of 1894, the condition of 
the deer of that season was inferior, the heaviest 
stag scaling 18 stone 10 lbs., with the average a 
good bit below that of 1893. The ground will carry 
two rifles every day, all deer being killed by stalking. 
On the "off days" salmon and sea trout are a 
strong point at Coulin, as they come up out of 
Lochmaree into Lochs Clair and Coulin in great 
numbers. 

FOREST OF DEANICH BY ARDGAY. 

This is one of Sir Charles Ross's forests, which, 
marching with Inchbae, Inverlael, and Strath vaich, is 
let together with Alladale on a lease to Sir Henry 
Bruce Meux. There are about 20,000 acres of fine 



270 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Stalking ground, which yield, on an average, forty 
stags each season, having a mean weight of 1 5 stone 
7 lbs., weighed clean. 

FOREST OF DIBIEDALE BY ARDGAY. 

This ground, with an area of 11,000 acres, cleared 
in 1849, is the property of Sir J. Kenneth Matheson, 
and is at present let to Sir Greville Smythe. It con- 
sists of two main glens running parallel east and west ; 
the one covered for the greater part with grass, and 
known as Glen Dibiedale, the other with heather and 
patches of birch wood, and called Corrievaligan, the 
west end of which is of a rocky nature, interspersed 
with mosses. 

On the south it marches with Kildermorie, on the 
west with Inchbae, on the north-west with Alladale, 
and on the east comes the grouse moor that goes 
with Dibiedale. There is a well-placed sanctuary of 
2,000 acres. The highest hills are Cairn Coinneag 
(2,749 ft.), "the conical hill," a coinneag being 
a conical-shaped wooden cup used in old days for 



ROSS-SHIRE. VJl 



drawing water; " Beinn Tarsuinn " (2,330 ft.) lies 
across and at right angles to the two glens already 
mentioned, and hence the name, which is Gaelic for 
"across." The first tenant of this forest was the 
well-known Horatio Ross, who held it from 1849 to 
1865 ; then from 1866 to 1875 the owner, Sir 
Alexander Matheson, kept it in his own hands, 
when, in 1875, Sir Robert Loder took a lease of the 
forest, and his average kill for ten years was thirty- 
nine stags, the greatest number got in any one year 
being fifty. In 1887 the forest was taken by the 
present tenant, that good sportsman, Sir Greville 
Smythe, who has made a large collection of heads on 
it, the finest of which is a grand thirteen-pointer, 
followed, however, by many royals. 

FOREST OF DRUMRUNIE, OR COULMORE, BY ULLAPOOL. 

One of the properties of the Countess of Cromartie, 
afforested in 1876, and let to Mr. Sydney Piatt of 
Bryn-y-Neuadd, Llanfairfechan. It has an area of 
35,000 acres of very precipitous, steep, rocky ground, 



272 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

but with corries full of good grazing, while the numbers 
of the lochs are almost uncountable. On the north it 
marches with Glencanisp, on the west with the sheep 
grounds of Inverpolly and Coigach, on the east with 
Rhidorrach, and on the south with other sheep walks. 
On the north side of the hill of Coulmore (2,700 ft.), 
" big shoulder," is the " Green Corrie," which is kept 
as a sanctuary, and as the nature of the ground 
renders stalking in it nearly an impossibility, this 
corrie is sometimes "moved" towards the end of the 
season. It carries two rifles, with a limited kill of 
forty-five stags, which average close on 1 5 stone clean. 
It was a most remarkable thing that Mr. Piatt, 
although the renter of various good forests since 1882, 
only got his first shot at a royal in this forest in 
1893, under the following curious circumstances: — 
Mr. Piatt found his quarry early in the day in 
company with several other good stags, and his 
stalker at once declared the royal to be a newly- 
arrived stranger, for he was restless, uneasy, declining 
to settle with the others, and keeping always on 



ROSS-SHIRE. 273 



the move. The party followed him all day, until at 
length he lay down close to the Glencanisp march, 
from out of which forest he had no doubt come. It 
was then past six o'clock, with naturally a rapidly 
fading light, so there was nothing for it but to 
"whistle him up," when Mr. Piatt brought off a 
shot which rarely succeeds, killing him dead at two 
hundred yards, 

FOREST OF DUNDONNELL BY ULLAPOOL. 

A FOREST of Mr. H. Mackenzie's, rented last season 
by Mr. Wythes of Copped Hall, Essex, It covers 
some 23,000 acres of very rough, precipitous stony 
ground, with the highest altitude reached at nearly 
3,500 feet, and over the whole of it the walking is very 
severe. In season 1891, fifty-one stags were killed, 
with an average weight of 1 3 stone 7 lbs, clean ; but 
whether this number accurately represents the yearly 
average for the last few seasons I am not able to say. 



2 N 



274 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FOREST OF FANNICH BY LOCHLUICHART. 

This is also one of Mr. H. Mackenzie's forests, 
extending over an area of between seventeen and 
eighteen thousand acres, on which the highest ground 
rises to 3,600 feet. Lord Ormathwaite, and then the 
late Sir Robert Harvey, both held this forest for several 
years, and had good sport in it ; recent clearances, 
however, having offered the deer of these parts finer, 
fresher grazing, Fannich has suffered somewhat 
by the formation of the new forests. From the 
top of this high hill, which is the backbone of 
Fannich and divides Corrie Bheag from Corrie Rioch, 
the sea can often be seen on either side, and here, 
at an elevation of about 3,000 feet, is a stone 
shelter, put up by the late Sir Robert Bateson 
Harvey. The ground carries two rifles, and is most 
difficult to stalk on, as, owing to the punch-bowl shape 
of many of the corries, the wind always blows in 
eddies. In this season of 1895 '^ was rented by 
Mr. Taylor, in conjunction with the adjacent forest 



ROSS-SHIRE. 275 



of Kinlochluichart, and " The Field," without mention- 
ing weights, states he got twenty-five stags on it. 
In connection with this forest there is the story 
of the " wild man of Fannich," which has given 
rise to the supposition that it is our clothes and 
not our bodies that give that taint to the breezes 
which the deer so easily scent from afar. The story 
of the wild man relates how a " softie " of those 
parts escaped from his friends, at the end of one 
October, and his crank being that he was a beast 
of the fields, he concealed himself in a cave in 
Fannich, and after divesting himself of all clothing, 
he found that the deer soon allowed him to 
approach, and eventually to herd with them. 
Here, for nearly a year, this mad but hardy 
being remained undiscovered ; but his body became 
so covered with hair, and so matted with dirt, that it 
formed a kind of garment for him ; he was eventually 
discovered by a stalking party in the midst of a herd 
of deer, in the September following his disappearance, 
and being captured, was returned to his friends. 



276 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FOREST OF FLOWERDALE BY GAIRLOCH. 

This property, of some 10,000 acres, belongs to Sir 
Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch, and since 1874 it has 
been rented by Mr. S. W. Clowes. The hill of Ben 
Dearg, of about 2,000 acres, was afforested in 1847, 
the remainder of the ground being cleared in 1877 
by the lessee, who made paths, tracks, put up 
foresters' cottages, built stables and boathouses, 
at a considerable outlay. This gentleman, now 
unfortunately a victim to bad health, was a good 
specimen of the " all round " sportsman, for, in 
addition to being master of the Quorn, a good game 
shot, and fisherman, he was one of the few gentlemen 
who could, and did, stalk and gralloch entirely for 
himself ; while, moreover, he was one of the very first 
to use the double-barrelled breech-loading rifle against 
deer. Mr. Clowes's place at Flowerdale is now taken 
by his son. Captain A. H. Clowes, who carries on 
the forest in the same way that his father did. 
Flowerdale consists chiefly of very rocky ground, 



HOSS-SH/RE. 277 



with plenty of steep-sided corries, tiie lower parts 
of which are covered with patches of very long old 
heather and pasture. On the west it marches with 
Shieldaig, and near this boundary its larch wood of 
Chosag affords good wintering, Torridon comes in on 
the south, Kinlochewe on the east, and then the 
estate, crossing Loch Maree, runs up to Letterewe and 
Ardlair on the north and north-east. 

The highest hills are Bein-an-Eoin, "bird or 
ptarmigan hill " (2,801 ft.), Bus-bhein (2,869 ft-) ^^'^ 
Ben Dearg, and along the watershed of these two 
last-named hills the forest march runs for some miles. 
The ground carries one rifle until the last fortnight of 
the season, while up to that date it is more of a hind 
than a stag forest. The total kill for the last twelve 
years has been exactly 203 stags, or, in round numbers, 
eighteen per annum, the heaviest of which has 
scaled 18 stone, while the average weight works out 
at but 12 stone clean. This low weight, however, 
must be put down to two causes : first, everything 
with horns that has been shot has been weighed 



278 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

while secondly, owing to the fact of a number 
of novices at stalking, not all very young, having 
been visitors to Flowerdale, a lot of small beasts have 
been knocked over in the unrestrained ardour of the 
new hand, backed up by a kindly desire on the part 
of the more experienced "to blood" the novitiate and 
make him a stalker for the rest of his days. At one 
end of the ground, on the shore of Loch-na-h'Oidhche, 
" lake of the night," which holds heavy brown 
trout, there is a fairly good bothy for the use of those 
stalking that end of the forest ; it has been christened 
" Poch-a-biue," " the yellow bag," and is interesting 
as having been originally built by an Englishman, 
Captain Inge, some time in the thirties, who was one 
of the very first of the Sassenachs to come north 
in search of sport with the red deer. Before this 
bothy was put up the deerstalkers used to sleep 
under the shelter of a big rock close by, and the long 
heather they used as bedding yet remains under it. 
The true wild cat — not the tame cat turned wild — 
still exists in this part of Ross-shire. Eagles of both 




u 

o 
< 

Q 
u 

< 

< 
u 



ROSS-SHIRE. 279 



sorts are yet common, and in relation to one of these 
birds there is a curious, but by no means incredible, 
story told by the inhabitants of this district, to the 
effect that an eagle having swooped down on the 
back of a roe buck feeding outside a wood, the 
terrified animal dashed back to the thick cover in the 
hope of shaking off his assailant. The eagle was 
nearly swept from the back of his quarry by coming 
into violent contact with the first tree past which 
the roe dashed, and then, as attacked and attacker 
approached another tree, the eagle gripped the stem 
with one of his claws, while keeping his hold of 
the roe with the other. So great, however, was the 
speed and impetus of the maddened, stampeding roe, 
while so firm was the hold of the eagle, that the bird 
was split up and torn clean asunder, one half of it 
remaining firmly fixed to the tree, while the other 
moiety continued to hold on to the roe. 



28o THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

FOREST OF GLENCALVIE BY ARDGAY. 

This forest, formed by Mr. Robertson of Kindeace, 
in 1845, and sold by him to the present owner, Mr. 
William Allis Smith, covers close on 5,000 acres of 
good ground, which, wedge-shaped in formation, runs 
from east to west for some eight miles along the 
adjacent forests of Dibiedale and Alladale, whilst on 
the north and south it meets the deer-grounds of 
Deanich and Amat. The highest ground is about 
2,300 feet; Knock-na-tuppet, "the woman's tippet," 
is 1,500 feet, with its base well wooded with some 
four hundred acres of thick cover, in which, during 
hard winters, from seven to nine hundred stags gather 
together. It carries one rifle comfortably ; the deer 
are killed only by stalking, and will average, clean, 
13 stone 7 lbs. ; a moderate shot will get 20 beasts, 
and a better one 30, which latter number the owner 
got this season of 1895. On this estate there is also 
good salmon fishing in the Carron and Calvie, for in 
1893 Mr. Allis Smith got eighty to his own rod, and 
in 1895 fifty-two. 



HOSS-SH/JiE. 281 



FOREST OF GLENCARRON BY ACHNASIIEEN. 

These forests of Glencarron and Glenuaig, or 
Glen Fhiodhaig, owned by Lord Wimborne, are 
situated in the parishes of Lochcarron and CouHn, 
the former with an area of 8,100 acres, and the 
latter with 7,060 acres, both being at the westerr 
end of Strathconan, while on the other sidei 
are the forests of Achanalt, Coulin, Achnashellach, 
and Monar. The average kill is about forty-five 
stags, which, with heart and liver included, vary 
in weight from fourteen up to eighteen stone. The 
house overlooks the Carron river (in the upper part 
of which there is salmon fishing), and has the advant- 
age of a private station on the Dingwall and Skye 
Railway, within a few minutes' walk. Some of the 
forest hills rise to over 3,000 feet, while many of 
the lower slopes are covered with old Scotch fir 
and natural birch. Loch Sgamhain, out of which 
the Carron flows, signifies " Lungs " in Gaelic, and 
a somewhat curious legend is told to account for this 

2 o 



282 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

odd name. The story runs that some children, once 
playing on the loch shore, seeing an animal like a horse, 
climbed on to its back for a ride ; one by one they 
mounted, but as each seated himself on the beast their 
fingers stuck fast to the hide, and they were held 
prisoners, while the animal dashed off towards the 
loch. One little fellow threw himself off, only to 
reach the ground with the loss of his fingers, and 
then running off home, gave the alarm, but no trace of 
horse or the other children could be found. On the 
following morning, however, the lungs of the other 
boys were found floating on the loch, and hence it 
took its name. Like many other parts of the north, 
this forest, there can be no doubt, was formerly 
densely wooded, traces of old trees being found in 
all parts, but how or when these woods were destroyed 
will ever remain an open question, although in the 
account of Braemore Forest there will be found a 
plausible theory for their disappearance. 



ROSS-SHIRE. 283 



FOREST OF GLENSHIELDAIG BY LOCH CARRON. 

This forest, of upwards of 11,000 acres, belongs 
to Mr, J. S. Murray, and lies between the deer- 
grounds of Applecross on the south-west, and those 
of Ben Damph on the north-east. I have not been 
able to gather any particulars of the number of 
stags killed, but whatever that may be, their weights 
will, in all probability, be the same as those of the 
stags of the two adjacent forests. 

FORESTS OF INCHBAE, STRATHRANNOCH AND TOLMUICK, 

BY CARVE. 

This is a long narrow ground of about 21,000 
acres, belonging to Mr. W. D. Mackenzie, of Farr, 
and contains the great wood of Dhucaillie, of some 
5,000 acres in extent, in which red, fallow, and roe 
deer dwell together. It is at present let to 
Mr. J. C. Williams, who joins it on to Strathvaich 
Forest, which he has held since 1887. This gentle- 
man treats both places in a thoroughly sportsmanlike 
manner, as he does not try to kill an excessive 



284 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

number of stags ; he stops stalking quite early in 
October, rarely killing more than five or six beasts 
in that month, although rightly enough he pursues 
the deer with energy in August and September, 
seldom getting less than twenty fat beasts in the 
first-named month, which are carefully picked for 
good bodies with clean horns, and for many seasons 
he has killed fat stags prior to the 12th of August. 
In season '94 Mr. Williams watched a stag finishing 
the operation of getting rid of his velvet on the 
31st of July, and leaving him on that day to finish 
his toilet in peace, he killed him, quite free of velvet, 
on the 4th of August. From the two forests of 
Inchbae and Strathvaich from ninety to one hundred 
stags are taken each season, of which about forty 
come from Inchbae. The tenant does not have 
his deer weighed, except he himself sees it done, 
and thus only the big ones are taken to the 
balance ; these are weighed with heart and liver, 
and 17 to 18 stone are counted good stags, while 
about every third year one of 19 stone is got, and 



ROSS-SHIRE. 285 



since 1887 only one has turned the scale at 
20 stone. Mr. Williams, however, spares many 
of the finest heads, neither does he permit his 
foresters to pick off the best hinds in the winter, 
and by these means he has greatly improved his 
stock of deer, both in numbers and in quality — 
an example which more of the forest renters might 
follow with advantage. 

In 1892 a most vexatious piece of bad luck 
happened here to Mr. Mackenzie, when in the dusk 
he fired at a stag in Glen Kyllachy, and the bullet 
striking the base of the horn, the stag escaped. 
Mr. Mackenzie having had this stag in view for some 
time, was therefore able to recognise him again 
three days later in Macleay's shop in Inverness, 
when he turned out to be a splendid fourteen- 
pointer, who carried the mark of Mr. Mackenzie's 
bullet on his horn, whilst vexatlously enough the beast 
proved to be the second best head got in Scotland 
that season. 



286 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FOREST OF INVERLAEL AND GLENBEG, BY LOCIIBROOM. 

This estate of 14,000 acres of forest, cleared in 
1882, together with some 6,000 acres of grouse 
ground, belongs to Sir Arthur Mackenzie, and is 
now let to Mr. A. G. Wood. It is bounded on the 
west by Loch and River Broom, while on the other 
sides it is surrounded by the forests of Braemore, 
Strathvaich, Deanich, and Leckmelm. 

The kill of stags for the years 1890 and 1891 
was respectively 34 and 29, and an approximate 
guide to their weights may be gathered by referring 
to those obtained in the surrounding deer grounds. 

FOREST OF KILDERMORIE BY ALNESS, 

A FOREST of 25,000 acres, cleared some fifty 
years ago, belonging to Mr. Walter Shoolbred, and 
purchased by him in 1890 from Mr. Munro- 
Ferguson, the greater part being let to his brother, 
Mr. Frederick Shoolbred. It contains some high 
hills, Carn Chumineag being 2,749 ^^^^ ^"^^ ^^^ 



ROSS-SHIRE. 287 



Ean and Mheal Mhor are each over 2,400 feet. The 
low ground is limited, while neither wintering 
or grazing is any too good, as there are vast 
stretches of moss ground. On the south and 
south-west it marches with Wyvis and Inchbae, 
on the north-west with Dibiedale, the other boundaries 
being sheep ground. The stalking season is a short 
one, as the stags do not come into Kildermorie 
in large numbers until they are seeking the hinds, 
so that the kill has to be made in a short time, 
for by the terms of the lease stalking terminates 
on the loth of October, the usual season's total 
being forty-five to fifty stags, weighing an average 
of 14 stone, with heart and liver. 

KINLOCHEWE BY ACHNASHEEN. 

Belongs to Sir Kenneth Mackenzie, and is let 
to Mr. W. M. Cazalet. There are 20,000 acres of 
cleared ground in addition to a large extent of grouse 
shooting. On the north it marches with Letterewe, 
the east and north-east boundaries are sheep ground, 



288 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Flowerdale joins it on the west, and Torridon and 
Coulin on the south and south-west ; it is very 
rocky, steep ground, off which in 1895 thirty-five 
stags were killed. 

FOREST OF KINLOCH-LUICHART BY DINGWALL. 

This forest, the property of Lady Ashburton, 
my map of the deer forests puts at just over 20,000 
acres, but from other good sources it is estimated 
at from 42,000 to 45,000 acres, including some 10,000 
acres of grouse ground. It marches with Fannich on 
the west, with Braemore and Strathvaich on north and 
north-east, with sheep ground on the east, and Achanalt 
on the south. The house, barely a mile from the 
station, is finely placed, looking over Loch Luichart 
and on to some of the highest hills of the forest, 
which rise to 3,000 feet. It is a long narrow estate, 
with a flat boggy strath running through it, a give and 
take ground, off which the deer are easily shifted and 
equally as easily put on to from the adjacent forests, 
a matter which renders the stalking more exciting 



ROSS-SHIRE. 289 



and difficult than is the case when the sport is 
pursued on places with a squarer formation. There 
is one very large fine corrie kept as a sanctuary which 
is always full of good stags at the beginning of the 
season, so that on the management of this corrie 
depends a great deal of the Kinloch-Luichart sport. 
Should it be left quite quiet and no disturbance 
made near it until the stags begin to break out 
in small parties to seek the hinds, then a good few 
of these big fellows may be got, but on the other 
hand, should there by any mischance be any dis- 
turbance of this corrie earlier in the season, then 
away go the bulk of its occupants to the grounds 
of Strathvaich and Achanalt, which they seem to 
prefer to those of Fannich or Braemore on the 
west and north. In the season of 1892 thirty-seven 
good beasts were got, the heaviest of which was 
17 stone, while the lot averaged 15 stone clean. In 
1895 Mr. Taylor had this forest in conjunction with 
Fannich, and "The Field" states his total kill was 
fifty-seven stags, but does not mention any weights. 

2 p 



290 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FOREST OF LECKMELM BY LOCII BROOM. 

This property, of about 10,000 acres, belongs to 
Mr. A. G. Pirie, who purchased it, in 1879, from 
Colonel Davidson of Tulloch, and commencing to 
clear it in 1882, he has always retained it in his 
own hands. It lies on the north side of Loch Broom, 
and running in a direction from south-west to north- 
east, forms an oblong-shaped ground of about nine 
miles long by four at the widest parts. On the north 
it marches with Rhidorrach, on the south-east with 
Inverlael and Glenbeg, while on each side of 
Leckmelm there is an unbroken stretch of thirty 
miles of afforested lands. The highest altitude is 
reached on the summit of Mealldhu, 2,205 ^^^^, the 
next highest hill being Beineiltach, 1,800 feet, the 
base of which is well wooded, while as it offers splendid 
shelter in all seasons, it is kept as a sanctuary. 

When the ground was first afforested, a number 
of hind calves were reared as a breeding stock, 
which are still carefully preserved and fed during 



ROSS-SHIRE. 291 



winter. The ground works best on a westerly wind ; 
the annual kill at present is fifteen stags, which vary- 
in mean weight, according to the season ; in 1887 
the average was 15 stone 6 lbs., and in 1892, 14 stone 
9 lbs. ; in each case heart and liver being included. 

About the year 1590, Leckmelm was the scene of 
a desperate fight between the proscribed Caithness 
clan of Gun and the Earl of Sutherland's men. 
The former were seeking refuge in the Western Isles 
when they were overtaken by the Earl's men 
" at a spot called Leckmelm," and were eventually 
defeated with such great loss that but few of the 
Clan Gun remained to tell the tale. 

FORESTS OF LETTEREWE, FISHERFIELD, AND ARDLAIR 
BY ACHNASHEEN. 

This property, originally belonging to the Mac- 
kenzies of Gairloch, was bought from them by Mr. 
Meyrick Bankes, a Liverpool gentleman, who used to 
stalk it from his yacht, in harbour at Poolewe, while in 
conjunction with the deer he kept a large head of 



292 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

sheep, well known for their excellence of quality. 
Mr. Bankes, however, got many good heads and 
heavy beasts during his time, but dying in 1880, he 
left Letterewe House with the policies to his widow, 
while the remainder of the forest with Fisherfield 
was willed to one of his daughters, who married 
a French gentleman of the name of Liot, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Liot-Bankes are the present owners of 
the property, which they let to Mr. J. F. Laycock, 
while they themselves reside in a beautifully-placed 
house on the shores of Loch Maree. This ground 
was first let clear of sheep in 1883, to Mr. Charles 
Perkins, who spent large sums in buildings, improve- 
ments and forest paths, to which Mr. Laycock has 
also added considerably. Including the lands of 
Ardlair and Fisherfield, the forest has an area of 
about 45,000 acres, many parts of which are very 
steep, rough walking, while other portions afford 
both excellent grazing and shelter. The stags mostly 
winter on the slopes of the Loch Maree hills, or on 
the low grounds near the sea, while the hinds chiefly 



HOSS-SHIRE. 293 



affect the Strathnashellag side. It is a forest that 
can be stalked in all winds, but as usual an easterly 
one is the worst. Mr. Laycock gets his bag entirely 
by stalking ; he uses no dogs, and the deer are usually 
brought home the same day they are killed. Three 
and sometimes four rifles can take the hill, and their 
average each season, since Mr. Laycock has had 
Letterewe, has been just under one hundred stags, 
the best season being one hundred and twelve, 
which showed a mean clean weight of 13 stone 
5 lbs., but this would have worked out much higher 
had a good few "rotten" and bad stags not been 
included in the list, which, although they were 
only killed off to make room for better ones, were 
yet weighed and taken into account. 

In the season of 1895 Mr. Laycock, who was 
yachting during the stalking time, sent a friend 
up to Letterewe with a limit of forty stags, which 
were, of course, easily got. There are many hills, 
ranging from 2,800 to 2,000 ft. On the south 
the forest marches with those of Flowerdale and 



294 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Kinlochewe, the rest of the boundaries being sheep 
ground. 

Mr. Laycock's best day in the forest since he first 
took it, in 1889, has been seven stags, and the heaviest 
stag in that time was killed by Mr. Perkins on 
the Maighdean, a ten-pointer of 20 stone alb. On 
Christmas Eve, 1890, Mr. Laycock shot a very old, 
perfectly milk-white hind that had been on the ground 
long before he came. She was only shot from a 
conviction that she would not last through the winter, 
for she had been barren for the three previous seasons, 
although in the years in which she had calves they 
were always of the ordinary colour. This remarkable 
beast has been set up whole by Rowland Ward. 
Mr. Laycock also got a light-coloured royal stag, 
which was incorrectly spoken of as " the white stag." 
This beast he had previously missed, and altogether 
he had been shot at nine times ere he received the 
fatal bullet. On the very steep slope of the 
Maighdean Mrs. Mitchell Innes, the lessee's sister, 
made a remarkable bit of good shooting as she was 



JiOSS-Sff/JiE. 295 



slithering after the stalker down the south side of this 
hill. Some stags below them got their wind, and 
breaking in all directions, Mrs. Mitchell Innes picked 
out two of the best, killing them right and left, when 
going at full gallop in opposite directions, and though 
the beasts were rightly struck, unfortunately they 
rolled down the very steep hill, both being much 
smashed up. It was in this forest that the celebrated 
deerstalker. Black Finlay Macrae, lived with his 
master, Mackenzie of Gairloch. It was his duty to 
keep the larder well supplied with venison, which for 
many years was an easy matter ; after a time, 
however, Finlay began to find a great difficulty in 
getting stags, and eventually he discovered that some 
poacher was ever in front of him in most of his 
stalking trips, so much so that venison became quite 
scarce in his master's house, while reproaches were 
heaped on him for his want of skill. For a long time 
Finlay had thought that the poacher was a certain 
Big Donald Kennedy, and at last one morning he 
surprised him in the act of gralloching a newly-killed 



296 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

deer, so, creeping close up to him, Finlay called out : 
" Well, Donald, the sport has been yours, but the deer 
must be mine ! " Donald sprang to his feet, grasped 
the knife already in his hand, while answering : " It 
will just be the best man who will get it!" Finlay 
also having drawn his knife, the two closed and were 
instantly locked in a struggle for life, which resulted 
in Big Donald being left dead on the hill. Finlay at 
once returned home, and fearing the revenge of 
Kennedy's relations, who were powerful and numerous, 
he, his wife, child, and father started off that night 
for Glen Strathfarrar, which they reached in safety by 
dint of carefully hiding all day and travelling only 
in the dark, and then choosing a convenient place, 
they built themselves a hut at the foot of Sgur-na- 
Lappich, in which they hoped to pass the time till the 
excitement caused among Big Donald's relations had 
subsided. Some months later, when Finlay was out 
stalking, five of the Kennedys suddenly appeared at 
his hut and killed Finlay's father and child while they 
were at work in a field near by. When Finlay 



ROSS-SHIRE. 297 



returned home and saw what had happened, he in his 
turn vowed vengeance, so setting out quite alone for 
Gairloch, he discovered who the five men were, and got 
a friend to point him out their dwelHng. Thither 
he wended his way towards evening, and watching 
their house until he had counted them all inside, he 
waited patiendy until midnight ; then he crept to 
the unbolted door, and entering noiselessly, in three 
blows he killed three of the Kennedys before they 
were awake. The other two made a desperate fight, 
but eventually they also were slain in fair combat ; 
then setting fire to the house, Finlay departed 
again to his wife and home at the foot of Sgur- 
na-Lappich. Shortly after this, when Finlay was 
working in his field, seeing six men approaching, he 
at once divined their mission, but being quite unarmed, 
he walked boldly up to them, to be met with the 
question : " Do you know which is the house of Black 
Finlay ?" To this he replied, " It is just where I left 
it." " You know him then ? " asked the party. " No 
doubt," answered the intrepid Finlay, " for I keep his 

2 Q 



298 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

cattle." " Then show us where he is ! " cried they, 
whereupon Finlay led the way into his house, on reach- 
ing which he called out to his wife, who had seen the 
approaching party and quickly guessed their advent 
boded no good, " Is the man of the house at home ?" 
With ready wit she said, " He is on his bed, so you can 
come in if you want him, for maybe he will not rise 
for ye." On hearing this the whole party entered the 
house, when Finlay, springing to where his gun and 
dirk laid, turned and cried : " The man of the house is 
here — who seeks him .'' " The strangers, taken by 
surprise, hastened to break out of the small room so as 
to get a better chance of attacking Finlay, but a ball 
from his gun killed the first, the butt-end slew the 
next two in two successive blows, and closing with the 
other three in a hand-to-hand fight, favoured by the 
cramped space, he mortally wounded two more of his 
assailants, while the third fled unhurt to the hills. 
Two such daring deeds, coupled with the slaying of 
eleven strong men by his single hand, earned Finlay 
such a reputation and respect that he was ever after 



ROSS-SHIRE. 299 



allowed to rest in peace, so that eventually he returned 
to the service of his master in Gairloch, while to com- 
memorate his prowess the highest hill in the district 
was called Ben Fionnlaidh, or Ben Finlay, a name 
which it keeps to the present day. 

On this estate of Letterewe some very remarkable 
proceedings were taken in 1840 by Mr, Bankes, 
for the destruction of a boat-shaped monster called 
" The Beast," which the natives declared dwelt in 
a loch on the property called " Loch-na-beiste," 
after the monster. In the year above mentioned 
a deputation of Mr. Bankes' tenants waited on him 
for the express purpose of begging him to undertake 
the destruction of "the beast," and although, as may 
easily be imagined, he at first turned a very deaf 
ear to the suggestion, he eventually yielded later 
on to the sworn testimony of one Sandy McLeod, 
an elder of the kirk, who together with two other 
most respectable people who were with him jointly 
and severally vowed they had seen "the beast," 
which evidence being quickly corroborated by that of 



30O THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

Other people equally credible, Mr. Bankes allowed 
himself to be persuaded to take steps for the destruc- 
tion of the monster. An attempt was forthwith 
made to draw off the water from Loch-na-beiste, 
which resulted in reducing the depth to six feet, 
except in one part where there was a hole of some 
fifteen feet deep, and this was therefore the only 
place in the loch which held sufficient water to hide 
" the beast." Into this fourteen barrels of raw lime 
were poured at once, a proceeding which caused 
the death of most of the trout in the loch, while 
the "great beast" remained undiscovered, and from 
that time forward no further attempts have been 
made to molest him. 

FOREST OF MONAR BY BEAULY. 

This ground belongs to Mr. Stirling of Fairburn, 
who keeps it in his own hands. It has an area 
of some 20,000 acres, entirely surrounded by other 
forests ; Achnashellach lies on the north ; on the 
west and south are Attadale and Glencannich, and 



HOSS-SHIHE. 30 « 



on the east come Struy and Strathconan. I have 
not been able to obtain any reliable information as 
to the number of stags got, or their weight, but 
report says that fifty to sixty are killed each season. 
The highest ground rises to 3,452 feet. 

PATT, KILLILAN, RIOCHAN, AND GLOMACH BY BEAULY. 

These lands, of some 15,000 acres, are the property 
of Sir Kenneth Matheson, who at one time let 
them to Lord Lovat, who sub-let them to Mr. 
Winans. The grounds march with the forests of 
Glencannich, Attadale, Monar, and Braulen, and are 
very steep and interspersed with large mosses. The 
lodge is an out of the way place, some thirty miles 
from Beauly, the last six miles of the journey being 
most easily performed in a boat on Loch Morar. 
The lands of Patt and Riochan are the chief haunts 
of the hinds, while those of Killilan are the abode 
of the stags, and thus sport is assured from the 
middle of August to the end of the season. It 
carries two rifles, who should get from forty to 



302 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

fifty Stags, which in good years average 15 stone 
clean. 

THE FOREST OF RHIDORRACH, BY ULLAPOOL. 

This fine deer ground — the pioneer of the Ross- 
shire forests — is the property of the Countess of 
Cromartie, and extends over some 40,000 acres of 
rocky hills, deep glens, bold corries, and occasional 
flats, interspersed with many a loch. Of these 
lands, 25,000 acres are under deer, the remaining 
15,000 acres being grouse shooting over sheep ground 
skirting the cleared portion on the west and north ; 
as however the forest proper is not fenced off in any 
way, deer are to be met with over the whole place. 
The big glen of Rhidorrach, " the dark forest," on 
the south side of which is a sanctuary upwards of 
three miles in length, runs from east to west for 
some ten miles through the centre of the ground, 
the lowest level of which varies from a mile to a 
mile and a half in breadth, and consists of one 
uninterrupted stretch of magnificent green pasture. 



ROSS-SHIRE. 303 



On either side of the glen the hills are covered at 
their bases with woods of birch and fir ; as the 
wood ceases, they rise in more or less steep or 
undulating slopes, until in some parts they reach 
an altitude of 3,000 feet. Amongst these tall hills 
may be mentioned those of Knockdamph, the " hill 
of the stag"; Benvrick, the "speckled mountain," 
and Beneiltach, the "hill of the hinds." On the 
south these lands are skirted by the deer ground 
of Leckmelm, while Corriemulzie joins it on the 
east. Three rifles can go out daily, to whom 
William Sutherland, the head forester, strongly 
recommends cloth of green and yellow mixtures as 
best suited to this ground, where the bag is 
made entirely by stalking. In 1895 the tenant, 
Mr. Molyneux Clarke, killed fifty-three stags, while 
the average weight of beasts for the years 1893, 
1894, and 1895 worked out at 14 stone 12 lbs., 
quite clean, which is a matter to be proud of. A 
previous tenant of this forest, Captain T. S. Starkey, 
late of the 9th Lancers — "Tom" Starkey of his 



304 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

intimates, and with whom I had several friendly 
tussels behind the traps in the days when he shot" 
pigeons so successfully — witnessed a curious incident 
in Rhidorrach, when on one occasion he had wounded 
a stag, which, going slowly off, while bleeding freely, 
was seen to be attacked by a fox ! 

In the days of Mr. Hay Mackenzie, of Cromartie 
— the great-grandfather of the present proprietrix — 
and long before Rhidorrach was regularly afforested, 
there were a number of very heavy stags on the 
ground, for Mr. Mackenzie had his deer fed by 
hand all through the winter, with the result that 
stags could be seen there as early as May with 
royal heads from which the velvet was nearly 
ready to drop. Two of these big fellows became 
comparatively tame, and were christened "Bill" and 
" Bean," one of them having a most remarkable head, 
and easily known anywhere. This beast, imprudently 
straying beyond the bounds of safety, became the 
victim of a noted deer poacher, who, having dis- 
posed of his ill-gotten meat, became fearful of 



JiOSS-SHIJiE. 305 



parting with the head on account of its marked 
peculiarities. Suspicion at once fell on Poacher 
Finlay, and Mr. Hay Mackenzie used all sorts of 
persuasion to recover the head of the missing 
stag, until at length he was reduced to offering 
the thief five pounds with a free pardon — a liberal 
bid, which procured him the restoration of the lost 
trophy. Mr. Mackenzie eventually gave this head 
to the Lord Londonderry of that period, which to 
this day is a treasured ornament of the walls of 
Mount Stuart in County Down ; that this is a 
reputation well earned may readily be supposed when 
it can be stated it had nineteen fine points, a span of 
40 inches, a right horn of 32 inches in length, with a 
circumference of 7 inches just above the coronet, 
the left horn being but a trifle smaller, and a drawing 
of it still hangs in the dining-room of Rhidorrach. 

FOREST OF SCATWELL BY MUIR OF CRD. 

This ground, cleared for upwards of the last 
twenty years, belongs to Sir W. J. Bell, and extends 

2 K 



3o6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

to some 10,000 acres, of which about 2,000 acres 
are wood. It marches with the forests of Strath conan 
and CorriehaUie, the highest ground being on Carn 
William, 2,300 feet. With a favourable wind two 
rifles can go out, while considering the fact that this 
ground is on the extreme outside limit for deer, 
and that it is the lowest possible for them in the 
district, the kill of twenty to twenty-five stags of 14 
stone each season is a remarkably good one, a 
triumph chiefly due to the fine feeding, coupled with 
good shelter, afforded to the deer during the winter. 
As large numbers of hinds from other forests come 
in to Scatwell to drop and rear their calves. Sir 
William proves himself a good neighbour by not 
permitting any hinds ever to be shot. 



FOREST OF SHIELDAIG BY ACHNASHEEN. 

This is one of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie's forests 
and has been let to Mr. Charles Rudd for several 
years past, who gave it up at the end of season 



JiOSS-Sff/RE. 307 



1895. ^t marches with Torridon and Flowerdale, 
its 7,600 acres being devoid of wood, or any hill 
higher than 2,400 feet. It will carry one rifle, but 
no information has been procurable as to the total kill 
or weights, though probably the latter are similar 
to those of Flowerdale and Torridon. 

FOREST OF STRATHCONAN BY MUIR OF ORD. 

The whole of this estate of some 73,000 acres 
was purchased in 1839 by Mr. Balfour of Whit- 
tinghame, who in 1841 commenced to clear the 
sheep off portions of the ground, until, in 1877, the 
forest covered 27,500 acres, when Mr. R. H. Combe 
purchased it, and like Mr. Balfour, he maintains 
the same kindly friendship with his tenants and 
neighbours. The forest is most wild and rugged, 
there being many hills over 3,000 feet, while as 
the strath is unusually steep and narrow, it is 
subject to violent storms and floods. This ground 
has yielded more than one hundred stags in the 
season, but the number was found to be greater 



3o8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

than it would fairly stand, and the kill has been 
judiciously reduced to seventy-five or eighty. 

These lands were the scene of the defeat of one of 
the Lords of the Isles by the Mackenzies, who were 
routed with great slaughter. Later on the forest was 
again a witness of one of those Culloden atrocities, 
then so prevalent amongst the victorious soldiery 
of the King of England, for a party of fugitives from 
the battle-field, having taken refuge in a cave on 
Strathconan, were surrounded and smoked or burnt 
to death by means of large piles of lighted heather 
placed at the entrance of their hiding-place. 

FOREST OF TORRIDON, BV TORRIDON. 

An ancient charter of 1584 shows that these 
lands then belonged to the Macdonnells of Glen- 
garry, while up to the present day nineteen families of 
that name still dwell in Alligen on Loch Torridon. 
It was one of these Macdonnells who, when on a 
marauding expedition to one of the Western Isles, 
being hard pressed for food, came on a party of 



ROSS-SHIRE. 309 



natives just finishing the out-door cooking of a 
savoury meal in a large pot suspended over the 
fire from a tripod. The Torridon man dashed 
rashly into their midst armed with nothing better 
than an oak cudgel, and raining blows on every side, 
the surprised natives fled in all directions. Thrusting 
his oak staff through the handle of the pot, the 
famishing hero swung it from off the fire on to his 
back, making off to his friends with his prize, quite 
regardless of scorched shoulders. 

For this exploit he received the name of Darach 
or Darroch, which is Gaelic for oak, and from this 
dashing Highlander are descended the present-day 
Darrochs — one of them, Mr. Duncan Darroch, 
being now the owner of Torridon Forest. 

In 1610 the Mackenzies were in possession of 
Torridon, and at Loch-an-Fheidh, on the west side 
of Sgur Dubh in Torridon, a sanguinary battle was 
fought between them and the McLeods, resulting in 
the nearly total extinction of the latter-named clan, 
whose killed were buried where they fell, and their 



3T0 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



graves are still pointed out. The present Torridon 
Forest covers ii,6oo acres, which consist almost 
entirely of high rocky peaks with deep valleys, 
although near the house there is a growing 
plantation which will shortly afford the deer better 
winter shelter than they get at present, which they 
have hitherto found in the very deep valleys lying 
between the many high and rocky hills. Amongst 
these may be mentioned Liathgach, or the Blue 
Hill, 3,456 feet ; and Ben AUigen, or the Jewel 
Hill, 3,232 feet; while there are several others just 
over or just under 3,000 feet. In accordance with 
the prevailing rockiness of this ground, the best 
colours in which the stalker can array himself are a 
Black Mount mixture, or a very light green Lovat 
cloth. The annual kill is thirty stags, which for 
the past twenty years have averaged, weighed with 
heart and liver, 12 stone loj lbs., no allowance 
ever being made if any stag happened to be left 
a night on the hill. About 1880 a rose-coloured 
starling or pastor was shot here, which is now 



ROSS-SHIRE. 311 



in Mr. Darroch's possession at Torridon ; while 
later on in 1887 Her Majesty made that part of 
Scotland supremely proud by a stay of a week 
at Gairloch — a matter which is duly and happily 
recorded in "More Leaves from the Journal of a 
Life in the Highlands." 



it€ THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



Chapter X. 
SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 

FORESTS OF BEN IIEE AND CORRY KINLOCH BY LAIRG, 
GLENDHU, GLENCOUL, AND BEN STROME BY KYLE 
STROME, GOBERNUISGACH BY LAIRG, LOCH MORE 
BY LAIRG, STACK BY LAIRG. 

The whole of these lands belong to the Duke of 
Sutherland, although for nearly the last thirty years 
they have been rented by the Duke of Westminster, 
who keeps the properties of Lochmore, Ben Strome, 
Glendhu, and Glencoul in his own hands. On the 
north these lands march with the forests of Stack and 
Gobernuisgach, on the east with Ben Hee, on the 
west with the sea and Scourie sheep-ground, and 
on the south with Assynt. Lochmore Lodge, of 



•, • > '• J 




o 

Q 
O 



c 



u 
o 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 313 

which a drawing is annexed, is beautifully placed 
at the west end of the loch of that name, with a grand 
look-out on to the stony slopes of the summit of Ben 
Arkle, which rises to 2,500 feet. The house was 
enlarged and nearly rebuilt in 1866, when the present 
Duke of Westminster, then Lord Grosvenor, took over 
the whole of the Reay Forest from the late Lord 
Dudley, which ancient hunting ground of the Lords 
of Reay then consisted of the properties at present 
forming Ben Hee, Gobernuisgach, Lochmore, and 
Stack, which have long ceased to exist as a whole, and 
no single one of them can now lay claim to the title of 
"the Reay" forest. From the time it came into the 
Duke of Westminster's hands he has spared no 
pains to improve the deer, and in this he has been 
highly successful, for when he took it, in 1866, the 
whole ground yielded 130 stags, averaging 15 stone 
7 lbs. quite clean, a very fine mean weight, on 
which it might have been thought impossible to 
improve, but nevertheless, in 1894, that good year, 
the same ground yielded 188 stags, making the 

2 s 



314 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

very remarkable, unsurpassed average of i6 stone 
6 lbs. ; and here also it may be as well to mention 
that both at Lochmore and Kyle Strome the weigh- 
ing is most carefully done, while it is but seldom 
that two consecutive days pass without the Duke 
himself visiting the larder to witness the performance. 
The following statistics will show how quickly 
deer increase with proper treatment and care. On 
the 23rd of October, 1884, the Duke ordered a 
count to be made over the whole ground, by each 
forester on his respective beat, with the following 
result : — 



Ben Stack and Ben Arkle . 

Ben Hee .... 

Altnarynie, a beat on the 
north shore of Lochmore 

Gobernuisgach . 

Lone .... 

Sheep-ground . 





Others of 


Stags. 


all sorts. 


112 


177 


145 


607 


269 


405 


209 


410 


78 


156 


54 


126 


867 


1,881 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 



315 



Early in November of 1894 another count took 



;, which resulted as under : 






Lochmore Side 


Stags. 

35 


Others of 
all sorts. 

300 


Lone . . . . 


159 


347 


Altnarynie 


109 


543 


Stack and Ben Arkle 


146 


239 


Kyle Strome . 


233 


128 


Glendhu . 


221 


300 


Glencoul . 


220 


138 


Gobernuisgach . 


180 


642 


Ben Hee or Merkland 


128 


800 



i.43t 3.437 
This shows an increase in ten years of 564 stags, 
together with 1,556 "others of all sorts." It must 
not, however, be overlooked that soon after 1884 the 
greater part of what is described in that count as 
sheep ground was cleared, and appears in the reckoning 
of 1894 as Kyle Strome, Glendhu and Glencoul. The 
forest ground at present held by the Duke will easily 
carry four rifles, and even five can take the hill at die 



3i6 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

same time. The home beat and Altnarynie are worked 
from Lochmore ; Ben Strome beat can be worked 
either from there or from the Duke's other lodge at 
Kyle Strome, the two being some eight miles apart, 
and a tramp over the ground separating the two lodges, 
rifle in hand, with William Elliot as stalker, on a nice 
fine clear day, is all that the most ardent lover of sport 
or admirer of scenery could desire. I had the good 
fortune to make this happy journey on the 26th of 
August of last year (1895), and a finer combination of 
land and sea scape it would be hard to find. In ad- 
dition to that I had three shots, making one abominable 
miss and killing two good stags, which weighed that 
same evening 1 7 stone 2 lb. and 1 5 stone quite clean ; 
both of them, at this early date, were also absolutely 
free of velvet, not even having rags hanging about the 
coronets, but while the horns of the smaller stag 
were quite black and burnished, those of the heavier 
deer were still whiteish. That day I saw many other 
stags clear of velvet, and in season 1893 perfectly 
clean horns could be seen as early as July 20th. 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 317 

The beats of Glencoul and Glendhu are respec- 
tively at the heads of sea lochs of the same names, 
and, extending to some 35,000 acres, they are most 
pleasantly and luxuriously worked by the " More 
Vane," " Big Witch," a screw steam yacht of about 
65 tons ; not the least pleasant part of the day 
spent in these distant forest beats was the steam to 
the head of Glencoul, there to meet John Elliot, 
a brother of the before-mentioned William of that ilk. 
Both at Lochmore and Kyle Strome the delights of 
punctuality were assured, and the boat of the " More 
Vane" was ever ready at the quay, with steam up 
to the very minute ordered, and, reader, in spite of 
the fifty to sixty inch rainfall of these parts, of which 
during my stay I got more than a fair allowance, there 
can yet be most splendid, brightly sunny days in 
these high latitudes, when in the fresh beauty of 
such a morning, with glorious views all around, with 
sea-birds diving and flying about in all directions, the 
ten mile steam to our respective destinations (for one 
rifle was disembarked at Glendhu, the other going 



3i8 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

on to Glencoul) was the very pleasantest way of 
reaching a forest beat that it has ever been my 
lot to experience. At the end of the day the 
return home in the dusk, with the after-glow of the 
sunset showing the black outline of the hills against 
the pale sky, while the throb of the screw, the hiss 
of the water surging white from the stern, the dim 
ghostly forms of a couple of dead stags lying on 
the deck, and the weird call of the various sea-divers 
startled by the yacht, all tended to send one home 
in a peculiarly happy, contented frame of mind. 
On the eastern boundaries of these two beats is the 
hill of Ben Leod, which is 3,579 ft. in height, but over 
the whole ground there are other hills reaching to 
nearly 3,000 ft., and more than twenty of them are 
over 2,000 ft. In the bitterly severe winters of 1894 
and 1895 Loch More, which had never before been 
known to freeze, was coated with four inches of ice, 
while on Loch Stack in some places it reached fifteen 
inches in thickness. 

The Stack forest the Duke sub-let for season 1895 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 319 



to Earl Cairns, who is equally good with either 
gun or rifle. The lodge is well placed at the west 
end of Loch Stack, just where the Laxford river 
runs out of it, both waters being renowned for their 
salmon and sea trout. The lodge is, however, 
somewhat exposed to the westerly gales, for when 
a real strong blow comes, it is not unusual for all 
the windows facing the wind to be broken by the 
small pebbles driven against them by the force of the 
gale. The tenant is limited to forty stags, a number 
which it is his own fault if he does not get. Ben 
Stack and Ben Arkle, one on each side of the Laxford, 
are two remarkable steep, stony hills on this ground. 
Ben Hee and Corry-Kinloch the Duke sub-lets to 
Mr. M. E. Sanderson of Wakefield, and never did I 
feel more sorry for any sportsman than when I called 
on this gentleman on my way from Lochmore this 
season of 1895, only to find him, on a splendid stalking 
day with no end of "big fellows" on the hill, laid 
by the heels (or perhaps the toes would be more 
accurate), with a foot wrapped in wool resting on a 



320 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

chair — that horrid and mysterious gout ! to which so 
many of my friends are martyrs in spite of the most 
careful self-denial in diet, whilst I and many others, 
who eat and drink without a thought, never so much as 
suffer even a passing pang. Ben Hee is good for forty 
stags, which are usually obtained; in 1894 the total 
was thirty-five, averaging 14 stone 12 lbs. quite clean. 
Ben Hee is beautiful stalking ground, with the lodge 
pleasantly placed at the west end of Loch Merk- 
land, on the high road from Lairg to Scourie. Mr. 
Sanderson is one of the best of tenants, and like the 
Duke, he stops stalking about the 4th of October, 
but if he were not to do this, he could easily put 
another score of very big deer into the larder, for the 
north beat of his ground on the green face sloping 
up from the road is the great hind resort of these 
parts, and as one drives from Lairg to Lochmore, 
or vice versa, they can be seen in such numbers by 
the naked eye that counting them without stopping 
the " machine " for the purpose is quite out of the 
question. 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 321 

The forest of Gobernuisgach, called " Gober " for 
the sake of shortness, is situate to the north of Loch- 
more, and is sub-let to Sir Walter Corbet. The house 
was built in 1847, somewhat in a hurry, by the then 
Duke of Sutherland, with a view of entertaining the 
late Prince Consort, in the event of Her Majesty pay- 
ing a visit to Dunrobin in the following year. The 
stags are very heavy, the bag is limited to forty, and 
in 1893 the first thirty-three beasts Sir Walter killed 
averaged 17 stone 3^ lbs. quite clean, which is the 
finest average weight ever recorded for such a number 
of stags, and a splendid illustration of what can 
be done on fine feeding ground worked with care 
and good management. Apart from the fact of 
these forests being admirably suited to deer, a great 
deal must be attributed to the Duke's action in killing 
no stags after the 3rd or 4th of October, and the 
introduction of fresh blood from various English 
parks. 



2 T 



322 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 



FOREST OF KINLOCH BY TONGUE. 

This is another of the Duke of Sutherland's 
properties, first afforested in 1890, and let then to 
Mr. W. E, Lawson, who still holds it. It consists 
of nearly 40,000 acres, the valleys of which con- 
tain birch and alder. The tops of the high lands 
are rocky and sterile, and of these Ben Hope is 
the highest (3,040 feet) ; there are, however, many 
fine grassy corries. It marches with Gobernuisgach 
on the south, while the boundaries in other quarters 
are sheep grounds. It carries two rifles, and since 
it was cleared in the five seasons ending 1894 it 
has averaged twenty-nine stags, which, taking one 
with the other, work out at 14 stone 5 lbs. The 
tenant was last season witness of a cunning trick 
on the part of a big stag which he was stalking on 
a mossy flat, dotted with many pools of black peat 
water. The stag Mr. Lawson was after had several 
hinds with him, which he was zealously guarding. 
On his way up to his quarry he was compelled to put 



SUTHERLANDSHIRE. 323 

away a small beast, which ran off to join the big one, 
the two trotting off amicably together, much to the 
surprise of the stalking party. The big stag having 
led his young friend a trot of about half a mile, 
suddenly stopped at the edge of a black water hole, 
and then, after retreating a few yards, charged the 
small stag broadside on, knocking him head over 
heels into the pool, in which for a moment staggie 
completely disappeared from view ; eventually, 
however, he scrambled out, making off as hard 
as he could in a direction different to that taken by 
the big stag. 

The remaining three forests of this county all 
belong to the Duke of Sutherland. Ben Armine 
by Golspie covers some 35,000 acres, and lies 
between the Helmsdale and Brora rivers, and is 
kept in the Duke's own hands. Glencanisp, a forest 
of about 35,000 acres of very fine and steadily 
improving deer ground, marches with Drumrunie on 
the south and Ben More on the west ; it is at present 
rented by Lord Brownlow, who kills some thirty-five 



324 THE DEER FORESTS OF SCOTLAND. 

to forty Stags each season, and in favourable ones they 
will make the heavy average of nearly i6 stone clean. 
Uppat Forest, which is attached to the Duke's beauti- 
fully-situated house by the sea at Dunrobin, although 
covering some 12,000 acres, may almost be regarded 
as a vast deer park lying at the back of the castle. 
The Duke very kindly promised me particulars of 
each of these deer grounds, but owing to the illness 
of his friend and factor, the well-known and much- 
liked Mr. Mclver of Scourie, I have been unable 
to get details in time for publication. 



THE END. 



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