Members will recall a post of mine, the Urban Twit, regarding a meeting I had with someone when setting out stalking on one of my stalking grounds here in Aberdeenshire last week. I reported on this persons attitude to my request as to where he intended walking so that I would know his whereabouts, for safety reasons et al.
Well last night I had a call from Grampian Police........
"Nothing to worry about Mr. Donsider but do you recall your activities last Tuesday evening near Alford......?"
The penny dropped.. "Yes I do" I replied, and then the constable asked for my recollection of the evening and my meeting with a man and woman. I gave him my full account of the meeting and my follow up meeting with the Farm Manager and that I even recalled the events of the evening in my Game Book/Journal. I even told the constable that I gave a post of the account on this forum.
"Thankyou very much Mr. Donsider". said the contable. This is not quite how the other side reported the situation". However, I did advise the constable that I had a right of access and was undertaking a rural activity and that he was interfering with my executing that activity both safely and effectively. Remember I had no witnesses.
The constacle told me that the person in question was going on to him about his so called "Right to Rome" and that there shouldn't be people going about with high powered guns and that I was aggressive and that he did not see why he had to answer my questions. The constable told me, after further discussion, that there was no cause for concern on my part and that he would get back to the person (Mr. Twitt )and advise him accordingly.
What is interesting here is that this person reported our meeting to the Police and his rather creative interpretation of events. And that the Police, all be it taking a few days, checked me out as to where I lived, what conditions were on my certificate, my occupation and as to the land being suitable for stalking before contacting me and finally, that there is now a recording of the event on file.
Thank goodness I kept my cool and in no way either provoked or exacerbated the situation. Who know what could have happened then? A friend tells me that my firearms could have been removed pending a full Police enquirey. .......And all on the word of a "know all"
Not wanting to lift the lid ff a hornets nest but I feel that perhaps the Shooting organisations such as BASC etc. should have a higher profile in incidents like this and that they should follow up these incidents and advise these members of the public accordingly. Here in Scotland there is no such thing as a "Right to Rome" but responsible access and that this access should not interfere with legitimate rural activities and pursuits. There is a television advertising campaign here on Scottish Television regarding this. I am sure there are many other stalkers who have had expensive stalking ruined because of hill walkers.
After talking with the constable, who I should say was very understanding, helpfull and supportive, did agree that these sorts of incidents do arrise and, sadly, by the same mindframe but they have a duty to follow them up.
I think we should always watch our Ps and Qs when coming accross these people whilst out stalking, that is, if you don't want a call from the Police.....