Some time ago I received some stalking opportunities and had to turn them down because of pain and lack of mobility from spinal injuries. When I explained my problem these people, to a man, were very kind to me and told me to contact them when I could stalk.
One person who frequents this site and his extremely kind and witty wife, decided that I needed a trip away whether I could stalk or not. So as I recuperated from my last bout of surgery I was told in no uncertain terms to, "Get your arse up here as soon as possible"!
So as soon as their last B&B couple left, and as soon as I could manage, I set off to the north of Scotland on the West Coast. I am not going to mention names of places as the loch we fished is private and I have been asked not to publicise it. All I will say is that when I opened my bedroom curtains, or sat in splendid warm comfort of their sitting room, I had views of the West Coast Islands constantly changing in front of me. It is a magic setting, but in winter I can imagine it being bleak, but always it will be majestic.
To say that I was made welcome would be gross defamation; I was treated to the holiday of a lifetime. A professional stalker and his good lady, a man who had written for the Field and The Stalking Magazine was prepared to put up with me. Not only that but to introduce me to the fabulous scenery of the area and to tell me of its quirky but often sad and brutal Gaelic/Celtic history.
We ate like kings feasting on venison and other local delicacies. No it was much better than that, because there was no formality just lots and lots of laughter.
I wish my brain was capable of retaining all the wisdom so freely given over that week, if it was I would be a fortunate man indeed.
And then there were the people. Oh the people! Men and women who made their living from the sea, as well as others who made it from the rocks, peat and some sparse soil. They will live in my memory for as long as it lasts.
Mrs Mac', Tom and Edie made me most welcome and allowed me to accompany a very generous man on to their estate to fish a loch way up in the hills. The fact that I was made so welcome says more about the man who arranged for me to accompany him than it ever does about me.
So we used my little Suzuki and passed through a gate that only a very fortunate few are ever allowed to do and we headed to the hills. It was a long way up and fairly hairy in places to a southern softie like me. I came to a humbling realisation on that journey, what I do down south is not stalking. It may be deer management or shooting or culling, but it is most definitely not stalking. I saw, through binoculars, where Ken shot his last stag, three parts of a way up a Munro. And he had been to the top to get over the stag. And that was not the first time he had been to the top of the hills that day! Hard men these real stalkers. Day after day they do this, and in deepest winter after the hinds too, not just the odd Autumnal stag.
I have not mentioned the fishing as that would probably be considered blasphemy by some of the more pompous inhabitants of this site, suffice to say that the Scottish brown trout show all the fight that makes some of their human counterparts so redoubtable.
Anyway, I have seen heaven, or part of it, and here are a few pictures to show you what it looks like;
To Ken, Gwendy and Charlie, my humble thanks for a wonderful kindness and for making me so welcome.