I love sitting out on the hill and I often tell people that they should spend more time on the hill specially during the hours of unrest.
Last night or should I say this morning I finished work around 2am and decided to go straight to my permission and just see what I can see. arrived on site around 3am got changed from one uniform to the other and set up the rifle, no wind and no rain temperature was about 10 degrees and feeling very mild. As I am downing my usual Deerhunters trousers and shirt changing my magnums to my hill boots and folded my Jack Pyke jacket over my shoulders I had a look round to gauge wind directions and noise sensitivity. I was just loading up the clip into my .270 when I thought to myself how quiet it was, darkness was still covering with just a hint of sunrise to the east, barring the odd bleet of a sheep or her lamb nothing, no birds , calling roe just nothing.
Lamps checked rifle loaded I jumped back into the pick up window down and started to drive slowly down the main farm track lamping as I went, it was beyond peaceful even eerie. I done a quick tour of the bottom fields (nothing to see other than rabbits) I parked up and got ready for a walk onto the hill.
The world was starting to wake and you could feel it like a sense of tension or the pressure in a bottle ready to explode.
Darkness still upon me but getting ever closer to sunrise I made my way up through the main fields on to the hill. the walk up the fields was announced by some lying seagulls and a couple of Canadian geese that have been making their accommodation there now for a few months. Got onto the hill and gently walked along the march carefully watching out for any signs of mammal life nothing stirring but the romantic pairs of brown hares that have been slowly increasing in numbers over the months. Checking the wind again I found a spot where I could get a good vantage point to just sit watch and listen as there is no point wandering in the darkness.
Dawn broke with a burst of energy, honestly the hill came alive. The haunting sound of a tawny owl was very quickly hidden and eruption of song birds. Various varieties of finches saying good morning to each other, curlews and oyster catchers calling as they take flight, wood cocks and the faint hidden sounds of meadow pippets and the odd plover enjoying in the frivolity and then the sound to tell you it's spring, Cuckoo, a lone cuckoo making his presence known to the world. The intensity of noise was at some points overwhelming.
I dosed gently hidden from the wind by a number of blossoming yellow gorse, it was nice just to lie there in the dew being gifted in the tune of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard. after my dose off i woke to the sound of footsteps, to my surprise a buck and a doe ready to leap the fence, The buck was a nice 6 pointer, took aim and ready to let the bullet do its thing when out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark shadow emerging from the tree a fox crouching and crawling stalking into a rabbit, out of principle I turned my rifle to the fox and took the shot and he dropped where he stood.
What an amazing morning it has got me itching to get back out maybe get that buck I have been wanting.
I often take people out onto the hill at night and just sit watch and wait with the lamp, and more often than not my companion asks me questions on noises. I think it is important to be able to tell what is flying about and what is moving by just listening. The hill tells all as silence never holds when something is lurking. It is like a game when th hill is alive like it was, you take turns within yourself to question what birds is which and unbelievably it is the smallest of birds that make the loudest song. But there is nothing more majestic than the sound of the Cuckoo calling across the glen.