The stalkers path zig zags its way up the slope behind the lodge, its a steep path but good underfoot ,as you climb deer gaze at you seemingly unconcerned from little more than a hundred yards distant, for this is a place of safety for the deer during the shooting season, many will seek refuge here knowing through experience or perhaps inherent memory that they will be safe here.
The reasoning being that having a sanctuary where beasts will not be shot or disturbed in anyway,
is that they will seek this place when they feel under pressure, rather than cross a boundary on to a neighbours where they may be shot,thus keeping the core population on your ground, and in general it works fairly well.
Twenty minutes brisk walk will find you at the Bealach , from where its a gentle stroll to the end of the stalkers path and the lunch stone.
Why is it called the lunch stone, well the name is self explanitory,but lunch seems a rather Anglicised name for a feature in a Highland glen,so be it lunch it is, and thats how it has been known at least in living memory and possibly much longer, its not so much a stone but more of a rock formation, an ideal position from where to spy much of the glen, it also provides protection from the worst of the weather in all but an east wind.
Peat cutters, shepherds, grouse shooter and stalkers past and present have all taken advantage of the shelter it provides.
A neuk in the rock has been blackened by fire and can still be clearly seen to this day, this is where those cutting the peats would have there mid day meal, shepherds gathering sheep would
also stop here for a break to eat their piece, probably a bannock or oat cakes and cheese, something they could easily carry in a pocket, sustaining enough but dry, hence the fire blackened rock this was where they boiled their billycans.
Billy tea or Tinks tea was made by throwing a generous handful of tea leaves into the boiling water(no teabags in those days) a twig was also added in this case a stem of heather which was supposed to have the effect of making the tea leaves settle in the bottom of the billy.
Today the stainless steel flask has rendered building fires and boiling billycans on the hill redundent.
Generations of stalkers have also used the lunch stone,its the first point where you can stop and spy the glen, when pony's were still used this is where the ponyman waited for the stalkers signal that he needed a beast collected, its still where the Ghillie waits today, but he does not need to watch for a smoke signal to tell him where the stalker is,today he has a two way radio,he also has a flask so no need to boil a billy, nor does he need to huddle by the rock trying to get shelter he just zips up the door flaps on his Argo,and should he inadvertently fall asleep as Gillie's and ponymen are apt to do,he will find his Argo still there when he awakes, not like many a ponyman who has awoken to find his ponies no longer there having decided to take themselves off home.
There has been no grouse shooting here since before the war but in the twentys and thirties when there was this was also where they lunched,no billy for them though, a ponyman would carry out lunch in panniers accompanied by a manservant to serve it, if the weather was fine
some of the younger ladies from the lodge would walk out to join their men folk for lunch.
Wine would be sat in the spring to cool and a table cloth placed on the short grass by the rock and a spread laid that would rival many dinner tables.
Rest your back against the rock and close your eyes, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, you can hear the buzzing of bumble bees as they extract the pollen from the bell heather, you catch a whiff of the pipe tobacco that almost all shepherds and stalkers used to smoke in days gone by Bogie roll or Mitchells xxx is that the tinkle of laughter you hear or just the sound of water from the spring where it trickles over some small pebbles.
You rise and give yourself a shake you must have dropped off for a few seconds, that surely must be the answer.