1 September, opening day


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Its very early o'clock, dark, drizzling and warm. Traffic is light and I'm cruising at the limit +10%. Coffee cup is still half full, the dog is asleep, no warning lights on the dash (not always the case with an elderly Land Rover) ample fuel and all is well. The plan is to shoot a "meat" stag as early as possible , then try for a grouse. Its doable with a bit of luck.
I leave the motorway and start up the long hill, there's a smell of burning diesel and something else, gearbox oil? Source is an old series 3 Land rover ahead. I'm thrilled when they turn off, if it broke down i'd feel obliged to help and that would take time. I arrive at the forest just as dawn is breaking, post the warning signs and gear up. Its misty, visibility about 200M. I put the dog on a leash, ideally I would leave her in the car but she suffers from severe separation anxiety which manifests itself in the demolition of the interior, wouldn't be the first time.
About 10 minutes later we get chirped at, just barely visible in a clear cut 12-14 animals mill about, 2 stags at least but I can't get a shot before they trot off up the hill. Never mind, I think I have an idea where they're headed.
I carry on to the top of the forest, an open area old peat diggings and heather scrub and slowly stalk through it, the dog indicates deer but I can't see anything so slowly forward and there they are, maybe not the bunch from earlier but I can see a 6 point stag standing broadside just at the limit of visibility. A handy turf mound provides a rest and as soon as he stands clear of the herd I send 140grains of .270 his way. He drops on the spot and the rest of the herd mills around for a few seconds and then moves off. We give it a few minutes and then I send the dog. Theres no need, I can see the stag lying there but she likes to feel involved.
The deer is exactly what I was looking for, small 6 pointer in velvet and summer coat. Its only when I start to drag it that I realise its a lot further to the track than I thought and the bit of hill I'm on is a lot steeper than it was last year IMG_1370.JPG
Recovery completed, its time for a grouse and coffee. I have about 40K to cover to the meet over a very scenic, but very narrow road. Its absolutely infested with hikers, bikers ramblers and coach tours. Some observations. Why do groups of hikers rush to both sides of the road? Why do groups of cyclists riding 3 and 4 abreast wave me in to the side? The car won't get any skinnier. Why is it always the largest member of a coach tour selected to cross the road and take the group photo's? Speculation on these and other mysteries of the universe keeps me engaged throughout the journey.I'm lucky to have coffee and a tranquil disposition.
At the meet I'm allocated a section of hillside and I swap rifle for shotgun, its a nice old side by side, everyone knows that a grouse killed with a side by side goes straight to heaven. If its a side lock they get immediate promotion to archangel grade.
The day has cleared up nicely but its warm, 20 + and the flies are swarming in biblical plague fashion. After 2 hours, both me and the dog have had enough, especially as not a single grouse has been shot at and only a few seen far far away. Back to the car.
pippa 1 september 2018.jpg

Time for home, with maybe an adult beverage or two when we get there, its only 6 months til the season closes.


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Nice little read, thanks for the images. Did the landy make it home without breaking down.
Never missed a beat, but it left me and 3 passengers plus a mound of fishing gear and assorted fresh sea food on the side of the road a week later. It also spread 2 gallons of atf over half the county.


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Never missed a beat, but it left me and 3 passengers plus a mound of fishing gear and assorted fresh sea food on the side of the road a week later. It also spread 2 gallons of atf over half the county.
Great read...

I had my annual flat-bed trip home just a few weeks ago... only the half shaft splines this time so moderately cheap & easy to fix... I like to think of these wee piggybacks home as "diesel saving initiatives"...


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Evocative write up. In my mind's eye I can hear the rattles of my old landy, see the mist clearing on familiar land, beasts emerging.


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Great story and well told.
I'm glad to see I'm not alone being full of enthusiasm for September the first each year.

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Wonderful read, thanks for sharing. Made me remember what I'm missing, adding to the anticipation of hopefully soon joining the fray once more :tiphat: