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Thread: Guisachan Royal.

  1. #1

    Guisachan Royal.

    Does anybody know of the whereabouts of The Guisachan Royal and is it visible to the public gaze ? This stag was judged to have been the best head of his day, exhibited at The Country Life Exhibition in Glasgow. Even now the measurements for a wild highland stag are incredible, 6 inch beam. He was shot at Guisachan by Lord Tweedmouth.

  2. #2
    ROS . I wish I knew. As a passionate student of deerstalking history I know a bit about this head and the fact it was shot no more than 20 minutes from where I live makes it more interesting. It was taken in 1880 by as you say Lord Tweedmouth. As well as its huge girth it had a length of 39 inches and a span of 34. It was also a true Royal in the traditional sense. Amazingly it was just one of 90 stags exhibited from this one estate. It is not the biggest true wild stag shot in these golden years but is one of the bonniest . (Sorry to warm to my hobby now but) When the millionaire American sportsman W.L Winans retired from his leases in Scotland in 1893 the 250THOUSAND ACRES (that's some patch) came on the market and 1894 saw a record harvest of excellent heads. It is often said that the best Roebuck is yet to be shot but sadly I think the best wild Red Stags were here more than 100 years ago. David
    Last edited by David Brown; 23-09-2013 at 20:43.

  3. #3
    Thanks for that David, I haven't heard of a bigger wild head of such beauty or symmetry. Sadly we no longer have these exhibitions, maybe it's time to start them again. I worked in Cannich for a while and remember some huge stags being shot in Knockfin, so maybe the genetics are still there.
    I do believe that if there were to be an exhibition/show of red heads it would be well supported but the difficulty would be in telling what was truly wild, folk have access to such variety nowadays.

  4. #4
    Some Jura heads of the late 1800s had a slightly thicker beam. A Kildermorie Stag had a wider span and a Glenkingie beast was longer but none that were exhibited beat the Guisachan animal all round. I have photos of my Grandfather with three heads shot on what he called ' the cow fields ' high pastures in Glen Fiddich two are 17 pointers the other a 16. None were exhibited but are monsters. In 1893 a Col Walker rented Knockfin and Fasnakyle after it had been left unshot for 13 years. He shot over 200 stags but only 11 were royals or better. David

  5. #5
    Were all of these stags truly wild or the result of releasing park stags onto the hill along with supplementary feeding?


  6. #6
    It would be nice to have an exhibition of heads, might be an idea to run it in conjuction with the Stalking Fair in Kelso.
    Most of the European countries have some sort of exhibition, it would be good to have all the good heads of the year on display.

    As if you've not got enough to organise Brian


  7. #7
    Going back to the 1800's would there still have been a fair expanse of native caledionan wood so the deer would be more mixed forestry/hill deer so would have plenty of cover/shelter, or was most of the hills deforested by then?

    I think i'm right in saying a lot off forest died off sometime round about the 16th centry due to climate change?

  8. #8
    I too am very interested in the quality style ect of red deer heads now and in former years. The photo's in old game books i find facinating . I am as much interested in the best heads as the worst/malformed. Even with park blood filtering out from the likes of the duke of Athol and lord Breadalbane in the 17th-18th century i still think different areas have different styles of head . A park bred animal will likely carry that advantage to the end of his days but the next generation while having an improved genetic mix will still be subject to the conditions of the ground and weather ,which will likely shape the style and quality of head he can (wind blown top points)ect
    We still photograph every stag head shot or found so maybe when i hang up my boots i will put them in a booklet to raise some beer money.

  9. #9
    Aye, David Brown, Glenfiddich seems to have had amazing deer, I remember, must have been 80/81 there was a stag shot by a german in your area, I think it was a huge royal with no point less than 12 inches, which sounds hard to believe and I never saw it only heard second hand, so please don't shoot me. Although the Guisachan head is widely regarded as the finest head in the exhibition, I think the bonniest head is the Barrisdale 14 pointer on page 20.
    Back in the day, there were less deer and no forestry fences shutting off the good wintering, there were many more folk still living in the hills, who all largely were self sufficient so the hill ground would have been richer, with more croftland for deer to pillage.

  10. #10
    I'm no more than 2 miles from Guisachan estate so im sure there is someone here I could ask.

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