Fit to stalk

caorach

Well-Known Member
Carrying on from the recent discussion on needing to be fit to engage in hill stalking I was wondering how those who don't do a lot of hill stalking keep fit enough to enjoy their days out?

I have a confession to make that due to committments I've sat on my backside since early October and I'm off into the hills for hinds over the New Year period, so I'm in for a rough few days. I haven't been so unfit in a long time.

However, usually I try to get to the gym 3 days per week (sometimes I only do 40 minutes, sometimes 1.5 hours) and try to get onto the hill about 2 days per week, at least in the 2 months before stalking. Now, as you might imagine time doesn't always allow for this but in my experience even a little helps. There are two regular "circuits" I do on the hill depending upon time. What I have found is that, in general, when stalking you tend not to move very quickly for long periods of time and so covering relatively short distances quite quickly seems to work well enough to get me fit to stalk. With this in mind the 2 circuits I usually do are about 5ish miles and about 7ish. I try to walk the 7ish mile circuit in about 1:50 and the 5 mile one in a bit less. Now, I'm not saying I always manage to do them in that time but that is my target.

I try to pick hills that are relatively hard going and I also spend time on the hill for other reasons throughout the year so that helps a little.

So, what does everyone else do?
 
D

Davie

Guest
I feel for the chaps that dont get out enough but its horses for courses and i hope you guide treats you well for me i am out three times a week stalking and dont get any time at the gym. ;)
 

jon2

Well-Known Member
I am always doing some running to a lesser or greater extent. You are correct it makes stalking all the more enjoyable if you are relatively fit.

I go through phases which vary from a 3 mile run everyday bar the weekend and then to every other day but never less than a couple of times per week. It depends on time and work commitments etc.

My feeling is that if at least you do something you can increase the tempo etc as you see fit. Being out of it for ages plays on my mind so that is why I am a regular exerciser if that makes sense.
 

willie_gunn

Well-Known Member
Caorach

It's down to the individual, but after a stalking outing in Comrie where I nearly died, I vowed that I would never go hill stalking again if I wasn't at least reasonably fit. As a result I started running, but when my knees started complaining I got out on the bicycle instead - that was three years ago and I'm still cycling! I get out early mornings when I can, although travelling for work means I'm nowhere near as fit as I used to be. What I found is that being fit I enjoyed my stalking more, even down here in the soft South ;)

willie_gunn
 

snowstorm

Well-Known Member
When I played Ice Hockey, cold and pain never bothered me and I was as fit as a fiddle. I must be getting soft in my old age, now I get out of breath just getting my fags out my pocket.
 

irishgun

Well-Known Member
we have a saying hear .there is only one place to get fit for the hill thats on it .i play squash ,ride a bike 10 miles every other eve and drink ale instead of stout
 

Thar

Well-Known Member
I train will my local fell running club twice a week and race at the weekend unless I am stalking.

I took a guy out at the end of the stags and he shot his first stag with me, he is a big guy 6'4" and weighted 4/5 stone more than me, he started to drag the stag but after 50yrds he was done in :rolleyes: I was left to drag it to the road, not far about 100yrds. He did surprise me. :rolleyes:

Best rgds

Tahr
 

Trapper

Well-Known Member
Thar
I knew you was a fit bugger, when you lapped us all on the m/s,and had time for a brew!
I have a rule , no matter how fit/ unfit I personally am , I drag my own beast out . No matter the wheather or distance !. It also makes me think when I am on my own , do I take the shot or just observe. Hard work has never stopped me doing what I love , it just takes a little longer. When I was a sprogg I galloped everywhere, Now I take the advise of the old Bull
I take my time ,and do the lot :lol: ;)
very best wishes for the festive season .
Regards Trapper
 

downwind

Well-Known Member
Thar said:
I train will my local fell running club twice a week and race at the weekend unless I am stalking.
Just as a matter of interest, roughly how old are you? I'm closer to 60 than 50, got a dodgy hip, 3stone overweight, spot of arthritis here and there, but I managed to pull 2 roe out through fields where you could hardly walk at the weekend. I'm like Trapper these days- 1st thought is the shot safe? 2nd thought, do I want to get that deer up that hill? I'm not being critical in any way, just envious of you fit young bu--ers. Cheers, Pete.
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
Well there is no doubt that hill stalking gets harder the older you get. After a good many years I can still climb, even though my knees give me grief, and if I have to I will still drag, but prefer to get a machine as near as possible.

The last major drag I did was with a 245lb Red Stag about 3 years ago off a West coast hill, and took me three hours dragging downhill, after a 2 hour stalk up hill. I have to say it bloody nearly killed me :eek: and no you could not get a machine near as we had to cross a loch to start the stalk by boat. My client was 60 plus years, and also helped (a little). The poor fellow died last year with a brain tumour, god bless him. Nice guy and a good shot.

The week before last both Robin and myself walked many more miles over very wet ground in Dorset. This more than made up for 3 months in any bloody gym, and I have never ever set foot in one in my life, a gym that is, although the thought of young ladies in gym wear does have its appeal :D

Mind you a 450 Honda Quad takes most of the work away, and my moto is, if you have the machinery use it :D something I am sure Robin would agree with.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
I used to row and box so when I was in my 20's I was very fit, but even then wasn't "hill" fit. But after too much throwing weights around, sitting on ergo's and running, plus a few skiing accidents my knees and lower back are buggered.

I do try to get out for a good walk in the hills regularly and that keeps a decent level of fitness up - and I do find it surprising how quickly a few decent walks adds to the fitness.

One thing I was taught by a very experienced mountaineer though is to never go at a pace where you are huffing and puffing. If you start out at a very slow pace you can keep going all day long. If you start off fast and start blowing - you quickly burn up your energy and are b.............. for the rest of the day.

If you are unfit this is even more important as your recovery time is much slower.

And if you are out with a professional stalker just accept he is out there every day, whilst you are sitting in an office and thus he is going to be far fitter than you, you have no chance of keeping up, so you may as well go at your own pace - especially at the beginning of the day.
 

Thar

Well-Known Member
downwind said:
Thar said:
I train will my local fell running club twice a week and race at the weekend unless I am stalking.
Just as a matter of interest, roughly how old are you? I'm closer to 60 than 50, got a dodgy hip, 3stone overweight, spot of arthritis here and there, but I managed to pull 2 roe out through fields where you could hardly walk at the weekend. I'm like Trapper these days- 1st thought is the shot safe? 2nd thought, do I want to get that deer up that hill? I'm not being critical in any way, just envious of you fit young bu--ers. Cheers, Pete.
Hi Pete

I am in my mid 40's I have arthritis in my right knee (family problem, my Dad has had both his replaced, my brother who is younger than me has knacked knees) I was told by my pyhiso want ever you do, don’t stop running, running has been proven to reverse arthritis in scientific studies. The fact that you are 3 stone over weight(I was too once) in your late 50 have a touch of arthritis are all reasons you should start exercising not advoid it ;). It is nice to exercise in your 20s and 30s but it is an imperative for good health and quality of life in your 50s 60s and 70s. If you are happy to accept a lower quality of life that being in poor physical condition imposes and with that a lower life expectancy (life expectancy in Glasgow is 67 years for a man). Then do nothing. :cry:

Here is a little fact for you:- Orde Wingate the British General that formed the Chindits in WW2 preferred to have men of over 30 as he found that these men had better endurance that younger men.

I run with a guy who is in his 70’s and is not much slower than me. He did not take up running until he was 44. Most of our club are over 40, young and fit no longer go together, most marathon runners do not peak until into there 30s.

My point is:- as you say because of your fitness your stalking at times is compromised, you leave animals that a fitter man (I refuse to say younger) man would take. This is not a problem so long as you enjoy what you do.

CWD222 had success on Arran were others have failed, was it just a coincidence that he is fit?

If you are guiding clients, the first thing you have to assess is there fitness, you might know were a real good stag is, but if you know that your client is going to struggle getting there then you will try to find him a easier to access animal. The ones near the road or vehicle access points always get shot first.

Once you are used to running up hills walking up them is easy. I used to like going out with guilds myself just to see how fit they really were, :evil: only found one in NZ I could not keep up with, but once I let him carry the rifle he could not keep up with me. :lol: Next time you are out with a guild ask him to carry the rifle you will be surprised how much difference it will make.

Mental attitude has a lot to do with it also; the body can do 2 ½ times more than the mind lets it when you have to. To run a marathon you only have to be able to run 10 miles in training then on the day if you have the mental strength and will to succeed your body will be capable of getting you round.

If you really want to shoot more deer, don’t spend thousands on a new rifle, scope or bino’s ect buy a pair of running shoes and improve the weakest link in the chain, the nut behind the butt. 8)

Best rgds

Tahr

PS hope my long post has not bored you too much. ;)
 

Frax

Well-Known Member
The two stalkers on the estate where I live (is that good English?) are both ex-Royal Marines. As a consequence, they have a residual level of fitness that is so far above the average individual it's quite incredible. I wallow along behind making noise, sweating, farting and cussing. Indeed, it's quite embarrasing.

Thar Wrote:

I am in my mid 40's I have arthritis in my right knee (family problem,
etc.

Me too...in fact I had just come to the conclusion that it's more excercise I need, not less. I figure more muscle to support the joint has to be the way to go. So I've started to lose weight, excercise and do at least one hill a week. I'm lucky as I walk out of the house and up it goes! I know it's more difficult if you live in flatter bits. As someone said, there's only one way to get fit for walking in the hills - walk in the hills! It isn't quite like anything else. But if your muscles are toned and your cardio-vascular system is in good shape then you've got a better chance.
 

caorach

Well-Known Member
I agree with what everyone is saying that there is nothing that gets you fit for going up hills like going up hills. In fact I'd go so far as to say that there is no other moor like the Lewis moor and you can practise all you like in Ireland or other parts of scotland but when you hit that Lewis bog it just wears you down like nothing else. I know several people who agree with me on this count including at least one very experienced stalker.

In saying that, as Frax highlights, we don't all have a handy hill in the garden and so sometimes we have to make do with the gym for most of the time. There is also the matter of time and fitting everything in and with the gym I can drop by on my way to or from work even if it is only for 15 minutes it is worth doing. It must be said that I find the gym helps and is very worthwhile exercise, it really does make a difference to my performance on the hill especially near the end of a day. I was in the gym Monday and Wednesday and will hopefully be there today and tomorrow as well and I was on the hill Tuesday and hopefully either Saturday or Sunday.

Again, in keeping with the experiences of others, I've found that I go better if maybe not so fast now that I am a little older, I'm 40 at present. Unlike Heym SR20 however I just can't go at a slow pace for some reason. I guess it is to do with natural gait or something. Anyhow, I tend to go for a more "boom and bust" type of walking where I walk hard for a period and then stop to get the breath back before starting again. This sort of approach just suits me and I guess my system must be used to it.
 

geoshot

Well-Known Member
People could write research papers or PhD's on this subject, but I have to agree with those who say that there is no better for stalking than actually doing some, though for those of us who don't live in or near the mountains vigorous sessions in the gym is a pretty good alternative.
I was more or less ordered by the surgeon who put back together what was left of my right leg, after I got shrapnel through it, to walk every day without fail to keep the knee mobile. Use it or lose it was exactly what he said.
As Thar said, if you exercise and keep the muscle tone good they help support weak joints and keep you going. I had early onset arthritis because of the injury and the physio held the opinion that movement helped break down arthritic deposits and keep the surfaces of the joint smoother. Seems to work for me as I haven't had to have a replacement knee yet and I was told I would need one after 10yrs, now I've gone over 15 yrs with not a lot of trouble.
When stalking or hiking I find if I set off at my own pace I can keep going all day and I can haul deer with the best of them, just have to pace it right and think about what I'm doing.
Trapper, from what I saw at the M&S is living proof of stick at your own speed and keep going no matter, he was in better knick at the end of things than many who tried to speed round. Thar and 222cwd flew round and were barely out of breath, two seriously fit (and likeable) blokes maybe at the other end of the spectrum (no insult intended Trapper!).
So horses for courses, but regular exercise and for me cod-liver oil seem to work in keeping me fit for deer-stalking.
ATB
Geoshot
 

widows son

Well-Known Member
To be honest guys the only way to be hill fit is to be on the hill, there's no substitute for it, with Gym work you have to much of a comfort zone and very few people ever leave the zone for any length of time, when out on the hill you know when your pushing the boat out, if your carrying a rifle binos ,knifes and all your bits and pieces you'll have approx extra 20 pounds of kit ,you don't have in the gym, the hill your up and down all day the gym work time at most 120 minutes ,but more like 60 minutes yes the gym will help to keep you at a level, if you don't hurt in the gym your going to hurt on the hill .

Ive taken guys that are in the gym 5 days of the week, out on the hill and there breathing well lets say there breathing out of most orifices, they have said to me what fitness i do, well i work out in the gym, and push all the way and on the hill every day walking dogs, and stalking when I'm off the hill for a week or more I know my fitness level is down ,so its the hill or a walk that gives you the better return for the cash, quicker than any gym .

A few years ago there was a fitness programme on the box ,about the sports scientists and the Army and how to train people of all walks of life, the scientists done there bit in the gym etc ,the Army out on the road and on the hill with a few circuit sessions flung in, along the way and of course the Army won the challenge , with basic fitness work using the outdoors to acheive there goal.
,
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
The one big problem with getting any exercise is that am still at my desk working, and it is dark and ****ing down with rain and has been dark for three hours already. And i can't really be bothered to get out for a good walk in the dark.

In the summer I have Arthur's seat just down the round, or the Pentalkd Hills 20 minutes away or the big Mountains isdie an hour - and it is light till 11.30 pm - you can have a weekend's fun every evening.

And I have to be fit as I have entered myself for a 90km race around 3 munro's in the Highlands in March carrying a 20kg parraglider to the top of each and then flying off.
 

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
widows son said:
the scientists done there bit in the gym etc ,the Army out on the road and on the hill with a few circuit sessions flung in, along the way and of course the Army won the challenge , with basic fitness work using the outdoors to acheive there goal. ,
I'd suggest that is frequently more to do with determination, discipline. team spirit, pride, fear of failure, not letting people down, "being the best" etc etc - essentially esprit de corps, rather than just physical fitness.
 

widows son

Well-Known Member
I here all the excuses all the time .if you work in a office with more than one floor as many of them have use the stairs up and down .

In bad weather i go into one of the high flats and walk up and down the stairs .
When that gets easy i put a bag on my back and do the same .

Come guys this is simple stuff , i know what it is we're getting soft .

The bit about the bad weather is the best excuse, you go out stalking in all weathers, you've got all the good gear for bad weather, but don't go out in it to train for what you enjoy doing .Hmmmm
 

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