Those frustrating trips!


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We’ve all had them - those frustrating trips which promised lots and delivered little!

I had high hopes for the Christmas break this year – a full two weeks off work and plans to catch up with family but also some time at home, some walks in the hills and a bit of stalking. None of that happened though and we spent it either visiting ill relatives in hospital or being ill ourselves. So it was back to work feeling more stressed than before the break! So keen to get some stalking in, I managed to find a couple of days free from work and family commitments – not easy with a young family – and found a couple of days on the hinds through SD. Happy days!

I headed up to the top end of the Trossachs on Sunday evening and arrived at the hotel late-ish, but still enough time to get my kit sorted for the morning and get my head down for a decent sleep. The forecast for the next day was pretty grim though as Storm Brendan was due to blow through. No weather warnings for us, but we were surrounded by yellow warnings for winds!


The next morning dawned grey and heavy as forecast, with the winds due to pick up around lunchtime and be accompanied by very heavy rain so I was hoping we’d get amongst some deer early in the day. I met at the estate and we loaded into the Argo and off up the hill by about 09:30 and the day started well with 3 deer immediately spotted across the burn, high up on the other side of the estate. We drove back to a better position to start our stalk and then spent an hour or more getting below, around and then above the deer.


We got to where we thought they’d be and made slow progress checking every rise and hollow but no sign. Then suddenly they appeared from behind a rise about 400 yards away - moving away from us quickly. No idea what spooked them, but they were off before we were even in sight. We tried a couple of times to get around them but they weren’t hanging around so we headed back to the Argo and off back up the main track to see if we could find any more deer. By now the wind had really picked up and the rain had arrived. The tops had disappeared in clag and we spotted another small group of deer high up but they were heading off up into the mist. So we had some lunch, called it a day and headed back down to the yard and off to check a bunch of lower farms and fields before dark. Lots of driving around and covered a lot of ground but we didn’t see anything moving. I suspect all the deer were couched up, sheltering from the 80mph winds and driving rain! A full day out but beaten by the weather.

The next morning dawned clearer, the wind had dropped a fair bit and was due to drop even further during the day. An odd snow shower was expected and the tops were already fairly white, but the forecast was largely dry until much later in the afternoon. Surely we’d do better today!? Fingers crossed!! Again, we were loaded into the Ago and off up the hill at 0930 and spent a couple of hours making our way up the main track through the estate, spotting as we went. One of the advantages and disadvantages of the estate is that you can pretty much see the full estate ground from the track. So it's good for spotting if there’s anything out and saving time stalking into empty ground, but it also means that you can cover the whole estate pretty quickly if there’s nothing there.


We eventually spotted a group of 8 deer high up on some steep, rough ground, but they weren’t in a shootable spot and looked like they were settled in with no sign of moving. So that was it, by 1130 we’d been up to the top of the estate boundary and nothing else about. We had a cuppa and headed back down to the yard. We’d not left the Argo and the rifle hadn’t even been out of the rack. I’ll be honest, I’ve had lots of blank days (on my own and with guides), but this was one of the most disappointing. Not what I’d hoped for from a full day on the hinds, but what can you do?! If the deer aren’t there then I guess there there’s no point in flogging a dead horse and dragging the day out for the sake of it. I was back home in Manchester before dark, with my stalking itch well and truly unscratched!!


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Good write up mate,

That's just the way it plays out sometimes, but never mind, there is always the next trip/ experience waiting for ya ,

All the best from another mancunian



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Had a similiar experience with abit of poor weather on this estate before christmas, spent hours just sat in the argocat, it happens unfortunately.



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I will caveat the negative tone that we were given a reduced rate for the second day for blanking


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Very nice write up enjoyed reading,
with luck the deer god will favour you on your next visit

norma 308

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When you’ve waited a while for a highland trip and the weather does you it can be so frustrating, had a similar time a year ago but with just a tiny break on the last day had the stalk of a lifetime , nice write up though my turn up soon fingers x’d


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I know the estate you have been to and my take on your 2 days are, you may have been hampered by the weather but driving up the main track to the Munro at the end isn’t going to doing it on that place, you have 2 options, walk up left hand side to the top and stalk along or walk up right side and stalk along. There is a lot of ground you cannot see from the track. You have to commit and go for one side. Helps a lot if you got someone on other side to give you heads up of deer on your side. There was always deer at the back on both sides, mostly on the scree on left though.


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Oh dear , cant do anything about the weather and it's very disappointing. Heard a report about this place and wont be parting with my hard earned ....


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That is the way it goes sometimes! I've been up our ground in Scotland before, done a 7 hour drive up there, schlepped around for hours and not pulled the trigger.

I've also had weeks where I've not pulled the trigger getting out closer to home.

I think with stalking you've got to just enjoy the process of being out in the field, and getting a shot is a bonus.


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And of course it sometimes works the other way.

I was out on Altholl Estate. this morning for my first go on fallow does, an outing I bought on a charity auction.

Stalking on the open hill I didnt know what to expect and when the keeper said to meet at 8.30 I was a bit sceptical.
He got me into a small group very quickly and I had a doe and calf in th bag by 9.30.
Got crawled into another group and another 2 grassed by 10.30.
Walking back to the pickup we spotted a poor looking buck. Bang and down he went (bottom half of his leg was missing.
Back to the truck by 11.30. Cracking outing!


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Did a three day pigeon trip for four of us from germany and it was a total blank the guide did no reduction at all. so Anglian never again. £450 x 4 = £1800.
I did a trip at sika near Peebles which was booked after seeing an advert on here. 2 mornings and 2 evenings, only saw deer on one of the outing s and no shot. £100 per outing and when I asked for a reduction, was told ' we've got rent to pay.' Full price please. Needless to say I haven't been back.


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The guide knows if deer/pigeons are about on their lease/permissions and if he/she has no game seen for days-weeks then up front about it should be the way to do business.
I do not have an issue about name and shame on full on ripoffs.


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Bad luck is just that ,we’ve all encountered it at some time but when the realisation that the valley you first see is it ,nothing beyond or over the tops and then to also realise your going to be back at digs by 2.30 without waiting to see if anything comes back over the tops as evening comes on does tend to frustrate those who have been on estates for the same money asked and not seen the same ground in 3 days .
The “estate “is what it is but to sell days based on so small an area is very misleading and on top of that to be told I couldn’t shoot a stag because it had a pale face ,wtf ,never heard such shite .
I agree with someone who said it can’t be done properly from the Argo in the bottom of valley as the way on that ground .Stalker said he never gets out unless he sees deer lol. Deer that know that Argo inside out and then wonder why they feck off at 500yards .
Sorry but very disappointed in the location and way the day was conducted .