Season 1869

Black said that we might go down in August and stretch our legs, and kill a few grouse on the rough ground, so down we went, and made about sixty brace of grouse and a lot of sundries, especially golden plover. Of these there were quantities, and in ordinary August months we were far too busy with grouse to heed them.

One afternoon a pack of green and a pack of golden plover were very busy fighting and screaming for the possession of a hill side, and so busy that they took little or no heed of us, and four barrels dropped twelve couple, of course, some of the cripples needed another barrel.

There is one way, and an almost certain way of circumventing flocks of golden plover: they are very inquisitive birds, you will see them on the face of the hill, mostly small round hills; let the keeper sit down with the dogs, say 100 yards in front of them, and whilst they are watching him, slip quietly round the hill, over the top, down on the flock before they are aware of you, and a family shot into the brown with two barrels of No. 8 will sometimes bring down two or three couple.

We had a good deal of trouble with fellows coming up from Huntly, fishing. Powell had let anybody come, and it was difficult to stop it. One morning we saw a young fellow putting a salmon rod together on the other side of the river, I sent over the under keeper, Sandy, a big, strong Highlander, to put him off; but he would not budge, he stated that we were going out for our sport, shooting, and he meant to have his sport, fishing. Sandy was again sent over to intimate that if he fished he was to take his rod and put him personally into the salmon pool. "What, take my rod and put me in the river, contrary to law?" Sandy simply said he had no option, it was the master's orders, and he took the rod as a beginning. I was summoned for illegally taking the rod, and took out a counter summons for the fishing, each party was fined by the sheriff, the fisher much heavier than we were, but my decisive action stopped all further trouble. If I had not taken the rod I should not have got the fellow's name.