Tristan Sanders Second Report on his First Light Exchange

With Tristan in Scotland

A second report from First Lighter Tristan Sanders

TOS Story (part 2)

Apparently it's not the done thing to wear shorts, singlet and a Swandri when you go stalking in Scotland.... I had been asked if I would like to go stalking with Paulo at the beginning of October. I'd previously worked for Paulo mustering and bringing in the silage, so based on that he called to check the arrangements for stalking the next day and that I had the right gear. When he asked what I had to wear he told me I was a "crazy Kiwi Boy, no-one wears shorts on the hill at this time of year" and that he had some camouflage pants that he'd bring for me.

Astie would drop me off at Banavie, on his way to work, where Paulo and Sandy another of Paulo's stalkers would pick me up and we'd head out on the ‘Road to the Isles'. We were stalking on the hill near Lochailort, the view was magic! You could see right out to the Isles of Eigg, Muck and Rum. The terrain was reasonably steep, much steeper than the ground I'd been fencing on.

We had four clients, who would be split in to twos, with each group there would be a
stalker and a ghillie. I was given the role as the ghillie with Sandy as the stalker. For this I carried the lunches and the rifle, until we were getting closer to the deer where I would hand the rifle over to Sandy who would set up the shot for the client.

One of the clients was however a celebrity... John Carter Cash, the only child of Jonny Cash and June Carter. We had good craic with John and the rest of the team, not only on the hill but also when we went out for dinner on the Thursday night. Thursday night is session night at the Glen Finnan Lodge, I decided to drag Astie along as my designated driver and the bonus of the night for all, John played a few songs that had everybody in the bar singing, a good voice but nothing compared to his old man! After a couple of drams we called it quits for the night and went out for an early start in the morning to try and shoot a few more stags on the last day on the hill Successfully we shot a couple on the last day giving a total of nine for the week. All in all everyone had a great time and a great experience.

Still the subject of Glen Finnan... Ian Love, one of Astie's mates, rang me up and asked me if I wanted to go to a shoot over in Glen Finnan as I might win some venison, luckily rugby was postponed due to a water logged pitch - in Lochaber who would have thought that possible... On the way over Ian explained the format for the day. It was the Duncan Stoddart Memorial Shoot, Duncan was a lifetime member of the shooting club and an old keeper on the Glen Finnan Estate.

The shoot started with a 10 bird single rise (sweep), then a 20 bird single rise and finally a 20 bird point score, the final rise being for the Duncan Stoddart Memorial Quaich. I shot a possible on the 10 bird single rise sweep, missed three in the 20 bird single rise and then a possible in the 20 bird point score. The possible in the point shoot gave me the outright win for the Duncan Stoddart Memorial Quaich. I'd love to bring it home but I'd be hunted down by the Glen Finnan Shooting Club. As for the venison, because I missed the three birds in the single rise I only won a half haunch, which was lucky as Astie & Tracy told me not to come home unless I brought home at least a haunch... But not only that, I also brought home the trophy which Nina saw the minute I stepped out of the car. She had me overwhelmed with her excitement which I could hear from the road...

As an added bonus, the day the haunch arrived from the Glen Finnan Shoot, I was out cutting and delivering Christmas trees for work and my boss asked if I could do home-butchering so I ended the day skinning a Roe Deer and cutting out the haunch for him and taking the rest back home to fill Astie & Tracy's Freezer.

Normally I would never attend an organised bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, however this year I was at two. The first was the Rugby Club Bonfire which is famous in Lochaber! This of course I had no choice on attendance as I had been appointed chores to do. First I had to build the bonfire (on the Sunday morning after the Rugby Club Halloween Party) and secondly it was my turn to be on bar duty. There was a huge attendance, seemed like the whole town, and a great display that went on for about half an hour.

The second bonfire was the next night at Achnacarry. In the morning, we had planned to have the community wood collection day, but we decided to build the bonfire instead. The bonfire was made from the leftovers from the last wood collection days. In the evening we took a couple of quiet ones down, got the bonfire going, set off a few fireworks and had a good craic with the neighbours.

One of the guys from the rugby team, who is getting married on the 27th November, organised his stag night for the weekend of the Scotland - All Black match. So sixteen guys from the team headed down on the Friday night to Glasgow. Then we met up with the rest of the club on the Saturday at the game at Murrayfteld in Edinburgh. As I'm sure everyone back home knows the All Blacks had a convincing win over the Scots. During the game the craic was amazing! If you heard anything about somebody getting a Mexican Wave going - which was mentioned on the BBC commentary - I was that guilty person... The atmosphere at Murrayfteld was truly amazing, like nothing I've ever experienced.

The word" craic" used by Tristan means an enjoyable conversation or a good fun time - Ed

December 2010

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