The black grouse blogger got out a day late.
We didn’t celebrate the Glorious Twelfth on my Galloway grouse moor this year, but it turns out that the Glorious Thirteenth suited just as well.
With showers and intermittent sunshine sending vast castles of cloud racing across the hillsides, I seized the moment to gather some friends and step boldly onto the bog.
Red grouse numbers are so low at the moment that they have been given a reprieve for the forseeable future, and we focused our attentions instead on an equally important bird with a timely open season.
I have been watching snipe flutter and dive all over the farm for the past five months, and on Friday they were put to work.
Or rather, they put us to work.
Adjusting the customary slog around the entire hillside usually employed to winkle out grouse, we formed a line and explored some of the mossy beds around the farm buildings and it wasn’t long before we had struck gold.
Waist-high soaking vegetation soon had us dripping, but patches of shorter moss and mud proved to be extremely productive.
Single snipe lifted ahead like furious mosquitoes, buzzing away at about head height to slowly gain altitude and flicker back over us, high overhead.
I am not ashamed to say that my cartridge-to-kill ration was horrible, but I did manage to bring three or four little shapes down with a bump.
We finished on a long drive over open country for running rabbits, which I like to think are something of a speciality of mine.
Shots thumped in the warm afternoon, and although it was a shame that we weren’t dealing with the popularly styled “king of game birds”, we had more than enough sport to keep us distracted.
The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees. www.gallowayfarm.wordpress.com