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Running a grouse moor isn’t a 9 to 5 job

It’s been an unexpectedly busy few days for the black grouse blog.

As I have been discovering over the past nine months, until I can really make an impact on a significant area of the farm, there will always be more work than play, and despite the fun of shooting snipe three weeks ago, the list of chores is now starting to look overwhelming.

Everything seems to be happening at once, and I have been horrified to find just how much needs to be done before autumn sets in.

Already, the rowan trees are starting to lose their berries and the heather is now well past.

So much of the low ground on the farm is badly drained and soaking wet as a result.

Rushes smother a huge quantity of farmland, and while the black grouse feed on rush seeds during the summer, it is good practice to maintain a patchwork of vegetation at various stages of development.

It is the perfect time to slash paths through the knee-high undergrowth, and the ancient farm tractor has been steadily blundering through acres of it since Monday.

A dense 10 acre clump of sitka spruces (almost the only trees on the farm) need to be drastically thinned out and replanted with birches and alders by the spring, all of which I am doing by hand.

The progress is painfully slow, but nothing is more satisfying than bringing 40ft of stubborn bark down with a bump.

As if there wasn’t enough to do, the seasons have dictated that any heather that wants to enjoy a winter free from grazing also needs to be fenced and protected now before the sheep get in amongst it.

As I write this, I feel that this is the first time I have sat down in a fortnight.

No time to linger though; a cup of coffee and then I’m off lamping with the rifle.

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.