Hot breath in cold glen air, rising from damp nostrils that flair. Situated on the mound, the stag greets the dawning.
A low roar of his vibrations calling. Rounding his hinds as they climb the steep side. The cold mist of morning, now parting with heather adorning.
Master and Gillie breakfast hardened, stand fast in the hunting garden. Last day of season stalking, gear all reporting.
Leaving the strath, passing the bothan, piece in their poke, they laugh and joke. Past the tree line now, mist moving, sun gleaming.
As day noons with hinds at rest at last the stag can digest. His labours rewarded with pastures of heaven, old rusks and tusks with heather a must.
Gillie leading, master following, now glassing the hill. Searching the far slope, hoping to scope. Then on the crest a dark red breast. Antlers directing hind legs a massing. Between them the glen and damp watered hill.
Up high on exposed plateau, the cold is taking its toll. The wind is whispering, “get walking”, “get walking”. Overcast now, the wind is up, as the afternoon ages, the strynd calls.
Tracking the stag breeze in face, our master and gillie, turn across burn and gully. Now discussing with hands and waves, they cut their journey through the indigenous carpet of the knitted scarf. Smirr now, down they go, shelter seeking.
A change in wind, comfort as darkness calls. For facing into the storm, the smell of water draws. Towards the sheltered glen the clan prevail, down into the deepest of the vale.
Day noons, and legs wabbit from the stalking, both men at rest in gully, talking. Danger now on the breeze, the stag steels himself from his ease. “Humans” the wind is warning. Now terror is dawning.
Sherlock hat periscopes ditch; ranges stag they aim to bag. Rifle readied in silence; the well-oiled team prepare for the thrill, and sclim the hill. Crawling forwards inching moors, stalking on all fours.
A crack of thunder and his world hurts. Gravity becomes heavy, ground a rushing, head a gushing. Pounding heart, legs fail to start, pain subsiding, life reminding. A buzzing silence, as dark adorning, mist reforming.
Crosshairs aligned and crack. The sport is won, the beast is done. Now they move over as hinds run. Master in delight, gillie grateful, for his work is done. The wind roars with dismay. Mack-a-shaw now the nicht is near, all done for another year.
By Benbo Smith