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admit of easy access by good management. Nearly at low-water is, I fancy, the best time, when all the birds are congregated close to the sides of the river, so that if the punt were launched into the upper part of the river it might be allowed to glide gently down with the tide, so as to admit of the punter's having a first-rate chance; but of course he must be guided by circumstances, as it may be sometimes advantageous to punt up the river against the tide. In fresh water a thoroughly well-made punt and good management are more imperatively required than in salt-water; but when wildfowl have not been shot at they are easily approached. Crinan is not more than four or five miles from Lochgilphead, so that it can be easily visited by a sportsman whose head-quarters are at Ardrissaigh, whenever he feels disposed to change the scene of action. He might possibly not find so many fowl there as at Lochgilphead, but he would find several good lots of widgeon, and be likely to have a good day occasionally. I say occasionally, because in wildfowl shooting change of quarters is constantly desirable, as wild fowl, perhaps more than any other birds, become very shy and wary if frequently disturbed and shot at. There is also a comfortable small inn at Crinan, where the sportsman may take up his quarters for a few days. At about eight miles' distance from Crinan there are several other seawater lochs, in which I have seen thousands of wildfowl throughout the winter, which were seldom molested, and consequently comparatively tame.
A first-rate punter in these localities in a suitable winter might obtain first-rate sport. Some of these lochs are in the immediate vicinity of a village called Tavaillaich, where a seaman might be found who would accompany the punter, and give him every information and afford him assistance. There is a small inn, but the accommodation is indifferent, so that I should recommend any sportsman visiting it to take his own provender with him. He will, however, find a good bed. As my knowledge of this hotel does not apply to the last few years, it is just possible an improvement may have taken place in its internal arrangements, which certainly was required. There is a small bay connected with the loch within fifty yards of the inn, so that the punter will have no distance to walk to reach his punt. At the head of the loch, which is called Loch Swaine, there are three branches, which run some distance between banks covered with wood; and at the end of each of these there is a small bay, where the wildfowl generally congregate, and are easy of access with good management, on a suitable day. All these branches are considerably narrower than the main loch; and at low-water, teal and wild ducks, as well as widgeon, may be found feeding amongst the stones by the sides, as well as at the end of the loch. Teal, which abound, generally resort to the quiet bays and nooks at the ends and by the sides of these lochs, but are rarely seen in the open and wide parts of the loch. There are two islands in this loch round which, at low-water, all sorts of wildfowl resort.
Loch Sweene is about five miles in extent, exclusively of the branches at the end, one of which may be three miles in addition—the other two about a mile each. Near the end of Loch Sweene (or Swaine) towards the sea there are several bays, much resorted to by fowl of every description, and there are one or two other lochs parallel with Loch Sweene and connected with it at the back of a place called Taynish, which are also good, and accessible from Loch Sweene; and at the distance of about a mile from the end of the loch there are two or three small islands, about which excellent sport can be obtained in severe weather, if the wind and tide permit of the safe passage of the punt. Round these islands are several small bays, which are always covered with wildfowl, and easily accessible from the land, so that the ordinary fowling-piece may sometimes be brought successfully into action, as well as the larger weapon, in the punt.
In severe frosty weather, when the tops of the contiguous mountains are covered with snow, woodcocks, snipes, and golden plover may be found, and sometimes wild geese: the latter, owing to the uneven, rugged, and rocky surface, may sometimes be easily approached. These islands are seldom without a good supply of snipes and golden plovers in any weather during the shooting season, so that the sportsman will never be disappointed on visiting them in the months of November, December, and January. Woodcocks he will only find in any quantity during a severe frost. There are no bushes or trees, but much long coarse grass, rushes, and flags up to the knees. Amongst the rocks there are numerous springs, to which, I suppose, woodcocks are instinctively attracted: I have found them equally amongst the rocks, and in the flags and rushes. The sportsman who is a good shot will probably bag all he finds, as these birds fly from one island to the other, and a very fair, easy, and open shot is generally to be had at them. As the tide runs strong between these islands and the land, at particular times, the sportsman must never delay his return home towards evening after the opportune moment for taking his departure has arrived, as he might be carried into the Sound of Jura and exposed to great peril. Indeed, no sportsman ought to visit these islands unaccompanied by a person thoroughly experienced in the nature of the locality, as well as with the winds and tides, and the management of punts and of small open boats. I express myself advisedly on this subject, having incurred serious risk and peril, and having had some narrow escapes— the fineness of the morning having proved no guarantee as to the safe condition of wind and tide towards night. Every sportsman who extends his experiments in punting beyond the sides of the sea-water lochs, and visits islands out in the open parts of a wide loch or sound, ought, if he consults his safety, to be accompanied or followed by a large boat. A punt will stand a great deal of sea, and is much safer than a very much larger boat; but it is not perfectly safe out in the open sea in the event of a storm suddenly coming on, which is too frequently the case in the sea-water lochs and sounds of Scotland. If, however, the operations are confined exclusively to the sides of sea-water lochs, in fine weather no difficulty may arise; but still, as the punter may either go all the way round the head of the loch, or cross over it during the day, and find himself at night on the wrong side in the event of wind having increased in force, and the middle of the loch being too rough to be crossed over safely with the punt, it will always be as well for the sportsman to order a large boat to be out towards night to convey him safely home; as in the event of its not being safe for him to cross