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of Scotland, are frequently found here; and, in addition to ground-vermin, there was no lack of hawks.
A large sea-water loch runs parallel with this property for several miles, and affords excellent sea-fishing. There are several fresh-water lochs and streams on the estate, which abound with trout and afford good sport. Loch Nell itself— the loch from which the property derives its name —is a very large piece of water, remarkable for the size and excellent quality of its trout. This loch is also the resort of wildfowl in the winter. There are so many springs in it, that a good-sized stream issues from it, which empties itself into the contiguous sea-water loch, and salmon frequently ascend it.
The old family mansion was some few years since consumed by fire, and not having been rebuilt, the sportsman who rents these shootings must either take up his quarters at Oban, or at Conn el Ferry, or at Tinault. At Oban there are several excellent inns; and at the two latter places small ones, in which there is sufficient accommodation for two sportsmen. The country about Tinault is beautiful and picturesque. On and in the vicinity of this estate sport of some kind or other may be had every day in the year.
A first-rate salmon river empties itself into the sea-water loch at the base of Cruachan, which is one of the highest mountains in Scotland. The fishing of this river does not belong to the Loch Nell estate.
With regard to the cocks, it will be as well to mention that, during the severe weather in the short winter days, very few are found on those sides of large covers which face the north, those of south-eastern aspect being preferred. There is less snow in them; and in the event of the sun making his appearance, they have the benefit of it: but even in moderately severe weather more cocks will always be found in those parts of the cover which face the east and south than in those which face the north, which rarely receive a gleam of the sun during the short days of winter. The sportsman who wishes for good sport ought to commence at daybreak.
A particular friend of mine residing on the west coast of Scotland was eye-witness to so singular a circumstance in reference to woodcocks, that I am induced to relate it under the impression that it will not be uninteresting to my sporting readers. My friend left his house early in the morning, during a severe frost, for the purpose of woodcock shooting, and at the end of the plantation adjoining his residence flushed two, one of which he shot at and killed. On his return at night, he tried the same spot, under the idea that the one which had escaped him in the morning might possibly have returned, when, to his surprise, three rose, affording him an easy right and left, of which he availed himself, and killed both. But if his surprise was great at flushing three cocks, it was considerably greater, on reaching the spot to pick up his birds, on finding a large piece of beef perforated in all directions by the bills of the birds. This he carried to the house, and found on inquiry that it had been brought into the kitchen by the cook for the purpose of dressing for dinner, but on her momentary absence from the kitchen had disappeared, and no one could tell or conjecture what had become of it, as no living thing had been seen entering the house. The mystery was, however, soon solved, as it appeared that one of the shepherds had been near the house about the time when the meat vanished, and it was conjectured that his dog had entered the kitchen, abstracted and departed with the beef, and carried it to the end of the plantation, and on being called by his master quitted the succulent spoil for the benefit of the cocks, who were too ready, in the midst of so severe a frost, to perforate any juicy substance which would receive their bills.
DEER-STALKING DRIVING DEERHOUND CASTRATION
OP MALE FAWNS VENISON DOUBLE RIFLE.
Those large and extensive tracts of land on which red deer are preserved in Scotland, and which are called forests, are not, as might be supposed by the uninitiated in these matters, covered with timber, but, on the contrary, are frequently almost exempt from it. There may be, however, some few straggling trees and very considerable pieces of brushwood here and there, sufficient to afford protection and shelter to the deer in winter, and large enough for the preservation of black game, roe, &c.; but the forests generally are large tracts of land composed of mountains of different altitude, deep glens, and corries, well covered with heather, morasses and considerable patches of pasture intervening on which the deer feed. That these localities were formerly forests on a large scale, covered with timber, cannot be doubted, conclusive evidence of the fact being afforded by the nature of the soil, and by the number of trunks of large trees found buried underneath it. The soil which to a great extent pervades these districts, is composed of partially decayed vegetable matter; of leaves, bark twigs, branches, and other component parts of trees. Some of the largest forests belong to the Earl of Dalhousie, Marquis of Huntley, Duke of Eichmond, Duke of Athol,Duke of Sutherland, Duke of Portland, Lord Fife, and Lord Breadalbane. On the Marquis of Huntley's forest 1,000 head of deer may sometimes be seen in one herd. Besides the abovenamed forests there are those of Balmoral and Invercauld, as well as others on the western isles. So that these forests comprise many hundred thousand acres of land, a large extent to be devoted exclusively to deer, as no sheep are ever permitted to intrude. Sometimes grouse are not even protected, as their presence interferes with the success of deer-stalking, for which sport the forests are mostly preserved, the sport of deerdriving, which may be equally enjoyed, being quite a secondary consideration, for, though exciting, it is not so much so as stalking; neither is it so fascinating, as it does not involve the same amount of labour, difficulty, skill, perseverance and patience, and of anxiety, which may be said to be the parent of excitement.