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Monday, 3 October 2011

Nigel and Will- probably the last dip of the year

It’s not just the south of England that can enjoy playing in the sea in Autumn (admittedly it was ten degrees cooler here).

Autumn Diary

Just now nature is busy ensuring its survival into next year. I came across a red squirrel the other day, so totally absorbed in hiding its horde in a tree root it didn’t notice me behind it. But it’s the clamour of the rut that dominates Lochranza life in early October. The stags are in such a frenzied state guarding their herds that they don’t eat. These red deer are wild and roam the northern hills of Arran, but belong to the Laird, and are managed, that is to say some are culled each year to maintain healthy stock and sustainable numbers. One year when culling did not take place, many deer starved to death. It’s the stags that are being culled at the present time; later in October it will be selected hinds. Out on the golf course you can regularly hear the creaking, clacking and clattering of entangled antlers as young stags practise battle. They have also gouged out new hazards for golfers in the form of round wallows: muddy pools they like to bathe in, in order to rise out of them looking dripping black and scary.

There is a dramatic shift of focus in our lives at this time too. As only the hardiest visitors come to the campsite and golf course in October, it is time to get on with hefty outdoor maintenance tasks: clearing the ditches to drain winter floods, cutting back hedges and mending fences. Like the animals, as one year comes to fruition for us, it’s time to start working towards the next.

The Mountains of Arran in September

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