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Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Red Deer Rut  Diary 2013 part two
October 15th
The chief stag was VERY agitated this morning, refusing to tolerate other stags anywhere near the herd and charging furiously and noisily after a young stag who was determined to try his luck. I found out later that a big fight between two stags was witnessed on the sea field that same morning, lasting twenty-five minutes.
October 16th
The ground has been scuffed up on the 6th fairway today. I wonder if it has been caused by actual mating? Damage to trees has stopped. There must be something about munching up pine trees just before the rut that attracts stags- it doesn’t seem so appetising to them afterwards.
October 19th
The atmosphere has changed on the golf course. It is less intense and there is less roaring. The main herd on the golf course of 16 hinds has been sitting comfortably on the first fairway in a tight-knit group with the chief stag. No hinds were trying to run away and no other stags were around waiting to challenge.
There is still a lot of night-time roaring coming from up the Narachan track and from Gleann Easan though the stags sound pretty hoarse at times.
October 21st
This week stag culling stops and hind culling begins. If this isn’t done there will be high mortality of the young over the winter. Calves stay with their mothers for a year or even two. There are two or three little family groups like this who are now grazing at some distance from the main herd, presumably because mating has taken place.
October 23rd
One very exhausted chief stag fast asleep in the reeds near the Newton Road Bridge. His big antlers sticking up like an aerial gave his whereabouts away. The rut ends in a drawn-out slow calming like the sea after a storm. The structure of the herd loosens and eventually the big stags return to the hills.

Blinky was culled earlier this month. He was estimated to be 15 which is very old for a stag. He was blind in one eye and going blind in the other so his prospects for surviving the coming winter were not good. At least he spent his last few days proudly in charge of the herd again.

Snowstorm Facts

Our camping season 2013 began dramatically with the blizzard that blasted Arran on March 22nd.  Some facts about it that we have learned recently are:
  • Three power towers collapsed on Kintyre severing the electricity line to Arran. Power tower collapse in this part of Scotland had only occurred three times before in sixty years. Heavy snow rapidly built up and turned to ice. Lines between each tower had about 20 tons on them.
  • Some Arran homes on the West coast had no power for six days.
  • 700 SSE workers were drafted into the area from round the country.
 (This information came from the ‘Snow bill hits £15 million’ report in the Arran Banner 3rd August 2013 following a presentation by Neil Wilson SSE Operations manager for Argyll and West Highland.)

The campsite and golf course close for winter on October 31st as usual. Rutting has no sooner ended here than tupping begins and the hill sheep will be brought down to the golf course on November 1st. Whoever thinks Lochranza is a quiet place?

I’ll leave you with a glorious view of the Arran mountains in October sunshine taken from Dun Fionn near Brodick on Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. I think Blinky was there when I camped - joined me from a few feet away twice while i sat in the entrance of my tent! was amazing to experience, have many photos of him! :)