Were we lunch?

Published: 16th February 2009

A dreich day in Glenloy yesterday, so decided to explore some forest tracks. Unfortunately our first choice sent us up an overgrown ride, straight up the side of a hill, through a hole in the deer fence and onto the hillside above. This must be a favourite shelter for the red deer, as the ride, and indeed what seemed to be the entire hillside, was covered with deer droppings (hard to avoid when scrambling). Intending to reach some level ground and then skirt around the top of the forest, we ended up climbing further and firther up the southern flank of Beinn Bhan, and as we ascended the slope became increasingly snow-covered and icey. It got to the point where the only safe way seemed to be up, and to manage this we had to use hands as well as feet (distressingly wellie-clad). The uphill drag was protracted, and it soon became apparent we were being watched – two golden eagles were quartering the ground above us, obviously hunting for food. As we continued upwards the eagles flew closer, and after moving off to the east, returned for a better look. Obviously we (along with the dog) were potentially on the menu, probably as carrion. Despite the great views we had, we would never go to these lengths to give guests a sighting of eagles! Other than worrying anbout the seriousness of our predicament, a pause for a breather enabled me to appreciate the size difference between the female and her rather smaller mate.

We eventually did reach the summit plateau and made a long detour to the west to find an easier descent. Very little about other than the odd group of deer, and some some grouse droppings (ptarmigan?). Still in quite an elevated, wind-blasted position the dog flushed a male stonechat. This small bird had obviously survived all the harsh weather we have had recently, but one wonders if it would not be better moving out to the coast if future winters are set to be inclement.