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Published: September 8th 2016
So I arrived in the country, that is so wild, and so hostile, that even the Romans didn't dare to cross it! Yes, you know I can only mean bonnie wee Scotland with that. (Btw I am referring to Hadrian’s Wall, that is still viewable and available for sightings in North-England) Might have to do with those blue painted crazy fellows walking around here back in the 100rds :P
The travels itself are worth a whole separate chapter. I left home on time to go to Schiphol, not expecting so much traffic even for a Monday morning! It really was manic but luckily I arrived on time, and after the usual waiting for customs and security it was ready for take-off. In the cutest airplane btw, not many times that I have sat in a plane with only about 20 rows of seats, does make it more cosy.
Then I arrived at the airport in Dundee, or better said, 2 runways and a building not bigger than the average train station, no wait, even train stations take up more space. Seriously, nothing bigger than that plane I went on should land there or the whole
system will collapse with the extra stress all those people will bring.
Holy that was small! Oh well, I walked on and 3 minutes later I stood outside not yet knowing which direction to go for the station.
Special thanks to the very nice man who was able to take me to the train station and prevented me from struggling with my suitcases in the whole wrong direction! The train was adventurous, in a ‘you’ll have to sit there and it all happens to you’ kind of way. Next to first time of me getting used to riding through the real Scottish highlands, there was also a poor lady who didn't feel well and a visit from the ambulance was in place! After that small hold-up we continued the journey and I ended up in Newtonmore station where I was picked up and spent the last 40 minutes travelling by car and enjoying some excellent views of the valley.
Soooo… midges, MIDGES, midgies (Jaws theme tune starts playing). The first horror stories I already heard when I just arrived. There are 2 Dutch people staying at the farm as well, which
does simplify the communication slightly. They showed me the red spots that they had on every exposed part of their skin, which were apparently caused by teensy tiny flies half the size of a small fruit fly. I thought, well if I dress with long sleeves and trousers that should be allright?!
Meanwhile I learned the ins and outs of the farm here. The current count of the animals here are 6 hunting dogs, 2 fat ponies, a group of about 25 sheep and elusive cows of which I heard stories but still haven’t seen them. And numerous deer and doe skulls.
Wait.. what? Yes, they hunt deer here to keep the population in stand and once in a while you hear the dogs barking, meaning a few new victims have been brought in. I am only awaiting now the moment when I get asked to help with butchering one of them (god help me when that happens). Yes I have a certain interest in animal bones and stuffed animals, but this is starting to get kinda ‘real’. Anyways, I already tried my first deer steak and it wasn’t
even that bad, much more eco-friendly that’s for sure!
So the next day I, all carefree, walked out of the building to help with some chores, no problem?
So these little bleeders are going everywhere, seriously everywhere. They especially like the eyes and ears and other soft parts of your face and beating them of won’t help! I almost forgot about them and my hands got pretty beaten up. Luckily these smart Scots have thought of an ingenious solution. The midge headnet, it is like a beekeepers net but then finer and with a nice fashionable choker for around your neck. (picture of it in the added photos)
This thing isn’t going to leave my pocket anytime soon! But I heard it is only for a few weeks now until it gets too cold and they will die. Good riddance.
So what I have been doing for the rest of the past few days? Basically walking a lot with the 2 ponies, they need training to bring shot deer back to the farm from difficult grounds, and I get exercise as well! Plus
I just love to work with horses once in a while. Double bonus? Secretly I hope I might be able to make an outing on their backs one time in the weekend I keep you updated on that 😉 The research isn’t unimportant either, I will be doing monitoring on birds of prey, which will actually make me go with the manager here on deerstalking as it will attract loads of raptors. Wondering how I will be feeling about that, deer is down, and I will be looking in the sky for any scavengers 0_0.
To prevent my story for getting too long I will stop right now, for the next 4 months, expect lots of travelling, more adventures of me and animals and lots of dirt and ranting on about the Scottish weather. As you might expect it hasn’t exactly stayed dry for the past days, although it was changeable. Something for everyone!
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