This record of a sojourn in the Highlands will, it is
hoped, have a certain interest to those who have not trod the
heather, as well as to those who have.
Regarding the first—although many may be indifferent
to field sports, still there are very few who do not appreciate the
wild and varied beauties of Highland scenery, and even if caring
little about the shooting of grouse or taking of salmon, most people
do feel curious to learn wherein lies the charm of pursuits so
eagerly sought and so expensively procured. This I have tried to
explain and describe simply and without exaggeration.
To sportsmen these pages will recall much of their
own pleasant experience, and perhaps excite curiosity and
after-inquiry by the details of certain phenomena and events
connected with the ferce
the hills which they may have carelessly overlooked or missed the
chance of observing; and, I think, they can accept the personal
incidents recorded as having occurred under my own experience, or,
if related secondhand, to have come from those who may be trusted to
have intelligently observed and accurately reported.
If my readers should derive only a tithe of the
pleasure from perusing this journal that I have had in shaping it, I
shall be satisfied—for to me this has been a labour of love by
bringing back clearly on my mind many cherished memories.
I believe it to be a common experience that times
passed in the country do leave stronger and more vivid prints on the
mind than those lived in towns, however much more eventful and
important these latter may have been—with myself I find this
distinction of recollection to be marked and indubitable, and there
are certain days lived in the country, particularly those passed in
the Highlands, which will come again and again on my memory with the
startling clearness of a vision, when I seem to see every
heather-brae and rugged corrie on the hill-side, to look on the
broken waters as they rush down the stony glen, almost to feel on my
cheek the fresh breeze that waves the slender birches and to hear
once more the familiar voices of friends now scattered or gone.
In conclusion—should the free conversation here and
there reported only serve acceptably to vary the mere details of
scenery and sport, it will have suited its purpose ; and if
perchance the reader finds some grave truth, although clothed in
motley, so much the better. Be this as it may, no one will think of
being captious or hypercritical on the careless converse of a few