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Leaves from the Journal
A “Drive” in the Balloch Buie 18 Sept. 1848


September 18, 1848.

At a quarter-past ten o’clock we set off in a postchaise with Bertie, and drove beyond the house of Mr. Farquhar-son’s keeper in the Balloch Buie. We then mounted our ponies, Bertie riding Grant’s pony on the deer-saddle, and being led by a gillie, Grant walking by his side. Macdonald and several gillies were with us, and we were preceded by Bowman and old Arthur Farquharson, a deerstalker of Invercaukfs. They took us up a beautiful path winding through the trees and heather ’in the Balloch Buie; but when we had got about a mile or more they discovered deer. A “council of war’’ was held in a whisper, and we turned back and went the whole way down again, and rode along to the keeper’s lodge, where we turned up the glen immediately below Craig Daign, through a beautiful part of the wood, and went on along the track, till we came to the foot of the craig, where we all dismounted.

We scrambled up an almost perpendicular place to where there was a little box, made of hurdles and interwoven with branches of fir and heather, about five feet in height. There we seated ourselves with Bertie, Macdonald lying in the heather near us, watching and quite concealed; some had gone round to beat, and others again were at a little distance. We sat quite still, and sketched a little; I doing the landscape and some trees,

Albert drawing Macdonald as he lay there. This lasted for nearly an hour, when Albert fancied he heard a distant sound, and, in a few minutes, Macdonald whispered that he saw stags, and that Albert should wait and take a steady aim. We then heard them coming past. Albert did not look over the box, but through it, and fired through the branches, and then again over the box. The deer retreated; but Albert felt certain he had hit a stag. He ran up to the keepers, and at that moment they called from below that they “had got him,” and Albert ran on to see. I waited for a bit; but soon scrambled on with Bertie and Macdonald’s help; and Albert joined me directly, and we all went down and saw a magnificent stag, “a royal,” which had dropped, soon after Albert had hit him, at one of the men’s feet. The sport was successful, and every one was delighted,—Macdonald and the keepers in particular;—the former saying, “that it was her Majesty’s coming out that had brought the good luck.” I was supposed to have “a lucky foot,” of which the Highlanders “think a great deal.” We walked down to the place we last came up, got into the carriage, and were home by half-past two o’clock.


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