Shooting Times & Country|March 18, 2020
Mountains, particularly snow-covered mountains, are so alien to those of us who hail from Suffolk that they tend to induce an open-mouthed, silent stare of incredulity. An identical reaction, I learned, is seen in Londoners too. Thus stood James Chiavarini and I, maws agape, craning our necks to the heavens as the peaks of Borrowdale, dusted with white, reared over us.
Early March is the time to cull the hinds. The herd of 17 were still fractious; two hinds boxed one another, their russet frames showing starkly against the drifted snow that lay thickly in shadowed gullies.
With a lifetime’s experience of these hills, Jonathan made a call that now was the time to move to the valley bottom, leave our vehicles and start our long stalk to where he believed the hinds would make their couch. Snow buntings fussed behind us, unsettled by a group of workmen who were toiling on a mains water pipe — cold, punishing work in this cold and punishing place.
Irka is a stunning dog, a Hanoverian schweisshund, dark of head with a light brindle body. Her amber eyes disdained to look at James and I, caring only to eye the hill or ogle Jonathan. It would be difficult to say which she loved the more.
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March 18, 2020