I was contacted by John Ormiston of “Sport in Scotland” to supply two Scottish Deerhounds to do a complete re-enactment of the return of the Purdey to Guisachan, 120 years after its first appearance to account for a stag. Everything was to be conducted in a similar manner to 1872 – a stalker to stalk, the Laird to shoot, a pony to transport the stage off the hill and of course the Scottish Deerhounds. The dress worn was also to be of the period.
On the 12th Oct I set off for Guisachan House with my two Scottish Deerhounds, Ardkinglas Tom (bred by Miss A Noble) and our home bred Ladycroft Grey Shadow (their pet names were Tom and Ceiledh). The weather was ideal, the stags were roaring. We had a great day out on the hill with several stalks, before getting the right wind direction. We covered a lot of ground, some very hard going through heather, before getting close enough to the stag for the Laird to use the Purdey. When the shot was fired there was a lot of blue/black smoke from the rifle! The Laird was a crack shot in getting the stag. The highland pony, which is still used to this present day as the only transport suitable, carried the stag down off the hill.
It was a great experience to witness the stalk. The Scottish Deerhounds were very aware of the quarry, after all this was what they were originally bred for, and had enjoyed their long day on the hill. With the completion of the re-enactment we finally made our way homewards.
by Charlie Spence