The 1st of July brings the beginning of the red deer stag shooting season in Scotland. For Wildland and our professional deer stalkers this adds a sporting element to our crucial conservation work. Through careful management of deer numbers, young sapling trees have the opportunity to grow and the developing forest, in time, will provide invaluable shelter and habitat for the deer and many other species, including the endangered capercaillie and iconic red squirrel. Conserving and regenerating the land, habitat, flora and fauna is very important to us and we believe, the society we live in.
We provide the opportunity for guests, if they wish, to participate in the Highland experience of harvesting a red stag from the hillside. The animal may be retrieved by a strong and surefooted highland pony, a breed which has been used to extract deer from the hill in the Scottish Highlands for many decades. This can be a very rewarding and humbling experience for the sportsman and their party. Whether you choose to pull the trigger or not, it’s a day spent surrounded by beautiful scenery, amazing nature and good company. This season runs until October the 20th each year.
Roe deer are a smaller breed which usually reside in the forest, the bucks are in season to stalk from April 1st until October 20th. The female red (hind) and roe (doe) seasons begin much later, in October, allowing time for rearing their young.
For those who don’t want to shoot but do want to experience something similar we offer ‘Pony Picnics’. Highland ponies, led by our Stalkers will carry your supplies for the day, including a delicious home-made lunch and afternoon tea. Soak in the beautiful regenerating landscape and impressive scenery while you ramble through peaceful forests and glens. Have a listen! (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09cvyts)
The ‘Glorious Twelfth’ as its traditionally known, the 12th of August, is the start of the red grouse season in the UK. Grouse are an entirely wild bird which cannot be reared and as a result their numbers fluctuate from season to season. During the last couple of years, the grouse numbers in Scotland and England have suffered greatly due to a host of environmental reasons including adverse weather and parasites on the upland moor. Ticks especially, can be hugely detrimental to the newly hatched chicks.
At Wildland we don’t manage for artificially high grouse numbers and perhaps parasite burdens are not so significant. Neither do we offer driven grouse shooting, but if there is a healthy population of birds, we may arrange small walked up days upon request. A smaller bag perhaps – but sporting, sustainable and a big day out! A glorious day in Wildland’s eyes. On the high tops there are ptarmigan and dotterel whilst ring ouzels may greet you on the way up.
Alternatively, guests of Wildland are able to participate in guided black grouse lek watches at dawn, these take place from March to May and are a great opportunity to appreciate these native birds in their natural environment.
Across many of our Wildland holdings we are lucky to boast some of the best salmon, sea trout and brown trout fishing in Scotland. Wildland North Coast holds the renowned loch and river Hope and rivers Polla, Kinloch and Strathmore. We have fishing on lochs Loyal, Meadie and many other remote hill lochs, which are abundant with wild brown trout. They all have the beautiful yet wild north of Scotland as a back drop.
Near Aldourie by Loch Ness, we have recently added the famous Dochfour beat on the River Ness, where some of the biggest salmon in the country are caught each season.
In Wildland Cairngorm, our more southern estates located in the Cairngorm National Park we have fishing on a beautiful 4.5 mile stretch of the river Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Scotland at an immense 107 miles long. The river Spey is famous for its superb salmon fishing and also supplying water for the world recognised Spey whisky production. In addition to the Spey we have the unique river Feshie, which is a tributary of the Spey. We also have picturesque hill lochs which are teeming with brown trout and the illusive arctic char.
Through our wider conservation activities, we aim to protect and enhance all our fish populations. Whilst we encourage a trout for supper, we hold strict catch and release policies for Salmon and Arctic Char on all of our lochs and rivers.
At Wildland we believe in finding a balance between achieving our goals to conserve, protect and nurture the land alongside continuing a sustainable, responsible and respectful harvest. By doing so we are providing employment across a wide range of sectors, this in turn benefits local communities and helps to achieve our conservation objectives. We believe this, whilst also upholding recent highland sporting traditions is the way of the future.