Shooting and fishing: 'Skydancers 2011-2015; a more whimsical and cuddly title it is hard to imagine'
I think I may have discovered why the RSPB got so worked up about the signed "Loon" cartoons for sale on behalf of the Heather Trust.
Shooting and fishing: 'Anyone can go and inspect beats and bits of river they'd never get near normally'
I think the River Deveron Fishing Festival deserves a good plug because they have never done this sort of thing before and it strikes me as being rather brave. The Deveron is not, after all, the Spey or the Dee or even the Tay, and is all the better for that, you might say.
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I wonder if I could persuade you to turn to page 60 of the Heather Trust's Country Market and Sporting Sale catalogue, which you will find at www.heathertrust.co.uk?
Shooting & Fishing: "We went into shock, not least at the thought of having spent £250 plus vet's bills
I am sorry to go on about Danny the donkey – the continuing saga thereof – but he weighed heavily upon our lives.
You cannot imagine a nicer idea really. Plant a tree for every one of the population to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year.
Shooting & Fishing: If Danny doesn't get better he will be lame and in pain for the rest of his life
I'm not sure last week's joke about how to shoot a donkey was that funny. You'll recall that Danny the Donkey had been dumped in the field behind us by a local cattle dealer over the winter.
If anyone has any thoughts on the correct calibre of rifle to drop a donkey at 100 yards, let me know. Danny, for that is his name, was dumped, in the glebe field behind us because his owner, a cattle dealer who had rented the field last April couldn't catch him, so just left him all winter in the snow.
You will be surprised to learn, or perhaps not, that three pheasants shot on 31 January, one day before the end of the season, were, until ten days ago, still hanging in the garage.
Shooting and fishing: 'Wider political agenda in this case means returning Scotland to a communal wilderness'
Wouldn't it be nice if the RSPB and its raptor lobby, aka The Talon Taleban, could settle their differences with the game shooting world through voluntary arbitration?
Shooting and fishing: Pheasant legs are about the most hopeless and sinewy bit of the bird, so not first choice
I have been trying to follow Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe for rillettes, or what I think here in Scotland we would call "potted meat". I suspect that technically his recipe is very good. But practically speaking it is a nightmare unless you make your living rearing, killing and cooking animals on TV and can edit out the boring and fiddly bits.
The last shoot of the pheasant season came as something of a surprise. Still suffering from the shock of getting a huge wind farm on several thousand acres of blasted heath, my friend Lord Megawatt, as we now call him, had bid zillions at a charity auction in aid of the Sandpiper Trust (emergency equipment for rural nurses and doctors) for a day's pheasant shooting at Tillypronie, the Astor gaff in Aberdeenshire. He was allowed to bring one guest.
Fishing and Shooting: The Deveron has survived without lending its name to a whisky or a heavy-duty cloth
For a river that describes itself as "Scotland's Hidden Gem" the Deveron in Aberdeenshire is doing its best to be discovered this year. Rather snottily referred to by leading people's estate agents as "top of the second division", it has for years been a favourite among Edinburgh legal eagles and has survived very nicely, thank you, without being royal, or lending its name to a type of whisky or heavy-duty cloth.
To Balmoral for the launch of the Dalmore Rivers Collection of whisky, an event which inevitably attracts most of Deeside, certainly every gillie on the river, and many from beyond with or without invitations. The prospect of a free whisky "tasting" has a galvanising effect on people who won't normally move after dark in the winter.
My cousin calls in a panic. Andreas, whom we wittily call the Lord's Anointed, because he was confirmed by the Pope when he was Bishop of Munich, is bringing two French friends to shoot. But he, the cousin, is short of a dog. Will I bring Crumpet and act as game bearer and dog handler?
Shooting and Fishing: My mother's lab ate an entire slab of 80 per cent cocoa chocolate, wrapper and all
There has been much alarm (well, minor complaint) over my decision to, in future, carry a Milky Way for the dog, Crumpet, in case she collapses from exhaustion. I wouldn't say the readership has been outraged, but some have been troubled, pointing out that chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
Whatever Mr Salmond may say about the disconcertingly direct letter he received from the Faroese Salmon Fishing Vessels Owners' Association on the subject of salmon netting, we do not as a nation come out of it very well.
Alastair Robertson: 'Everyone is happy, convinced they are playing their part in this rustic ritual'
For a change I thought we would do the Boxing Day shoot back to front. My late cousin over whose ground we shoot every year is no longer around to argue with this arrangement.
Last winter we were a little protective of Crumpet, the cocker spaniel, because it was her first shooting season and she was only taken out on selective occasions.
Shooting and fishing: 'They assume that they and their friends are better shots than they really are'
I went shooting the other day near home with a rather jolly retired superintendent from the Metropolitan Police who has his own shoot in Hampshire.
I was standing in some bracken urging on Crumpet to find a woodcock at the end of the second drive of the day when a voice asked, "Is that Crumpet?" .
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West