Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Glen Tanar: Man eaters?

Plan A failed before it even got off the ground, for lots of reasons, so I decided to just head out to one of my favourite spots for a night in the woods of Glen Tanar.  I’ve discovered a number of spots in the upper glen which offer seclusion & nice pitches less than 2 hrs for the carpark; an enjoyable stroll up through the Caledonian pines. In the late afternoon most visitors to the glen have retreated & there’s usually lots of wild life visible to the quiet walkers strolling around; on this occasion I spotted roe deer, red squirrel, red grouse, a mouse darting across the path & most spectacularly a cock Capercaille which I first spotted through the trees about 40m away, it had obviously spotted me since it had gone into threat display mode.

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Inside 30 seconds it had closed to a few metres & was behaving very aggressively; the blurry photo is me try to dodge around trees & shoot at the same time. 

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I quickly passed it by, more concerned about the bird getting injured than any potential minor injury to myself.

My chosen spot was reached in another km, a wonderful small clearing amongst the pines; thankfully another Capercaille hadn’t decided this was his spot.

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Another advantage of this site is plenty of fuel for the Tri-tri lying around; I did think that I should have brought a steak instead of the couscous.

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I didn’t have to move more than 3m to supply the fire with enough small sticks to keep it ticking over for 2 -3 hrs but just a little disappointed that the near full moon obscured a lot of the stars.

I awoke to a frosty morning but he clear sky & bright sunshine made it feel warm.  Took time for a lazy breakfast then set off on a longer route back to the car. 

Surprised, surprise I got ‘attacked’ by another Capercaille, it came out of nowhere in full attack mode & I had to use the trekking pole handles to keep it at bay while I quickly made my way past; no time for photos.  Even when I was ‘retreating’ it didn’t give up, I even jogged about 30-40m just to put some distance between us but it just took off & landed behind me; another 30m onward it finally gave up some 100m after the first encounter.  It did make me smile a little at how such a bird will take on something 10 times its size especially after I came across this notice 500m down the track.IMG_2111 (Large)

A most enjoyable sojourn with 2 memorable events thrown in!  It did make me wonder whether the Capercaille’s testosterone fuelled aggression contributed to it’s first extinction in the UK back in the mid-18th century; too easy to simply knock it on the head with a stick if you’re hungry, always remembering that you could probably have got hung for poaching or a boat trip to the colonies!

 

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2016 by in Trip Reports and tagged , , .
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