William Ramsay’s Macnab day

William Ramsay – Macnab day – 5th October 2016.

Described in William’s words:-

I was keen that we would try to get at least one Macnab, so with the Freshet the night before, raising the river from a poor 1’ to 1’6”, four of us set off at 7.30 am to try for a fish.  No-one was successful.  After breakfast I went fishing again and by midday the fish we had seen first thing began to be interested.  At midday I lost a lovely big fish at Balintyre from the lie off the wee Island; 15lbs perhaps.  At 1 pm I caught a salmon at Island, on my fourth cast, half way down the neck.  It took close to me, just as I was raising my rod to cast again.

I rushed back to Chesthill, and spied a group with a stag on Croftgarrow North face.  I spoke to Hamish Rae, the Keeper (who had never been involved in a Macnab) who told me they had shot a stag and the hill was clear for me.  I set off with rifle, shotgun and cartridge belt, and walked up the new hydro track.  I spied again at the deer fence gate; with an East wind and open ground I had to walk up the track further and come above the group.  200 yards above them a hind and calf heard something; the hinds below became alert.  I didn’t risk moving closer so ended up shooting at 4.30pm, at what I thought was about 200 yards, but judging by the bullet drop of about 10 inches from my aiming point (butt way up), Hamish reckoned it was more.  I gralloched and headed up the hill for a grouse.

After one circuit of the loch I was losing optimism, but luckily two brace got up on the leeward (north) side, around 6 p.m.  One fluttered down, wounded.  I watched it carefully and followed its feathers, before spotting its tail under some heather.  I put it in my bag and set off down to the stag, which Hamish helped me drag across the bog just above the fence, to the quad bike.  We finished skinning the head and neck at 8.30 pm for the taxidermist.

This was more rewarding than my first Macnab, as I achieved it on my own with no stalker, ghillie, casual worker or dog.

The Macnab Challenge has its roots in the 1925 novel John Macnab by John Buchan. The modern Macnab Challenge: bagging a salmon, stag and brace of grouse within one day between dawn and dusk, is derived from Buchan’s tale. It is a thrilling test of sporting skill and sometimes includes a little good luck.