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Game, Culture and Tradition in the Highlands

- The deer forest is understood as a place where aspects of nature, culture, science and technology were able to fuse, separate and fuse once again to take on hybrid identities.

- The pursuit of deer, both as a pastime and as a livelihood, has a long history in the Scottish Highlands.

- Celebrations of these activities, preserved through several centuries in native Gaelic folklore, oral ballads and apocryphal yarns, were seized upon by the authors of stalking guidebooks, histories and personal reminiscences.

- Evidence from biblical times, classical civilizations and regal history was woven into a rich local tapestry.

- Highland history, landscape and wildlife were entwined in an evolving ‘culture of nature’, founded on the need for historical legitimacy.

- Antiquity and memory were pacified, left open to exploitation by an informed elite who could allude to linkages between their own ancestry and antecedents of their choosing.

- If the model physique was Greek in origin, then the sporting spirit was definitely Corinthian.

- Dawn starts on the hill with a Purdey rifle tucked snugly under the arm, and the rich smell of gun oil in the air was sure to keep the lead in a man’s pencil.

- The anticipatory thrill of the hunt, further heightened by resistance and deprivation (dragging the prone body through wet heather), was detailed in suitably climactic terms; the longer the stalk, it seemed, the better.

- The sporting laird, with his intuitive knowledge of the Highland environment, native ancestry and romantic joie de vivre was a constituent element.


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