In a Loch far away in the North of Scotland a leading UK researcher took the chance of a break to camp wild alongside the Lochon there to enjoy the river and forests, little did he know that in the forested land beyond the trees lies a small cottage where a giant visits from time to time. I didn’t tell the researcher what wonders abound in the area. And the current exclusion due to the landowner. On the 20th of June he contacted me and reported that late in the night he had heard grunts and loud noises coming from within the trees. I then explained what I knew of the area and what had happened there to him and we both said “now wouldn’t it be strange if Isabella had action and heard the grunts too? Not daring to think it could be true.
Now Isabella hasnt been in touch for awhile as all has been quiet since the New Year, so can you imagine my delight when I go to my email and find a message waiting there for me. I think once again two worlds collided in sequence without the knowledge of either party. Whilst one hears the grunts of a clan, the other is left a gift of thanks. How many of us are within a few feet of our hairy friends without ever realising it
June 20, 2018
Isabella here from the high hills of Scotland. It’s been months since my last report, although I’d hoped after the encouraging visit from you and your team in May that activity here would perk up and there’d be more to say as summer approached. But all remained quiet and eerie around the cottage and the clan seemed to be in hiding or to have moved away.
I’m sure you remember from your afternoon here that there was the construction underway of miles of fencing over the estate and a lot of high brush, rhododendrons and hedgerows of all kinds had been cut back to stumps and even uprooted. The woodland next to the cottage was cleared, especially an area all along a deep ravine that falls away to a lovely burn where you’ll often find deer, pine martins and even otter.
I’d never seen such purposeful destruction for no apparent reason. That is, no apparent reason if you discount the violent removal of the original fencing last autumn when it was pulled out by the cement-sunk posts, rolled into a massive ball and thrown into the farm lane. That behaviour, most likely from the Alpha of the clan, obviously precipitated a war with landowner – evidently a war that continues.
There was a lot of shooting into the woods at night throughout the spring. And, as I’d pointed out to you and the other researchers, just behind the first row of new fence a huge pine tree [about two feet in circumference at the trunk bottom] had been snapped off five feet above the ground and the entire tree thrown into the woods. A second tree – much larger, on the other side of the road beside the river — was also shattered in the same way earlier this month. But no sign of the clan this high up on the hill since early spring.
In fact, I’d stopped venturing into the forest to search for sign because I feared attracting the Alpha up here again. I’d half-hoped the clan were happy somewhere else, not wanting to see them in constant confrontation with the estate’s owner and possibly injured by gunfire. I do think it would be difficult to kill a Bigfoot with a deer rifle. But the damage could be terrible nonetheless and really unnecessary.
In any case, I thought visits here were a thing of the past. I’d check the “hidey-hole” over the lane where the big Alpha used to sit and watch me writing at the dining room table after dark. It has grown back to some extent, but the big box-shaped rock that sat inside is gone so, nowhere for him to rest. Whoever cleared that area did a VERY thorough job of it.
I’ve kept my eyes open and listened whenever I’ve got my dog out for his last constitutional before bed. That’s when I’d usually hear owl calls and thumping or tree knocks in the forest. But the first sign I’ve had; any hope at all that the clan are still in contact, came just this week in the daytime.
Having closed in fields all over the estate, the fencing contractors were evidently finishing the entire project by shutting–off access to the forest next to the cottage late last week. Funny they left this to last, I thought, watching them set up their work. Posts and wiring were laid out along the lane and they were hard at it with a massive hydraulic pile driver — every eight feet or so another fencepost. Then suddenly everything was back onto the trailers and they were gone. All this week I’ve expected them to return — but no sign of them at all.
The owner of the estate has been away for quite a while and returned only last night. He was out this morning to inspect and then into the woodland with his dogs. Gunshot erupted and continued for a long, long while. I was relieved that, for once, he was firing in broad daylight. The clan travel at night from my experience – except for the very first sighting of the Alpha which was in an area high above the cottage at the edge of deep pine forests. I figured the landowner’s target must be vermin or some of the infestation of doves that ravage the roofs of houses around here, digging under moss and between the slates and leaving a general mess.
Feeling certain that the clan was in no way involved I was simply anxious to get out to the grocery shop and listened for the shooting to stop. The farm lane passes directly by the wood and I wanted to avoid getting too near in my car. As soon as the forest fell quiet and stayed that way, I headed for the front door to make my escape.
I grabbed my shopping bags and flung open the door, then stood back in shock. On the doorsill sat a small, frosted, mangled, cupcake. It looked torn in half – the frosted top severed from the plain bottom – and then set back together and left on the sill. I stepped over it and looked around, glanced into the woods and then hurried to the back to have a look in the long ditch that leads up the hill and away. There was nothing, no one.
Returning to the cottage I considered what to do and decided to leave the cupcake where it sat, then come back and photograph it once I’d done my errands. This was a big mistake. When I returned it was gone. Whether taken by squirrels or by the original donor I don’t know. But I’m here this evening with a very heavy heart.
Whether or not you owned an important estate in the highlands would you really, truly, wage war with a creature delivering a cupcake? Would anybody? And is it brave or just completely foolish to insist on sharing a prized tidbit most likely scavenged from the rubbish bins at the bottom of the hill when such danger awaits you? Who else do you know so completely unselfish, loyal and brave?
I’m not exaggerating in the least — it just leaves me in tears.
That’s all for the moment Deb and I’ll sign off until the next time.
Ever yours, Isabella