Scotland at its best: the battle for Glen Tanar

Arriving in Glen Tanar, the weather was in two minds about how helpful it would be in assisting me with my intentions.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th October 2013, 11:30 am

The light was failing, then rallying, the rain was drenching, then barely mist.

On the driveway to the estate office the mist framed the landscape beautifully and somewhere near by I heard a repetitive, dull, low, experienced, powerful roar of warning to hopeful young stags.

Assistant ranger, Mike Martin, met us and filled us in on the history of the place as we drove to the moorland.

In 1905, Glen Tanar was bought by George Coats, later Lord Glentanar. The present owners, Michael and Claire Bruce, are the fourth generation of the family to own and care for Glen Tanar.

As we crept out of the forest and headed up to the moors, a huge stag strutted out in-front of us and cantered into the forest and obscurity.

Mike said: “The deer have been sticking to the forests in this weather. With the elongated summer season, they’ve been much quieter than usual.”

Glen Tanar offers guests fishing, with a stretch on the Dee, grouse shoots and deer stalking. These visitors come in a crucial time for Deeside, bolstering the economy through traditionally tougher tourist seasons.

Now Glen Tanar offer guided tours for parties of up to four in Land Rovers, led by experienced guides whose knowledge and passion for the land makes for an inspiring day of enjoyment.

Mike said: “We love doing this. Teaching people about the land and the animals is crucial to conserving them.”

As the light began fading, we thought the proud stag before the moor would be our only spot of the day other than the dozens of handsome black grouse we’d seen along the way. Then, through the binoculars, we saw a contingent of female deer, led by a powerful stag.

He stared defiantly forward, as a rival came toward him and then they roared, probing for weakness and rotating their heads, eyes fixed on one another, showing their antlers off.

The newcomer stepped forward and the females ran to the hills.

Mike said: “I think we’ve just seen a major political play in the Glen.”

In the Land Rover, coffee and cake provided, we headed back, in awe of what nature has to offer, if we only take the time to look.