Robin meets a master saddler from the village whose workshop, packed with old deer saddles in various states of disrepair, takes him back to his days on the hill
Well, after the delights of my renewed FAC and doctor’s fee, I really must get out and have a spy for an old buck. They are moving out to the fields despite it being a tad chilly. The Ben still has a fair old smattering of snow in the higher corries as I pen this, with April a couple of weeks old. Notwithstanding, it offers shelter and disguise to early nesting ptarmigan.
Our village, like so many others, has its share of the horsey folk. However, the other day I came across a most interesting chap. Late of the Blues and Royals and a mounted musician of the Household Cavalry (though not a shooting man as yet), he is a master saddler of high renown and is inundated with leatherwork from all over the UK with much call from shooters. Glancing around his workshop I was drawn to the number of traditional deer saddles he had in for repair.
As a master saddler, a position that takes some seven years to obtain, he is really a traditionalist. All his work is done by hand. Most of the deer saddles that arrive in his workshop are about a hundred years old and in various states of disrepair after a hard season on the hill. My days on the hill are over, but Keiron’s workshop certainly brought back some sounds and smells of prime leather.
However, it is not all genteel equine jobs he gets, for he showed me many samples of his re-enactment kit. He is currently making a WW1 rifle bucket along with many other items. I was really smitten by a superb cartridge bag he had just finished for a regimental farewell to a member of the Blues and Royals, his old regiment.
I’ve never seen so many old ears littering the newly sown barely field; them, and hundreds – if not thousands – of pink-footed geese. Prior to their long flight to the northlands they are really tanking up, much to the local arable farmers’ chagrin. Nevertheless, I find much amusement watching them marching in serried ranks of newly sown barley. I have noticed that they actually prefer the barley to spring wheat. However, I reckon they need a good feed prior to the thousand miles or so of flight ahead of them.
It will be a while yet before the show season kicks off, nevertheless I am delighted to hear on the grapevine that this exalted magazine will be taking a stand at the GWCT’s Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace, just outside Perth. This event has been going for many years now and is a serious event on the countryman’s calendar, so I hope to meet you there... as long as my new knee is working properly!
To find out more about the Scottish Game Fair, where Sporting Shooter will have a stand, visit www.scottishfair. com