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Berkshire Life - - Local Walk: Leckhampstead And Peasemore - WORDS: Julie Lucas

How does a doc­tor’s daugh­ter from the home coun­ties end up as a rein­deer herder in the High­lands of Scot­land?

Tilly Smith lives and breathes rein­deer; she owns 150 of them – Bri­tain’s only free-rang­ing herd found in the Cairn­gorms moun­tains in Scot­land. “Our child­hood was im­mersed in nat­u­ral his­tory,” she says with a smile. “My dad was a doc­tor and his pas­sion was deer. He passed on his in­ter­est.”

Tilly stud­ied zo­ol­ogy, but had no de­sire to live in sub­ur­bia and knew about the Cairn­gorm rein­deer herd: “I got in touch with [co-founder] Dr Lind­gren and ended up in Scot­land,” she says. “The keeper, Alan, wasn’t bad­look­ing so I mar­ried him!” And now, 35 years later, there are three gen­er­a­tions of their fam­ily.

The herd was orig­i­nally brought over in 1952 by Mikel Utsi and his wife, Dr Ethel Lind­gren, 800 years af­ter the last recorded wild Bri­tish rein­deer. The cou­ple were on hon­ey­moon and Mikel, who owned Swedish rein­deer, iden­ti­fied the unique sub-arc­tic qual­i­ties of the

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