Along the path there are many ‘hide-outs’. At least, that’s what I think they are at first. But then it turns out that they are places where hunters can sit and shoot grouse. And there are many of these hide outs in these parts. The hunting starts on the 12th of August and it seems to be a great day for everyone who wants to hunt grouse. People pay up to and over a 1000 pounds, it seems for the privilege and pleasure of hunting. That is including the overnight stay and use of guns and dogs of course. And good meals. The hunters do dress up for this occasion. In tweeds and plus-four. Also a good opportunity to entertain your business relations.
Did I say hunt? I should have said slaughter. The ‘hunter’ sits behind the wall and a gun is being handed to him by a helper. Who also loads the gun for him. There is a second gun, so the shooting doesn’t have to stop. The helper loads the guns, hands them over, generally does everything so that the ‘hunter’ can keep on shooting. Then there is a dog who goes and fetches the grouse after they’ve been shot. The grouse are being driven out by other helpers on the hilltop, so they will fly in the right direction. Thousands of them…they have had a good life in summer, being protected and fed by game wardens to have a healthy number for the ‘hunters’. Grouse are not really good a flying. They go in straight line, don’t gain height quickly, in effect they are sitting ducks. Easy target, easy prey.
There are people who want to stop this kind of slaughter.
The people who ‘hunt’ say that it’s cultural heritage.