danger of death

There are reminders everywhere as to the purpose of this land. Often you see piles of discarded gun cartridges. You see them in different colours - blues, green, reds, orange.

Perhaps they are colour coded for different types of bullet?

On a two day walk to Tomintoul from Aldivalloch, with Claudia Zeiske, we found a pile of green and blue ones. Claudia picked a green lipstick for me and a blue one for her.


an empty cartridge

for Claudia’s lipstick


‘Roy’s Wife of Aldivalloch’


Everywhere you walk on these big shooting estates you see traps for 'vermin' (foxes , weasels, stoat, minks, crows).

 mink trap


I came upon a Scottish Black Water-vole, a protected species , caught in a mink trap. The gamekeeper said the trap was set too high over the water, and he removed it.


Dovecotes are used for breeding baby doves, to distract raptors from preying on grouse chicks, or in the case of wildlife crime, put into traps.

early oystercatchers

Davidson’s Cairn
burnt heather

The Lifting Stones
cannot be lifted

The Evil Dovecote
two white chicks
cowering in filth

The Glen of Bones
becomes The Deveron

traces of shieling
wan-yellow double-star flower
unexploded artillery shell

Wildlife Crime

In recent years, some of the Hielan' Ways area has been at the centre of a series of wildlife crime investigations and prosecutions. A number of young satellite-tagged eagles have all mysteriously ‘disappeared’ over North Glenbuchat Estate in the past few years.

There are many place names in the area relating to eagles (Gaelic ‘Iolaire’). The Eagles’ Stone is a large rock on North Glenbuchat Estate, very near where a large scale police raid took place in April 2014, after the disappearance of another young sea eagle.

Angel of the Buchat
 Steve Cameron , a local resident posed on top of the Eagles' stone. I was playing music with him in a house nearby, when the raid took place.

Click to enlarge

eagles take flight from rocks
because they cannot rise
from level ground

after John Milne

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Walking Directions from the Scottish Parliament to the Eagle Stone