From the archive, some cooler weather :-)

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From the archive, some cooler weather :-)

Postby dromia » Sat Jul 16, 2005 4:18 am

Well, as most of you will have gathered I went back home to my croft in Scotland for Hogmanay.

I had an excellent time up there and as well as the usual eating and drinking and socialising I also managed to fit in some shooting related activities which are appropriate for these forums.

I come from a village in Sutherland. Its right up in the north of the country about 50 miles south of John'O'Groats and on the north sea coast, population around 2,000. Sadly the proportion of FEB incomers is increasing rapidly much to the detriment of the indigenous culture.

For example recently a newly relocated FEB complained to the environmental health service about noise pollution caused by his local neighbours hens crowing too early in the morning. I rest my case.

The settlement I live is like most in the area a post clearance village dating back to the 1820's. My family has lived there from then, on this croft.

Shooting is an integral part of the way of life there for the local people and this is where I got my love of firearms. I got my first No4 when I was 8 years old from my father along with a bag of corroded .303s.

I could hardly lift the damn thing and had to put on a dyke with a stone on top of it to fire it and help me cope with the recoil, didn't do much for the wood work.

The taking of deer is also a favorite pastime and before Chernobyl and the fall of the Berlin wall a major source of income for the Highlands. As doing this is in most cases illegal it always adds extra spice and piquance to the stalk.

I spent most mornings out the hill at the back of the croft having a look at the beasts, just to enjoy the natural beauty of gods own country and get some much needed exercise. The climb on the first few days was hard but it got easier as the time went on.

On the gun side I fell very lucky picking up a Fultons regulated BSA SMLE, a Savage No 4, a BSA War Office Pattern .22 minature rifle, a BSA .410 single shot shot gun using the Long Lee bolt and a Laurona 12 gauge newly restocked in English walnut with a left hand cast, as a left handed shooter this is the first left handed gun I've had in my life and it points beautifully.

The SMLE was in reasonable strip but was only shooting 4" groups at 100 yards so its in being recrowned, having the barrel lapped and the head space checked. The price however was half that of English and Bisley dealers reflecting the little demand there is for such rifles in the Highlands where sporters rule.

The Savage is in OK condidtion but the barrel was so full of crud that it was like looking down a .22. Again this was relected in the price of £75 delivered. I didn't have slot left on my FAC so it's being sent down to my dealer here 'till I get a space.

The .410 BSA is in very good condition and is an FAC weapon as the barrel is under the legal limit by 1/4" so I'm going to have to get a slot for that as well before I can take it home.

The .22 WO Pattern BSA is also in alright strip considering it was made in 1909, it shoots well and I look forward to entering it in the minature rifle leagues.

I will do a seperate posts on these guns in the fullness of time.

Now onto the pictures.

This is my croft house called Dromia. I was born in the ground floor right hand room.

The steading below the house in this shot was the original house on this site and when the current house was built in the 1860's both houses were occupied by my family for a time. Interestingly in the Highlands the house was usually left to the eldest daughter.

This shot shows the house, garden ground and the shooting bench is were the flags, or whats left of them are.

This picture shows my sighting in set up, the firing point is at the flags and target can be seen at the bottom of the hill on the right were it meets the ploughed ground, distance is about 140 yrds.

Here's the shooting shed at the firing point, somwhere to pop the rifles when the weather closes in and do any work on them in the dry.

This is the target area viewed from the firing point, looking out to the north sea. The target position is just under the line of flare on the picture. The muzzel of the Fulton regulated SMLE I bought can be seen on the right.

Another shot of the firing point with the SMLE.

Firing point and shed.

Slightly off topic but almost as dear to my heart as shooting the distilleries of Clynelish and Brora, as seen from the house.

Some shots of the hill ground at the back of the croft were the deer roam.

Some of the inhabitants.



A Sika deer ready for skinning and butchering.

Here's my shooting pals Winston and George, good men on a drag and very nearly tame. They look surprised as they are not used to being seen with rifles in daylight. :D

A shaky shot of me coming off the hill one morning.

Colin Haygarths, the most northerly gun maker in Britain. Five miles south of Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on mainland Britain. He makes excellent sporting rifles and is a Mannlicher Schoenauer specialist. He is currently doing some work on my Mannlicher Schoenauer sporting rifle and the Fultons SMLE.

The crest above his sign signifies that he is gunmaker to the Queen Mother, thats the only thing I have against him, still none of us are perefct.

Here's a shot from the hill, you can just make out the hill I sight into on the croft centre left, just to the left of the water centre of the photo. Thats Winston bottom right.

Finally to finish some Highland sunrises from the croft and the hill.

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Postby bradtx » Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:19 am

Adam, Lovely picture tour!

Pictures like that stir something in the DNA stew I'm made of (Scot/Irish/Brit/Czech) and likely causes my son to collect Scottish broadswords.

Now, if you can bring a bit of dry weather to my Gulf Coast (hurricane Emily on her way), I'd owe ya. :D

take Care, Brad
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Glad you posted those pictures again.

Postby Niner » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:12 pm

Happy to see they weren't lost. Something about character and place and substance that is not often seen on gun sites that you show in those pictures.
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Postby Aughnanure » Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:55 am

I'm glad also, they're great and one day I've just got to get to Scotland.

Looking down the Ancestral chart on my wall there's Gollan, Douglas,McLean, Arbuthnut(??) McRae, Dallas, Henderson, Campbell and McArthur among the Scots ancestors.

Tis no wonder that I take a dram now and again.:D

"Cuimnichan Tabhartas Prionnsa"

Is mise Eoghann.
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Postby dromia » Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:06 am

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