ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SPRING 2019
I am going to have to repair the farm drive
In the depth of winter we begin to organise summer farm maintenance. This year we plan repairs to the farm drive.
We have a treelined avenue that leads, picturesquely, to the farm. The road is potholed and lacking in security. Concreted surfaces and electric gates appear to be the answer. “Dead money,” I mutter. “Why can’t people just drive slower?” I complained along these lines to a shepherding friend who farms a big estate on the west coast of Scotland. I expected some sympathy, for he is a hard-headed and highly commercial man, deﬁnitely not known for frivolous expenditure. Instead I got the advice that the works would be essential.
It began with a conversation about animal behaviour and the dedication that sometimes goes into its observation. I never miss a chance to lead a fellow farmer into wildlife topics and had recently ﬁnished reading a book by the Korean ecologist Sooyong Park. The author buried himself in a snowhole for six months at a time, over many years, in order to study and ﬁlm a Siberian tiger.