Ron lived next door to a gamekeeper as a child and became interested from there. His first job was in 1948/49 at the age of 15 1/2 on the Dunnecht Estate, 12 miles out of Aberdeen at a bothy supplied by his employer. His job involved feeding young pheasants including working in rearing fields with broody hens sitting on their eggs. He fed and walked the dogs then cleaned their kennels. There was vermin control and rabbitting. Catching and dealing with rabbits was a daily job. Estate workers were given a tweed suit to wear. In their accommodation their lighting was paid for and they also got free firewood. A typical day would start at 7 a.m.with breakfast. Tea break was at 10.30 a.m. Ron took a piece with him for his lunch break. His day would end at 5 p.m. unless it was shooting times when it was a longer day. The job is very similar to nowadays except for lamping for foxes, which would have been frowned on in Ron’s day. Gin traps are not allowed now (they were banned in Scotland in 1971). His training was on the job by the Head Gamekeeper. He was paid 49 /- per week.
Working as a deerstalker was exciting. Lord Cowdrey was a good boss. There was high and low ground working with pheasant and grouse and fishing as well. Ron was there for three years.
As well as working as a stalker he also worked as a ghillie. He went on a trip to Norway to work as a Salmon Fishing Ghillie and really enjoyed it.
Also went on a trip to the North Cape of Norway with the bosses’ son to see the Midnight Sun. The birds were out singing and the sun was a red ball in the sky.
Did Ghillie work at Maryculter and Sutherland. Both places were with the Moncrieff family although I moved around a lot. Had married accommodation in Maryculter. Worked with grouse and pheasant. In Sutherland he lived near Tongue and had good views of Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.
Memory contributed by Ron Martin from Tomintoul
Lots of lovely photographs of adult and young pheasants.