Friday, 8 December 2017

Another mini expedition.........Tracking the Scottish wildcat Part 1

I've been waiting for  a wintry spell of weather, snow followed by deep frost and this is the forecast for the next few days.  Conditions should be near perfect for a wildcat tracking expedition in the vast tract of wild country between the Great Glen and the Knoydart peninsula. This has to be one of the largest stretches of wild country with the lowest density of humans in Scotland. It's where I'd hang out if I was a wildcat. There's shelter, food and minimal human activity.More about Scottish Wildcats

For shelter there is woodland, gorse thickets, rocky cairns and even abandoned buildings. There is woodland including a remnant of the Caledonian pine forest, streams, rough grazing and moorland for hunting voles and mice. Here in the west there are few rabbits, their favourite prey, in E. Scotland rabbits make up 70 % of the wildcat's diet. As they need to hunt for up to eight hours a day we might find tracks in the snow and the trail camera might find them at night.

Our plan is to walk in to the bothy at Invermallie on the south shore of Loch Arkaig then to scout around
Invermallie in wildcat country

for tracks and set up the trail cameras. As the temperature will be well below zero we will have to pack in some firewood (trees are protected) and arctic sleeping bags. You can find Invermallie and see the extent of this wild country on Google Earth. Mountain bothies

I have optimistically labelled this Part 1 in the hope that we will get some positive results.

My own wildcat (she, Mimi, is a hybrid) just walked in , jumped on the desk and walked across the keyboard. I just let her
Wild Mimi as a kitten
do it, I have too many scars from trying to move her.
Semi-domesticated Mimi

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