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Sunday 26 December 2021

Tales of a Badenoch Deerstalker: Finlay Mackintosh of Insh

On his return from a ten-and-a-half month sabbatical in Sweden, Calum Maclean returned to the Scottish Highlands in the summer of 1952. On 16 July 1952 Maclean noted in his diary:

A year has passed since I last wrote a word in this diary. Since then, I’ve spent ten and a half months over in Sweden, at Uppsala. I arrived here at Sliabh na Sròin or as they call it Baile Ùr an t-Slèibhe, Newtonmore, a week ago. I’m now prepared to have a go in Badenoch. There are not many of the old folk left in this place and the tradition bearers stay far from one another. But we must try. I’ve already seen one or two folk but I’ve not yet met that many. I spent a while writing this morning and especially writing to Uppsala in Sweden. After lunchtime, I went to Kingussie and visited Mr Lachlan MacEdward who belongs to Inch and was for a long time a minister over in India. He speaks Gaelic although he spent a long time overseas. I was told that he has a great interest in stories and old lore. When I arrived he was preparing to go to Edinburgh. We spent a while conversing and I said to him that I’d come back to see him at the same time this coming week on Monday. After I took my leave of this fine fellow, I went out the Inch road and reached Tromie Mill where there has been a mill for over a hundred years. This was the last working mill in this part of the country. I heard that there was an old woman there, MacGregor’s wife. She had stories and lore. That was right, too. I went to her house about three o’ clock in the afternoon and I was in her company until nearly six o’ clock. She was an old woman with a stoop. She is now eighty-six years old and she has only her son for company. She gave me plenty of lore and I wrote down parts of this from her recitation as well. She also gave me names of other folk in Druim a’ Ghiuthais who spoke Gaelic. There are more [Gaelic speakers] than I had originally thought. I said that I’d come back to her this coming week. I returned to Newtonmore about seven o’ clock. After dinner, I went to see William MacKillop, an old baker belonging to Laggan that stays in Newtonmore. He gave me stories but only in English. He was only seven years old when he left Laggan. At any rate, he told me good stories. I got home about eleven o’ clock at night.

It was a good start and Maclean also noted, presumably with some satisfaction, that he had found more Gaelic speakers then he was expected at least amongst the older cohorts. One of quite a few folk from whom Maclean recorded the traditions of Badenoch one of whom was a character called Finlay Mackintosh, a veteran gamekeeper of nearly fifty years. A few briefs facts about Mackintosh may be given as related in a book, Sixty Glorious Seasons: The Memoirs of Finlay Mackintosh a Badenoch Stalker, 1883–1966, edited and complied by Richard Sidgwick, which appeared only last year. Finlay Mackintosh was born on 1 May 1883, some two miles north of Insh at Balnespick, which was a let farm on the Invereshie Estate, then owned by the MacPherson-Grants of Ballindalloch. His parents were John (1852–1937) and Mary Mackintosh (née MacGregor, 1897–1955), from Aberlour and the 1891 census states that he was the middle of five children, Mary and Alexander who were older, and Christina and Jessie who were younger. Finlay’s father is described in the 1891 census as a ‘Gamekeeper’ and later, as ‘Labourer’ and ‘Roadman’ at Insh and Easter Inveruglas. Finlay Mackintosh married Elizabeth MacWilliam from Aberlour in 1909 with issue: George John (1910–1944), Elspeth Mary (1911–1993) and Eileen Elizabeth (1913–1993). He served in the Lovat Scouts sharpshooter during World War I and was stationed in France and was demobbed in 1919. Mackintosh eventually, on the retirement of Donald Crerar, was appointed head stalker at Ardverickie Estate in 1935, a position he held until 1961. He wrote his memoir from then until 1963 and passed away in Inverness in 1966.

By the time he was recorded by Maclean his ability to tell a story was already apparent. The following five items are all local and naturally enough involve his own experience as a gamekeeper, the two of which focus on a couple of local characters, two involve deer and the final one concerns the tragic loss of children in a storm. A few things may be observed about the following tales is that the narrator knew intimately the local history of the area, he knew very well the habits of deer and the local geography. It appears that he knew Gaelic but perhaps wasn’t used to speaking it too often and this is perhaps the reason why he may have preferred to have narrated his stories in English with the occasional Gaelic phrase or quote thrown in for good measure. All the following items were recorded on recorded on 12 July 1952 and transcribed shortly thereafter.


It would be a pity to lose these stories about Seòrsa, because this is no myth now about Seòrsa. There are lots of people alive yet who remember big George. And George was a relation of my own.

Well, I remember the day he was found under the snow, the day before he died. That was in 1894 – the year of the big storm. He had been to the “local.” He had taken a little too much and he was walking home five or six miles to Bail’ Ghiuthais where he was staying at the time. And he was overcome with – I don’t know whether it was the storm or that he had too much to drink. But anyway he lay down about a mile above the hamlet of Inveruglas. That was on Saturday night. He didn’t arrive home on Sunday – at Baleguish on Sunday. And nobody worried very much because it was nothing unusual for George to be a day lost. But when he didn’t turn up on Monday, the shepherd with whom he was staying was making enquiries and it was learned at the local inn at Insh that he had left on Saturday night. So search parties were organised and they looked in all directions. And towards the afternoon of the Monday one party came on George lying partially covered with snow. He was alive, and in his oxter was a bottle nearly empty. He was taken home – he was taken to the nearest house and warmed up and attempts were made to revive him, but he died during the night.

He was an extraordinary man George. He wasn’t very tall – about five feet ten I think and he was very, very strongly built. And when he was standing perfectly straight he had extraordinary long arms. He fists were just on a lever with his knees. He was very, very broad. I believe that, if that man was living today, when we know so much about physical culture and one thing and another that he would have been easily the strongest man that ever lived. As it was I am not sure but he was without any doubt. There was something wanting in George. Nobody could point the finger on the want. He was working on the Highland Railway, when it was being built, for some time. He never worked any job for very long. But his job was carrying and laying rails and he was doing what just took four ordinary men to do, whether he was carrying part of the rail or something like that. But in any case he was earning four men’s pay. And in those days it wasn’t “pay as you earn”: it was pay as you work. And George was getting four men’s pay. But he never stuck the job for very long. Whenever he collected a few pounds he would take off and have a booze, booze for two or three days till the money was done. Then he would start working again. But naturally when he gave up one job he had to start anew. So often giving up working on the railway, a favourite job of his was digging out fir trees, for in those days fir roots were used not only as fire lighters, but for the same purpose that electric light and paraffin lamps are used nowadays. There weren’t lamps in every house and there was no paraffin oil in those days so a very common illuminant was just bundles of fir stuck in the old irons at the fireside. They gave very good light. In casting fir ordinary men would take two or three hours digging the clods away from the fir and leaving it exposed, and perhaps yet it turned all together. But with George he just located a stump of fir somewhere in the peat-moss and if there was enough exposed for him to get a hold, he just simply caught the one end of it and turned it up earth and all. He took the whole lot out without any digging. It doesn’t matter how deep it was, out if came if George could get a good hand-hold. He worked at that job for a spell every summer, at the beginning of summer – the peat-casting time. He was engaged to cast so many stocks and get so much for stock or a day’s pay which was even greater. He would work at the fir-stocks for a few days. When he would have some money he would have another booze. It was the same with every job. He would just work a few days.

But on one occasion he went to the market at Kingussie. In those days the market day was the event of the year. There was no circus, cheap railway, bus fare and that sort of thing. The market day was the holiday. Farm-servants would be engaged and lots of business would be done. All the ladies in the country would gather to Kingussie. And it was a great thing in those days to give fairings to the ladies. And the ladies weren’t bashful to ask for fairings, and even a stranger was asked for fairings. And a lady’s popularity was judged by the amount of fairings that she got. It was also a very useful day for the recruiting sergeant. He picked up quite a number of recruits on the market day. There would be drams going and the devil-may-care spirit would seize the young fellows. They would take the King’s shilling and before they know where they were they would be enrolled in the army. They would, of course, regret it when it was too late. The drill sergeant came across George. Gosh! he thought this would be a grand recruit to have. George was half-drunk as usual. He took the King’s shilling without any consideration at all. In due course he was drafted to Jamaica along with a battalion of the Camerons and was held there an foreign duty. Jamaica was rather a dull place But sports were organised, and in this case he entered. The soldiers had training. And at that time in that particular battalion of the Camerons there was a famous boxer. He was heavyweight champion of the British army at the time. And some of the officers thought that this would be grand sport, if they put George Cameron and the boxer to have a bout. But poor George didn’t know anything about boxing, but however, he was quite game to take the man on. And, of course, when the fight was in progress the boxer could hit George when and where he would. George put up with this for some time, but at last he got one blow and the boxer collapsed. And so great was the force that he put behind the blow that his right foot went through the platform that he was standing on And the boxer collapsed on the platform and according to reports the boxer never moved, whether that’s correct or not. George won the fight and there was a court martial and George was discharged. He was a bit of a poet, George, too. And I remember long, long ago hearing a poem that he composed about the boxer that he had fought with. It worried him a great deal that he had killed the boxer, but it never showed except when he was half-tight. He composed a poem about the do he had with the boxer. I remember just a few lines of it Gaelic and it was something like this.

Taing don Rìgh air a’ chathair

Thug e paidir math dhòrn domh,

Agus taghadh na misneachd

An àm na trioblaid bhith tòiseachadh.

Do you know what that means? “Thanks to the Lord – I expect he meant – He gave me a pair of good fists and the best of courage, when trouble was brewing.” There were some very good verses in it but that is all I remember.

On another occasion he was sitting on the parapet of a bridge at Insh. Penny’s Bridge and it is called Penny’s Bridge to this day. And at that time there was an inn at the bridge. And George was just at that miserable stage recovering from a bout of booze, and he was sitting on the parapet of the bridge with his head down and very, very unhappy. And who came along but Macrae, Nuide, the late Macrae’s grandfather – MacCormack’s wife’s great-grandfather. He was riding on a white pony. As he was passing George looked at him and he made a very sarcastic remark to George: “I am surprised at you, George, being in a state like this spending your health and money in drink like this.”

George said nothing but leaned across and caught Macrae by the ankle and lifted him up off the saddle just with the one hand, lifted his saddle and all. The stirrup seems to have been stuck in Macrae’s foot, but he burst the girth that was holding the saddle on to the horse, let him down in his back on the road and then scrubbed the road with him: “A-nis, a bhiast bhodaich, cha do ghabh mise gnothaich riu-s’, Na gabh gnothaich rium-s’.” “I didn’t interfere wi’ you. Don’t you wi’ me.”

On another occasion he was crossing the River Feshie to a sheebeen that was on the south side to spend the night there half-tight as usual. And the owner of the sheebeen said to him: “The river has risen. It is a wild night. You can’t go home tonight, George. It is as much as I could do to cross that river myself.”

George said nothing but caught up the tavern-keeper in his oxter, waded across the river, laid the man down on the other side: “A-nis, a bhiast bhodaich, theirg dhachaigh.” “Now, you miserable fellow, go home.” he said.

There are three stones in the Comhraig – that is the tributary of the Feshie – huge boulders. They were carried there by George. He was living in Baleguish at the time. That is just across the river. When he was going to Kingussie or to Insh he had to cross the river. There was no bridge then. And to save himself getting wet he put in the three boulders – enormous things. They must weigh something like half a ton each. They are still there and have been there for the last seventy years despite floods and rains. And they are still just perfect for stepping across for an ordinary man. There was a stone at the Duke of Gordon for many years. I remember perfectly when it was there. And George carried that stone from Ruthven to the Duke of Gordon Hotel just for the strong young men of the town to try their strength. And there wasn’t a man in Kingussie in Eòghan Campbell’s time that could put daylight between the stone and the ground. And that stone must be still there unless it has been put out of sight, when they were rebuilding the Duke of Gordon, which they did about forty years ago. I don’t know. but I remember, when I was young, seeing the stone quite well. Well, there wasn’t a man in Kingussie and there was some very strong men in Kingussie at the time. Ewen Campbell was one of the strongest figures here at the time, yet he couldn’t move it. Yet George carried it in his plaid from Ruthven to Kingussie.

There was an old hall table of white wood. It was in Loch Ericht hotel, when Adams was there. When he left it, when Duggie Matheson came twenty four years ago, the table was there then, but I never thought of asking Matheson whether it is still there or not. Well, George used to lift that table He’d catch one corner in his mouth and lift the table up off the ground with his teeth. And the marks of his teeth were in the table. I must ask Matheson if it is still there.

That’s a fear of the most interesting stories that I remember about George. Another one: Now the man that this happened to told me himself. George was going home one night. I expect tight as usual. And he called at Lachie Hutcheson’s house. This was an old fellow that lived in Drumguish. And he wanted Lachie to let him in. He knew Lachie very wel. Lachie said:

Oh! go home, George. I can’t be bothered. I have been working and I’m tired and I don’t want to get up.”

Get up or I’ll knock down the house,” he said.

And Lachie knew very well that he would soon knock down the house, if he wanted. So he got up.

I’m going in,” George says, “and sit in your house. I’m not going home tonight.”

No, you’re not coming in here you haven’t very far to go. So.

I’m going in Lachie,” he says. “So he caught me by the arms,” says Lachie. “And the marks – the blue marks of his hand was on my arm for a week afterwards. And he only just caught me gently,” he says.

Big George was most gentle when he was in his working mood – that when he wouldn’t have any booze – all the kids in the country would be around him. He was delighted to have the children round about him. All the bairns in the place would be where George was working. He never harmed a soul if they left him alone.

Dail Annach is a quarter of a mile below Cuaich on this side of the Truim. It is a flat dell just below Cuaich. George had no family. He never married. There’s nobody belonging to him living. I think his nearest relative was my mother. The Camerons to which George belonged came from Rothiemarchus. He died in January, 1894. I remember seeing the people going out to look for him. I was eight years of age then.


I have been attacked just twice in my lifetime by stags. The first time – a good many years ago now – I was out shooting grouse or trying to shoot grouse, rather, in the month of October. And at that time they are very, very wild as every sportsman knows. The best time to get them at that time of the year, when they turn wild, is just half an hour after daylight. On this particular morning I had gone to a certain part of the moor where there were lots of little knolls, a favourite place for grouse to be crowing in the morning, and I came on to the top of a little knoll: gun ready expecting a grouse cock to rise. And just below me I saw a stag very, very angry. He had evidently been driven from his hinds during the night by a rival stag. He was tearing up the heather with his horns and pawing the ground with his feet and behaving just like a real angry beast. So after watching him for a while I gave him a shout. He lifted his head, looked in my direction, saw his form on the skyline and came dashing up that slope like a streak of lightening. He was a very good stand and I was loath to shoot him and I did my best to try and scare him away. But he never paid any attention and when he was just within a yard of me I fired at his face and killed him on the spot, of course. He actually struck me as he fell dead. Now that stag had no idea he was charging a human being. He didn’t wait to see what he was charging. He saw the form on the skyline and evidently thought it was another stag. He charged. I was very sorry to have to kill him, but it was either him or me.


You would have heard of Seumas Dail Chaorainn the famous poacher He was also known as the Munchausen of the Highlands. He had an extraordinary imagination. He was out on a poaching expedition in Gaick. Gaick was one of his favourite places to poach in. And he was hoping to get some venison about the Dubh. That is a hill about a mile or so past Gaick Lodge. And he saw some hinds in the Dell there. When he got within shooting distance of the hinds, he was surprised to see several ladies dressed green sitting beside the hinds and milking them. Well, he looked and was very much puzzled and perplexed over the whole thing and wondering what on earth was happening. Was he seeing straight? But presently the ladies in green just disappeared and the hinds went on grazing. So after a bit he fired at a hind and dropped her. And he went up to gralloch her. And while gralloching he was very much surprised to find that instead of milk coming out of the udder, as usually comes from the hind, it was green thread that come out of the udder. It was quite plain where the ladies who were dressed in green were getting the thread to make their dresses with.

On another occasion he was out on a poaching expedition an Tromie side. And he saw a roeback across the river. And he was determined to have the buck He sat down and got his gun trained on the roebuck and fired and as the bullet was crossing the river a salmon jumped out of the pool. He killed the salmon and killed the roebuck. And the recoil from his gun was so great that it sent him staggering backwards and he sat down on a covey of grouse. So that he had two and a half brace of grouse and a salmon and a roebuck with the one shot. And “Tha sin cho fìor is a tha mise ag innseadh dhuibh, fhearaibh.” “That’s as true as I am telling you, lads.”

That’s two of Seumas Dail Chaorainn on another occasion he was out stalking in Coire Bran. There were two or three other fellows along with him. And in those days it was the custom for two or three or however many was in the party to fire, all fire at the one blast.; The rifles of that day weren’t very accurate, and they wanted to be sure of, at least one. Well, it was James’s turn to hold the pony. And while the other three were away looking for the venison the mist came down. Dail Chaorainn was wondering that they weren’t coming back and all of a sudden his pony sprang in the rain, ran a few yards and dropped dead. And he heard two or three shots. His pals had mistaken the pony in the mist far a deer and fired at the pony instead and killed it. The pony’s bones are there to the present day at the foot of Minigaig Pass in Coire Bran. The extraondinary thing is that James Dail Chaorainn was standing holding the pony’s bridle at the time that the bullets hit him and he was unscathed. Now that is not one of James’s. There is no imagination there. That is a true story.

I don’t know did I tell you about his experience with the witch Cnoc Fraing. He used to go to the Dulnain to poach sometimes One this particular morning he discovered that he had come away without matches or tobacco. And he wasn’t at all pleased at having to spend the whole day without a smoke. But just as he was considering going back for his tobacco and his matches he saw a hare. He fired at the hare. Nothing happened. He was a good shot, you know. He reloaded. The hare wasn’t very much scared, sitting quite content viewing him from a short distance. So he reloaded his piece and fired again. Still nothing happened. Then it dawned on him this must be the witch of Cnoc Fraing. So with his next charge instead of putting lead into the gun he put in a small silver coin. He fired at the hare and killed her stone dead. And in going up to pick up the hare he found that this was the witch of Cnoc Fraing and in her paw was a quarter of tobacco and a’ box of spunks.

Of course it was well known that nothing but silver bullet would stop a witch. And the witches seemed to prefer the form of the hare.


I was telling about the White Hind of Ben Alder. There is nothing extraordinary about that. Ben Alder has still got a white hind. We have got white hinds occasionally and also a nearly white stay about Ben Alder and Ardverikie for the last twenty years white roedeer are also seen here.


I think I told you something about Lochan na Cloinne Caomh on Ben Alder. Well, Lochan na Cloinne Caomh is a little corrie just opposite Coire Bhacaidh (Coirevarkie) and has got its name from a somewhat pathetic incident. One time about 1836 Ben Alder was heavily stocked with sheep – lots of sheep and very few deer. And there was a shepherd living at Green Bay about a mile below the present Ben Alder Lodge. And during the lengthy summer days it was quite a common thing for his two little girls to walk up the lochside to meet him, when they expected him to be coming home. And on this particular night at the beginning of summer for some reason or another the shepherd shifted his sheep-stocks to more sheltered ground probably because he was expecting a storm. And he didn’t come home at the usual time, and he didn’t come home the usual way. But the children set out the usual way to meet daddy coming home. And they wondered up the path till they were opposite Coire Bhacaidh and by that time night fell and the storm came on. And between darkness and fear and one thing or another the children wondered off the path, went into this little corrie perhaps hoping to get some shelter and lug down there. The shepherd came home. The first question the wife asked was:

Where’s the children?”

Oh, I don’t know. I didn’t see them.

Oh! but they went away to meet you.”

But I didn’t come home the usual way,” he said. “I came across from Loch Puttockside.”

Just have something to eat and go on look for them. They went be far up lochside.”

So he went away as far as he thought it was possible for the children to go, no sign of them! He came back in the middle of the night hoping the children were home. No sign of them. A search was organised at once. It took some time to do that because there were very few people nearer than Dalwhinnie. And by the time they got a search party together it was next day. And they searched along the lochside all over the place and found nothing. The following day they came on the two little kiddies at Lochan na Cloinne Caomh locked in each other’s arms, both dead. They died of exposure. The corrie has been called Lochan na Cloinne Caomh ever since that day. It is just opposite Coire at the foot of a hill called Beinn Bheol. It is just at the foot of Sròn Drèineach.

More is the pity that only these five narrative were recorded from Finlay Mackintosh at this time. Undoubtedly he had more to tell but Calum Maclean was pushed for time and so could only manage so much. Nevertheless, Mackintosh would have seen the benefit of such a process and he had enough ambition and insight to see that if such stories were never recorded then they would have been lost. Perhaps this was at least one of the motivations that he had in mind went he settled down to write down his own memoires, written in his own words which have some of style of his spoken words as given above. Some mark of the man may be found in two obituary notices published shortly after his death, one of which was submitted by his daughter:

Mr Finlay Mackintosh – Deerstalker

The death of Mr Finlay Mackintosh, Adrverikie, Kinlock-Laggan will be regretted by many, both in Badenoch and far beyond her borders, for he was the example of the best type of Highland gamekeeper and deerstalker and as such, his reputation was high and his friends were legion.

Mr Mackintosh died in The Royal Infirmary, Inverness on Sunday. A native of Insh and in his 83rd year, he retired in 1961 after 61 seasons on the hill. From 1900 until the outbreak of World War 1 he was the gamekeeper with Sir George Cooper at Glenfeshie and since 1919 after war service the Ramsden family as keeper and stalker at Ardverickie.

A quiet spoken man with a gentlemanly bearing and a keen sense of humour, this Highland gentleman was well known and highly respected. He was a great sportsman and an acknowledged expert with both rifle and gun. In his long career he won more than 100 trophies for marksmanship, the first when he was a corporal in the Cameron Volunteers at Kingussie in 1904. He was a member of the Scottish International Clay Pigeon team for 25 years and captain for a considerable period.

Because of his wide knowledge of red deer, Mr Mackintosh was for a time a member of the Red Deer commission and he fought for and was successful in obtaining a closed deer shooting season.

In 1927, he accepted an invitation from The Maharajah of Alwar to spend a holiday in India where his prowess with the gun enabled him to shoot a number of tigers and panthers.

During his retirement Mr Mackintosh continued to take a close interest in sporting activities and acted as secretary of the Dalwhinnie Gun Club. A keen follower of shinty, he seldom missed a local match. In his youth, he had been a member of the old Alvie and Insh team. He was well versed in all current topics, a well-read man and an interesting and intelligent conversationalist. Shortly before his death, he completed writing a book to be called “Sixty Glorious Seasons” which his daughter, Mrs Eileen MacPherson, Glenisla, Dalwhinnie hopes to have published.

Mr Mackintosh who was predeceased by his wife in 1952 is survived by his two daughters, Mrs MacPherson and Mrs MacKenzie, Llanbryde.

The funeral to Laggan churchyard was largely attended, a memorial service being held in Laggan church. The officiating Ministers were the Rev. James Currie, Laggan and the Rev. James Murray , Newtonmore.

Reproduced from The Strathspey and Badenoch Herald 25 March 1966

Death of Finlay the Stalker

By Eileen MacPherson

Finlay the stalker died in the middle of last month at a time as graceful for his exit at his eighty-three years had been among the mountains and deer forests of which he had been a part.

For the record, he was an international shot, a grey eminence for the Red Deer Commission, a hero of the Carnegie life-saving awards. For his friends, he was the courteous host and the kind of company that never palled, either in conversation or in the silences in which he could wrap himself with the same panache with which he wore the Ardverickie checks of his stalker’s tweeds. Only a bony six-foot-two with the outrageous permutation of green, brown, and white that blended with the whipped steel of Loch Ericht, the sombre pines and the bride paths leading to the forest beyond.

With the end of his life, the chapter of the great day of the Season close. “Sixty Glorious Seasons” is the title of the book he was writing and that sums up an epoch in Highland sporting history irrevocably vanished, for it depended on the now extinct, rich and exotic to give it that quality both savage and sophisticated which accorded with the fantastic setting where, for two months, men hunted, acknowledged danger and drank like gentlemen.

In Finlay’s stone-flagged kitchen were all the trophies of the chase. Home cured deer skins lay on the floor, ornaments carved from antlers were scattered on tables and the mantleshelf. Finlay wore cufflinks made from the vestigial ivory deer tusks. In the sitting-room, furnished with prim conventionality there was a lustrous skin of a tiger shot by Finlay when he was a guest of The Maharajah Alwar – one of a procession of illustrious tenants – with whom he had gone out to India.

His accounts of his Oriental safari linger in the ear of recollection as much for the seductive beauty of his voice telling them as for their Munchausen content. Since he was tall, gaunt and dignified, it seemed impossible to connect him with the impish stories of Annie, his supra-intelligent elephant who kept throwing stones at an oncoming tiger until Finlay took accurate aim.

But then it was also difficult to realise that the man who walked all through a dreadful winter night with Danny, his garron, to rescue climbers lost on Ben Alder was the same as the one who chugged through the summer forest on an ancient B.S.A. with his Cairn terrier sitting on the petrol tank or drove a two-seater car called La Ponette, so constructed that its dickey resembled a bustle. Finlay bought the vehicle for £15 at a time when wages were counted in shillings. Its skittish scarlet accommodated himself, his dog and that quaint conglomeration of trappings which 10 years ago were necessities for living in Badenoch’s rugged isolation.

Now he is dead. May he have his share of Paradise.

Written by his daughter and published in the magazine ‘In the Country.’ Reproduced verbatim.

The above five stories recorded by Maclean add another dimension to those included in Mackintosh’s memoir and combine to give a fairly well rounded portrait of a man who spent more than half century as a Badenoch deerstalker and who when the occasion was called upon could tell not a few captivating yarns.


CIM I.I.13, TSB 13: pp. 1154–73

Michael B. Brown, “White Red Deer: Legend, Myth and Fact”, Deer: The Journal of the British Society, vol. 9, no. 6 (1995), pp. 370–72

(Sir) James Ferguson, The White Hind and Other Discoveries (London: Faber & Faber, 1963)

Finlay Mackintosh, Sixty Globrious Seasons: The Memoirs of Finlay Mackintosh a Badenoch Stalker, 1883–1966, ed. by Richard Sidgwick (Glenisla, Newtonmore: Cameron Macdonald)

NLS MS.29795, 1r–162v [Calum Maclean diaries 1951–54]


Sixty Glorious Seasons by Finlay Mackinosh

Finlay Mackintosh

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