The next morning it was much colder, and after breakfast we drove eight or 10 miles to high country on the edge of the moors. The area looked a good deal like Idaho near Sun Valley—grass-covered land with gently sloping hills, no trees except on hilltops or in the ravines, and in the background, some five miles away, a sparkling, snow-covered mountain range. Those mountains, my loader said, were just north of Loch Lomond and were only 3,000 feet high.
Here we got a variety of birds—partridge and pheasants in the higher land, a few snipe out of the low marshes and an occasional woodcock—and many brown hares, some weighing as much as 10 pounds.
We stopped for a drink at 11 a.m. and later lunched again in another small stone cottage. There seemed to be a great variety of these old houses conveniently located for our stops—some of them very attractive and architecturally quite interesting.
In the afternoon we went into higher country and had good shooting, but the wind was strong and cold, and we were all delighted to end the day and return to the warmth of Keir.
When the boy drew back the curtains of my bedroom window the next morning the ground was white with snow, and the skies were clear. We all put on an extra layer of clothes and started out in a 20� temperature.
Perhaps a word about the attire and equipment of the hunters would be interesting at this point. The average hunter from the States looks upon his shooting days as a welcome release from the formalities of daily life. He gets out his oldest clothes, extracts from the mothballs an old canvas shooting coat covered with blood and mud stains from many a trip, pulls out of hiding an old hat or cap that his wife has threatened to throw into the garbage for years, dons a pair of patched boots or scuffed mountain shoes, fondly oils up his old pump gun—usually with a full-choke bore and a 30-inch barrel—and is ready for his trip. He has abandoned his tie and vest and leaves his razor at home. He is out for a good time with the boys.
How surprised he would be to see his European counterpart! The English or Scottish sportsman wears a beautifully cut, tailor-made suit of tweed, with knickers instead of trousers. He probably wears a vest and always a tie. His heavy woolen stockings are tied to his knickers with a brightly tasseled cord. His shoes are ankle-high or even low-cut. He will wear a hat, perhaps an Alpine type of soft velour, decorated with a colored brush or spray of feathers, or a Sherlock Holmes type, or perhaps a carefully fitted and very dressy woolen cap. If it is cold or wet he will carry with him a raincoat and sometimes rain pants and a heavy short overcoat or cape. His guns are a pair of Churchills or Purdeys, straight stock and open bore, side-by-side barrels—never over-and-under. The older the gun the better he likes it.
And then, of course, he changes his clothes after shooting, before appearing for tea, and when he comes down to dinner he will frequently be dressed in a dinner jacket.
I personally found all this not only interesting but delightful. I have long thought American hunting clothes were atrocious and have always wished our gunners would demand a little more styling in their sportswear.
As to the guns, I suspect the British are wiser than we are with their open barrels and mild loads, and certainly they produce the best handcrafted guns in the world. However, a Browning or Winchester will kill just as many birds as a Purdey or a Churchill and will probably give good service just as long—and at a lesser cost.