Life in the Southern Alps with son James, 10.
‘In the distance an avalanche sweeps down one of the high valleys, a gentle cloud billowing upward as the vast rush settles. I’m glad we’re not quite that high.
The bulls are feeding into the wind, high on the flank of our mountain. A breeze is blowing down the valley, straight into them, so the only stalk is a long detour to approach from behind. The route is up through a boulder-strewn creek bed, then higher still through dark beech forest, and finally a long sidle across a mile of awkward rock. Nothing dangerous but five hours, minimum. In that time the tahr could be anywhere.
It took longer. Halfway through the traverse we spot an old nanny on a boulder, one of the huge erratics dropped by the last glacier to pass through this valley. If they get our wind and bust they could go for a long way and sweep the bulls up with them, but after half an hour of fancy footwork we’re clear.
The bulls are gone, of course. We sit on a spur and watch a small knot of nannies feeding in broken ground far below. The breeze that betrayed us earlier has become a flat gale, almost enough to knock Jamie over, so we hunker down to plan the next move.
High above against a bright blue sky a harrier hurtles downwind, either hell-bent on some distant goal or swept by a force beyond his powers…’
from Hunting Life – Moments of Truth
Peter P. Ryan www.faraway.co