WE have been in Scotland this week while John has been stalking. The weather has been glorious, even though it has threatened snow all week.

This particular morning I am well wrapped up with heater on full blast as the temperature gauge is registering well below freezing point.

It feels strange to be in complete darkness with hardly a light in sight on land, bar the winking from boats on the horizon. The doors are tightly locked I can assure you.

This is the second morning we have been down to the foreshore for this first flight. It is not something John has access to at home, but our friend has permission from the farmers who own this land to shoot here.

Yesterday, the geese all got off the water at first light and did not fly over their guns. Clever birds. This morning I have just been informed they did exactly the same thing. And this was taking into account a probably change of direction. Even cleverer birds then.

So several hours later and a complete change of scenario, we have returned to the local auction mart to observe their annual future champions show. All the participating cattle are under a year old, I am told, although some of the big bulls look older to me. They even have much bigger bottoms than I do.

All ripple, well my bum can wobble if not ripple, and all muscle, in fact a double muscled rear in some breeds. A heritable condition that results in an increased number of muscle fibres instead of the normal enlargement of individual muscle fibres.

But what I really enjoy watching is the competition for young handlers. Two age ranges, nine to 14 and the other 15 to 18. Clad in pristine white coats, the young handlers at the bottom end of the age range especially astound me with their confidence in handling some really rather hefty beasts. Especially the Highland cattle with their huge spreading, and wickedly sharp, horns.

Swinging round and round to control their not always biddable charges, the young handlers manage to keep their beasts from doing a runner out of the ring. Many of the calves, billed as stars of the future and hopefully worth a lot of money to their owners, could only recently have been halter trained.

So well done all round and thrill of thrills to John, a meet up by the ringside with yet another farming friend and an invite to a duck shoot tonight. This day could go on forever.