Have ye heard of the White Stag of Arran ? 0

I’d taken the opportunity afforded by a flat, roadside patch of gravel to stop and capture the view back down the valley through the black clouds to the sunshine and blue sea in the distance below. I was in a buoyant mood having seen my first golden eagle an hour before. Heading back to the car I was approached by an old gentleman and his grandson who’d been quietly sitting in their car on the same patch of gravel, watching for wildlife through their binoculars.

“Have ye heard of the White Stag of Arran ?” (read with Scottish accent). I could hear the capital letters as he spoke. I fetched my own binoculars from the car and followed the line of his pointed finger past the white stones on the hillside opposite, and past the sheep until my eyes alighted upon a white(ish) red deer with a pair of the most enormous antlers I’d ever seen. Admittedly, they were probably the first set of antlers I’d ever seen that were still attached to their owner, and for this reason I was more impressed by the headware than the colour. I turned to the old gentleman who was by now heading back to his car, and gave him a smile and the thumbs up, and went on my way, his voice receding into the distance “Ye’re probably one of only a handful of people in the world (heavily rolled ‘r’) who’ve seen that’.

I checked later with people at the campsite, and it seems that albino red deer can be seen on Arran, but they are very rare. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the gentleman, who deserved a more emphatically impressed response than he got.

A golden eagle and a very rare albino red deer within the space of an hour !


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