Glorious Glenmuick

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With breathtaking scenery and a diverse array of wildlife, it is easy to see why estates such as Glenmuick remain a firm favourite with sportsmen from the UK and further afield.

Joining a team of Guns for a day's driven grouse shooting on Royal Deeside, there is little wonder that first-time visitors quickly become smitten with their surroundings. And not just first-timers - you can never get enough of it.

The grouse moors of Glenmuick are a wonderful example of why Scotland is so popular with sportsmen worldwide. Truly breathtaking scenery, the quiet is almost deafening - and then the ever present gurgling of running streams. The heather, the rolling hills, the glens - the delightful scattering of turrets and castellations. It is easy to see why the Victorians and Edwardians fell for it all in such a big way.

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On top of the visual offerings, sport was never in short supply, be it grouse, salmon or stags. And though the grouse moors of Scotland have never matched the big numbers of birds to be found in the prolific expanses of heather on the Pennine moors in Northern England, they deliver the kind of settings which are simply incomparable. Grouse shooting in Scotland really is something else.

Glenmuick was bought by the Walker- Okeover family in the 1950s. The family originated from Ayrshire, before moving south of the border and returning to their Scottish roots after acquiring the estate. It is a stunning 13,500-acre estate, 11,500 of which is moorland, 800 woodland and 1,200 acres of rough grazing. 'Grouse shooting in 2013 was no better than average,' like so many estates in Aberdeenshire and Perthshire.

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Neil Hogbin of Fisher German, who manages the estate, explains: 'We had a good stock of very healthy grouse, and a low worm burden, but as is so often the case with grouse, we are at the mercy of the weather and a very late fall of snow saw the birds move to lower ground off the estate. It was very disappointing.'

'But we still managed two 50-brace driven days, both of which saw some great sport and plenty of grouse. We also had half a dozen walked-up days - again a good showing of grouse. So fingers crossed for this year.'

Glenmuick is in many ways a traditional sporting estate, with a main house which sleeps 20, and two cottages which sleep six and four respectively. The surrounding moorland, woodland and waters also provide sportsmen and women with an abundance of top drawer opportunities.

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Sitting on the banks of the River Dee (the lodge is just 300 metres away), Scotland's most prolific spring fishery that needs little introduction, big multi sea-winter fish can be taken as early as March. There is also very good fishing in the summer and autumn months. The estate has two miles of single bank fishing for salmon and trout.

There is a thriving population of red squirrels and black grouse - it is also possible to see golden eagles, capercaillie and wild cats. A major interest for the estate is stalking for red, roe and fallow deer. They have a well managed stock of all three species. Red deer stalking takes place in both the woodland and across the far reaching heather-clad moorland.

Trophy hunting for large red stags is also available, as is the opportunity to achieve the ultimate sporting feat - a Macnab. Roe deer stalking is available both on the hill or from high seats in woodland on the estate's lower ground.

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The estate is managed carefully to enhance its biodiversity and conserve habitat for its wild inhabitants, as Neil explains: 'For us it is important that both grouse and deer thrive, rather than focus on one species to the exclusion of others.'

Glenmuick really is a classic example of why Scottish estates are so highly revered by sportsmen and women in the UK and further afield.

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