Glen Tanar – great place. And a man cycles past without giving Henry a second glance.
I don’t think there have been any Hen Harriers at Glen Tanar for a while but when I visited in 2011, I was impressed by what was happening there. I talked to Colin McLean who was then the estate manager (and I wrote about it in The Field – of all places). Glen Tanar was one of very few grouse moors which had nesting Hen Harriers- only one pair but that is something to brag about.
At Glen Tanar the Hen Harriers were fed (venison actually) to divert them from killing too many grouse chicks as Glen Tanar had a single day of driven grouse shooting each year and a few days of walked up shooting too. But Colin was hoping to make money from photographers and naturalists by selling time in a hide near a harrier’s nest if opportunities arose. It seemed a potential way forward for some estates, at least.
But Glen Tanar is a forward thinking estate. It has to make money but it has the land and the outlook to diversify. It isn’t set on making all its money from selling as many big grouse days as possible – it hasn’t got itself trapped in that poor business model. Look at the Glen Tanar website and it looks like a fun place to visit and to spend your money whether it be getting married there or a different team building exercise. The estate offers holiday cottages, wildlife safaris and fishing as well as shooting. It makes its money from tourists, fieldsports, forestry and no doubt many other activities. It is not a farm for the over production of Red Grouse to be shot for money. Lessons to be learned?
Glen Tanar is certainly the sort of place that would shrug off a ban on driven grouse shooting as a minor inconvenience rather than an economic disaster because it is already living in the twenty-first century rather than having to be dragged out of the nineteenth.