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Crumpet lands writer in the doghouse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe author of a new shooting and fishing guide for Scotland is in the doghouse for dedicating his new book to his cocker spaniel rather than his wife. Countryside writer Alastair Robertson, 64, from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, has dedicated the book to Crumpet, a pale ginger blonde shooting dog. But his artist wife Kate, is not amused. “Frankly, it says it all. After 38 years of married life he thinks more of his dog than his wife. He probably thinks it’s funny. He can launch his book without me.” Yesterday the author of ‘Robertson’s Guide to Field Sports in Scotland’ admitted that, what had started out as a bit of a joke, had backfired. “I overheard my daughter Saskia telling a friend that Kate was pretty miffed because I had dedicated the book to Crumpet.  So I added a line to include her. But when she saw it in print, it just made matters worse.”  The book is being launched at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston this week by the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG).  Victoria Brooks of SCSTG said she knew Kate hadn’t been happy. “He hasn’t told me anything. But it’s a great book which fills a gap in the marketplace. It explains things like why they burn the heather for grouse, who owns the rivers and how much it costs to stalk a deer.  These are the sort of questions a lot of people ask but until now there has not been a single simple source of information.”  The £10 guide, available on Amazon, with a foreword by chef Albert Roux has been published with the help of SCSTG which promotes Scottish field sports at home and abroad, with funding from Scottish Natural Heritage.  In his foreword chef Albert Roux, a passionate fishermen, says he might have caught more if he had had the book when he first came to Scotland fishing with his family almost 50 years ago.  “To catch a fish, prepare it, cook it and serve it to family or friends is, for me, perfect. For others it will be to stalk a stag, or the excitement and camaraderie of walking with dogs for a wild pheasant. This is the natural, age-old connection between man and food.”  The idea for the book came after German-speaking tour guide Sally Duncanson of the Scottish Tour Guide Association  contacted Alastair through his shooting and fishing column in the Scotsman newspaper Saturday Magazine.  “Sally asked if there was any publication which explained things like how much field sports are worth to the Scottish economy or the rules about catch and release for salmon and sea trout. There wasn’t, but there is now” said Alastair.

For more information contact Alastair Robertson on 01466 740331/740340 or 07831 779758 or Victoria Brooks on 01350 723226, or at the Royal Highland Show, where Alastair Robertson will be signing ‘Robertson’s Guide to Field Sports in Scotland’ at the SCSTG stand in the Countryside Section of the Royal Highland Show 2-4pm daily from Thursday June 20 to Sunday June 23.

About the author

Alastair Robertson is a freelance writer who has worked for national and international publications including the Financial Times, The Sun and the Mail on Sunday. He currently writes columns for The Scotsman Saturday Magazine, the Daily Record and Marine Quarterly. He has shot, fished and stalked ‘badly’ all his life. An erratic if enthusiastic game cook his ‘signature dish’ has been grandly dubbed ‘Fruits de Route en Croute’, better known to his family, all of whom survive, as ‘Road kill Pie’. He lives in Aberdeenshire with his wife Kate, an artist, and Crumpet their working cocker spaniel.  Their three children have fled. In his spare time he makes and flies kites. ‘Robertson’s Guide to Field Sports in Scotland’ is available through Amazon and currently at House of Bruar, Pitlochry; Mortimer’s of Speyside, Bookmark and Grantown Museum, Grantown-on-Spey; Finzean Farm Shop and Milton Gallery Banchory; Goodbrands, Corgarff; Waterstones Inverness and Aviemore; Kildrummy Castle Hotel; Mossatburn Garden Centre, Alford; Ralia Visitor Centre, Newtonmore and William Evans of St James.

NOTES

The introduction reads “What happens on The Glorious 12th? How do you go about stalking a real life Monarch of the Glen? What is a Macnab?  This book is for those who know nothing about stalking deer, catching salmon, or shooting grouse, but are still curious to know what it is all about. It explains who owns the rivers and land, how much and how little you can pay for a day’s fishing, the role of the gamekeeper and the type of guns, dogs and the equipment in common use. It also explains the part that field sports play in the conservation of the Scottish countryside and reveals that field sports are not the exclusive preserve of the rich and famous.”

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