Highlands & Islands

Enclosure to be built for Knoydart stalker ponies

Knoydart pony. Pic: Copyright of Knoydart Foundation
Image caption The Knoydart Foundation use the ponies an alternative to all terrain vehicles

Ponies that give deer stalkers the run around in one of the most remote parts of the UK are to be reined in.

The Knoydart Foundation has secured funding to build an enclosure for the free roaming ponies used to carry shot deer off the hills.

Ponies are used on the 17,297-acre (7,000-hectare) west Highlands estate instead of all terrain vehicles.

Head stalker Jim Brown said it could take up to two hours to find the ponies before stalking could start.

The funding has been secured from the John Muir Trust.

Mr Brown said: "The ponies are an integral part of our deer management operation, allowing us to extract deer carcasses from some of the most remote parts of the peninsula.

"To achieve this without them would require the use of ATV's, which would damage the ground they run on and detract from the wild quality of the area."

The stalker added: "For a while now they have been free ranging during the stalking season.

"Generally they stay quite close to the road, but on occasion can stray quite high onto Ladhar Bheinn or disappear into the forest.

"This can be a huge inconvenience which at best causes an additional hour or two on the day, to find and relocate the ponies."

Projects on Skye, Lewis, Harris and in Sutherland have also secured trust funds.

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