At 12 years old I can’t believe how time has passed and Hamish is now an ‘old boy’! I remember the day he was born as I was the very first person to see him. This includes his mother Rusa because while she was calving she couldn’t manage on her own and I had to assist in pulling him out. A combination of Rusa only being a young mum herself at just 2 years old she wasn’t fully grown and Hamish being a big boy meant he got a little stuck on exit! This was the first ever time I had to assist a reindeer cow calving so with strict instructions from the vet I felt my way around and managed to pull him out, and even better he was un-scathed but the whole ordeal. Because of the nature of our herd the reindeer calve out on the mountain so for a vet to come out to help too much time would have passed and either cow or calf would then be at risk, so I had to crack on, there was no other option!
In Hamish’s first few weeks he spent a little time here in our paddock area so we could keep an eye on the two of them. This is when he got his name. We don’t name the calves until the autumn but as we spent extra time with him Hamish got his name sooner than the others. He then joined the herd free ranging on the Cairngorms for the summer and came back looking great. Rusa was a good mum, very attentive and they were never far apart from each other.
Hamish has grown into a real character in our herd and one of our trusty old pros when it comes to Christmas events. In his hay day he looked fab with great big antlers and always fat as butter… Hamish LOVES his food! A trait passed down from Rusa for sure. But now he is 12 years old he’s starting to look his age. He’s mainly based at our hill farm over the summer months or on our hill grazing during the winter, Hamish is enjoying the easy life. He does pop over here now and again, but his visits are brief nowadays just lasting a few days.
With Christmas just around the corner we may well call on his expertise to help train the new, younger Christmas reindeer. This requires being harnessed up alongside a newbie and pulling the sleigh. This is done next to our Centre in Glenmore, so the reindeer get used to seeing lots of people and cars. Hamish is the perfect role model for this and if the new Christmas reindeer take a leaf out of his book then they will be great!