Country diary 1922: the thrill of spotting a pine marten – Rights History

Country diary 1922: the thrill of spotting a pine marten

14 September 1922: The rare animal’s reddish brown coat glistened gloriously in the sunshine as he made his way down the mountain

It gave us a thrill such as we have not felt for years to happen on the rarest animal in the British Isles. We were descending the steep face of a mountain dominating one of our largest lakes when we saw 200ft below us on an earthy scree an animal whose reddish brown coat glistened gloriously in the sunshine. The radiance of the fur was the impression which remained long after we dwelt with wonderment upon our great good fortune. Brush, almost as long as the body, was outstretched behind. It was carried as a fox carries his brush when he is hunting. We had seen a stoat some hours previously as we made our way up a ghyll between the mountain sides. This creature was of the stoat tribe. But it was almost twice as large.

The pine marten, for this was the beast we saw, was leisurely making his way down the mountain. He neither saw nor winded us, and had we known that it was to disappear over a bank, and that we should never set eyes on it again, we should have alarmed it in the hope that the creature would turn round to examine the intruders on his haunts. But we caught a glimpse of the creamy-white breast and of the sharp-pointed triangular head. The pine marten was far away from a coombe which is supposed to be the stronghold of the remaining members of its race. We are encouraged, therefore, to believe that the woodland beast is increasing. No pine martens have been trapped for years in the district.

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