Article XII written by Alexander Gunn aka A Native of Badbea was printed in the Northern Ensign on 19 February 1880 – Part C
“The foxes were very plentiful in some parts of the estate, and especially that part of it called "Clachan Garbh," which was swarming with them. Alexander Fraser was in the habit, from time to time, of collecting all the shepherds of Berriedale, with their collie dogs and fowling pieces, to join him in his raids on the foxes. On one of these occasions, the hunter unearthed three full grown foxes in the Clachan Garbh. They made for the level ground, climbing the rocks with all speed, and reached the level just at the east end of Badbea. They then took to the westward, and Alexander Fraser and his hounds in hot pursuit, accompanied by the shepherds and their collies.”
|Fox hounds||A shepherd’s Collie|
Source: Barbara Carr geograph.org.uk 3446610
“The foxes passed close in front of Gordon Grant's house, when George Anderson, one of the shepherds, in his eagerness to kill the foxes, fired at them, but unfortunately missed his aim, and lodged most of the contents of his piece in the thigh of Eppy Grant, Gordon's sister, who had chanced to be standing at the house door at the time. The poor woman fell to the ground, uttering a loud scream, and it was thought she was mortally wounded, but a doctor who was sent for extracted some 30 lead pellets from her flesh, and poor Eppy was not long in recovering. The huntsmen never halted their pursuit, notwithstanding what had occurred, and I well remember seeing the three foxes, nose to tail, and the hounds and collies in full cry behind. One of them was run down about Auchencraig burn and was carried home in triumph.”
|Mr fox foraging||A dead fox|
“Many a good fright we got with Sandy’s hounds, as they used to pay us a visit occasionally in the passing by, but Sandy himself caused no dread. He was a social homely man, and a kind and obliging neighbour.”
The area the foxes ran was probably somewhere in this vicinity.
|The north end of the Badbea settlement.||On the coastal track 3kms from Berriedale near the north end of Badbea.|
My Comments: Re the Famous Fox Hunt
- I think this hunt probably took place before 1841 as I can’t find Alexander Fraser or George Anderson in the 1841 Latheron census records. Alexander Gunn, who witnessed the event, was still at Badbea in 1841 but gone by 1851.
- While the illustration below was probably drawn several decades after the Badbea fox hunt it still tells the same story of the fox marauding the lambs and the gathering of locals to drive the fox out of the rocks and shoot him.
- But really I can’t help feeling this story is as much about poor Eppy Grant who got peppered with lead pellets, as it is about the frenzied fox hunters.
- Eppy (aka Elizabeth) was born in Ausdale about the turn of the century. Her mother was Janet Munro and John Grant her father, was a Tailor. There were at least six children in this family. The family may have been evicted from Ausdale to Badbea at the time of other evictions when James Anderson leased Ausdale and built his big house.
- Eppy (aka Elizabeth) never married and lived with her brother Gordon and his wife Georgina in a stone house near the north end of the Badbea village.
|1841 Census Badbea||1851 Census Badbea|
- This may be the remains of the Badbea house of Gordon Grant.
|Remains of house at the north end of the Badbea settlement||Woman near the door of her house – Newtonmore Outdoor museum|
- Here was Eppy, by chance standing at the door of the Grant family home, perhaps wondering what the on-coming commotion is about, when she was shot, at virtually point blank range, by an irresponsible shepherd, and seriously injured. Eppy screamed, fell down, and for all the hunters knew was dead. But still the hunt went on. How outrageous. Thankfully someone called the doctor who removed 30 lead pellets from Eppy’s thigh. That must have hurt. Who knows whether or not the doctor found all the pellets, or if Eppy suffered any long term effects from lead poisoning, but this dreadful incident can’t have been exactly good for her health.
- Eppy died in 1855 at age 55 at the Badbea house of her brother Gordon, from pericarditis (a heart condition). Her family had called the doctor a week before her death and were with her at the end. Gordon signed her death record. Eppy was buried at the Navidale cemetery just over the Ord from Badbea. She does not seem to have had a gravestone – which is perhaps not surprising as she is described as a pauper in the 1851 census record and on her death certificate. She lived at Badbea for 36 years. What a tough life she had.