This appeared in the national papers earlier in lockdown. Pic courtesy of Ed Daynes.
By Nick Drainey
One of the most famous pubs in the Highlands is having the lawn in its beer garden cut by a herd of feral goats during the coronavirus lockdown.
The horned animals are taking advantage of the lack of people during the restrictions and coming down off the mountains to explore the luscious grass and plants around Glencoe’s Clachaig Inn.
Ed Daynes, the pub’s co-owner, said the goats are doing him a favour as he tries to keep the business ticking over while the hostelry is shut during the lockdown.
He said: “There are a bunch of feral goats that live between us and Glencoe village on the hillsides at about two or three thousand feet.
“There is no one here at the moment so they are now merrily munching the grass and plants in the garden. They are doing us a favour because there is no one to mow the grass and they seem to be keeping the new growth of the shrub plants at bay. I think they have eaten the daffodils though, they seem to have gone.”
The pub has had to furlough 34 staff while the coronavirus lockdown is in place but are hoping to open at some time in the summer. “We are an old, well-established business and reasonably resilient but it is all a question of timescale and we don’t know what that is.
“We are being realistic and saying July at the earliest to re-open … we need a bit of summer to turn us around but if we go into autumn we might not be able to sustain the level of staff.”
In order to help, he is urging the public to stay away from the Highlands while the restrictions are in place, no matter how tempting it maybe as the warmer weather arrives.
“No-one should be travelling or thinking about travelling at all at the moment, For the most part I think that is happening – I am riding my bike up and down the glen, it is so quiet. There are one or two travelling but it only one or two and there is quite a high police presence as well.”
Herds of feral goats are found across the Highlands and islands but usually keep well away from humans. They were introduced by Neolithic farmers and kept in fairly large numbers. In the 17th and 18th centuries the demand for their hair for making wigs dropped off and many of the animals were turned onto the hills to survive on their own in the wild.
Many local communities hold them in affection and estimates suggest there are between three and four thousand across Scotland. However, they are classed as a non-native species and are sometimes culled when individual herds become large.