Aigas, Highlands: The pine marten brought a touch of night in its sharp black muzzle and in the big silent dark-stockinged feet
For more than 90 minutes we’d sat until cold air quieted the wood and the day thinned into the long shadows of the trees. By 10.30pm we were centred in an arc of artificial lamp glow. There was just the sound of a last robin across the loch, its spindly song an analogue for the vanishing day.
The silent theatricality of the moment was thus complete when the creature strolled into our vision without the merest hint of drama. Its step was sprightly, its acceptance of the lamp instantaneous. It brought a touch of night in its sharp black muzzle and in the big silent dark-stockinged feet – and every now and then it paused from eating to stare hard at its own route through the trees, reassuring itself of solitude – but otherwise we were all at ease with the mutual encounter. For 10 minutes there were no sounds but the crunch of nut and the click of camera.