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pressed smooth horns, directed upwards and backwards, with great divergency, forming nearly right angles with the axis of the skull, having the points bent inwards, and by the short deer-like tail. They gestate five and a half months, and lamb in summer.
The Burrhel presented by Capt. Smyth stands about two feet ten inches high at the shoulder, measures four feet ten inches from the nose to the root of the tail; the horns measure round the curve one foot ten inches, and have a circumference at the base of eleven inches. The general colour on the body and outside of the limbs is pale ashy brown ; the face, chest, and front of the legs variegated with dark brown; the cheeks, throat, inside of the ears, the belly, the back of the legs and the tail beneath are white; a brown line runs along the flanks, separating the pale brown above from the white of the under parts. The horns are pale blackish brown, the hair short, thick, close, and of even length over the whole animal.
The following are Captain Smyth's remarks :
“ The female is about the size of a Leicestershire sheep. The ram (much larger than the sheep) has horns measuring on the outside of the curve about eighteen inches, circumference in thickest part twelve inches, The horus of the sheep are flat and short, six or seven inches long, differing in shape and size in different animals, but generally rising straight up from the head. The colour of these animals varies at different seasons of the year. In winter their coat is of a glossy black. They lose their winter coat at the end of June. In April and May it is a greyish colour. The hair, three or four inches in length, is quilly and brittle, underneath which they have a fleece of very fine 'pushm,' or shawl-wool. The mountains they inhabit are almost inaccessible in winter on account of snow and cold, so that very few specimens of them, in their winter-coat, have been brought down. These beautiful animals are found very far in the interior of the Himalayas, in the heart of the snowy ranges, and are only met with in the grass lands far above the forest limit. Although this ground is much more open than the ground where the Thar is found, yet the Burral are seldom seen, even while feeding, very far from precipitous ground, where they retreat when alarmed.
“ April, May, and June are the best months for shooting them, i.e., a sportsman is more likely to make a good bag in those months; as, on account of the depth of snow at that time in the higher regions, and the scarcity of grass, the ground they are to be found on is limited. They are, however, thin and in bad condition then, and the females in young. In June they begin to lose their winter coats, and the skins are not worth preserving, In July and August thev have a very mangy appearance. In August they begin to get fat, and in September and October they are in capital condition for eating, and the flesh is excellent. At that time, however, they are difficult to find ; the snow
having melted, and the young grass grown on such an immense extent of ground, that the Burral are scattered, and they are at that time only found on foot in early morning and evening, as with an hour or two's feeding they get quite sufficient grass. In the early part of the season they are on foot nearly the whole day, on account of the limited supply of grass, and have to wander about from place to place in search of it. They are very fond of the yellow Gorse flowers in April and May. In fact they get very little else at that time of the year.
“ The male and female generally herd separately, though they are sometimes seen in company. The young males of one year old are always with the females. The rutting season is November, and the lambs are born in May and June, one or two lambs at a birth. Very few instances, if any, of a young lamb having been caught are known, so, it is supposed, they drop their lambs in the most inaccessible places, and that the lambs get the use of their legs almost immediately.
“ Burral and Thar shooting are each in their way the perfection of stalking. Thär shooting requires steadiness of head and good climbing ; but Burral shooting requires great power of endurance. From the great elevation of Burral ground, the exertion and fatigue of walking up hill is far greater than in Thar ground ; and a person to be successful must be in strong health. These Burral are the wildest possible animals, and require the greatest care and judgment to stalk. A good telescope is most requisite. It is absolutely necessary to discover a flock before they have seen you, which, without a telescope, is very difficult, for their senses of sight and smell are most keen. You generally discover the Burral with the aid of a telescope at a long distance, from one to two or more miles. You ought then to sit or lie down and arrange your stalk. If while stalking them you see they have become alarmed, which sometimes happens without their having seen you, you may at once give up the chase, as there is not the most remote chance of your getting a shot. When alarmed in this way, they get up one by one in the most deliberate manner, perhaps begin to scratch or stretch themselves, and walk away so quietly that a novice in Burral shooting thinks they have not seen or smelt him, and will follow them up. The Burral walk quietly away, but much faster than the sportsman can walk, for miles and miles, till at last, as if thinking they have made quite a sufficient fool of him, they will gallop off for miles further, until they become lost to view amidst the eternal snows and glaciers.
“Burral are, however, sometimes stupid animals. It occasionally happens that after a very successful stalk, or accidentally, you come upon a flock suddenly, within seventy or eighty yards distance; they are then just as slow and deliberate in their movements as if you were half a mile from them. You may fire all your barrels, and sometimes have time to load again, before they are all out of shot. One day I had only a single rifle with me, and I came upon a flock of rams in this way by a judicious stalk. I fired, and had time to load twice and fire two more shots before they were out of range. I got two of them. About an hour afterwards, on reaching the ridge of a hill, I accidentally stumbled upon another flock that was feeding behind the ridge, and did precisely the same. I got three shots, and
bagged one of them ; another, that I wounded, unfortunately got away.
“Burral are found on both sides of the snowy ranges of the Himalayas, and all over Thibet and Hoondes. I think this must have been the country they originally came from. This country, however, is in most places flat and open, and I have said before that Burral, although they feed on flat open ground, are seldom far away from some precipitous ground, to which they retreat on being alarmed. Wherever such ground is met with in that country, there are certain to be Burral. They are precisely the same animals as the Burral of our side of the Himalayas. On the South side of the Himalayas the Burral have an enemy in the Snow Leopard (indeed, these two are the only animals found on the South side, between 12,000 and 16,000 feet elevation), and on the North side the Chauko or Thibet Wolf kills a great many of them. It is hard to conceive what they live on in winter. They never go lower than the limit of forest, which, in the Himalayas, is about 11,500 feet. They must live on the grass that springs up in summer on the faces of precipitous ground, too steep for the snow in winter to lodge upon. A great many are swept away by avalanches. I have often discovered their remains buried in snow. The snow, of course, preserves them, and I remember once eating a Burral in the month of June, which, I judged from its coat, must have been buried by an avalanche in December.
“In stalking Burral one should be very careful not to expose himself. They are very sharp sighted, and if once a Burral sees a man, at whatever distance, it may be two or three miles, he is off at once, and there is no chance of getting a shot at him. In stalking a Burral, one should continually look round to see that there are no other Burral in sight in any other direction, as, on being suddenly alarmed by the appearance or smell of a man, a Burral will start up, utter that shrill double whistle they invariably give on being alarmed, and will pot only go away himself, but every Burral within hearing (within a circuit of a mile or two,) will move off immediately. I have frequently lost my shot in this way, or by putting up a Ptarmigan, or a Snow Pheasant, which, on being flushed, screams as if the world were coming to an end, and always frightens away all the Burral in the neighbourhood. In stalking Burral, if I see any of these birds, I always make a detour to get out of their way. If in stalking one flock of Burral, another flock or a single Burral is seen in another direction, it is often advisable to leave the first, and go after the latter ; but this must be determined by the nature of the
THE CASTLE HILL OF PENWORTHAM.
(Read 1st January, 1857.)
Antiquity, tradition and history, combined with nature's gifts, have lavished upon Penwortham much renown, and surrounded its heights with a halo of interest and beauty, that have rendered them almost classical. The grandeur of its locality, its towering eminence, the noble winding stream of the Ribble at its base, the woods which embosom it and toft the verdant dale which it overlooks, are worthy of the historian's pen and the painter's pencil. The Britons admired it as the green hill on the waters ; the Roman sentinel from its summit hailed the laden galley on its way to Coccium; the Saxon thane there flew his hawk at its quarry, there speared the wild boar and feasted on it with his retainers; the Norman baron held his “ king's court" on Castle hill; the priest and his penitent told their beads and pattered their prayers at the shrine of its priory; and the pedestrian in search of the picturesque, whilst ascending its steep brow, or resting himself on the steps of St. Mary's well, has listened with delight, or a moistened eye, to the melodious chimes of the sweet bells of Penwortham church. These associations will receive additional lustre by our society's “find” of last year,t if in my enthusiasm I make not the mistake of breaking a lance against a windmill instead of a giant.
Castle hill is situated on the north eastern spur of the heights of Penwortham, having in front a level area of some size ; whilst on the south it is separated by a deep gulley from the back of the church. In former times, the stream of the Ribble washed on two sides the base of the cliff from which it rises, and on the west a sunken road ran between the baronial fortalice of the Bussels and the priory of St. Mary's, down to the old ferry over the river ; so that the one might obstruct the passage of an enemy and the other remind a friend of the duty of prayer on the outset of a journey. Tradition loves to gossip concerning this spot. The tale,
• Aided by the notes and illustrations of Mr. C. Hardwick, of Preston.
+ The hill was examined on the 24th of June, 1856, during the Excursion of the Historic Society; also on the 23rd and 25th. See Transactions vol. viii. p. 256.
however, most stoutly persisted in is, that from the vicinity of Castle hill, or from the priory, there existed a subterranean passage, which communicated with the hospital at Tulketh on the opposite bank of the Ribble. Veritable as this tradition is deemed, I paid little regard to it, when together with other members of our society I visited Penwortham hill; but busied myself in ascertaining that the mound, which the workmen were excavating, rose about eighteen feet above the level of the churchyard, and from sixty-five to seventy-five feet above the base of the waterworn cliff on the east. Its circumference is two hundred and twenty yards, and was probably more, previous to its diminution by the undermining action of the stream. As you ascend the summit, you cross several circular terraces from each of which spring mamelon mounds, that become gradually less. As a whole it resembles the conical beacon hills on Sussex downs, though like them Castle hill has never been circumvallated.
The profile of the hill and horizontal plan of the excavations, fig. 4 and 5, plate iii, will aid my description. A trench being opened from A and H at the north east side of the mound was extended at the depth of eleven feet to C; then after an interval of space between C and D a shaft was sunk at D. These cuttings pierced through a mass of mixed red sand and marl, and a thin layer of black viscous matter formed of decayed vegetation, about six feet above the more important remains. At the first sight, I was disposed to think that the hill was of a geological and not of an artificial formation. A little closer observation, however, manifested the fallacy of my hasty conjecture. The deposits were not so dense, or close as a natural structure of earth would present; but they were altogether destitute of that compact texture of marl, which we afterwards found beneath the pavement soon to be referred to. Our discoveries commenced at the bottom of shaft D., for we here exhumed a singular piece of workmanship, composed of hazel wands, cross pieces, and rafters. The principal portion of these had been used in their natural, undressed, green state, and constructed and at times interlaced with great care and nicety. The wands were somewhat thicker than one's thumb;* in one place laid perpendicularly, and very closely side by side, in another,—and here the roof bad been thatched,-at short, but regular intervals ; in a third, they were wattled. These wands rested on horizontal cross pieces, which in return were sup
. One of these may have been the remains of the outer wall :-specimens of each are preserved.