Well, actually it isnt the first time that Ive SEEN them - but usually they are just grey blurs and the flash of a white tail as they vanish into the forest.
But every night this week, on our evening walk up to the moors, we have seen one or two on the top track - just before Murphy spots them and then tears off after them into the undergrowth.
Last night, we went right up into the forest - we normally only skirt round the edges, as me being as accident prone as I am, I didnt fancy falling over a log or something and ending up dying of hyperthermia before anyone found me, so we generally stick close to the main tracks within "shouting for help" distance.
But I was feeling a bit adventerous, so myself Murf and Lorrie took off on a mammoth treck. The views from the loggers clearing are spectacular (another reason why I need to buy myself a decent camera), and I didnt realise exactly how high up we'd actually gone until I stopped to look and spotted the village down in the valley.
The dogs were having a grand old time, sniffing everything and running like lunatics in and out of the trees. So we went deeper in, where the trees are so close together that the light is very dim, and the only sounds were the creaking of the pine trees in the wind - which was a bit eerie.
And then I saw them - a little herd of deer bounding through the trees about 50 yards in front of us, heading down the hill towards the tracks and the woods nearer to the village. There were about 10 of them, and it proved a little too much for himself, so he went peeling after them and finally came back panting and wagging his little docked tail, feeling very pleased with himself.
We did another hour through the forest and then rejoined the track and started heading for home as the light was almost gone and I admit Im a bit of a scaredy cat in the dark on the moors (I never did get over watching American Werewolf In London) :-)
And as we rounded the bend near the ruins....... there was a small group of Does in a little clearing. Murf spotted them but my very firm "STAY" made him stand still for a few seconds whilst I got out my phone and snapped the following photo. Now forgive the very very poor quality as it's not the greatest in the world, but if you look in the centre of the fuzzy image, you can see the 5 Does...... just before the temptation became too much and Murphy went after them and chased them back into the forest again