Rudolph's Got Competition !!

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He is the reigning King of the Cairngorms, a spectacular figure set against a stunning landscape of snow and pale northern sky.Standing six-and-a-half feet tall from hoof to tip, Crann the reindeer proudly shows off his impressive antlers, his third set to grow to full maturity.Each is made up of more than a yard of solid bone, weighs up to 9lb and can take more than six months to grow.

They last only another few months and drop off after the mating season – when their use to fend off other males is over.But although Crann’s antlers tower over his keeper Tilly Smith, pictured, who is the only female herder in the UK, she insists that the six-year-old – the dominant stag of his herd of 150 – is just a ‘tame and gentle old giant’.

Crann’s mother was called Burgundy, after the wine, and his own name is Gaelic for ‘bar’ – giving him the pedigree lineage of ‘wine bar’, according to Mrs Smith.Despite the fact Crann appears perfectly at home among the mountains of Scotland, his ancestors were actually Swedish imports.


They were brought to Aviemore in 1952 by Swedish Laplander Mikel Itsu, who decided that the Cairngorm plateau needed reindeers from his homeland.Throughout the year, the herd roams across the 6,000 acres that make up Cairngorm National Park, grazing on grass and heather, and sheltering in its ancient pine forests.Luckily for the reindeer, they are well equipped for living in the region, which has recorded the UK’s lowest temperature of -27.2C (-17F). Their secret is layering – they have two layers of fur: a dense woolly overcoat and a longer-haired outer coat.

Unfortunately for Crann, he will soon be deprived of his noble crown. Mrs Smith, who moved to Scotland with her husband Alan to take over the herd in 1982, said he is due to shed his antlers any day now

(source)

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