Let the games begin as gnome hunting season is nearly here
With their population rapidly increasing it will soon be time for Gnome Hunting Season to open on the Berwickshire coast.
Have you ever met a gnome and do you know the difference from a faerie?
From September 18 you’ll have the opportunity to find out, but you will need some help in finding any gnomes, as, unlike dwarfs, they are tiny.
To aid the search gnome expert David A Windram has put together a guide with everything you need to know about these magical creatures.
He said: “These tips should help you in your ventures. But know that as the gnomes flourish, nothing captures their whole population.
“Keep your eyes open then, for you never know if there is a friendly gnome nearby. Just like most people, gnomes like the peace and quiet, so this is the best place to look for them.
“However, they have been also reported in spots rather distant from the main routes.
“Gnomes and faeries regularly visit these areas around dusk - Millbank River Area & Maggie Murphys, Old Eyemouth High School Pitches, The Burn in Coldingham Village, Coldingham Sands and the Berwickshire Coastal Path all the way up to St Abbs Head.
“They all come out to play, dancing and singing their way around the riverbank in the moonlight – because that’s what gnomes and faeries do!
“They have so much fun that they often fall asleep in the open during the day - maybe under bushes or high up on the tree branches. Sometimes they are so hidden that no-one can find them!
“Gnomes are indeed an interesting race. They love life, marvelling at their creations and games.
“Their miniature frames lessen their ability to make swift movements. However, they use it to their advantage by duping opponents who have bigger frames.
Top Gnome Hunting Tips
To find Gnomes successfully, you need to be crafty, light on your feet and, above all, quiet.
You should move gingerly and only when you’re certain of the direction you’re going in.
Aim to make your steps small, falling heel to toe so you make as little noise as possible .
What You Will Need
Wear black or natural camouflage.
A hat so the gnomes may see you as one of the same species from a distance.
Take a pokey stick for moving leaves and sticks.
Good pockets or a small bag in order to collect Gnome Pennies.
Know Your Terrain
If possible walk the area where you plan to hunt before gnome season opens. As you become familiar with the area, watch for old gnome tracks because the same gnomes will re-visit them.
Make this one of your primary sites to hunt. It helps to make a map to remind you later of all the places you spotted during the pre-gnome hunting season.
Gnomes can often be spotted along edges of fields where they border forested land. When acorns and other fruit are plentiful, gnomes move from forest to field and back again to feed.
If the terrain includes natural topography that compels gnomes to walk through a narrowing or confined area, this works like a funnel and can be a superb site to hunt.
In hilly terrain, gnomes travel along ridges at about the same elevation. If you spot one gnome there’s a good chance you will see more.
As gnome wander the hills they seek out the easiest slope to make it up a hill (unless spooked) so give yourself a break and do the same.
Walk heel to toe, slowly, to avoid snapping twigs or crunching dried leaves or other vegetation. The goal is to make as little noise as possible with precise steps.
As you cover terrain, stay focused and keep your eyes open for: clothing, tracks, bedding and any movement or signs of life. These can be as small as the blink of an eye once your eyes are trained.
Understand Gnome Behaviour
Gnomes tend to bed down about 30 minutes following sunrise and usually stay in the area until about half an hour before sunset.
Gnomes move about more when temperatures are cool, after a storm, or when the barometric pressure is changing and typically roam a little later in the morning.
Over the weekend the gnomes strong propensity to whisky will often leave them sluggish and less observant, so it is suggested early Sunday mornings as an optimum time to hunt.
Cover Your Scent
Due to their sensitive noses, gnomes tend to stay put more when winds are high, because it interferes with their ability to hear threats and it diminishes their ability to smell.
Hunters need to eliminate or cover their scent or risk detection. Don’t use aftershave, scented deodorants, shampoos, etc. Don’t wash clothing with scented laundry detergents or fabric softener. Play the wind and weather.
Don’t Confuse with Faeries
The Scottish Borders Faerie population is quite abundant and shouldn’t be confused with, by the more selective gnome hunter.
The obvious difference is the wings and predominantly female population. Fairies will mainly have dens up at a height, normally over 3ft to avoid their natural predator, the badger.
So ignore them and stick to the more important tell-tale signs. Pixies can actually bequite dangerous, but brownies are generally more helpful expecting only a small food offering.
Listen for Names
Often gnomes can be heard communicating in whispers warning each other of possible danger.
Keep your ears open, common male names are - Begnym, Jinzic, Borwass, Snaanbag, Labkost, Wylie, Jenkkig, Clamdor, Bitty.
Female names are – Zanitina, Tifapine, Lyda, Satra, Lorifi, Daphiphina, Arila, Read.
Gnomes migrate similarly to birds only shorter distances due to their short legs.
Little is known on how gnomes originally came to Scotland. Many suggest from Scandinavia hidden on Viking longboats, some can be good swimmers but highly unlikely they had the endurance to cross the North Sea.
Or the other theory is escaped gnomes from an illegal private gnome collector in the Scottish Borders.
Extremely shy and solitary normally gnomes have an ingenious defence mechanism when cornered or captured.
Similar to that of the possum ‘playing dead’, in the event of capture gnomes will often go into a trance like state, slowing their metabolism and almost creating a controlled rigor mortis.
To the uninformed onlooker you would suggest ‘Turned to Stone’. This can last for many hours until the danger has passed.
This has lead to the unfortunate commercial exploitation of the common European Gnome.
Another interesting defence mechanism is more of a distraction tool.
Gnomes are considered to be relatively frugal on financial matters but when necessary, can be provoked into generosity.
Even the Scottish Borders Gnome (which is considered the tightest of all subspecies) will often deposit ‘Gnome Pennies’ near to their home when disturbed.
Normally brass or copper, this is thought to be a ploy to encourage gnome hunters to be satisfied with a small financial reward and look no further, protecting the true hidden treasure.
Gnomes are organised in clans that have stood for centuries and who organise themselves in hidden settlements called burrows.
A gnome’s clan name is inherited from the mother, and never changes, even when a gnome marries. Many gnomes, secretive folk such as they are, prefer to keep their clan name secret.
These surface creatures are made up of two subraces. One is the Rock Gnome, which is the most common and has innate creativity and strength.
They reside in tunnels in forested areas and are the most populous in the gnome world.
The other subrace is the Forest Gnome. They are very timid and rarely interact with other subraces.
They hide their appearance and recline into concealed spots. These spots are located in a familiar environment in the forest.
They do not share their secrets and treat strangers with caution. Despite being kind-hearted and faithful like the normal gnome, it takes a long time to familiarize with them because it requires going past their ploys.
Their tones are musical, raucous, and have Germanic roots. Generally they do not like conflict, so they are always impartial.
Gnomes can live for 350 to 500 years. Their height is between 0-1.5 feet, and weight can be up to three stone. Most are usually male, as the female kind is extremely rare.