Glorious twelfth is well underway and with this in mind we are preparing for shooting season come winter! I have just got back from a wonderful week end in Aberdeenshire (not) shooting Ptarmigan and (I got 1) Grouse. It was one of the toughest days out I have ever experienced. Between my horrendously unfit legs trying to trudge through the heather, my not so warmed up ‘eye’, and my over enthusiasm for dressing as if I were ‘up north’, all in all, I shot.. well… like a little bit of a townie.
Kit for if you are a gun
No one likes over dressed women on a shoot. Being beautifully turned out, looking pristine just means that you didn’t have nearly a good enough knees up the night before. What really should be happening (and more often than not does) is that you wake up with 12 minutes to turn yourself around from being dead asleep and into the Land Rovers all while remembering your ear defenders, boots, jacket, waterproofs, an extra layer if the wind turns to ice, and a plan for if it doesn’t (which can leave you sweating buckets because obviously you have over dressed and wished you had listened to your best friend who told you not to wear the fur gilet* you got for a steal at the game fair a month before. *It was it’s first outing and was begging to be worn).
If indeed you are a gun, do make sure that you have sensible walking boots and not wellies, and not too many layers on. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that I got this simple step right, but nay. I wore wellies… my ankles are now the size of Kim Kardashian’s come week 38 of her pregnancy and I had to do a mad dash post lunch and pre second drive behind the fleet of Defenders to strip off a layer (or two) which thankfully meant that I managed to not lose all of my body water content.
Kit for if you are not shooting
Not terribly much changes if you aren’t shooting should you be joining the guns in the morning or after lunch (I recommend the latter, you will look dazzling compared to any other ladies that have been out since morning, cementing your chances with the dashing young man who you were sure was flirting with you the night before). Make sure you have sensible shoes. Keeping up with a walked up shoot while trying to stop your hair from sticking to your lip gloss and maintaining conversation without panting like a pug with said dashing young man who you’ve decided clearly fancies you because he has now invited you to carry his game bag… is no easy feat).
Shrieking, cackling, overtly flirting and asking if the keeper watched last Sunday’s X Factor won’t get much conversation flowing but banter, the odd ‘good shot’ and not squeaming when a flapping bird is dropped at your feet by a proud spaniel to pick up, lob on the head and stuff into the game bag will all earn you brownie points.
Prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. This is Britain after all. Our Friday night pre shoot BBQ involved two people in rain coats squinting in the half light while turning the chicken on a dwindling fire. Four people, one each end of the gazebo, holding down a leg each to stop the wind from commandeering our rain shield even though the rain was falling sideways. Yes, South African friends of mine, the rain sometimes falls (a lose term… more ‘drives’, if you will) sideways in this country. We had prepared for the worst (which we got on Friday night) and hoped for the best, which we got for all of Saturday. Look at that view!
Although it was just the 1, it was my first grouse, so this was me being blooded. It takes the vampire facial to a whole new level!
Thank you Annabel for the most wonderful week end. It was truly unforgettable and well done for getting some great snaps!
*all photos taken by wee little Blackett