From game fair season to Scottish game shooting season

Game fair season

This year is really flying by quickly and no sooner was the game fair season over than the Scottish game shooting season began. Not long after exhibiting at the West Country Game Fair, we headed off to attend our first Badminton Horse Trials for a joint Exclusively Scottish/Castle Gunmakers stand. Although not a shooting show, Badminton is a Mecca for country and town folk alike and we took a wide variety of products – from guns to socks and throws. The weather was indifferent which saw attendance down and unfortunately sales as well! However we had a great time, aided by volunteer salesman Darren Hawkins.

Bespoke, new and used shotguns on display  Luxury tweed fieldsports products to buy  Preparing for the Scottish game shooting season at the Badminton game fair
After Badminton our next stop was the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, where we once again shared space on the Lairds Sporting Directory stand. The weather was good and we had a successful show selling guns and Scottish products as well as talking to lots of people wanting to come shooting in the Scottish Borders – some booked, some didn’t! Thanks to eveyone who came on the stand for a chat.

Great choice of stalls at the Badminton game fair  The Exclusively Scottish/Castle Gunmakers stall   Overnight accommodation at the game fair

The Scottish game shooting season

With our game fair season over it was straight into the game shooting season in the Scottish Borders and The Glorious Twelfth came round pretty quickly. A local estate were having a small driven grouse day and the owner asked me if I would help load for a good friend of his. And so it was that I met John and his wife Janice who were over from New Zealand. After being a keen shooter all his life, John had a brain haemorrage 16 years ago which left him partially paralysed on his right side. Encouraged by his friends to carry on shooting, he has taught himself to shoot using his left arm only and continues to be a passionate game shooter. Once the grouse started coming, he soon got into them and finished with a couple of brace – more than many can do using both hands! It was a great pleasure to be with John and Janice on the grouse moor in the Borders and I look forward to seeing them in the future.

Driven grouse day on the moor  Janice and John - shooters from the USA  Enjoying the Scottish game shooting season

The following week saw our first client of the year – Sean Hastings from the USA. Sean was attending a conference in Glasgow and his father told him not to miss the opportunity to experience some walked up grouse shooting in the Scottish Borders. We fixed Sean up with a couple of other shooters new to walked up grouse and he headed out onto the moor with a nice little Spanish 20 bore side by side supplied by Castle Gunmakers. The first bird got up and he fired a single shot but missed….a second bird got up and he fired a single shot but missed! The keeper yelled ‘use both barrels!’. Then a brace got up and he fired both barrels and got a ‘right and left’ – the keeper kept quiet! Sean finished up with two and a half brace, a morning well spent.

Walked up grouse shooting in the moors  Sean with his grouse and the hills in the background  Relaxing during the walked up grouse shooting
And so with the Scottish game shooting season in full swing, clients are coming to the Scottish Borders thick and fast. Next were a couple from Tasmania and a couple from Switzerland – I’ll tell you about them next time!