Many tales, stories and jokes begin “There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman………..” Well this was certainly true of the team that met late in October at Glen Ample Estate on the south shores of Loch Earn in Perthshire. In fact there were three Americans, a Scotsman (who lives in Ireland), a Welshman, two Englishmen and an English Lady! And what a mixed bunch we were, coming from all walks of life; Paul is a celebrated artist and Tom an award winning chef. The rest of us mere mortals.
We had all been invited for a day’s driven pheasant shooting by our generous host Bob, a successful American businessman who has fallen in love with Scotland, its history and its unique sporting opportunities. I stayed overnight with my good friends Kevin and Linda in Killin and the journey from there down to Lochearnhead through Glen Ogle was as spectacular as ever, the autumn colours magnificent at this time of year. We meandered our way up the south side of Loch Earn before heading up the glen. On arriving at the shoot bothy it was great to see an impressive display of Land Rover Defenders instead of the usual Far East offerings – especially as our host is the main Land Rover/Range Rover dealer in San Diego. Tom from Monachyle Mhor even had his Defender still sign written from a recent culinary promotion.
Introductions were made and there was a great deal of expectation in the air. The team was of mixed experience with this being Helen’s first taste of driven game shooting. Whilst the team got to know each other, Mike (the gamekeeper) had a quick look to see if he had any pheasants around!
Peg numbers were drawn and we proceeded to the first drive where we all soon remembered how hard this sport is! Two more drives followed and the team began to get their eye in with some more successful than others! ‘Elevenses’ followed the third drive and there was a great atmosphere amongst the team. It was the on to ‘The Rocks’ where the birds were amazingly high and mostly too good for us! After another great drive, we returned to the bothy for lunch, just as it started to rain.
After lunch we headed back out into the now torrential rain and donned our waterproofs for one final drive. Despite the rain the birds still flew very well and everyone was in the shooting. Back at the game larder the bag came in at 80 pheasants, a terrific day’s sport, enjoyed in great company.
With guns dried and cleaned, we headed to Bob’s stunning shooting lodge on the shores of Loch Lubnaig for a lovely dinner prepared by Tom from Monachyle. A perfect end to a perfect day.