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SHOOTING SCOTLANDmagazine Scotland’s national country sports & rural living magazine


The Scottish Game Fair Fasque Estate For the Love of Scotland Saving our Highland Tiger Land use change in Scotland The River Clyde A final wake up call for salmon? Scottish Quality Wild Venison The Highland Field Sports Fair Interview With Carrie Smith

Scottish Country Life With Linda Mellor Readers Competition With Hoggs of Fife Cooking with Game Venison pâté by Wendy Barrie Country Woman Featuring Wilma Kass

Ladies Shooting Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags


Mind our Business Logic Manufacturing

July 2019

Classic Gun With Gavin Gardiner

InFocus Longthorne Guns Plus The Gun Workshop s The Shooting Instructor Deer Management s The Ghillie s Gundogs Rural Training s What’s New and all our regular columns

contents editor's bit Je suis Shooting Scotland! I would like to welcome everyone who is new to our magazine as we, hopefully together, build our title to promote and support Scotland’s country sports and rural lifestyle. This is our first of three editions for the 2019 season. We will be out again in early August and then back on the shelves in early December. I hope that you enjoy all of our articles and our wide range of columns that we have arranged for you. As a very small independent family business based in Perth, we are very lucky to have the support, participation and advice from many people who write for us and help us to publish this magazine. Without such fantastic support, Shooting Scotland Magazine would not be possible. So, now into our third year, where are we now? Well, I am delighted to confirm that this edition will be on our own little stand at this years Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace, it would be great if you came along to say hello! Then, we will have our next issue on our stand at Moy for the Highland Field Sports Fair. So as you can see, we are getting out and about this year! Slàinte, Athole.

All Editorial & PR enquiries to EDITOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail: mail@shootingscotlandmagazine.com

ARTICLES 8 The Scottish Game Fair 10 Fasque Estate 18 For the love of Scotland 28 Saving our Highland Tiger 31 Land use change in rural Scotland 40 The River Clyde 50 A final wake up call for salmon? 54 Scottish quality wild venison 76 The Highland Field Sports Fair NEWS AREAS 4 News, 53 News, 58 News 80 What’s New THE INTERVIEW 16 With Carrie Smith LADIES SHOOTING 24 With Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags MIND OUR BUSINESS 26 Shooting ground equipment from Logic CLASSIC GUN 37 A 1953 James Purdey 12 bore SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE 63 With Linda Mellor FAVOURITE READS 66 Two great books, Thunder Bay & Ardkinglas READERS COMPETITION 67 Sponsored by Hoggs of Fife COUNTRY WOMAN 70 Featuring Wilma Kass COOKING WITH GAME 78 Venison Pâté made by Wendy Barrie RURAL STYLE 79 Tweed is the word! IN FOCUS 82 Longthorne Guns REGULARS 22 Habitat & Species Protection 34 Deer Management 38 The Gun Workshop 48 The Ghillie 60 The Shooting Instructor 68 Gundogs 72 BASC Scotland 74 Rural Training COLUMNS 17 Viewpoint 35 The Deerstalker 36 Gamekeepers Welfare Trust 46 Scottish Countryside Alliance 51 Scottish Gamekeepers Association 53 Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group 59 Airguns 64 Scottish Association for Country Sports 71 The World Pheasant Association SUBSCRIBING TO SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE See page 30 All Advertising enquiries to ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail: mail@shootingscotlandmagazine.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 01738 550157 Email: barry@shootingscotlandmagazine.com

july 2019





70 FRONT COVER IMAGE: A highland stag

ADVERTISING MANAGER Trevor Knights Tel. 01738 447378 Email: trevor@shootingscotlandmagazine.com

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Christina Fleming Email: christina@atholedesign.com COPYRIGHT This publication has been produced and published by ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD who are the copyright owners. No reproduction, copying, image scanning, storing or recording of any part of this publication without the permission of ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD. Contents disclaimer: SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is not responsible for any factual inaccuracies within press information supplied to us. Any concerns regarding such matters should be directed to the supplier of the materials. SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is designed, produced and published by Athole Design & Publishing Ltd., Tolastadh, 18 Corsie Drive, Kinnoull, Perth, Scotland PH2 7BU. Tel. 01738 639747

ISSN: 2399–2220


news Gamekeepers question legality of Orkney stoat traps The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has alerted Police Scotland to what it believes may be a case of illegal trap setting carried out by RSPB contractors on a multi million pound project. RSPB Scotland intend to wipe out all the stoats on Orkney in order to conserve native wildlife. The 5 year Orkney Native Wildlife Project has caused controversy, not least within the charity’s membership, with a section opposed to the killing of animals. Despite this, the cull programme has received almost £7m of tax payer’s money from EU Life, Heritage Lottery and Scottish Natural Heritage. Scottish Gamekeepers Association chiefs believe officials may have to rethink plans, though, after looking into the way approved predator traps are being deployed. They were alerted to possible mis-setting of stoat traps after a land manager sent images of the baited box traps following a visit to Orkney. After seeking an opinion, SGA officials were informed by experts that the metal DOC 200 spring traps, built in New Zealand, did not appear to be set

in a way that conforms to new guidelines. It is understood the traps have been in operation close to coastal areas for some time, despite concerns now being raised over whether they actually meet legal requirements of the 2018 Spring Traps Approval (Scotland) Amendment Order. The illegal setting of traps carries a criminal sanction, with RSPB officials actively encouraging members of the public to report illegal traps to their own investigators as a potential wildlife crime. SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The traps were brought to our attention because a land manager, having a break with his family, was intrigued by way they had been set. Some were located in very open areas, close to public car parks. “It was after looking at the images that one of our members, who had been taking advice on DOC trap models himself, noticed the ones being used by RSPB raised questions about the legal dimensions of the inner baffle and excluder aperture. “We had this checked out and felt it was best to alert the Police

so the traps may be removed and investigated further. “If an SGA member was to set a non-conforming trap, they

could have their guns taken away and their job and home threatened by court action, not to mention the public and political outcry.”

Historic Aberdeenshire hotel commits to raising £10,000 to support the River Dee A historic hotel nestled in the Aberdeenshire countryside beside the flowing River Dee will be donating a discretionary £1 from every diner’s bill to a charitable trust, with the aim of reaching a fundraising target of more than £10,000 for the year. Maryculter House, welcomed more than 40 guests including many who live and work on the river, to the Ghillies’ Lunch, which took place on April 28.

The hotel, which boasts 40 bespoke en-suite bedrooms, announced it would be the first of its kind to donate the cash to the River Dee Trust - an organisation which strives to raise awareness of the river while supporting those who have the improvement of the waterway at heart. Managing Director of the hotel, which has historical links dating back to 1225AD, Peter Walker said: “Maryculter

House sits on the banks of the River Dee and as such is a big part of hotels history and future. Through every season we see its ever-changing meander and we want to help those who care for it throughout the year. “I have always felt strongly about supporting our local businesses and charities, and contributing to this welldeserved cause, by adding £1 and then donating from every

bill paid in our restaurants, is absolutely in line with our ethos. “Over the course of the year we have set the target of about £10,000, which will have a huge impact on what the trust can do to ensure our beautiful river is maintained and fishing stocks are protected. And, what better way to celebrate our fantastic river than by hosting a lunch for those men and women who work on it throughout the year!” (continued on page 6)


news Dr Lorraine Hawkins, River Director, River Dee District Salmon Fishery Board & River Dee Trust said: “Dr Lorraine Hawkins, River Director said “We are delighted that Maryculter House has chosen to support the River Dee with this innovative fundraising idea. As a local charity, we recognise our place in the Aberdeenshire community in both managing and restoring the habitat of one of the most famous salmon rivers in the world and helping those living in the area to learn more about the river and the wildlife that depend on it. We are very grateful to Peter and his team for recognising the importance of financially supporting our work, which will help us maintain our wonderful river as a thriving natural environment.”

Subscribe to SHOOTING SCOTLAND see page 30

New grouse shooting report welcomed by gamekeepers Scotland’s gamekeepers have welcomed a new report investigating the economic and social contribution grouse moors make to Scotland’s fragile rural areas and marginal landscapes. The review, commissioned by Scottish Government and authored by James Hutton Institute and Scotland’s Rural College, looked at the economic and biodiversity impacts of grouse shooting. Authors acknowledged data limitations regarding both the grouse sector and possible alternatives, but acknowledged the importance of grouse shooting to local economies, jobs and in retaining populations. The biggest beneficiary regions were Aberdeenshire, Highland and Perth and Kinross. Grouse shooting is responsible for 2500 full time


equivalent jobs with estates spending averagely £212 000 a year in wages and £515 0000 on suppliers per annum. According to the report, most expenditure remains in Scotland; a study in the Cairngorms National Park showing that 89 percent of staffing costs and 77percent of management spend occurred locally. One survey in the Angus Glens and Monadhliaths, referenced in the new report, stated that over a quarter of respondents in these two areas said their livelihoods were linked to grouse shooting. The report acknowledged that all of Scotland’s grouse moors are sited on areas of very poor agricultural ground, classified by the EU as being Less Favoured. “There are clearly some knowledge gaps to be filled by

news Government before we get the full picture of upland land uses, and we are willing to help the process, but we welcome the work done so far,” said Alex Hogg, Chairman of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association. “The jobs created by grouse shooting, like gamekeepers’ roles, are important because they keep people in some of the most fragile and remote parts of Scotland where opportunities can be very hard to come by. There has been a lot of talk about converting grouse moors to other uses. This report brings a bit of reality regarding the constraints, one of the biggest being finance, although there are many others. “In poor years like the 2018 grouse season, profits are hit but the grouse sector fills the gap through owners financing the shortfall from other areas of their business, sometimes up to £40 a hectare. All in all, the grouse industry delivers a lot on

very, very poor land in Scotland with no government subsidy from tax payers.” According to the report’s authors, there is currently no direct government subsidy support for grouse shooting in Scotland although some moors can receive the same payments as sheep farmers, if livestock are grazed on the hills. Many grouse estates today are integrated, with income also being derived from stalking, fishing, in-hand agriculture and renewables on the same ground, making it impossible to calculate how much of Scotland’s uplands are used solely for grouse shooting. The report considered alternative uses of upland marginal lands such as hill sheep farming, forestry, windfarms, rewilding and nature conservation. However, authors acknowledged that, whilst possible in certain circumstances, alternatives were

constrained by regulations, geography and climate and a heavy reliance on tax payer subsidy. “Some alternatives (eg. farming, forestry and renewables) are heavily reliant on public payments to justify the activity economically, with others (eg: rewilding, conservation) more

reliant on the benevolence of owners of members,” the report stated. According to their 2018 accounts, RSPB received £19.8m of tax payer funding in the UK, equating to over half of the £38.2 sum it spent managing its nature reserves.

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Game on. The Scottish Game Fair returns with a jam-packed schedule The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, in association with NFU Mutual, returns to Scone Palace Parklands with a plethora of events and spectacles… are you game? Now in its 31st year, the GWCT Scottish Game Fair is preparing to welcome thousands of people to the event over three days, July 5th - 7th. Organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust this fantastic celebration of conservation and countryside offers competitions, main ring events and ‘have-a-go’ activities, all while raising vital funds for research into game and wildlife throughout rural Scotland. As well as birds of prey and terrier racing, The Main Ring, in association with Brewin Dolphin, will host the Jez Avery Stunt Show, which is sure to be a great attraction for all visitors. Working hill ponies will compete for the popular Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy and there will also be a full programme of clay shooting, fishing, gundog and scurry competitions, with lots of opportunities for expert tuition.


Time to shoot The ever-popular shooting area offers a range of experiences and competitions for experts and beginners alike. There is a great range of disciplines to suit or challenge all, and all at affordable prices. These stands are set up for novices to come and try the Clay Shooting experience, which is this year organised by Pentangle Shooting Services and Buchan Field Sports. There is no age restriction - it doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 80 - everyone is encouraged to give it a go. There will be qualified and friendly instructors to look after you, with a gun that suits your needs while all clays, cartridges and safety protection are provided. The British Association of Shooting & Conservation will also be at hand in the shooting area, offering a full range of

shotgun coaching, including the BASC “Safe Shot” award, which recognises your knowledge of shotgun safety and gun handling. This year BASC is bringing the ST-2 Shooting Simulator, aimed at improving the shooters skills and enjoyment of the sport. Guns, cartridges and safety equipment are provided. Meanwhile, clay shooting competitions run throughout the weekend with entries open at 10am each day at Shooting Control where full details of rules, entry requirements and prizes can be found.

in their working gear. We are fortunate to have John Rigby & Co. as our main sponsor this year, who will give a stalking rifle to the winning estate.

Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy London gunmaker John Rigby & Co. is once again sponsoring the sixth annual Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies. We are again proud to host the very popular show of Hill Ponies

All about dogs The Four Nations International Gundog Competition takes place on Saturday July 6. Now in its third year of being an international event, the competition - sponsored by Skinner’s Pet Foods - features

Ladies who lunch… and shoot! Saturday is Ladies Day and following the huge popularity of last year’s ladies clay shooting competition, for 2019, those wishing to participate have the option to purchase a special Ladies’ Shooting Package in advance. The package includes entry to the fair, clay shooting and lunch for just £46.00.


retrievers and spaniels in separate categories. Last year’s overall winner was England, followed by Scotland in second place. Meanwhile, dog owners of all breeds are encouraged to take part in the scurry competitions held daily. The competition simulates the requirement of a dog to mark a shot bird and to retrieve speedily to hand, using two dummies. There are generous daily prizes for Open, and Junior (<17) entrants and a trophy for the fastest time over the three days. Ramp up your off-road skills In 2019 Isuzu will again provide a fantastic off-road driving experience that utilises the river island – and it will be completely free to have a go. Isuzu focus on proper pick-ups which means they’re much better at meeting specific pick-up needs. The Multi-Award Winning Isuzu D-Max is a game-changing pickup that’s made to work. The turbo diesel engine produces 164PS and 360Nm of torque whilst meeting Euro 6 emission standards without the need for AdBlue plus it delivers 3.5 tonne towing, 1.1 tonne payload and over 40MPG combined (all manual models), making the Isuzu D-Max a true workhorse not a show pony. Birds of prey await During Elite Falconry’s two flying demonstrations in the Main Ring on all three days of the Fair, they will be flying birds from all across the varied spectrum to show tremendous variety, from some of the smallest, to some of the largest birds.

Up for the challenge? Scone Estates will be hoping to retain their title as Winners of The Estates Challenge. The event, sponsored by Algo, covers shooting, fishing and gun dog handling and was conceived to promote and celebrate the many Estates and Keepers who work so hard to conserve Scotland’s beautiful countryside and provide high quality country sports. The little ones needn’t miss out either as our kids’ Junior Macnab challenge makes a return after its inaugural year.

Get hooked on Fisherman’s Row The fishing area will feature fishing demonstrations from industry experts, a casting clinic and competitions such as fly-tying on the banks of the majestic river Tay. Fisherman’s Row leads from the Game Fair Main Ring down to the bank of the Tay, where thousands of anglers descend each year. Become a member This year the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust will focus on the pathway that can help moorland managers create and maintain

thriving moorland with its ‘Three steps to heather heaven’ exhibit, in the heart of the Trust’s ringside stand. This very visual and practical exhibit will include live red grouse, black grouse, ptarmigan, hill fringe grey partridges and working hill ponies, alongside colourful displays and the kit required for successful moorland management. Visitors are encouraged to become members of the Trust to further support the great work the team does for game and wildlife conservation. Visit www.gwct.org. uk/join for more details.

The GWCT Scottish Game Fair Friday 5 July, Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July, 2019 at Scone Palace Parklands, Perthshire. To book tickets, sign-up to take part in a competition, and for more information, go to www.scottishfair.com Advance tickets For a 10% discount on gate prices, please head to the website and buy your tickets beforehand. £20 – adult price; £18 advance • £5 – children (5-15 years, under 5’s free); £4.50 advance • £42 – family (2 adults, 2 children); £38 advance • £39 advance – couples package (2 adult tickets, 2 show guides & free Gold Parking) • £36 - two day pass is available; £32 advance • £55 - three day pass is also available, allowing entry to all three days of the Fair; £50 advance www.scottishfair.com

Don’t miss out on a chance to win! Our headline sponsor, NFU Mutual, will have a central stand (Partridge Row 2) giving you all the opportunity to chat to the local Agents and find out more about their vast range of products and services over some lovely refreshments. They will also be sporting the famously intriguing ‘Guess What?’ game. So head along to be in with the chance to win a luxury hamper. Visit NFU Mutual’s website to find your nearest agent www.nfumutual.co.uk.


Fasque Estate

FASQUE For All By Linda Mellor Fasque estate, Aberdeenshire, is regarded as one of the top shooting estates in the UK, and attracts shooters from around the world. It was once owned by the family of a former prime minister. The Gladstone family bought the estate in 1829, and William Gladstone, who had a political career of more than sixty years, and served as prime minister on four occasions between 1868 and 1894, was said to be a regular visitor at Fasque and enjoyed walking and tree felling. The estate is close to the village of Fettercairn, and easily accessed from the A90, only 45 minutes drive from Aberdeen and Dundee, and less than two hours from Edinburgh. It sits on the eastern fringe of the Grampian Mountains, between Royal Deeside and the Angus glens. The area is renowned for the high quality of driven shooting, red and roe deer stalking and salmon fishing. The estate is a haven for wildlife and home to a diverse number of species. Grouse and a pair of Golden Eagles reside on the hill,


Roe and Red Deer abound, and Mountain Hares thrive. Snow Buntings have been seen, and Red Kites are a common sight, as many as 17 have been spotted in one day. Head Keeper Mark Ancliff was heavily involved in a wildlife survey conducted eight years ago by Sam Alexander. The survey recorded Blackcaps and Whitethroats (Warblers), and over 95 breeding pairs of birds, including Quail on the estate. Fasque is approximately 15,000 acres: 10,000 low ground and 5,000 hill ground. The estate’s pheasant and partridge shooting is widely regarded as among the best and is known for its large woods and high birds driven over big gullies. There are over 40 drives, and many of them are on high slopes with mighty panoramas over the east coast of Scotland, from Aberdeen to Dundee and, on a clear day, over the Mearns of Angus and into Fife and as far as the twin peaks of the Lomond hills. The Fasque name comes from the Gaelic word fasgadh, meaning ‘safety’, or ‘dwelling place’. Head Keeper Mark Ancliff has been on Fasque for thirty-five

years, and Shoot Captain Jimmy Reid has chalked up 32 years. Mark’s career started when he was 14 years old, he left school on a Friday and started work on a Monday. He keepered on estates including Glen Almond and Dunira before moving to Fasque in 1985. Mark, Jimmy and their team of underkeepers, beaters and picker-ups ensure guns have a memorable sporting day and the amount of repeat bookings for the next season are testament to that. Mark said, ‘it seems like yesterday, time flies so fast. We have a great variety for our guests, we offer driven days, semi-driven and walkedup with woodcock and snipe. We always do everything we can to accommodate groups looking for shooting dates.’ Fasque’s owner, Bill Dunnett, has known the estate for years and is a member of the syndicate, and as a shooter he liked the layout and the feel of the land. Bill is keen to restore the estate to its former glory. He values the estate’s natural beauty and is eager to let it shine, and for shooting guests to

enjoy the Fasque game shooting experience and the views. One of the first tasks involved looking at the access and getting people safely in and out: guns to their pegs, beaters and keepers unhindered in their roles and able to safely manage and produce outstanding birds. Staff are trained in first aid and they carry sat phones, defibrillators have been strategically placed around the estate and blown trees taken out. On the farming side it is a full, digital farming operation for state of the art arable farming, it is important for all the estate farms to function and achieve a high arable standard, and some areas of the higher ground are leased out to mostly cattle grazing. The estate’s forestry business is aligned to the shoot. They have their own sawmill and use their own wood for fire wood, biomass and, particularly larch, for the fencing, around the estate. Old fences are a danger to dogs and people and have been replaced. All the dry stone dykes are in the process of being put back to their former glory,

Fasque Estate whin and broom have been removed as a stone mason works his way along the kilometres of estate dykes. Hedges have been restored and trimmed, game crop and a significant amount of trees have been planted. The houses have been refurbished, keeping the estate, first and foremost, a place where people want to work and live. The lake has been opened up, it is approximately 8 acres with two islands, and is enjoyed by in the local community. Numerous birds and wildlife have taken up residency. Nesting boxes have been installed for birds and red squirrels. The authentic connection is not only strong to the land, the link is also secured with local communities with school trips to the estate, arranged and hosted by Mark and John Harrison, Fasqueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s estate manager. The birds shot on game days are processed and dressed and made available to everyone, and not just the

shooters. The estate is delighted to make the game available to the local community. With the focus on quality, old drives have been restored,

and new drives have been created and will no doubt be appreciated for the shooting, the views and variety of features. As Fasque develops the shoot is

moving uphill and away from the farming. Getting around any shooting estate is priority, and good access for all ages is important


Fasque Estate and has been taken into careful consideration. On Fasque, the paths and access routes are laid with a membrane so not to compromise the natural beauty of the land but enable shooters to take a gator or similar right up to the peg. Fasque operates a network of routes and named areas, they have installed wrought iron signs with wooden bases. The estate is mostly south facing and as such, is able to accommodate a full day’s shooting whatever the weather is doing. Mark said, ‘the biggest challenge is getting around the big woods and in the winter lots of snow and ice can cause problems. The gritter comes out and we grit all the roads and the main tracks to enable us to keep moving about.’ Hospitality is an important element on a shoot day for parties. On a driven shooting day guests arrive at the Medieval Balbegno Castle for a bacon roll, tea and coffee and a safety talk.

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Fasque Estate

The historic castle was built in 1569, on a slightly modified L-plan. The castle is of special architectural interest for the ribbed and groined vaulting over the hall. The dovecot is 17th century pitch-roofed, with crow-steps. After the safety talk from Mark, the shooting party heads out to shoot, elevenses are served in the field and lunch is served back at the castle in the impressive Grand Hall. Overnight stays can be arranged at the castle, or locally in the Glenesk Hotel or the Panmure Arms in Edzell. Donna Dewar started beating on Fasque six years ago after she visited the estate with her partner who was shooting. She watched the beaters and picker-ups working their dogs. She didn’t want to shoot but loved the idea of working a dog and beating. She got herself a trained gundog and joined the beating team, and has been kept busy each season. ‘I enjoy the beating and pickingup on Fasque, I find it relaxing surrounded by the beautiful scenery, the fresh air and all the people you get to meet. It’s a spectacular estate, full of wildlife and very old woodland, and on top of the hill the peat hags look like a lunar landscape. There are so many great drives for the guns, I think Balnakettle is one of my favourites. We head up to the top in the beaters wagon, then the beating teams, up to three, line out at the top, we work our way down and link up in a funnel shape. You can see how the day is going

because you are high up, there is nothing blocking your view and you can see for miles. It is all in front of us as we push the birds over the guns below us. Steady dogs are essential for Fasque, it’s rewarding to see your dog working, and it adds to the enjoyment of the day,’ said Donna. Over the years, I have been out on driven grouse, pheasant and partridge shoot days at Fasque. It is one of the most memorable estates due to the diversity of scenery, the quality of the day and professional commitment of Mark and his team to ensure the guns are taken care of and enjoy sporting birds. I have walked through beautiful woodland, crossed bridged streams on the way to the pheasant drives and sensed the excitement building in the shooting party as we walked onto the pegs. I’ve watched the guns challenged by fast, high-flying birds, and stood in a grouse butt and photographed the coveys of grouse zip overhead. The birds had moved at such speed some of the guns missed because they didn’t move fast enough and only looked on as the birds disappeared out of sight. I have been out on the hill with shooting parties when hats and coats had to be tightly zipped up and buttoned down or they would be whipped away on the wind, the very same gusts of wind utilised by the grouse as they rocketed over the guns. I’ve had an al fresco lunch with shooters sheltered in the Lunar

Photographs by Linda Mellor

Fasque Estate

landscape described by Donna and watched white hares and roe deer skip over the heather. Exhilarating doesn’t come close to describing a day on Fasque. Sandy Milne and his colleagues have collectively shot on Fasque for more than 30 years, he said, ‘we shoot early December and have always enjoyed the high, fast birds and the spectacular scenery. Our shooting parties are well taken care of, Mark is first rate and Jim

is a good character who always takes the time with any novices to help settle them in. The whole day is well put together, the food in the castle is excellent and there are not too many big distances between the drives.’ Sandy recalled a day a few seasons ago, ‘it was a crisp December morning, clear blue sky and frost on the ground. The birds were great and one of our shooting party got a right and left woodcock.’

Fasque estate can cater for 8 up to a maximum of 10 guns on a driven day, and 5 to 7 on a walked-up day, accommodation can be arranged at Balbegno Castle or the local hotels in Edzell, less than 5 miles away. Fasque also offers ladies days, family days usually in December where they often shoot through and plan a festive themed lunch afterwards at Balbegno castle. Shooting guests bring their own guns, can shoot single and

double gun days with loaders or hire estate guns. Mark said, ‘we are very fortunate with Fasque’s topography, we have everything we need for a great day’s shooting. We present challenging, fast partridge and pheasant largely from mature woodland. The pylon drive and the long pond are great drives, and everyone raves about Balnakettle, it’s right up on the hill and on the fringes of the grouse moor.’

To book driven, semi-driven and walked-up shooting on Fasque Estate: Mark Ancliff m.ancliff@fasque-estate.com 0771 4409121 Estateoffice info@fasque-estate.com 14

THE INTERVIEW up close & personal

Carrie Smith When did you first start shotgun shooting? I first started shooting when I was 11 year old

shooting grounds? In Scotland my preferred shooting grounds would be Auchterhouse or Glenmorrison

What or who encouraged you take up shotgun shooting? Since my dad is a gamekeeper I have been brought up around shooting. I was always at him to let me have a go. He probably wishes now he didn’t as I have cost him a small fortune.

What shotgun, cartridges and chokes do you use? Kreighoff K80. Pro trap Express super comp cartridges

How often do you compete and what’s your biggest moment in a competition environment? I compete nearly every weekend and go to all the major competitions in the UK. I have had a few big moments but the one I will never forget was shooting 100/300 maximum score at the European championships I am only the 2nd ever woman to have achieved this in Scotland ladies shooting and making it into AA class with 97 percent for 2018 season.

Who would you credit as helping you on your shooting journey? My dad would have to get the most credit. He has helped out financially and been there to support me on my good and bad days.

How do you juggle your job and shooting? I am lucky my work accommodates me when I need time off to go shooting What do you enjoy when you are shooting and what disciplines? I mainly shoot DTL. I love the 16

Do you have any sponsorship? Yes, I do - Kreighoff and Express cartridges

atmosphere and I thrive on the pressure. What shooting challenges do you face/have you faced and how do you resolve them? I have faced many challenges in my years of shooting. The best way to resolve these is to practice. Every one has bad

days but even if things don’t go to plan you have to keep on going. How often do you shoot? I practice about 3 times a week and do competitions nearly every weekend Do




What do you have in mind for your shooting over the next year or two? I want to keep up my shooting performance shooting big scores and show other woman that it’s not just the guys who can do this. If I put my mind to something I will achieve it but this doesn’t happen over night but if you put in the time you will achieve your goals. What good advice would you like to share? Learn from your mistakes. We all have our bad days. Never give up, and set yourself realistic goals

View Point By Niall Rowantree

The deer review 2019/20 and a common vision This spring has certainly been an improvement on last year on the west coast of Scotland. Our wild red deer seem to have fared better and as we look forward to the coming season we can hope that population will recover from the poor calf survival of 2017/18. This year the deer sector is again being reviewed by the Scottish government agencies. This triennial review will again look at our deer management with a particular focus on how the deer management groups have delivered on public interest targets. There is little doubt that in the last few years we have seen an increased expectation being placed upon deer managers. It would appear for the current administration that it is almost impossible to separate the management of our largest wild mammals from land reform politics. It is my own feeling that the expectations being placed upon deer managers more than exceeds what has been expected of land management sector in general. This delivery is seen as a mechanism to bring public benefit and particular to enhance the environment and biodiversity and may on occasions be at odds with itself as it seems unusual that on a mountain side we’re there is more than

one type of herbivore that the interpretation of impact can be seen so differently. Those managing areas of hill ground for agricultural purposes can monitor and deliver their grazing practices in accordance with GAEC conditions where as those with deer can see themselves on exactly the same landscape being asked to deliver something completely different. Many authors in recent days and months have again jumped on the old bandwagon that wild deer are the source of all of Scotland’s environmental ills. I do hope that the forthcoming review will carry a clear message to the wider public that deer management particularly in the upland areas has come forward a long way and deer numbers are declining steadily in many areas. Undoubtedly, one of the largest issues facing us all seems to be the inability to get the message across that rural Scotland is a living landscape and the people on the land care passionately about what happens to their home. At every turn we see negative rhetoric about farmers, crofters and gamekeepers, mostly driven by individuals with an agenda through social media, which is carefully placed to erode public confidence in the

food producers and custodians of the land. I personally believe that like never before rural Scotland needs to put aside their differences and come together to create a united voice about issues that affect land, forestry, agriculture and fisheries and our ability to make our living and secure our family’s futures. I know we’re all busy folk and some may feel they have differences with other elements of rural industry but these differences are minor compared with vision of those scheming against us. If we get the chance at the different Game fairs and agricultural shows this year, it may be well worth while to take time to talk over with your friends and colleagues and come together and support these bodies we are all members of to present a united front and accelerate the advocacy in the Scottish parliament and elsewhere. Most politicians are vote hungry creatures and will eagerly climb on board anything that propels them into the public eye. I am personally convinced that we have a good story to tell, much of the landscape people want to fight with us over had been safely in our hands for many generations. Much of what we have to deal with is misinformation

and this can be addressed by good information. We need to be prepared to have more television and social media on our farms and estates to get the message across and let people see the human side of what it takes to run a dairy unit, hill flock or deer forest. A recent visit from the local primary school was a source of hope as many of the youngsters quickly got the head round renewable energies, the cycle of planting and growing more trees and the need for their protection. It was easy to explain to young minds, without an entrenched position, that wild deer are landscape engineers and by managing the levels we do, produces healthy low carbon food and provides an income to rural communities. The children easily understood the need for management and its constant link to the rural community and when asked if they are keen to work in the land sector, many responded positively. I think we are living in a time when people are increasingly conscious of the impact that we are having on our environment and this is an opportunity to involve more members of the community in what we do and to encourage the wise use of natural resources. 17

For the love of Scotland

For the love of Scotland By Arthur Demoulas As the owner (or custodian as I often refer to myself as) of Boss & Co Gunmakers it will come as no surprise to hear that I enjoy field sports and have been an avid shooter since I was a young man on the family farm. I’m grateful for this early introduction as I often stand alongside many great guns, thankful I’m not a complete amateur! Since those early days I have spent years travelling the globe in search of perfect shooting, chasing the seasons in a variety of countries to ensure I make the most of the sport, at least as often as work and family allows. I have many ‘go to’ places to shoot, from hunting quail in South Eastern USA and Texas to the all-seasons shooting of Dove in Argentina, and yet you can travel the world to shoot in some amazing places, but there are very few places that feel like

home and draw you back time and time again. Scotland has that draw for me, you fall in love with the place. As an American, I’m far from local and yet I find myself in residence many times a year, on and off season such is my love of the country and the rugged landscape it has to offer. I’ve been a regular visitor to Scotland for well over 20 years, long before I became the owner of Boss & Co gunmakers, but it’s worth noting that Boss also has roots within Scotland as John Robertson, one of the company’s most famous owners who took control in the late 1800s, was a Scotsman. Robertson ran the company very successfully for a number of years and is credited with some of the most famous of Boss innovations such as the single-trigger, the Boss ejector

Between drives - Charles Conger, Bob Model, Arthur Demoulas, Harry Dobson


and the refinement and design of the Boss O/U, the latter forging the O/U shape we know today. The Robertson family remained a part of Boss & Co for many years and I often feel a sense of belonging, as a result, when I shoot a Boss gun in Scotland. It is highly likely that some of you reading this magazine may have attended a shoot with me at some stage over the past 20 years, it is also likely that some of you will own a Boss gun or that you might have a passion for what we do. Established in 1812 Boss is proud of its heritage and continues to make guns using many of the traditional methods honed by our forefathers. Like a fine Scotch whisky, a Boss gun takes a long time to create, it follows a process that cannot be rushed and uses skills learned over many years which are applied by hand.

A used Boss gun is held in as high a regard as a new one, its age and sense of history adding to the ownership prospect. A similar feeling to the one you get when standing on a Scottish moor as the aged landscape surrounds you, steeped in history and unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of something with so much history and so many stories to tell. As shooters, and people who love and respect the great outdoors, it’s hard not to be attracted to the rugged lands of Scotland as there is, quite simply, no other place like it in the world. I entrust my Scottish shooting to the team at Eskdale Shooting Services, run by father and son and team Wilson Young Snr and Wilson Young Jnr ably assisted by their wives Caroline and Isabelle. They have over 30 years’ experience and offer shoots over 65,000 acres. Each is challenging and diverse and that keeps experienced shooters like me interested and excited. I shoot on the estates of the Duke of Northumberland, the Duke of Roxburghe and several other landowners for Pheasant, driven Partridge and Grouse. The Roxburghe estate, situated in the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish side of the border, is a great place to shoot thanks to its steep hillsides and a feeling of remote isolation you can only get from being surrounded by 50,000 acres. If the mood takes you, you can replace guns for rods and partake in some salmon fishing on the River Twee. Another famous estate, this one owned by the Duke of Northumberland, is the fabulous Burncastle Lodge, situated on the edge of Burncastle Grouse Moor on the borders, South East of the Lammermuir Hills. What

For the love of Scotland a special place it is, always offering world class birds within a location that is simply stunning. I also attend shoots at Lylestane, which while being so convenient for Edinburgh airport also offers a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere and offers some great driven shooting for pheasant and partridge. It really is a beautiful place that is hard to beat, the convenience of being just 40 minutes from the airport merely enhances the appeal for a shooter like myself who has to travel many hours to reach Scotland. Bowmont Valley and Greenhill in the Cheviot Hills is another favourite and forms a part of the Roxburghe estate. The valley has only been shooting since the late 90s but offers very high birds and a beautifully rugged landscape. I always find Bowmont a challenge, but far from being a chore the testing

Struan Brodie - Arthur's loader for the shoot

shoots of Gloomy Cleuch, Cheviot Burn and Dry Slack

are a pleasure and the desire to return year after year is strong.

I return to Longcroft Valley time after time, owned by the


Hind Stalking Dates Available

Contact: 01876 500329

Email: christine.macleod@northuistestate.co.uk


For the love of Scotland Sharp family, situated within the Lammermuir Hills. The walkedup Grouse is always exceptional as is the partridge on the edge of the grouse moor. The birds often follow the contours of the hills to pick up a high-speed before flying over the valley. To catch one is a challenge and I’m told the ratio is usually 10 shots to one bird…though I couldn’t possible comment in my own prowess! Lastly, I enjoy the steep woodlands of Thirlestane which provide great driven shoots but is also fabulous rough shooting of woodcock in the New Year. It’s only when you write down favourite locations that you realise how many great places there are to shoot in Scotland, and I am very aware that I’ve not visited them all. Quite remarkable. Over a year I’m in Scotland to shoot at least 10 times, but I don’t just visit for sport and also visit for personal reasons too. After telling my tales of the highlands to my daughter she decided to undertake her studies at St Andrews. I take real pride in the fact my daughter has moved from her home in the

Lunchtime. Bunny Maitland-Carew, Arthur Demoulas, Wilson Young Snr (Eskdale Shooting)

US to study in Scotland, and I am delighted to see her love of the country grow. That isn’t the only family member that resides in Scotland, I also leave my trusted Land Rover Defender 110 ready to be used whenever I visit! One thing I have to mention is the weather. I have

Between drives - Charles Conger and Arthur Demoulas


experienced deep snow and minus conditions, gloriously sunny days where the heat is like that you’d find in the Mediterranean and I’ve also experienced rain. Lots of rain! It’s fair to say the Scottish weather has as many highs and lows as the landscape itself but dressing for an inclement

day is part of the pleasure, the weather conditions making the countryside take on a different look every day you are out on the moors and also it affects the behaviour of the birds, too, making no two shoots the same. Away from the shooting I enjoy the hospitality shown to visitors, everyone has a passion for the country and, seemingly, a desire for outsiders to enjoy and understand all that is on offer. On many an evening I have enjoyed (perhaps too much when the alarm sounds the next day) a great night with locals in a country pub, or eaten a fine meal made with local produce. It’s that warm welcome that makes you feel a part of the community, and that is a feeling you want to experience again and again, and I thank the people of Scotland for their warm welcome and hospitality over the past 20 years. When the world is open to you, you have to ask yourself why you return to the Scottish countryside so often and the simple answer is that It offers something different from anywhere else. From a shooters point of view, nowhere is more open and exposed to the wind, affecting how the birds fly making them much more difficult to shoot. But that

For the love of Scotland difficulty makes it all the more challenging and enjoyable and is something to be savoured rather than feared. It’s not just the wind, it’s the terrain, the great highs and lows of hills and valleys, the deep cover provided by the plants and trees, the changing weather…so many variables that add to making each visit a special one. Why else do we flock to the Highlands but to be challenged, to be amazed and to have our breath taken away. I’ve shot in deep valleys, open fields, high altitudes and everything in between. When you plan to shoot in some countries, you know what you are going to get, when you plan to shoot in Scotland you really need to be ready for anything. History, heritage, passion and a sense of pride makes all the difference. As with a Boss gun, Scotland remains true to its roots and offers real sense of belonging to those who

Bunny Maitland-Carew and Arthur's Land Rover Defender

choose to become a part of the family. Some things don’t need

to change, when you already offer the best you protect what

you have for many to enjoy for decades to come.


habitat and species protection Driven grouse shooting may provide net conservation benefit to Scotland’s mountain hare population finds latest GWCT study New analyses conducted by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research conclude that: “it is likely that driven grouse shooting provides a net conservation benefit to Scotland’s mountain hare population.” The study examined mountain hare counts over a 16-year period from 2001 to 2017, these being undertaken concurrently with annual spring grouse counts within 76 sample blocks across Highland, Grampian and Tayside. Pointing dogs were used to search blocks


of moorland for grouse, with mountain hares observed being recorded to calculate an index of their density. The study period has enabled GWCT to describe different intensities of cyclic hare population change between regions. The study confirmed previously reported positive associations between management for driven grouse shooting and hares, predator control being considered a major factor in determining mountain hare abundance. Studies by others have shown that foxes can account for up to 90 per cent of

hare mortality, and reductions of generalist predators such as foxes and stoats by gamekeepers probably improve hare survival, whilst strip burning to promote new heather growth may help hare diet. Within two of the study areas, Grampian and Highland, “hare abundance was significantly higher on driven grouse moors than on moors managed for walked-up shooting, or where there was no shooting interest.” In the third area, Tayside, although a lower abundance was noted, indices remained “relatively stable” on driven

moors compared to declines of 40% per annum on non-grouse moors. Lower abundance may be a consequence of fragmentation of moorland habitats and afforestation during the late 20th century which has created upland landscapes less suitable for mountain hares. Dr Nick Hesford, GWCT, lead author of the study, says: “Our findings contrast with the conclusion of recent declines on moors managed for driven grouse shooting recently reported by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the RSPB. Average abundance

indices for Highland at 10.6 hares per sq km and Grampian at 10.1 per sq km are broadly in line with those reported in 1951 for the central Highlands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our data refute the assertion that hare culling on driven grouse moors has an overall impact on the Scottish mountain hare population. Instead, we found that abundance indices were higher on moors where driven grouse shooting takes place, and less so where grouse were walked-up or not shot at all. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The benefits of grouse moors to hare populations, probably from fewer predators and better foraging, appear to outweigh the disbenefits from sporting harvest of hares or tick-related culls, and driven grouse estates seem to provide a net conservation benefit to our mountain hare populations.â&#x20AC;? The article published in European Journal of Wildlife Research Spatial and temporal variation in mountain hare

Photograph courtesy of Pace Productions

habitat and species protection

Mountain Hare

(Lepus timidus) abundance in relation to red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) management

in Scotland is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/ s10344-019-1273-7

A read-only version of the article can be found here https:// rdcu.be/buWkx


Ladies Shooting

Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags Founded all because of serendipity

Scotland’s Premier Ladies Shooting Club Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags is celebrating its 5th birthday in November. Since its first event hundreds of ladies of all experiences have shot with them at 21 magnificent venues. Mhairi smiled “I can’t lie Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags happened a bit by accident. The very first clay shoot 4 ½ years ago at Raemoir House started out as a fun day out for friends but as soon as it was planned I had requests from so many ladies wanting to join us, one press release later and a few posts on social media and the clay shoot was sold out with 30 guns joining “my day out for chums”. Under the umbrella of Jomm Events her event management and marketing business Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags was born. “ “It all happened so fast, I felt I was on Concord taking off 24

at the time” recalls Mhairi. “In a matter of weeks, we had the name, designed the logo, had fabulous sponsors on board, sourced prizes and were already looking at the following years calendar of events”. Glad Rags is unlike any other ladies shooting group, they do not hold their events at traditional clay shooting grounds but are more like a roving syndicate visiting exclusive magnificent stunning venues. The portfolio of where the ladies have shot is truly impressive Cluny Castle, Gordon Castle, Wardhill Castle, Netherdale House, Kincardine Castle and Douneside House to name but a few. Ladies who have never held a gun to the more experience shot are all welcome. The emphasis is always on safety while learning how to shoot properly in a supportive and

relaxed atmosphere. There is no joining fee and ladies dip in and out going along to the events they can manage. Mhairi went on to explain “As well as learning how to shoot properly a Glad Rags day out is so much more, it’s the whole experience of the venue, the social side of seeing old friends again, making new friends and ever lasting memories are made. The venue can be the star of the show, we are so lucky to be surrounded by so many magnificent and unique locations.” The ladies generally meet once or twice a month, as well as instructional clay days they have the chance to enjoy simulated game days and driven days. Mhairi is very supportive of the novice shot and goes above and beyond to make them feel welcome and encourages them

to progress their shooting. When a lady is joining us for the first time they are allocated a buddy. Everyone has a name badge so there are no awkward moments of forgetting someone’s name “We all have to start somewhere and being out of your comfort zone can be daunting. All the ladies are so supportive to each other, the sound of cheers, applause and laughter always echoes round the shooting area. At some of the venues we offer mini flushes still under instruction until they are ready to attempt them solo. The simulated game days and the full driven days are tailored as much as possible to the ability of the ladies attending. One of Mhairi’s fondest memories since founding Glad Rags was their first driven day. The location was at Leys Estate at Crathes, it was the estates first

Ladies Shooting ever all lady’s day. Nine ladies were met by the then Head Game Keeper Brian Sim appropriately dressed in his full tweeds accessorised with a stunning fascinator and Dior sunglasses. In true “strictly come dancing style” each lady was then paired up with their coach/ loader for the day. “For the majority of the ladies including myself it was our first driven day, the team at Crathes looked after us spectacularly and although we were all quite nervous, we soon got into the swing of it, with a respectable bag at the end of a fabulous day” Mhairi is also very excited to be collaborating with Country Ways Aberdeen’s country, lifestyle and equestrian store. “Country Ways and Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags are a perfect fit” smiled Mhairi. Rosemary Michie, manager at Country Ways, beamed as she said, “I’m really passionate about encouraging women into the

sport, so to have the chance to work with and support Glad Rags is fantastic!” For the more competitive ladies there is the Country Ways Glad Rags Challenge, the ladies four best scores from the events they attend are put forward, Mhairi was quick to emphasize this competition was optional. Mhairi is delighted to also welcome MHA Henderson Loggie Charted Accountants as sponsors to the club. Lucy Crow their Tax Manager enthused “We are thrilled to be working with Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags and to be sponsoring future events. I am delighted to have been welcomed into such a fun and innovative group and I’m looking forward to getting involved with the club and meeting all the members” Looking forward to the next few months, they have some brilliant events coming up. On June the 23rd they visit the spectacular House of Schivas a

family owned tower house dating back to the 16th Century. On the 27th of June at Pittodrie House Hotel it’s a first for Glad Rags, Mhairi laughs “This next event is a fun evening, running alongside their usual midsummer evening shoot, is an event for all the single ladies and gents out there. All my glad rags ladies are just fab but some of them have not been lucky in love so I thought it would be fun to have an evening clay shoot for the fabulous and single ladies and gents. It’s a no pressure evening just one of socializing, a spot of clay shooting and supper”. Although the rest of their events are not held at traditional shooting schools on August 25th they are making an exception, it is their inaugural visit to the iconic Gleneagles shooting school. Mhairi is obviously and quiet rightly very proud of how glad rags has developed. To date they have held 62 events at 21 stunning venues with over 1,600

places taken at these events. As if that wasn’t enough each year Glad Rags supports one charity, for 2019 it is Maggie’s Aberdeen in May Glad Rags held a fashion show showcasing Country Ways and Platform at McDuff which raised £4,000. 23rd Sunday June House of Schivas - Afternoon Shoot 13.30 – 18.00 25th Sunday August Gleneagles - 10.30- 4.00 15th Sunday September Mayen House - 10.00 – 2.30pm Charity Fashion Show 2.30 – 4.30 6th Sunday October Gordon Castle - Shooting & Shopping 1.30 – 5.00 3th Sunday November 5th Birthday - Raemoir House For more information and to book www. gladragsandcartridgebags.com, email mhairi@jommevents.com or call 07841 393 155


mind our business

Shooting Grounds use Logic Logic are well known for their professional kit to accompany ATVs, UTVs and 4x4s etc. in agriculture and gamekeeping. More recently a few enlightened Shooting Grounds and Shooting Schools have found two Logic products very beneficial for their day to day management. The first is the MSP120 Sweeper Collector for sweeping up cartridge wads, broken clays, as well as tidying up mown areas and dusty roads. The robust design of the Sweeper Collector allows it to work in often difficult conditions, picking up shooting debris even in longer grass. The sweeping brush features four banks of strong 150mm nylon bristles mounted on a sturdy frame, supported by top quality bearings and is powered by a Honda 5.5hp ‘easy start’ engine to ensure a trouble free life. The power unit gives the sweeper complete independence so that it can be towed by any suitable vehicle, depending on the location and conditions. Brush height adjustment is easy and very accurate for use on lawns, roads and artificial surfaces and it has a 1.2m working width ensuring a large area can be covered in a short time. The generous 588 litre hopper allows a good volume of material to be collected before requiring emptying. When the hopper is full a draw string is pulled to spin the hopper over, depositing the load onto the ground in a suitable location. For

UET Trailers set up with single traps to offer a variety of flight programmes

heavier loads a winch option can be fitted to make the job much easier. The sweeper works well on soft ground too due to its low ground pressure wheels. Many shooting grounds have found the Sweeper Collector invaluable to keep their premises clean and tidy around the clubhouse and carparks etc. Where grass is kept short the collector can pick up material very easily and before it becomes weathered into the ground. The second product to gain popularity is the UET400 Trailer for single trap mounting, positioning and storage. This is

The first pass through a particularly heavy collection of broken clays


a simple platform onto which a headboard or sides can be fitted, but as a flatbed it is perfect for mounting a clay trap and battery to provide an easy to deploy launch site. If several of these are used they can be linked together using a tow ball on the back of each trailer as a train, to be taken from storage, set out individually and then collected at the end of the day back to safe storage. This feature saves a lot of time

Collecting cartridge wads

and gives the user the ability to bring variety to the setup of the shooting grounds. The compact nature of many of Logic’s products are well suited to shooting grounds and are well worth considering. Their reputation for build quality and value for money is renowned and the nationwide dealer network ensures good back-up at all times. See their website at www. LogicToday.co.uk

Our #GenerationWildcat is the final hope for the Highland Tiger By Dr Roo Campbell, Priority Areas Manager for Scottish Wildcat Action

Scotland’s wildcats remain in a perilous position. With potentially fewer than 100 left in the wild, it is undoubtedly the UK’s most endangered mammal. This iconic species once roamed freely throughout the British mainland, but in England and Wales the last wildcats were seen in the last half of the nineteenth century. In Scotland numbers declined too and by the early twentieth century, the wildcat hung on by a claw in the remote North West Highlands. It was most likely a combination of habitat loss and persecution that drove the wildcat to the brink of extinction. The First World War probably granted the wildcat a reprieve, depopulating the Highlands of able-bodied men, including gamekeepers. Changed economic conditions after the War meant that fewer gamekeepers returned to sporting estates. In the years that followed, the wildcat recovered much of its range in Scotland north of the Highland boundary fault.


Superficially, all seemed well with the wildcat following this recovery. But under the surface, a crisis was brewing. In the late 1980s Dr Nigel Easterbee and colleagues showed that hybridisation was becoming a problem, with many cats displaying a mixture of wildcat and domestic cat characters. Recent developments in camera-trap technology and genetics have confirmed that hybridisation between wildcats and domestic cats is rife. Camera surveys show that wildcats (or at least, cats that resemble wildcats, [see box]) are outnumbered by cats that are obviously hybridised by at least 5:1 wherever wildcats are found. Even more worryingly, genetic analyses carried out by Scottish Wildcat Action (http:// bit.ly/scotwildcatgenetics) has, since 2013, not yet found a single

wildcat that does not show some level of domestic cat ancestry. We don’t believe significant levels of hybridisation occurred following the end of the First World War when wildcats were spreading back out from the North West Highlands. Instead, evidence suggests that crossbreeding with feral domestic cats may only have become common-place after the 1950s. Our suspicion is that the wildcat population suffered continued pressures on its population over that period, forcing the remaining wildcats to breed with domestic cats at a time when the neutering of domestic cats was rare. This pressure might have come about from a perfect storm of factors, including technological advances in predator control, such as the use of powerful spot-lights for lamping, declines in rabbit from

myxomatosis outbreaks, and other changes in land-use practices. A quadrupling of car ownership from the 1950s to the 1980s may have led to more dumping of unwanted pet cats in the countryside and an increase in road deaths. Whatever the cause, we are now faced with a situation where continuing hybridisation with domestic cats means that the wildcat is disappearing from Scotland. A side-effect of hybridisation is that during predator control some gamekeepers will fail to differentiate between the tabby hybrid cats they are controlling and the legally protected wildcat. Domestic cats can also transmit diseases to wildcats, further threatening the population. Scottish Wildcat Action Scottish Wildcat Action – a

Scottish Wildcat Action multi-partner project was launched in 2015 to address the threats to wildcats, particularly from hybridisation and land management. Working in discrete ‘wildcat priority areas’, the project carried out the UK’s largest ever survey of wild-living cats in an attempt to gauge the extent of hybridisation, as well as establish the number of wildcats left in Scotland. To counter the threat of hybridisation and disease in these areas, we have been following those surveys up with the trap, neuter, vaccinate and return of feral domestic cats and those that we can clearly identify as hybrids. We are often asked why we do not conduct lethal control of feral and obviously hybridised cats. Neutering can work as a management tool if done with sufficient intensity. Yes, neutered cats can retain territory that would otherwise be taken by a wildcat, but the converse of this is that the gap created by removing a feral or hybrid cat will more likely be filled by another feral or hybrid cat. The

ensuing conflict as the newcomer establishes its territory can also increase disease risk, with scratches and bites a major transmission route for feline diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (‘cat AIDS’). We also support cat owners to neuter and vaccinate their pet cats, and rely on their voluntary cooperation to achieve this. Lethal control of cats is a very sensitive issue, and can discourage cat owners from engaging with us. Both methods can contribute to a net reduction in the numbers of feral cats and indeed without gamekeepers controlling feral cats, hybridisation could be even further advanced than it is. If landowners are controlling feral cats through lethal methods, we encourage them to reduce the risk of accidentally killing wildcats by using cage traps. All the survey work we have conducted and the public sightings of wildcats reported through our website tell us that wildcat numbers are now so low that there are not actually the numbers left in the wild to sustain future populations, such is

How do you identify a wildcat? Scottish Wildcat Action uses a ‘pelage score’ system established by Dr Andrew Kitchener at National Museums Scotland and colleagues. This involves looking at seven key characteristics of the cat’s appearance around the nape, shoulders, flanks and, most crucially, the tail. Essentially, a wildcat has thick nape and shoulder stripes, a stripe that runs along the midline of its back without reaching the tail, stripy rather than spotty flanks and rump, and a tail that is thick, clearly banded and with a blunt, black tip. This is a slightly complicated method that requires a really good view of the cat. Consequently, we tell land managers and farmers that if the cat is stripy with a thick, ringed and blunt tail and doesn’t have white feet, they should assume it’s a wildcat.


Scottish Wildcat Action the seriousness of the hybridisation threat in Scotland. Fortunately, genetic testing and morphological assessments have shown that wildcats held in captivity have not suffered from hybridisation nearly as much. Those wildcats form the nucleus of a “Conservation Breeding for Release” programme led by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Despite the problem of hybridisation, there are still some wildcats living wild that have a small proportion of domestic-cat ancestry, which are the very last of our native wildcats. It will be vitally important that they contribute to the future recovery of this iconic species in Scotland. Wildcats and field sports Scottish Wildcat Action has recently been trapping wildcats for DNA, pelage and disease screening

and the deployment of GPS collars which record where the wildcats roam. The GPS radio tracking work is a led by Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and will provide the project with data that will allow us to better target conservation work. Past winter-time camera surveys had shown that in winter wildcats spent their time almost exclusively on lower ground or in forest cover. The exception to this being roving male wildcats in search of mates. Our GPS collars in the Angus Glens have more recently revealed that from late spring though to the autumn some cats can move onto higher and more exposed upland ground. During this time of year, wildcats will therefore be particularly susceptible to accidental killing during predator control. We have yet to establish precisely what they

may be preying on when up there, but leverets and small mammals, including water voles, are likely to be on the menu. Ground-nesting birds probably feature too, but evidence to date suggests that these aren’t their main prey, with three separate studies finding birds make up 0-9%, 11% and 14% of wildcat diets . In the last year, our conservation breeding programme took in a wildcat from the wild after it passed both pelage and genetic assessments. This individual was trapped by a gamekeeper at a pheasant pen out with our priority areas and it isn’t the first time we’ve heard of wildcats around such pens. This illustrates another situation where predator control could lead to accidental killing of a wildcat if it is not undertaken with care. You can help conserve wildcats by following our wildcat-

friendly predator control guidance, http://bit.ly/SWAwfpc. There may be other ways you can help wildcats. Our GPScollaring and camera surveys are helping us identify the key habitat features that are important for wildcats. Broadleaf woodland and scrub patches (e.g. gorse or juniper) within a mosaic of open hunting ground are used by wildcats and so retaining or creating these will help the species recover. Rabbits are also an extremely important prey species. We are also continuously updating our sightings database, so please send us details of any wildcats or hybrids you see. We are also collecting road and other casualties for detailed assessments of hybrid status and diseases. Your help in collecting these would be greatly appreciated with a record of date and finding locality.

Visit www.scottishwildcataction.org/contact-us to get in touch. Over the next few issues our column will share insights and news on the wildcat and show how you can help conserve them.

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a year

Land use change in Scotland

Are we being short-changed? Land use change in rural Scotland By Julia Stoddart MRICS

Land: as the old saying goes, ‘they aren’t making it anymore’, and never has the subject of its usage been so high on the agenda in Scotland. In a country where land reform has been part of public discourse since at least the sixteenth century, this is no trivial statement. As the world’s human population continues to increase, the subject of natural resources and their use has become more relevant both politically and practically. Land, and the ecosystem services attributed to it, is a political issue due to the perceived inequality in Scotland between those who control land and those who don’t, but perhaps should. And land is a practical issue precisely because we all rely on it for our basic needs: food, shelter, water, as well as the underpinning of the economy. Though the ongoing land reform journey is challenging and characterised by conflict, it could be argued that we are fortunate in Scotland to be so well aware of, and engaged in, a debate that will dominate our future prosperity. But though the debate is an opportunity, the continuing conflict is a serious risk.

Readers who keep abreast of rural issues in the news will no doubt be aware of several occurrences in the last couple of years: the Scottish Land Commission was set-up to work towards creating a Scotland where everybody benefits from the nation’s land; the Scottish Government updated both its Land Use Strategy and its Forestry Strategy, though it seems inexplicably to be far more interested in the latter than the former; the Revive Coalition launched what appeared to be a purely desk-based set of recommendations for our heather moors that took no account of the various statutory frameworks, economic or practical constraints influencing their current management, including the suggestion of converting moorland vegetation communities – globally scarce habitats supporting a significant number of vulnerable species – to solar energy farms. All of these happenings received varying degrees of press coverage and public interest, and taken in the round, highlight just how fractious and unwieldy the issue of land use has become. Sometimes it feels as though stakeholders are

more interested in sustaining conflict than in working together to resolve what is clearly a timecritical problem. A great unknown is how Brexit will change the funding mechanisms that have, todate, underpinned land use and management in Scotland. Whether in direct agricultural subsidies, environmental schemes or wider rural development funding, the only certainty postBrexit is that funding streams will change. So far, it also appears to be broadly accepted that Government funding for land use will focus on ‘public goods’, an increasingly well-used phrase that includes carbon sequestration, biodiversity, the provision of water and recreation. Another likelihood, with senior politicians apparently failing to understand the importance of national food security in a volatile world, is that some ecosystem services may well be deemed more equal than others. So, how is this relevant to shooting and other fieldsports, and why should our community be interested in what may appear to be a fairly dry subject? Well, part of this answer relates to natural capital, the term used to describe

the world’s stocks of natural assets including geology, soil, air, water and living creatures. SACS has long asserted that Scotland’s wild game, deer and fish populations are part of our country’s natural capital, and natural capital – in turn – underpins the ecosystem services and public goods (there is some overlap between these terms) that are being brought into sharper focus as Brexit gets closer. The issue as we see it, and why we encourage our members to acquaint themselves with the topic, is that some land uses simply do not fit well with others. Commercial forestry is a classic example: pushed by our government as a disingenuous silver bullet for climate change, anyone who has spent significant time in non-native conifer blocks will know that they can be as homogenous and biodiversitypoor as the middle of a ryegrass field or wheat monoculture. And as established harbours for abundant species that are recognised pests – foxes and corvids, for example – of agriculture and conservation endeavours on contiguous land, the negative impacts of the conifer industry should not be overlooked just because there 31

Land use change in Scotland are some economic benefits. Though forestry provides deer management and public recreation opportunities on a cyclical basis, it is a stretch to call it a truly multi-layered land use. And yet, afforestation targets have been increased and may yet be increased again. In contrast, Scotland’s internationally-important heather moorlands, restored peatlands and mixed farmland, low-input grassland systems interspersed with deciduous woodland and native evergreens are a much more promising prospect for the provision of public goods that have broad, rather than niche, benefits. It is no coincidence that such habitats are also good for deer and game, while the water catchments within which these areas sit are integral to the life cycles of game fish such as brown trout and salmon. Senior public body officials have confirmed to SACS that fieldsports are a legitimate


part of multi-layered land use, provided that quarry species are sustainably managed as part of the wider ecosystem. Inextricably linked with agriculture, woodland management, riparian management and conservation land management, the habitats described at the beginning of this paragraph are both maintained by, and supportive of, several different uses of our land. And these uses fit the bill for public goods: they provide food, maintain and enhance biodiversity, contribute to carbon and water management, support the economy, and provide recreation opportunities. When one impactful land use is favoured by people in power who lack comprehensive understanding and application of the wider sustainability issues, conflict is inevitable. Increasing the amount of Scotland’s land under commercial conifer means land use change: land is finite, so the extent of areas that are currently in other usages –

rough grazing and moorland, perhaps – must decrease in order to meet targets. Though there are other land types that could lend themselves to appropriate afforestation (brownfield land being the most obvious), there is no statutory guarantee that only the most appropriate areas will see land use change. Add the fundamentally intangible word ‘rewilding’ to the political mix, and we can see how the policy incoherence and imbalance demonstrated by ScotGov and supported by single-issue ideological interests makes our community’s future rather uncertain. Conversations with SACS members indicate that parts of the land reform process could be a power for common good and positive change, and that Scotland does need to assess urgently both how it wants its countryside to look and what services it expects this countryside to provide. But land use change should never be

undertaken lightly, nor should it happen without quantification of the impact of change. Tradeoffs are inevitable, and as well as potential benefits there will be downsides; the negatives should not be ignored, they must be brought out into the light as part of a fair decision-making process. Questions that ScotGov should be asking, and obtaining robust data in answer, are: what land uses do we currently have, what value do these uses provide to the environment, our society and our economy, and what shift in this value would any proposed change cause? It would be hard to imagine a Government minister investing traditional capital (their own money) in a project without robust knowledge of the likely return or predicted loss. The clear message from our members to policy makers is to employ this same investigative rigour when dealing with our land. After all, land is the most important asset we have.

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deer management

The Lowland Deer Panel Report has few surprises Dick Playfair The underlying presumption of the report however is that lowland deer are a problem - and if not now then they will be in the future - placing deer, from the outset in a negative context, and setting management as necessary to counter issues detrimental to the public interest by way of deer vehicle collisions, damage to designated sites, damage to other woodland and agricultural interests etc. The report doesn’t present evidence of a general problem but does identify the lack of information as a significant issue. Rightly then it is difficult

to conclude that present deer management is insufficient to manage populations sustainably and a first step must be to set up effective and consistent means of data gathering. The report finds that the upland DMG model would not work across lowland areas, except where herding species are present and where such a system might provide a realistic approach subject to being undertaken at a realistic scale. Also, the report recognises that currently there are a number of different models, and lowland deer management,

by its very nature, demands a mix of approaches and varying levels of collaboration in order to be effective. It’s good that the Panel does “not recommend any approach that seeks to impose a rigid structure”. Deer management planning must be at the heart of the process, but as noted above, this requires data on population dynamics, impacts etc. The report states that the “main problem of management in a peri-urban context is that it tends to be reactive rather than proactive.” It could be argued Photo: Laurie Campbell

Firstly, I should be noted that I am writing this in a personal capacity and not as representive of any of the organisations with whom I work, but I’ve studied the report of the Lowland Deer Panel (LDP) to SNH published earlier this year and, in general, think it gives a well-balanced and fair assessment of the current situation. Its approach has undoubtedly been thorough and the five questions in the brief from SNH have been extensively examined and discussed in the process of reaching a number of conclusions.

Deer management in lowland Scotland should not just be dictated by negative impacts


deer management in fact that this is the case with lowland deer management across the board and an inevitable function of all deer management. Forward planning is of course desirable but population modelling, which planning requires is not possible on the basis of current information in most lowland areas. Education is vital. Unless the public has a basic understanding of the rationale for deer management, then those implementing it will encounter resistance. Conversely, whilst lowland deer continue to be promoted and perceived as a problem rather than an opportunity, perceptions are likely to be that not enough action is being taken. Other options (fencing, live capture, translocation) may provide alternatives to lethal control but targeted education is essential particularly in an urban/periurban context. These also come with PR risks. The disconnect between town and country is evident and promotion of knowledge is essential. Whatever education may be taken forward to promote the need for deer management it is unlikely that this will be enough. The report referred to a “relatively low sectoral context” and deer rarely enter the psyche of the public and many organisations unless prompted by negative encounter. Education should also promote positives, and much more could be done to increase understanding. The measures cited in the report, a targeted approach and position statements on deer from local authorities, can all improve public perceptions of deer, the benefits they bring and the requirement for their management. Information and its interpretation will determine where management is required and where it is not. Valuable datasets exist (DVCs, damage to native woodlands etc) that should dictate where intervention is required. The proposal for a voluntary approach to data collection is good, but we understand the long-standing

reluctance of individual stalkers and some lowland deer groups to report numbers on any formal basis. The trial some years ago by SNH to have deer cull information collected voluntarily through the Agricultural Return system was unsuccessful. Venison processing, or lack of it, is often quoted as a barrier to more intensive, and effective deer management but, whilst sound collaborative systems (such as properly constituted deer groups) would benefit from such facilities, access to a chill alone is not the answer. A chill does not guarantee markets or routes to them, which are governed by many other factors (eg meeting necessary regulations, product acceptance, sourcing outlets, packaging, delivery/supply, identity, promotion etc). It would be naïve to think otherwise. The business case also is untested. Also, the system we have already allows for small quantities, from single carcases upwards to be legally processed and put into the food chain. The disconnect may be that the deer manager does not regard the marketing of his or her venison as a part of what they do. It requires investment, in terms of money, time and compliance, and may not be profitable. Accessible, shared chills could support the process. In certain cases the chill could be at the centre of all activity with venison its primary focus. Economies of scale are critical, but the business case must still be sound for what may be a shared facility of limited seasonal use. Wouldn’t it be brilliant to see lowland deer management driven by demand for venison rather than on an issues/damage limitation basis? A collection service approach rather than a network of small local larders which incur considerable capital and operating costs might be another option for consideration. In conclusion, a national strategic plan for lowland deer would be a good start point; a plan emphasising the positives that lowland deer bring as well as their negative impacts and need for management. Data is

The Deerstalker By Megan Rowland, Land Manager and Deer Stalker Living in Scotland, I never thought I’d find myself glad that it was raining or proclaiming that “we could do with some more rain now”, but here we are. There is no getting away from the fact that the climate as we know it is shifting, resulting in more volatile and unpredictable weather. Never a good thing when you rely on it to help you along with outdoor work. The hot topic in the north of Scotland in recent weeks has been the enormous Flow Country wildfire. Covering some 55km², it is the second largest wildfire we’ve seen in recent years – only beaten by the 2003 Ardnamurchan blaze which covered some 72km² – the result of an incredibly dry summer, autumn and winter in 2018 and a mild start to this year. We’ve also seen fires blaze across Moray, and further south. There is a raft of science available on upland management – more than I can go into with my wee

column – but research suggests that humans have been using fire as a tool for around one million years; both for cooking food, and for moving and manipulating wildlife and later livestock. It is widely acknowledged that many plant species around the globe benefit from being burned, whilst others suggest it may even assist blanket bog development. Prescribed burning courses are being developed and rolled out in the United States – focusing on controlling fuel load, managing land for wildlife, and general habitat healthcare. Perhaps it’s time we look to do the same for conservationists, gamekeepers, firemen and the public in the UK. Mention wildfire, muirburn, prescribed burning, or using fire as a management tool to twenty people and you’ll get thirty opinions. It’s a highly contentious subject, but one we need to consider and act on in a changing world.


deer management crucial – without data there is no way to plan, measure effort, and gauge success. Education is vital to a range of audiences (MSP, local authorities, community councils and community groups, schools etc), a massive task but one the sector should not be shy to tackle. Venison supply has a crucial role to play and could

form the nexus of management in certain areas. Some important steps have already been taken in bringing everyone together and starting the process of common understanding and trust. That momentum now needs to be maintained through the 2019 deer management review and beyond.

Recent events in England have highlighted the importance of working together to dispel ignorance and sending out correct information and positive messages. This is also prevalent within our own organisations and without. “Raising the Game” is never more relevant from a wider context but also from our own perspective as we witness gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies affected by the economy, legislation, pressure from extremist groups and just negative feedback. The gamekeeping community are a vital part of Scotland’s heritage and future and our gamekeepers and stalkers should stand tall in promoting their positive stories and the immense good they carry out every day in keeping our wildlife sustainable and wild places beautiful. There is no better place in Spring than a well looked after woodland, with such a rich habitat for all species or the hill in bloom in August lifting with life, whether it be grouse, waders, insects, invertebrates or the

wonderful flora most notably heather. In the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust we are working hard to keep our gamekeepers’ in good health and financially sound so that they can enjoy their lives and keep working to keep our Scotland in good health too. Our helpline and associated services exist to support everyone involved in the profession, those hoping to enter the profession and those who have retired and later life. The Gregor Rutherford Charity Clayshoot at Bisley Braidwood demonstrated the wonderful camaraderie and support given to the community where local Headkeeper Steve Toft and Gregor’s brave Mum, Rachel Rutherford worked hard to ensure this event was a great success. By promoting good mental health and helping each other we can continue and achieve so much. Let us rise above the politics and ignorance and be the best we can be, both as individuals, in our organisations, and in the wider rural environment together.

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A fine pair of 12bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns, built in 1953 and engraved in the classic Purdey fine rose and scroll by renowned Purdey engraver Harry Kell. To me the absolute classic of all classic fine sporting guns, is the Purdey hammerless self opening side by side shotgun, a design patented in 1880 and still in production today almost 140 years later. Although guns like this are not rare, and a good number survive, it is unusual to find a vintage pair remaining in such honest, original and little used condition as this pair. Retaining almost all of their original hardening colour and finish, the guns have been used but well cared for and remain as good today as when they were new. The design is a timeless classic that is virtually unchanged in all of that time, strong, reliable, gracefull and elegent. It was the first truely modern London gun built and is still the standard by which all others are judged.

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The Gun Workshop by Peter Davie Hello, and welcome to a new series of articles intended to illustrate and de-mystify what happens to guns when they enter a Gunsmith’s Workshop. I hope to achieve this by taking you step-by-step through a variety of jobs carried out for our customers; from removing a broken screw or correctly mounting a scope, to more complex jobs such as chambering and fitting a new barrel or blue-printing a rifle action for ultimate accuracy, there will be something different here each time.

Threading a rifle barrel for a sound moderator

(Figure 1) A French Crapahute Bullpup .270 Win Stalking Rifle, fitted with a Wildcat “Predator 8” Over-Barrel Sound Moderator

Sound moderators are understandably popular on vermin, stalking and target rifles, but if your gun didn’t come with a suitable thread on its muzzle, you will need to have it threaded or “screw-cut” to be able to fit a moderator to it. Next to cleaning and servicing, this makes muzzle threading one of our most frequently requested gunsmithing jobs. The threads and other features we are going to make must be cut exactly concentric with the barrel’s bore and perfectly in-line with the bullet’s travel to properly align the moderator; doing this job correctly will optimise the gun’s accuracy, whilst preventing the dangerous situation that can occur if a bullet strikes the inside of a moderator. The main problem for the Gunsmith to overcome is the 38

fact that the bore of a rifle barrel rarely exits exactly in the centre of the muzzle and is almost never perfectly straight. Now, this doesn’t mean that most barrels are poorly manufactured or can’t be made to shoot accurately; these imperfections are just consequences of the difficulties involved in drilling a small hole through two feet of solid steel, whilst keeping the drill exactly in line with where you started. When you think about that, it’s actually pretty amazing that most rifle bores are within about 20 thousandths of an inch (0.5mm) of being concentric at the muzzle – however, amazing as this might be, it’s nowhere near close enough for moderator threads - we will be aiming for better than half a thou’ (0.01mm) maximum bore run-out; so, how do we address this difficulty?

One common method is to use a device like the one in Figure 2 to hold the barrel in the lathe when machining the threads. This fixture is called a “spider” and using eight brasstipped bolts it grips the barrel outside diameter, but allows it to be adjusted off-centre with the correct degree of up/down and left/right compensation to get the bore running perfectly on-centre at the muzzle. We also adjust the horizontal and vertical “cant” of the barrel to ensure that the part of the bore nearest the muzzle is rotating perfectly in-line with the axis of the lathe. All measurements at this stage are taken directly from the rifling inside the bore using bespoke long-reach instruments. It takes time and patience to adjust the bore alignment for minimum run-out before

we can start cutting metal; then the first task is to machine the end section of the barrel to the correct diameter, ready to receive the chosen moderator thread. A perfect ninety-degree shoulder must also be created for the moderator to stop against and sometimes an extended spigot, multiple diameters or other features are also formed on the barrel to further guide and support it. After all that preparation, the only practical way to machine the thread with sufficient accuracy is with a “single point” tool like the one in Figure 3 – the position of this cutting tool is synchronised by the lathe’s leadscrew and gearbox to trace the chosen thread pitch on the barrel as it turns. It will then cut a near perfectly concentric thread form onto the prepared diameter. A conventional threading die is

The Gun Workshop never used for this job, although one can sometimes be used to clean-up existing threads. A thread is about to be cut in Figure 3. Multiple light cuts will be taken, incrementally deepening the thread until it is a perfect fit in the customer’s moderator. Once all the freshly machined areas are de-burred and polished, the moderator should turn easily onto the new threads without being loose and it should stop abruptly when it reaches the shoulder. Firm handtightening will be then sufficient to prevent the moderator from coming undone. With threads complete; a matching thread protector sleeve can now be made if requested by the customer. Next, the crown is checked for accuracy and any signs of damage, then re-cut if required. This job is done while the barrel is still precisely aligned because the crown is a critical area, fundamental to the rifle’s accuracy. Finally everything is cleaned and checked again before being cold-blued as shown in Figure 4 to match the barrel’s original finish if required. Once everything is reassembled and inspected, the customer can now collect their moderated gun, check their zero and go on to enjoy the benefits of a quieter life. I hope you will join me next time for more tales from The Gun Workshop.

(Figure 2) A spider being used to hold a rifle barrel

(Figure 3) A barrel ready for the first threading cut (the blue dye is used to highlight the cut making it easier to verify the pitch is correct)

For further information on this or any other gunsmithing subject please contact: Landrail Firearms Ltd Tel: 01583 431444 (Figure 4) A finished and cold-blued muzzle thread

www.landrail-firearms.com 39

The River Clyde Photography by Linda Mellor (unless stated)

By Linda Mellor

River Clyde at Milton Lockhart by Jenna Reid

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Mention the River Clyde and many will associate it with the city of Glasgow and boat building. Years ago, thousands of people journeyed down the River Clyde, or “Doon the Watter”, as Glasgow folk would say. The route would have taken them through an industrial realm, past shipyards famed for building many of the world’s greatest ships and past docks of one of the world’s greatest ports. The output of Clyde shipyards has been estimated at over 22,000 vessels and in 1876 more iron ships were built on the Clyde than in the rest of the World put together. It’s understandable if your first thought about the Clyde wasn’t about landing the king of fish or fishing for sea trout, brown trout, grayling, pike and other coarse species. Like many cities, Glasgow is built around the river which flows through it and in historical times it was a convenient crossing point of the Clyde. Back then the Clyde was not a deep navigable river up to Glasgow, but was the last place where a bridge could be built to allow a crossing without a boat. There was a salmon fishing hamlet at Glasgow, possibly where it gets its name from the Celtic glas and

cu meaning “dear green place” when St Mungo established a monastery on the banks of the Molendinar Burn, a tributary of the Clyde, in the 6th century. The River Clyde is over 109 miles long from its source in the Lowther Hills in South Lanarkshire to the Tidal Weir in Glasgow, making it the 8th longest river in the UK and the 2nd longest in Scotland. It flows through 5 counties: Argyll, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde. To the Romans, it was Clota, and in the early medieval Cumbric language, it was known as Clud or Clut, and was central to the Kingdom of Strathclyde. A well-known Scottish draft horse hails from Lanarkshire, the Clydesdale. The river has a long association with salmon going back many centuries, if you look closely at the Glasgow coat of arms, you will see salmon feature in the design. The Lord Lyon of Kings gave approval for a coat of arms in 1886. Many of the symbols had been on various seal of approvals before this, one being the Bishop of Glasgow’s own. Designed in 1271, it included a salmon with a ring in its mouth. The coat of arms

The River Clyde

UCAPA opening the river season guest Ian Gordon

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incorporates a number of symbols and emblems associated with the life of Glasgow’s patron saint, Kentigern (often known by his nickname, Mungo). According to records, this is the history behind the Glasgow coat of Arms: The oak tree, with Kentigern’s bell hanging from it, refers to a fire which Kentigern started using one of its branches. Perched on top of it is a robin which was a favourite of young Kentigern’s tutor Saint Serf and which Kentigern brought back to life after jealous fellow pupils had killed it. The fish is a salmon, caught in the River Clyde by one of Kentigern’s monks. The King of Strathclyde Rydderach Hael had given a ring to his queen Langeoreth, who had then given it to her lover. Rydderach Hael discovered he had been betrayed and had the ring thrown into the Clyde, then demanded that his wife come to court wearing it. He hoped to humiliate her by showing that he knew of her infidelity, but

The River Clyde

UCAPA Director Ken Mackie


The River Clyde

Paul Young fly fishing at Rosebank by Munro Reid

Langeoreth confessed to Kentigern and he promised to help her. He ordered a monk to catch a salmon, and when the ring was found in its stomach, Langeorath was able display it on her finger. It is said (but there has never been a full explanation!) that the king was placated and that the couple lived happily ever after. More than one hundred and thirty years ago efforts were being made to protect the fishing on the Clyde. The United Clyde Angling Protective Association (UCAPA) was founded back in 1887 to develop angling facilities on the Clyde. Abington Postmaster, Matthew McKendrick, was one of the founding members of the Upper Ward Angling Association in 1887, which later became the United Clyde Angling Protective Association. McKendrick joined forces with William Robertson, a fishing tackle dealer in Glasgow, who had taken the train from the city to Abington to look for some fishing. McKendrick, Robertson and his friends formed the association to focus on positively influencing angling and fish numbers in the Clyde. 44

There were very few fish due to poaching. The association staked the river to discourage illegal netting and, by 1892, they had built their own hatchery near Abington and filled it with eggs taken from Clyde Trout. McKendrick spent more than 25 years hatching, rearing and releasing trout that were affectionately known as ‘Mattha’s Bairns’. After McKendrick’s death at the aged of 77, in 1926, his friends from Lanarkshire and Glasgow raised sixty pounds over the next two years to erect a monument in his honour. The granite stone spike, mounted on a boulder cairn, sits on the west bank of the Clyde a mile north of Abington with the inscription “Fish fair and free, but spare the wee anes”. You can see it from Abington Services car-park. In the 1930s, the association transformed a disused curling pond near Abington into a stocking pond but the war hindered many of their plans. When the pond was ready to receive the fry changes had to be made due to shortages of labour and materials and maintenance because of the war. The work restarted on stocking and the pond was tended to, and

by 1945 30,000 fish were housed in the pond. UCAPA Director, Ken Mackie, has fished from the age of 16, and looking back at his diary from 1962 he fished 50 days out of 52 and enjoyed catching many good sized trout. He first joined the association in the 1960s, he said, “the major objectives of UCAPA are to protect and preserve the fishing and to make sure the river remains in good condition for anglers. Before he was Prime Minister, Sir Alex Douglas-Home was our honorary President.” Years ago, most anglers were dependant on public transport as it was their only means of getting to the top reaches of the river, the Peebles bus service was popular as it ferried anglers to their favourite parts of the river. During the war when restrictions were placed on the purchase of fuel, anglers were still able to travel via the railway system. “A great way to get to the upper reaches was by railway,” said Ken, “if you had a UCAPA permit you would get a discount on the train.” UCAPA has seen many changes in the river over the last 132 years; it monitored and

identified the problems. In the early days the battle against pollution was the biggest threat as local heavy industries were responsible for many decades of contamination of the river. The association applied pressure to the local authority to gain permission from the Secretary of State to prosecute those responsible for polluting the river. In 1948, a large stretch of the Clyde was wiped out by cyanide from an unknown Works. It would have taken at least four years before fish would return to the area. The association realised that few predators would be present in the poisoned river, so in an effort to repopulate the river, they released a large amount of fry into the affected areas. The lack of predators meant the fry were able to grow faster and thrive without threat and within two years good sized trout were seen rising. In 1834, salmon were caught in considerable numbers. The rising population combined with the increase in industry meant more pollution was discharged into the river. The last salmon run in the Clyde was probably around 1860. So, for more than 100 years there were no salmon on the Clyde. Ken

The River Clyde

Netizens, Slacktivists and Keyboard Warriors By Jamie Stewart Director, Scottish Countryside Alliance

Opening of salmon season raffle

said, “in 1985, we heard positive rumours salmon had been seen and then we saw records of salmon being caught in the Glasgow area.” “The Clyde is a river of two parts” said Ken. “The upper reaches forms one of the best trout rivers in the UK, with the lower

reaches known for its salmon.” UCAPA’s 10 year moratorium has played an important part in re-establishing and encouraging successful runs of salmon. “Our conservation policies have always been well supported by anglers. Local anglers have a great attitude

Salmon caught and released by Munro Reid


Social media platforms are incredibly powerful in spreading news and information, generally for the greater good. However, it can be used by those wishing to propagating misinformation and fake news, especially during high-impact events. I reported in my last article that 98% of respondents to the Scottish Governments consultation improving the Protection for Wild Mammals in Scotland were generated by five online campaigns managed by Animal Rights activists and were referred to as “public concern and doubts”. Lets be clear here, Social media influence is a marketing term that describes an individual or a group’s ability to affect other people’s thinking in an online community. Whereas Public opinion consists of the desires, wants and thinking of the majority of the people. The problem is, what we can discern from twitter, facebook and Instagram is not exactly what is typically thought of as “public opinion.” That’s would be the 2% of respondents to the Scottish Government consultation who took the time to record their names and addresses… The Internet has opened up new ways of finding and forming tribes and attributed names to match, netizens and slacktivists or at they used to be known, good old ”keyboard warriors”. Social media platforms have given these tribes a

sense of togetherness when sitting alone in some dark back bedroom. Analysis has shown us that netizens are more likely to connect with those who share similar views, while computer driven algorithms learn what they like and feed them more and more of the same, feeding their insecurities and empowering them to react, at least digitally. However, the last top ten most shared online petitions, including some tasty topics, all failed to have an impact. Critics of online campaigns will be delighted by these results, which appear to demonstrate that sitting at home on banging on your keyboard can’t really provoke social or political change. At least for those living outside of Scotland… Internet users can currently access information more easily than at any other time. However, due to the complex characteristics of digital information, they face unique challenges in discerning credible evidence from unfiltered opinion, and in selecting appropriate information for their needs. Fake and disingenuous people were around long before social “took off”. No one really listened to them, unfortunately they seem to now. I am not suggesting for a minute that we can turn back the clock but… I wish more people would use their own judgement, research and verification. Especially those with the power to change our way of life…

The River Clyde towards looking after the river; they appreciate how great it is to catch a salmon and to return it. It is their way of looking after the river and playing their part in conserving salmon stocks. Throughout the years, people have always made a great effort to help.” “Angling clubs gave you access to tuition from experienced anglers and they were always generous in sharing their knowledge to help and guide others. We are looking for more helpers to get involved. I think we are all suffering from the lack of volunteers. Years ago, when the heavy industry and mining was thriving there were many angling clubs and all you had to do was get a hold of the secretary to say you needed volunteers and they’d send them over. It marks out the social changes over the last fifty to sixty years and it is a shame we don’t have that now,” said Ken. In February this year, UCAPA opened the salmon fishing season with a large gathering at the Popinjay Hotel, Rosebank. The first opening ceremony started in 2012, and it has grown into a very popular event, attended by many anglers and fishing enthusiasts from around Scotland who generously support the event with equipment and fishing donations for the raffle, and the hotel throws open its doors to provide the anglers with hot coffee and bacon rolls. The raffle is popular with many prizes of fishing equipment and days fishing on the river. Chairman Ken summarised the previous season in saying UCAPA has done “not too badly despite the extended dry summer.” 100% of the fish caught were returned to the river. All salmon anglers on the Clyde noticed a decline in salmon stocks to a “dangerous level”. Ken acknowledged a lot had been done to help the salmon on a national and international scale, “we are the ones who know what has been going on.” He said, 2019 was the international year of the salmon, and that he remained hopeful about the new season. Ian Gordon of Speyonline opened the event and actor and TV presenter Paul Young was asked to become UCAPA’s honorary president. Ken said, “this is in recognition of Paul’s support and his contribution to angling.

This honour is not given lightly, Paul follows in the footsteps of past presidents such as UK prime minister Sir Douglas Home.” Paul was presented with a special filled bottle of Deanston French oak cask strength single malt whisky and a custom made scroll mounted on to a fishing rod handle. UCAPA would be delighted to hear from anyone wishing to get involved with volunteer work.

Most of the river is accessible to visiting anglers by day or season permit, at very reasonable prices, from local angling clubs. Thank you to Budding Photographer, Jenna Reid, age 10. River Clyde Fishing: http://www.lamingtonfishing.co.uk/ https://midclydeanglingassociation.com/ http://www.ucapaltd.com/ http://www.fishclyde.co.uk/index.html (for information) https://www.speycaster.co.uk/


The Ghillie Catching a Salmon on the Fly By Bob White Ghillie on Catholes, Pitlochrie, Benchil and Luncarty on the River Tay

Prepare yourself first of all. Before you enter the river, you should have checked your tackle whether spinning or fly fishing. Your reel should be set at a reasonable tension, which should not be too tight, or too free running so that your fish will be properly hooked when it takes. If spinning, never strike a fish under any circumstances, as it will drive it crazy and make playing it even more difficult. If you strike a fish while fly fishing, you will probably lose it straight away. The hook will have been pulled out of its mouth. Let the salmon turn and run. The salmon takes you and you do not take the salmon if you understand what I mean. The strength of cast may vary according to the time of year, clarity of water and size of river. Maybe 15 pounds in spring and autumn


with a shorter leader, maybe around 3 to 4 feet and down as low as 10 pounds in high summer keeping your fly well away from the main line so perhaps at least 6 feet or more. Before you enter a pool you should understand a bit about its geography so you can be prepared in the eventuality of hooking a fish. Are there any visible snags, overhanging trees? Where are the possible landing sites? If you are fly fishing it is extremely difficult to net a fish on your own, so it is important to locate a good place to hopefully beach a fish. If you have a net locate it at an appropriate place to land a fish. It is easier to have the net set up rather than struggle to take it off your back and get it organised during the fight. Improving your chances of catching a fish as well is important.

Everyone says catching one is down to luck but believe it or not you can increase your chances if you do the right things. Understanding the water and potential salmon lies is important and if there is a ghillie you should ask his or her advice. Fishing at the correct depth is also important. In low water you may have to work the bait if spinning to avoid being snagged. In summer with higher water temperatures spinning fast can be effective. To give a salmon just a glimpse of a bait will make it chase and take well. Too slow and the fish will not respond. In early and late season fishing the correct weight of bait is important, as you want it to fish throughout the whole cast right into the bank. Choose the correct line if fly fishing. This may be the appropriate sinking rate according to the pool depth and flow in spring

and autumn. In warmer conditions floating lines and the correct sinking tip is vital. There are so many variations nowadays and it can be difficult and confusing for less experienced anglers. Advice from the ghillie or an experienced friend again is important. Cast within your capabilities. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t try to overcast as all you will achieve is a tangle or your fly will not be fishing properly! It is better to cast a good short line than a long bad line to increase your chances. The luck then is covering a taking fish. Hooking the fish. The pull of a fish on the end of the line is ultimately what we are after so it is vitally important to do this bit correctly! If you have followed the first points the fish should hook itself as it pulls the line away. You do not strike! All you have to do is

The Ghillie raise your rod to about 2 oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clock to make the fish start to fight the rod and your tension on the reel that sets the hook. You should not have your tension too tight at this stage and you should allow the fish to take line if it wants as you can always increase the tension if need be later especially if it is a big fish. When fly fishing people have various methods and beliefs over the years. When I first started fly fishing I was told to hold a loop and when the fish pulled you were to let the loop go but everytime I did that there was nothing at the end of the line when the loop went! Someone then told me to just let then pull against the tension of the reel and after that everyone was a coconut! I hold the line against my rod and when I feel a fish pull it let it go and raise the rod slowly and the fish is on. When salmon take they turn on the bait or fly so they will hook themselves straight away. You should notice with the fly especially that if you hook a fish on the fly on the left bank the fish will have the hook on the right hand side of its mouth as it turns out into the river in the take and visa versa on the other bank.

landed fish with great stress several pools down the river! Do not allow the fish to settle, in other words keep them on the move so you tire them out. You play the fish they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t play you! In the case of very big fish they can often play you for a while until they are under control and you are at their mercy due to their size. When a fish has stopped running you need to get it back by raising the rod further up then dropping it slowly and winding in the slack. Try to do this as smoothly as possible and not jerk the line and drive the fish mad as you will make life more difficult for yourself. Early on in the fright you may find the fish will only come in a limited way then it will want to turn and run again. Be prepared for that as it can happen suddenly but do not be alarmed and let it run again before getting back and keeping it moving to tire it out. It is at this stage you may want to increase your tension if you feel the fish is taking line too easily and you are not making much headway. When fly fishing you can break runs by putting the palm of your hand on the reel rim and applying gentile pressure to increase tension. Stay out in the river until you have the fish well

under control. I lower water if you come to the bank too early the line can get snagged especially if you have a lot of line out. Once the fish is on a shorter line then make your way to the bank. Landing the fish. Once the fish starts to tire it is nearly ready to land and you should now have the upper hand and be able to dictate to the fish what you want to do. If you are on your own then you should be taking the fish to the appropriate spot to land in a net or beach. Try not to do this too hastily as you will end up in trouble. If you

are with someone such as a ghillie you need to present the fish to the net and not have the netter trying to fish for the salmon under the water. When netting a fish the netsman should be standing downstream of the angler by a few yards. Once the fish is tired you should be able to bring the fish to the surface so the net can be put under the fish and safely raised to secure it. If you are going to release the fish do not take it out the water and touch it as little as possible. Unhook it, take a picture if necessary, in the net and release. Tight Lines!

Playing the fish. Once you have hooked the fish you do not want to loose it. If the river is at a settled height it is normal that salmon take well and you should land far more than you loose. When the river is unsettled, however, then loosing fish can happen more often as they do not take as well. I have all ready mentioned that it is important to let the fish run and not have your tension too tight. Do not panic if the fish takes a long run because it will stop and you will be able to get it back. Salmon are fairly predictable normally unless you foul hook one. They will not run out a pool unless you let them. If you are near the tail of a pool you should find they might go deep into the tail but should stop 9 times out of 10 and come back. If you are near the tail of a pool you should try to go back up stream and take them away from there when possible. If a fish goes to the tail do not start following them as they will not stop and keep going and going. I have seen people do that countless times and they have 49

A wake up call?

2018 A salmon season to forget, or the final wake up call? PART 1 By Ian Gordon

As my salmon season of 2018 stuttered to a close, I looked back at the year with a sense of, thank god for that! As with every year, it began with so much optimism, but very quickly fell into the cycle we have expected over the past few years. The main problem being, not the low water, but a complete lack of fish and, worse than this, is a massive lack of understanding of exactly how many salmon we have in our rivers! The whole subject of the decline in numbers of salmon is a bit of a catch 22. On one hand, we want to shout loudly, “LISTEN, WE HAVE A MASSIVE PROBLEM”, “ONE OF SCOTLANDS MOST ICONIC CREATURES IS “SERIOUSLY” UNDER

Atlantic salmon


THREAT”! Whilst on the other hand, we want to keep our fisheries businesses, their support industries and people who rely on them, viable. A few years ago, via a petition, I headed a campaign to have mixed stock nets closed down, something which at the time, was 100% necessary. However, my main inspiration for this was not to “help save the species”, no, it was to buy some more time for the 3000 people who directly rely on those fish for their livelihoods. Although at the expense of the livelihoods of a far fewer number still involved in netting salmon, this action was the last of many measures put in place over the years to try and stop the decline, none of which

has. Drift netting in the early 1970s through to Catch and Release in the early 2000s. We now know that measures such as catch and release were only ever going to buy us time. So how did we use the time bought by all the actions above? Not a great deal is the answer. In fact, 40 years on, we are no closer to understanding what wrong with Atlantic Salmon. In fact, and somewhat amazingly, most people running our rivers and being paid to carry out research, don’t even know how many salmon are actually in our rivers, holding on to a misguided belief that fishing with rod and line will exploit just 10-15% of the rivers salmon population. This, along with other serious errors and oversights made by people

“assuming”we have tens of thousands of fish running our rivers has led to what we have seen across Scotland this year, an almost collapse in the run of salmon over the whole country. I recently heard someone say the overall population of salmon in the North Atlantic has dropped from 8 in the 1970s to 3 million today. Yet another figure plucked out of mid air and no more true than 10-15% figure above. Total nonsense. They believe we have a little less than half in our rivers today as in the 1970s. Well, I ask the same question here of every Ghillie and rd who remembers this time. Would you say that our rivers have just a little less than half of what we had then? Every single one will say this is more like a tenth or less! Why the hell do those clowns not talk to people who actually know!? Or is it, they don’t really want to know!? Over the past 25 years, quietly, I have tried to highlight the real scale of this decline to those who obviously don’t have, or “want” to have, an understanding of the subject matter. The fact of the matter is, the number of salmon in our rivers is much lower than people like to think or believe! We use data sets based on the daft figure of 10 – 15% caught by rod and line, honestly, it beggars belief. For ever one we catch there’s another 10 under the water! The figure is simply no longer relevant and hasn’t been since around 2010. Why do I know, or am so confident in this?

A wake up call? The answer lies back in the 1980 when I first began to snorkel my pools on Lower Pitchroy, the upper of the 3 Knockando beats on the river Spey. At this time, fish were plentiful in each of the six pools, some having more than others, but generally, by late August (the best time for counting in this area) all pools were well stocked. To give a sense of what was actually there, in the poorest pools, I’d find between 20 and 50 fish. Whilst in the best holding pool, I’d estimate (it was humanly impossible to count) around 500. All in all, at this time, this mile of fish would be home to as much as 1000 fish. However, it must be said, Beat was also home to one of the biggest and best”holding” pools in the area. But over all, based on my own count, I’d have guessed the river, at this time had easily 500 fish for every mile or 50 – 70 thousand in the river. What I always found interesting was, on years where numbers were obviously lower, It seemed to make little or no difference to the overall annual rod catch, but why? Because the river was properly stocked, there was a surplus and the main criteria for catching fish in good numbers was water conditions and competent anglers during those weeks with good conditions (A subject that warrants a totally separate article). Give or take one or two poor seasons in the early 1990s this trend continued until the late 1990s. However, after this I noted something different. On snorkelling the pools at this time (usually late August) I noticed some pools would be empty and have no fish at all. At the time we blamed all the excavation on the Tulchan Beat to try and improve the fishing up there, however, after a few more years and into the early 2000s it became obvious that numbers of fish in the river were seriously dwindling, however, even with only two of the six pools holding fish, catches remained fairly buoyant and overall, “the

river” was still producing 10k, mainly killed, to the rod and line. My own thought during 2001 was, we must now be catching a higher percentage of the fish Han in the past. River managers must have noticed this too, one of the reasons for catch and release, the final act in trying to buy more time, began to be muted around the Spey. In actual fact, although necessary, this would bring its own problems, especially over the past 4 or 5 years! By the time I left Lower Pitchroy in 2004 my estimate for numbers of fish in the beat in late August had gone from 1000 at the peak to 200. However, the catch for the beat hadn’t changed that much. This was when I didn’t “think”, but “knew”, catches by rod and line had very little relevance to numbers in the river, and without any doubt, “as the overall number declined, so the number caught by rod and line increased”! By the time catch and release got going properly there was now no doubt in my mind that, as the number of fish fell below a certain point, in the case of the Spey, I’d say 20k, then the percentage caught by rod and line increase. Until this time the war cry was always, well, we’re still averaging 10,000 to the rod and line, so, what are you talking about, all is fine! Remember thinking, why are those guys not listening to reason and the voice of experience?. Looking back it’s easy to see where things have gone wrong, but few will admit they were wrong in failing to listen to those good people on the ground. Instead, agents and estate managers, none of whom spent any time on the river provided owners with, well, what they wanted to hear. This, along with a failure to face up to the facts, I believe, was the beginning of the real rot regarding the salmon fishing business. Yes we had a decline and everyone knew, but very few people actually understood the scale of the problem. The problem being, we may now be catching, not 10, but 50%+ of the fish in the river.

Rebuilding the case for the working countryside

By Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman, Alex Hogg The General Licence fiasco in England has made all of us aware of the extent and pace of change when it comes to rural matters today. What it has done, I feel, is highlighted the need for all of us to stand together- like has happened in England- to re-make the case for wildlife management and its benefits. With the disconnect growing between how the general, non-specialist public view issues such as food production, climate and land use and those whose connections to land and its inhabitants come from being producers, we need (on our side) to go back to basics and first principles. Wildlife protection is not wildlife management. More and more people, though, who are taking a theoretical interest in land management,

perhaps through reading online articles and papers, feel the best way to benefit a species is to offer it protection. This is a totally natural response. If someone is reviled by something, the initial reaction is to say something ‘has to stop’. If it is nature, it ‘must be protected’ or something affecting it ‘must be banned’. The reality, however, is that such reactions often do the opposite. If we offer gold plated protection to the birds and mammals in rude population health but fail to acknowledge how they will effectively delete their more vulnerable prey species, are we protecting or merely ignoring? There is very little land in the UK today which is not managed, whether to grow trees, produce food, to connect infrastructure for homes or build roads for expanding populations. Wildlife has been affected. There is no way it could not have been. Sadly, there is a highly selective view of who is to blame. Farmers are accused of wrecking habitats, gamekeepers of creating barren mono-cultures. Neither are true. The working countryside must re-build its case on solid foundations. Otherwise we will be going around in endless circles forever more.

www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Inveralmond Business Centre. 6 Auld Bond Road, South Inveralmond, Perth, PH1 3FX. Tel: 01738 587515

A wake up call?

Atlantic Salmon on the way to the spawning grounds

In PART 2 I will go into more detail of why I “know” this to be the case, but also why, if managed properly, we don’t need the “fabled” tens of thousands of salmon to provide us with a decent salmon fishery. In fact, of the past 5 years, in all probability, as with many other big rivers, the Spey has had less than 10,000 fish in it. However, we’ve had some really nice fishing days


in that period too. It’s all about managing expectation, facing up to and dealing with reality. The past 5 years has seen the number of fish in our rivers plummet to levels never seen since the Atlantic Salmon began to colonise and Drive Arctic Char out rivers and streams a few thousand years ago. I use the word colonise, because in fisheries, be it the ocean or our

Leaping Salmon in Perthshire waterfall

rivers, the success of one species, normally is at the expense of another. It will be interesting to see just how many pink salmon return to spawn in our rivers during 2019. In part two I will focus on counting salmon and reveal

what we found when counting fish in the river during low water this summer. I think many people are in for a shock! However, every problem has a solution. It’s simply a case of fully understanding the “Inriver” problems.

news GTA welcome first lady onto council

Here comes Summer The Gun Trade Association has existed to protect, promote and represent the Trade for 128 years. They have just appointed their first woman onto Council. “I am delighted that Sam Macarthur is joining the Council of the GTA. It is a double benefit in that, as well as being a leader in our industry, she will also be the first woman to take up that appointment since 1891. There has never been such an important time for the GTA to do its work and ensure we preserve our businesses and our jobs; getting a broader representation of the shooting family is important to us.” Simon West GTA Director. In the last few years the UK shooting community has seen a significant increase in the number of women who holding certificates. The latest report from the Home Office stated that there are now 30k female combined firearm and shotgun certificate holders in the UK. Female shooters are blazing tracks with representatives for all disciplines from rimfire rifle through to prospective Olympic medallists. The main governing bodies including BASC, CPSA, UKPSA, to name a few, all now have female representatives and hold various events for ladies across the UK. Women now represent a larger population of shooting than ever before and have become a

driving force within our industry, it comes as no surprise that the Gun Trade Association have welcomed Sam MacArthur, MD of Viking Arms, as the first lady to be honoured to take position within the GTA Council. The Council is led by a select group of industry professionals who work together to offer strategic direction within the industry. The GTA are committed to supporting businesses, individuals and manufacturers in the UK and internationally. Viking Arms have been active in the UK gun trade for over 50 years and Sam has led the business from strength to strength since taking the helm of the family business. She is wellrespected within the industry and a fine choice for the GTA board. “I am very honoured to join the GTA council at this time it can’t be denied that there is general wind of change and I am pleased that our industry is not falling behind. Having said that, I have no intention of simply being a tick box. I began my career in law and qualified as a Barrister, however I have spent the last 20 years in the Gun Trade. My experience as a distributor covers a wide field including Defence, Shooting Sports and Industrial trade and I am looking forward to contributing to the industry through the GTA” Sam MacArthur.

By Andrew Grainger Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group Team SCSTG are busy preparing for all this summer’s events. We will be attending the GWCT Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace, 5 to 7 July 2019 and following the huge success of the inaugural ‘Junior Macnab Challenge’ event last year, with over 200 entrants, we are running it again. Thank you in advance to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Game Angling Instructors Association (GAIA) and the National Target Sports Association (NTSA) who will be supplying coaches and equipment for each of the disciplines. The event is being sponsored by Scottish Youth & the Countryside Education Trust and Basil Death Trust. Prizes have been offered by Seeland, Fishing Megastore, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine and GWCT. It is also hoped that we shall be able to run it at The Highland Field Sports Fair at Moy, 2 and 3 August 2019. We will also be returning to The Game Fair (formerly the CLA Game Fair) at Hatfield

House, Hertfordshire, 26 to 28 July 2019, where we will again be on the BASC stand. Do come and say hello if you are at any of these events. As you may be aware, we are planning to hold an online auction which will be launched at the Scottish Game Fair and publicised to our newsletter subscribers, social media followers and at Hatfield and Moy. A successful outcome will help to fund future projects including: s 4ARGETED ADVERTISING AND social media promotion to help maintain the current interest in Scottish sport shown by Europeans and grow the interest on and take up of Scottish sport from Canadian and North American tourists. As outlined in the SCSTG’s strategic plan, ‘Game for Growth’, we are aiming to grow the value of the Scottish country sports tourism sector to £185m per annum by 2020. s 5PDATING OUR WEBSITE to incorporate current design trends and security features.

Please follow our social media accounts and check our website www.countrysportscotland.com for further information. 53

Scottish quality wild venison

It’s all in the Name…

Scottish Quality Wild Venison By Jamie Stewart It is widely recognised that venison is a premium food, renowned for its quality, provenance and health credentials, and its reputation continues to rise in both domestic and international markets. We know the venison market in the UK alone is estimated to be worth around £100 million per year and demand has been increasing year on year. We were delighted then when Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP hosted a Scottish Venison Summit in March 2018 , bringing together representatives from both the wild and farmed sectors, those involved in the wider supply chain and supporting organisations. At this meeting, the sector was challenged to write their own ambition for 2030,


bringing together both sectors to capitalise on their strengths and opportunities and set against a challenging economic background where uncertainty is the new norm. The Scottish Venison strategy ‘Beyond the Glen’ outlines that ambition and initial plans and is the beginning of the journey which the Scottish Venison Sector will set out on together to raise the profile, increase supply and ultimately have more consumers across the world eating Scottish Venison. With this strategy in place, the sector venison sector has a fantastic opportunity to meet rising demand, displace imports and target new market opportunities. Much has been achieved since then with the forming of

the Scottish Venison association, Industry Leadership Group, a range of training events and farm open days and an application to protect the Scottish wild venison brand with PGI status. Unfortunately Brexit got in the way… Yes even here! Undeterred by such trials…we plough on! Market analysis report that awareness of EU-awarded PGI status, such as that shared with other recognizable iconic products, Champagne, Parma Ham and Melton Mowbray Pork pies, would see increasing sales through reinforcing consumers’ positive perceptions of a food’s quality and provenance. So what is PGI, why is it being sought? PGI means ‘protected geographical indicator’. EU

Regulation 1151/2012 allows for the protection of products on a geographical or traditional recipe basis like Stornoway Black Pudding, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, Forfar Bridies etc and is similar to the Appellation Controlée system in France. It links the product to the place so, if PGI is granted, only Scottish Wild Venison produced under the terms of the definition can be described as such and those producers conforming to the definition would be able to use the registered name. Importantly it is not about quality but about process, tradition, method, and source albeit PGI has to run in parallel with a recognised Quality Assurance Scheme, in this case Scottish Quality Wild Venison, or produced under other legitimate process so those outside the SQWV scheme would not be excluded. The application covers the name and description of the product, its geographical provenance (being all Scotland including those islands with deer populations), and proof of origin (ie cull and larder records as laid down in Best Practice Guidance. It also describes the method of production. From the stalk to the larder and onward to the processor, and narrative about why Scottish Wild Venison is unique, not least that Scotland has its own legal framework for the protection, regulation and management of wild deer. As it says in the application, a Scottish Wild Venison designation would provide a valuable link between a “wild” meat and an established, traditional process that has been followed, albeit significantly modernised, for more than 100 years.

Scottish quality wild venison It would provide an essential link between the provenance of that product, whether from wild red deer culled across Scotland’s spectacular upland deer range, or roe deer from the country’s low ground hills, woodland, forestry and farmland. The strategy for the sustainable management of Scotland’s wild deer is laid out in the Scottish Government document Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach and accompanying action plan, and the Code of Practice on Deer Management. Methods of culling are governed by law and by strict voluntary codes, with onward processing to market also undertaken to established quality standards including Best Practice Guidance, the Game Meat Hygiene Regulations, Deer Management Qualification training etc. The Scottish Quality Wild Venison (SQWV) scheme is open

to all public and private sector producers that meet the required standards, subject to inspection.

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Login to the SQWV website for further details on how to apply. http://www.sqwv.co.uk The designation should apply to “wild” Scottish product culled and processed in Scotland. All product designated would require to be produced in line with the Codes of Practice, legislation and licensing processes outlined, and subject to verification of these. What happens after Brexit? We are not exactly sure except that there will most likely remain a PGI or equivalent UK (rather than European) scheme that all UK products with PGI or Protected Designation of Origin

(PDO) status would be adopted into or, who knows, the European scheme may hold good even for those outside the EU. We are exceptionally fortunate that on the one hand we have a rich asset in our wild deer as a sustainable source of healthy food and, on the other, increasing enthusiasm and undoubted potential to grow our farmed venison sector to meet expanding markets both in the UK and elsewhere. This strategy points all of us in the right direction with a set of common goals for 2030. Can we meet expectations, as with much in relation to Brexit we will need to wait and see!


The Horns of The Red Deer) The Most unique Deer Stalking Smock to be launched at SCOTTISH GAME FAIR a very innovative Highland Deer Stalking Smock with numerous features. A silent, waterproof, windproof and breathable Fleece. Coming in a camouflage beating lightweight tweed pattern (Argyll) which disappears on the open hill and features a zip in anti-midge veil with fabulous un-interrupted vision. Other features include an upper zippered pocket with “D” ring for smoke indicator, roe calls, radio, etc... The veil zips into place on the front of the hood and rolls up under a studded flap when not in use. With further binocular pocket and interior pocket for telephone and car keys as well as further pockets for drag ropes. Deep side hand pockets and a zippered pocket on the back ( for drag ropes etc ) are featured along with a back longer than the front to protect when sitting down . There are 2 x zippered side vents with mesh lining to allow a breeze through whilst still keeping the midges out! “Mossies will drive you mad ... for further complete protection in warmer months ... try on the “Anti Mosquito Quadrider”

“To try on also see the fuller range of LADIES, FLY FISHING, GAME SHOOTING and PICKING UP clothing please visit us at GAME FAIRS in summer. NomadUK also offers a bespoke and estate outfitting service” For full range visit www.nomaduk.net or call 07736 25 5100

news Round-Action Renaissance – New owner for John Dickson & Son Established in 1820 and renowned as the builder of the iconic Round-Action gun, John Dickson & Son, the oldest working gunmaker in Scotland, has recently come under the new ownership of Jean-Pierre ‘J-P’ Daeschler. J-P Daeschler entered the gun trade as an apprentice in 1988 and soon came across the firm of John Dickson & Son, developing a passion for the elegant RoundAction. He opened his own gun stocking and restoration business in 1997, and by 2016 was building guns under his own name. As a fully trained gunmaker himself, J-P will oversee the build of

the Dickson Round-Action in their workshop in Dunkeld and with the experience and skills of Dickson’s three other onsite gunmakers, the future of RoundAction production is in good hands. The Round-Action is one of the most graceful and well balanced guns ever built and little has been improved on its trigger-plate lock design since the patent was filed in 1880. In addition to building the Dickson Round-Action, the James MacNaughton ‘skeleton’ gun will also continue to be built along the Daniel Fraser boltaction stalking rifle. The firm

is already building a number of small gauge guns and a 28 gauge side-lever Round-Action

shotgun is under production, a combination that Dickson’s have never built before.

Grouse moors may be the curlew’s last refuge An international scientist has claimed the ability of the endangered Curlew to cling on in Scotland and beyond could lie in the hands of gamekeepers managing key moorland habitats. Dr Daniel Hoffman, a certified biogeographer with Game Conservancy Deutschland, was speaking ahead of the second World Curlew Day, which takes place this Sunday (April 21st). He has studied Curlew and other globally threatened wading birds in Germany and Scotland for 4 years, measuring relative breeding success. After assessing 2018 results, he believes management undertaken by gamekeepers for red grouse is helping sustain core Curlew populations, with ramifications for the species overall. The UK supports about a quarter of the world’s entire Curlew population yet, while numbers in Scotland are comparatively good, they have still declined 60 percent since 1994. On Scotland’s moors, where Curlew and other conservation58

listed wading birds are known to breed well, gamekeepers are managing to hold onto populations although declines are still being witnessed. Last year, cameras set by Dr Hoffman and his research team at Glenogil Estate in Angus picked up 20 Curlew nests successfully breeding chicks from a possible 22. Lapwings, Golden Plover and Oystercatcher also fared well from records of 148 nests, with around 100 nests being monitored with cameras. “I am sure gamekeeping plays a major role in the conservation of the Curlew, not in Scotland but in the whole of Britain,” said Dr Hoffman. “This is because in non— keepered areas you don’t have this level of successful breeding. “From studies that we can compare with our German data from last year, 2018 at Glenogil was one of the best breeding situations I have ever seen or read about. “For example, we found 22 Curlew nests, with 20 being successful.

news “If you lose the gamekeepers in Scotland, you will lose lots of Curlews. I am sure of this, perhaps up to 80 percent in the next few years. The breeding success depends on the management you do on the landscape.” Previous science has shown that legal predator management of crows, stoats and weasels by trained gamekeepers using approved traps benefits more than just grouse for shooting parties. Limiting the numbers of predators which can eat the chicks and eggs of waders leads to better breeding success, especially when combined with strip burning of heather. The creation of habitat mosaics of different aged heather on the moor provides cover for nesting as well as nutrition for chicks through the hatching of insects and plant regrowth. Dr Hoffman added: “If you only look at the surface, the economic factor of grouse

shooting is dominant but, after working here for 4 years, I know the benefits on the other side. You have the birds and great hatching success you never find without any gamekeeping. There are adders and so many different other species.” Across moors in Angus, Grampian, Tayside, the Southern Uplands, Speyside, Tomatin and Loch Ness-side, gamekeepers and their families have been jotting down Curlew presence whilst going about their work this week. On 7 Angus estates, spot counts found 454 Curlew. On 8 Grampian estates, 195 were spotted while 4 estates in Tomatin spied 77 whilst going about their daily tasks. Lianne MacLennan, Spokesperson for Scotland’s regional moorland groups, said: “The last thing gamekeepers in the groups want is for further declines in these special birds and it has been great to welcome them back. Everyone is keen to support World Curlew Day.”

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Airguns and night vision By Davie “Barndoor” Scott

Being able to see in the dark is an essential part of pest control and the technology is out there to do just that. Night vision is an essential requirement for many airgunners who need to be able to shoot in the pitch black and night vision gear is now very affordable. High resolution screens with video recording is now affordable and highly effective at getting rid of rabbits and rats and especially handy when the

landowner can only give you night time access. There are two main types available. Dedicated night vision scopes and kits that you can add on to your existing scope without having to change your zero and they are both very effective. Quarry can be identified at up to 700 yards and at shorter air rifle ranges the picture is crystal clear. Along with a quiet airgun this combination is highly effective. This equipment can even be used in daytime with high resolution colour screens and many clubs use it to help new junior shooters and it is a valuable teaching aid. Many versions use a tv type screen and when a junior shooter is finding it difficult to get a sight picture on a borrowed club gun the night vision screen comes in handy and ensures the new shooter can have a bit of fun and hit targets.. The kit is also very handy for disabled shooters who may not be able to lean forward and look through a scope. Night vision is an effective pest control solution but it can have many other uses and prices are now as low as £200 for a full kit. It’s also a great excuse to get out in the country on warm summer nights and that can’t be a bad thing.

the shooting instructor

A beginner’s perspective on clay shooting Instruction By Neil Silvester The National Shooting Centre, Falkirk

This article is an insight into what I’ve managed to pick up and learn within a relatively short space of time, I am by no means an instructor but having been exposed to the wonderful world of clay shooting for just over 6 months, I am happy to discuss some of the things that I hear our instructors being asked. Before I go into that, I’ll tell you a little bit about me. I took a job at The National Shooting Centre on a part time basis while I was studying at college. My job title is front

of house and my main role is to ensure that our corporate bookings are up to date and our members are catered for within the clubhouse during their visit. I take on an important administrative role during competitions and have also been known to fill the odd trap (in extreme circumstances). I do have the advantage of a military background, having served in the British Army as an Infantry soldier, I was proficient with all infantry weapons and

instructed others how to use them. That being said, I am a complete novice when it comes to shotguns and clay shooting. Being around qualified instructors, competitive and noncompetitive shooters on a daily basis gives me a huge advantage over someone who is a complete novice and new to the sport and certainly gives me the confidence to write this article. That’s enough about me for now, let’s take a look at one of the most common questions or

statements that I hear within the club and then look at the explanations or answers given. WHY AM I MISSING?? First of all, the most important thing to remember is that everybody misses. Part of taking up a new sport is getting used to the environment in which it is practiced, the equipment used to do it and most of all the other people who do it. It is off course natural to suffer from nerves when thinking that someone is


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the shooting instructor watching you shoot and talking about you, nobody wants to be embarrassed and I can see why some would feel that way. The reality is in fact the complete opposite. In my experience, the shooting community is a close one. The majority of shooters are more than happy to help and offer advice. Remember, everyone started from the bottom and everyone has felt the same as you do. The reasons that you are missing targets can be a number of things, each one would in itself justify an article so I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go into too much detail here but we will look at the most common reasons for novices to miss and then delve a little deeper into each one in turn. INCORRECT GUN MOUNT The shotgun requires the correct mount in order to function at its optimum efficiency. The gun should be mounted high into the

soft pocket on your shoulder, it should be held securely, and you should have 4 points of contact at all times while addressing targets. 1. Supporting arm outstretched and hand gripping the forend. 2. Trigger hand a firm grasp of the stock, trigger finger outside the trigger guard until ready to take the shot, remember wood is good. 3. Butt of the shotgun in the soft pocket of the shoulder. 4. Cheek resting on the stock. The best thing for a novice to do is to practice the gun mount over and over until it becomes a natural movement and you build up muscle memory. LIFTING THE HEAD OFF THE STOCK Lifting the head off of the stock is a common mistake made by shooters, it will without doubt cause you to miss. Remember, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t aim a shotgun, you


the shooting instructor point it at the target. If mounted correctly, it will point where you are looking and therefore fire where you are looking. The second you lift your head off of the stock, the gun is no longer pointing where you are looking. STOPPING THE GUN Another common mistake made by shooters is “stopping the gun”. This again will 100% cause you to miss the target. A clay target is moving, and therefore you should be moving the gun with it. As soon as you stop the gun and pull the trigger the target will carry on moving and the shot will sail nicely past it, without so much as a paint chip off of the clay to see for your efforts. SNATCHING THE TRIGGER This is again a very common fault but is slightly harder to diagnose. It certainly can be the difference between hitting and missing a target. When pulling the trigger, it should be a single smooth action, in fact “pulling the trigger” should be replaced by “gently squeezing the trigger”. By gently squeezing the trigger, you minimise any undue secondary movement on the gun. This may seem like an obvious thing, but it is very easy to forget when tackling faster moving targets or pairs. So that covers the most common question I hear on a day to daily basis within the clubhouse. Hopefully the answers I have highlighted go some way to demonstrating that clay shooting has a multitude of variables, that must all be considered in order to become consistent. As with anything new we try, it has to start with the basics. Only once you have these basic principles mastered, are you able to work on improving your technique. In our next article, we will take a look at the differences between a standard lesson for beginners and non-competitive shooters, and a Pro lesson for those who shoot competitively or for a living Our chief instructor Stewart Cumming will highlight the main differences between the two types of lesson and give a comprehensive break down for you all to see. 62

I get a huge amount of satisfaction being outdoors, I don’t have to shoot to enjoy a game day, I don’t have to catch a fish or even cast a line to enjoy a day on the river, or fire a rifle to enjoy stalking deer. The joy comes from simply being outdoors and surrounded by nature. It is food for the soul, and the addition of family and friends (usually!) enhances the day. We are lucky to have a beautiful country we can enjoy throughout the year. The muted browns, mustard hues and dull greens of winter are slowly replaced by colourful carpets of snowdrops and crocus, the vibrant green of new growth sprouts from branches, bluebells cover the forest floor and daffodils scent the air. Bird and animal activity increases as we progress through spring after an uneventful winter. I love all the seasons but after the short, dark winter days the springtime morning light lifts the spirits and inspires much optimism and encourages an early jaunt outdoors with the camera. The 2018/2019 shooting season ended on a scenic note for me, with a morning’s wildfowling in Tyninghame bay, on the John Muir country park, east Lothian. All wildfowling is controlled by the council via a wildfowling permit scheme. I went out before sunrise with Murray, he’s a local wildfowler and has shot in the bay for years. He takes his two gundogs, a spaniel and a lab,

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE and shoots to fill his freezer. Conditions were good that morning, the cloud cover was light as we walked from the car. I sat hidden in some gorse, togged up in waterproofs and camo to watch geese and various ducks fly over. The temperature dropped as the sun appeared over the distant Lammermuirs. It was a fine morning to be out and a fitting close to my shooting season with a very traditional country sport. In February, I went down to Rosebank for the United Clyde Angling Protective Association (UCAPA) opening of the salmon fishing on the River Clyde. It is one of my favourite events, and thank you once again to Munro Reid for the invite. There’s a genuine warmth surrounding this opening, lots of goodwill and generosity, it has a community feel and welcomes all. The opening ceremony

starts at the Popinjay hotel, where the staff kindly open the doors to the function room and feed everyone with hot bacon rolls, tea and coffee. One side of the room is taken up by a long row of tables for the fly tying demonstrations. Children of all ages participated in casting competitions on the lawn. The enthusiastic youngsters were encouraged and awarded prizes for the most accurate casting. It’s unquestionably a sociable event, there were people there from all corners of Scotland, and its perfect for a catching up with your angling buddies. Casting Instructor Tom Brown was in attendance with Greys, and showing youngsters how to cast. It was great to see Paul Young again, who was on good form. We smiled for my annual UCAPA ceremony selfie (shame Mike Shepley couldn’t make it!) with Peter Bowman, on my left.


Talking of generosity, Willie McCutcheon, gave me one of his colourful handmade fly-tied kilt pins. UCAPA Chairman, Ken Mackie, addressed the audience. He said that despite the extended dry summer it hadn’t been too a bad season and an exceptional 100% of all fish caught were returned. Ken presented the prizes, and Paul Young was made the Honorary President of UCAPA. The much anticipated raffle took place with an impressive list of 20+ prizes, many of them were salmon fishing on the rivers Tay, Tweed, Forth & Teith, Midclyde (I won this prize!), Kelvin and Tummel. More raffle prizes of fishing on the Lake of Monteith, Tinto trout fishery, Dungavel, casting tuition and fishing equipment including Hardy Zephrus 13’6 fly rod. A whopping £1,500 was raised and donated to Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). Crowds gathered outside the hotel for a group photo, the police stopped the traffic and we marched along the road to the riverbank. Ian Gordon of Speyonline was this year’s special guest, he blessed the river with customary quaich of whisky and made the first cast, expertly done and a joy to watch. UCAPA are on the look-out for volunteers, please get in touch with them. http://www. ucapaltd.com/ 63

Scottish Association for Country Sports

SACS Work Update Neighbours of the SACS office might have wondered why the lights have been on well into the evenings over the last few months. The explanation is that the volume of advocacy work and member cases continues to increase; add in the irrational General Licences curve-ball from Westminster, on which we have been working flat-out for our English members, and you have an unprecedented requirement for our expert services. Inevitably, the English GL situation – badly mishandled by Natural England – led to questions

Alex and Gillian


from our members and the wider community about the implications for Scotland. SACS has a productive working relationship with SNH, who have reassured us that the madness is unlikely to spread North of the Border. SNH had already scheduled a GL review for 2020, for which we are wellprimed to respond. Though we are keeping a weather eye on Scottish Labour and others making noises in the Parliament about the legality of our GLs, it is business as usual for now. Elsewhere in our work, we are driving forward a new

code of practice relating to the presentation of hunting on social media; ScotGov asked for this as a direct result of Goat Gate. We also met with Michael Russell MSP, the politician who dominated the media coverage of this incident, and were pleased to find our positions broadly in alignment; turning a negative into a positive is characteristic of SACS’ work. We continue to carry out indepth work behind the scenes on mitigating the impact of the RANE Minister’s January statement on fox control using

dogs, laying vital groundwork with the Minister and her civil servants ahead of a new animal welfare bill being brought forward in the Parliament. This is just a tiny snapshot of our extensive work across Scotland and the rUK. Members who are online will have already received notification of our full newsletter update (located on our website), but any member who doesn’t have internet access is welcome to call the office to request a posted hard copy, which we’ll send to you at no charge. See you on the game fair circuit!

Favourite reads

Thunder Bay By Douglas Skelton Thunder Bay is a cracking detective story set on a fictional Scottish island that resembles Mull in its geographical contours but could be anywhere in the Highlands and Islands. Rebecca Connelly, a young reporter at the Highland Chronicle, gets wind of a belter of a story: Roddie Drummond is returning to the Isle of Stoirm, the man who was charged with the murder of his lover Mhairi Sinclair and found not proven fifteen years before. Sick of being cooped up in the newsroom, Rebecca strikes out

to investigate the ripples that his return sends through the island community and soon finds herself caught up in an explosion of bitterness and violence. Douglas Skelton weaves a thrilling plot in this novel, weaving between past crimes and present crises in a manner that will keep you guessing. He captures the sense of island life, the differences between native and incomers and the long memories that exist in small communities. A community meeting about estate

Ardkinglas Ardkinglas What is the point of a Highland estate in the 21st century? Author Christina Noble was born at Ardkinglas, the estate at the head of Loch Fyne, which was bought by her great-grandfather in 1905. Her family have lived there ever since, managing the estate through decades of upheaval and transformation. She is certainly well placed to answer this question, and she adds a supplementary question, too: who is an estate for? The book tells the story of the estate’s grand beginnings, 66

when industrialist Sir Andrew Noble had Sir Robert Lorimer build him a house in record time. Through letters and diaries, traces the ins and outs of her family’s life. This is not, however, a Downton Abbey tale of life in the Big House. Noble tells the stories of the people who live and work on the estate, those who came and went, those who were born there and left, or stayed because it was their home. These people speak in their own words about changing land use,

their employment in the glens as shepherds or stalkers, or with the hydroelectric schemes and the Forestry Commission. The answer is emphatically that an estate is for the people who live there. Full of pictures illustrating farm shows, family weddings, shoot lunches, and the early days of the world-famous oyster bar this is a glorious catalogue of estate life and the community Ardkinglas has fostered. Birlinn, £14.99, paperback

improvements is especially well done: it brims with contempt, long held grievances and short tempers. Close-kept secrets are revealed in a helter-skelter dash to Thunder Bay, the secluded spot on the west coast the island where local lore has it that the souls of the dead set off into the afterlife. Does this mysterious place hold the key to the island’s secrets? This book will keep you gripped all the way to its stormy end. Polygon, £8.99, paperback

Shooting Scotland

Tried & Tested

Special Readers Competition



for Gents & Ladies (worth £90) On handling these boots for the first time, the first impression was one of sturdy and strong manufacture, while being solid and lightweight. The toecap felt it would provide great protection and the chunky rubber sole and treading looked great and superbly made. On first fitting, we were equally impressed. Snug, solid and very comfortable. After a quick walk up and down the shop, we were ready go! For the next week we would be wearing these Rambler Boots on a daily basis – to put them through their paces as it were. At the end of the week we had walked a fair bit and it has to be said, we loved these boots. We found them very comfortable and if you can excuse the pun for shoes – they fitted like a glove! The ankle support was excellent too, but softer on the leg that one sometime gets with leather boots, so that was another plus for us – no ankle sores here. On the couple of cold damp days, including one icy morning, pass marks were awarded to the rugged rubber soles which provided great security under foot. The exterior fabric and overall ‘build’ quality was something that we expected from a Hoggs of Fife product and we were not disappointed. Our plans are now to make these boots our ‘go to’ footwear for this summers travels around Scotland with our old campervan, and that is quite an endorsement! The Rambler waterproof walking boots from Hoggs of Fife are a great product with great quality, what’s not to like?

Hoggs of Fife founders philosophy was to go that bit further to ensure the wearer had clothing and footwear fit for all weathers, with practical details to keep you comfortable, warm and dry. Tried and tested by farmers, fishermen, riggers, estate workers, shoot captains and serious outdoor types since 1888.

A Pair of Hoggs of Fife Rambler Waterproof Lightweight Walking Boots The Rambler boot, has a lightweight rubber sole with great traction, plus a low density cushioned midsole for shock absorbency, and to improve sole traction. Fully waterproof of course, and complete with all the other essential comfort features, such as a cushioned (and removable) insole, moisture wicking lining, quick release eyelets, and padded ankle and tongue. A highly practical, multi activity boot, whether out with the retriever, heading for the nature reserve or taking the 4WD up onto the hill. Medium fitting. RRP £45.00 HOW TO ENTER: Simply answer this question: Which fact is true about Loch Lomond? a) It is the longest of all freshwater lochs in Scotland? b It is the deepest of all freshwater lochs in Scotland? c) It has the largest surface area of all freshwater lochs in Scotland? email answer to: mail@shootingscotlandmagazine.com or telephone: 01738 639747 or message us @facebook/shootingscotlandmagazine

Closing date of 31st July 2019

So what is the ideal gundog? GUNDOGS It’s a question I get asked frequently, the general retort would be well what do you want your dog to do for you, will it be for shooting over, hunting with, retrieving with, picking up, competing with, will it live indoors or outdoors, there’s lots to consider and its imperative that all aspects are fully considered in order to achieve the best end results for all concerned. The most popular gundog breed by a long way is obviously


the Labrador outnumbering the next most common, the Springer spaniel by almost 4 to 1 in the UK. The Labradors gentle nature, strong build, intelligence, willingness to please, and its ability to fit well into the” family home” make the modern day Labrador a firm favourite up and down the country. The popularity has no doubt led to the current day Labrador now turning up in many forms from slim sprinter like dogs, to

By Stuart Dunn Caledonian Retriever Club slow cumbersome plodders, with little or no drive, pace or natural game finding ability. So do your homework when deciding which breed line you want to go with, if your plan is to compete with your dog, in field trials or tests, a reasonable amount of speed is desirable, coupled with natural game finding ability, strength and most of all, temperament. The best competition dogs I feel must have an “off switch”, trials in particular can last a full day with loads of excitement for a young dog, during which time, a dog that can’t switch off,

a highly strung, high tension type dog can easily mentally burn itself out, or can lead to a lot of mistakes or poor judgement errors in its work, so for me temperament is key to a successful relationship. The second most popular gundog breed in the UK is the English Springer spaniel, and like the Labrador, its popularity throws up a large array of “shapes and styles” within the breed. From the small almost cocker like size, through to larger Labrador sized spaniels, the modern day Springer is one

Gundogs of the most versatile gundog breeds around. Their work includes, hunting and finding game, retrieving from land or water, operating at close quarters or hunting down wounded game or runners a long way out. A good Spaniel really is the ultimate gundog, but again careful selection of breed lines is essential, some of the best champion trialling lines may be too strong for many novice trainers, and as with Labradors if you’re not confident or knowledgeable enough in your own ability to decide what best suits you, speak to a number of good gundog breeders, contact as many people as you can, I always like to see the sire and the dam in action, if possible, that way you can see if the dog is bold, strong, responsive, stylish or slow and timid. There’s a lot to go into and it can be a bit intimidating at times, but once you’ve made your decision, and once its at the right age and temperament, quality training is essential in order to get the best end results with your preferred breed. There are some good trainers offering training classes, from novice through to open standard, and gundog clubs are also a good place to start, with like minded people of a similar standard, all trying to achieve the same end result. There will be lots of ups and downs during the early stages of gundog ownership, and training, but stick with it, don’t start too early and remember training coupled with ongoing experience

takes a long time, some dogs will grasp everything first time, while others can take a while. Therefore

plans on training may need to change constantly, so be flexible in your approach and patient in

timescale, and hopefully you’ll achieve a long lasting relationship with your dog.

Stuart Dunn, Caledonian Retriever Club www.caledonianretrieverclub.org.uk


country woman

Wilma Kass By Linda Mellor

Wilma (Wills) Kass, 62, has a lifelong connection with flora and fauna of the Scottish countryside, she loves shoot days, game cooking and shooting clays. Wills said, ‘my love for nature especially wild flowers and wildlife has continued throughout my life.’ Wills was brought up on a farm in the hills near Loch Tummel, ‘where my father stalked stags and hinds and any other game that moved to feed a family of six . I was five when my mother 70

would take me out, we’d follow quietly behind my father in the snow, there were no quads back then, but I can remember how exciting it was having not to even squeak!’ Her grandfather, uncles and cousins were all keepers and Wills recalls conversations, ‘were always about shooting game and my mother would share recipes for hare, pigeon, and venison with my Aunt who’s husband was a head keeper at Strathtay.’ Wills and husband, Lou, have two sons, Ben and Niall,

both loved the outdoors growing up, and excelled in shooting clays and game. ‘My husband and I’s appreciation of the countryside has been passed on to our sons. Ben having left school to become Gamekeeper, now owns a successful shooting agency, BWK Field Sports. He was also the British Over and Under Clay Pigeon Champion while at Strathallan School. Niall, having been sports champion at Rannoch School on numerous occasions and a

Scottish Kickboxing Champion now has his own landscape gardening business, NDK Garden Services. They both appreciate the countryside along with their wives and own children. Ben enjoying his shooting and Niall his fishing.’ The whole family have their own connections to the outdoors, Wills said, ‘Lou, in his younger days, was a mountaineer and expedition leader to many countries across the world. He always encouraged the boys to

country woman love the outdoor life and respect the countryside.’ As a teenager, Wills joined a local rifle club which her father and his friend were members, ‘I loved going to the range and trying to beat these two hot shots on a Thursday evening,’ she said. In 2013, Wills and her friends joined the Scottish Ladies Shooting Club and ‘got the bug for shooting clays’. The ladies liked shooting as many dates as they could on the club calendar and enjoyed the bonus of their own guns, ‘our husbands bought us 20 bore Berettas so we didn’t have to use club guns.’ Wills enjoys the social side of shooting, ‘although I am not competitive, I enjoy meeting women with the same interests. I did take a year out in 2018 to spend more time with my grandchildren before the game shooting season began. However, I am really looking forward to meeting up with the ladies again this year as it’s fun and good practise for the game season.’ Lou is a member of Gleneagles Shooting School and Wills joins him most months to shoot clays. Ten years ago, when Ben started his shooting business at Errol Park, all the family helped out with the beating and picking up. ‘Our shooting seasons starts in September with the partridges and throughout the season I cook for the clients. I also join them out on the field after lunch, whether it’s helping out with beating, driving the guns, or whatever’s needed on the day. I have two friends, Kim and Fiona, who help me with the lunches which makes life easier. I cook the game that has been previously shot as I like to promote the best of Scottish produce and how tasty and healthy game can be.’ ‘I always promote eating game to others that perhaps are a bit wary of the hunting side of it.’ Wills, a grandmother of two, said, ‘there is nothing better than being out on a shoot with family and friends, meeting up with friends

from past seasons, enjoying the fresh air and exercise no matter the weather. We appreciate the all the hard work it takes to make a successful day for clients, beaters, picker-ups and of course the cook!’ On of her favourite recipes is, ‘partridge and pheasant marinated in my own Hawthorn jelly overnight, add pan-fried red peppers, onion and garlic, with a little Madeira wine and cornflower to thicken. I tend to cook game with a simple home-made jelly in the natural juices, roast potatoes and vegetables, it’s a perfect Sunday lunch.’ A relaxing day outdoors for Wills is a day in the garden, ‘especially in the spring and summer when I can potter around after having breakfast outside.’ Wills also enjoys the game fairs, ‘favourite outings are the Scottish Game Fair at Scone and also the Highland Field Sports Fair at Moy, with my family and friends. Our little Jack Russell, Minnie, takes part in the terrier races just for fun and usually wins a few heats only to be beaten by the game keepers’ hardy terriers! Our little grandchildren Órla and Oscar will be able to enjoy the Game Fairs this year now they are in their second year.’ ‘I joined a fishing syndicate along with my younger son Niall and although I have not mastered the best cast yet, I enjoy the tranquillity of being on the river bank. Again the wildlife on the river, because it’s so peaceful, is a real draw for me. There’s always something to watch, including swans and plenty of waders feeding in fields.’ Wills has many favourite places in Scotland, ‘including Achiltibuie, overlooking the Summer Isles on the West Coast, as it was where we took the boys fishing when they were young. Also Tiree with its stunning beaches and seafood. But equally I love being at home in the Perthshire countryside surrounded by wildlife and beautiful sunsets.’

All shooting fans will be familiar with pheasants – they are the most common game bird in the UK By Ian Clark Less well known is the fact

Pheasant Association has a

that they are not native to the

display, and last year we won

UK, and were brought here

the coveted award for best



stand at the fair, with our

as a food supply. All of the



live exhibits of some of the

pheasants we rear or conserve

more unusual species and a


special display of quail eggs







Blacknecks, but that is only the tip of the pheasant iceberg. The

hatching right through the Fair. This




pheasant family (phaesanids)

spectacle, and thousands of

includes hundreds of species,

adults and especially children

ranging from

tiny European

were enthralled to watch

Quail right up to Peafowl and

these tiny birds popping

Wild Turkeys, and the range

out of their eggs in a glass-

of colours and plumage is

topped hatcher. Even more


popular was when visitors to

Pheasant species native to the UK include the Grey Partridge,



the stand were able to hold one of the new chicks. The



Black Grouse and the mighty


Capercaillie, and each year

attendance at Scone again

thousands of tiny European

this year – why not come

Quail migrate across the

along with your family and

North Sea to breed in the

friends and have a better

south and east of Britain.

look at some of the wonderful

At the Scottish Game Fair each year, the World




varieties of pheasants that occur round the world?

Middle, Ninebanks, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 8DL

www.pheasant.org.uk 71 67

A matter of proper management By Colin Shedden (Colin is Director BASC Scotland and now chairs the Lowland Deer Network Scotland.)

Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, the General Licence situation in England will have been resolved and farmers, gamekeepers, pest controllers and the large number of others using Larsen traps will be able to manage crows, magpies, pigeons etc. as they should. While many have criticised Natural England for buckling under or over-reacting to pressure from Chris Packham and his


colleagues in Wild Justice only a few have thanked Scottish Natural Heritage for allowing their General Licences to continue. Not only did they allow these licences to stand but they recently brought in a new licence that will allow farmers and many of our members to shoot native greylag geese throughout the year on Orkney, thereby doing away with the bureaucracy and delay associated with individual farm licences. At

about the same time beavers in Scotland were granted protection as a European Protected Species. While this move has annoyed many land managers in Perthshire and beyond, where beavers are widely thought to be much more numerous than the official estimate of just over 400, at least there is a licensing provision for lethal control when needed. All of this talk of licenses makes you realise how much

regulation there is in the countryside and how difficult it actually is to keep on top of it all. While it may be relatively easy for me with a full-time job centred around such issues, and of course firearms licensing as well, I appreciate how difficult it can be for those just wanting to get on with whatever management is required, what they have been asked to do to help the local farmer or crofter or just to put some wild game, rabbit or venison on the table. This lack of understanding of the fine detail of legislation and licensing became very obvious during the recent problems in England, when my colleagues in BASC regional offices faced literally thousands of calls. A good number of them were questioning whether they actually needed to comply with the General Licences since they were “shooting woodpigeons for food”, “shooting crows with an air rifle” and “they had a shot gun certificate so that allowed them to shoot pigeons”. While SNH’s recent licensing provision on Orkney actually improves the overall position by doing away with need for individual licences, as the General Licences also do, or did, we may face even further restriction through licensing. The main threat could come from the Grouse Moor Management Review, now due to be presented to Scottish Government in July. This review is looking at a number of issues

BASC Scotland but one of the main ones will be the concept of shoot licensing – you would not be allowed to shoot grouse, for example, unless your shoot had a licence. If such a concept became established for driven grouse shoots it would not be long before calls were made for licensing of the many thousands of shoots throughout Scotland. On behalf of BASC I argued against this when I met with the review group last year, and in BASC’s written submission. If such licensing was to be introduced we would be on new ground. We are not aware of shoot licensing being used anywhere else in Europe, probably for good reason. Stalkers and deer managers are not exempt - we have just seen the publication of the Lowland Deer Panel report and we expect the main Deer Review to be published in the autumn. While we do not expect great change in lowland areas what we need to do, through the Lowland Deer Network Scotland, is to ensure that the management that we currently exercise is recognised as being for the public good. The best way to achieve this would be through

accurate cull statistics, ideally collated on a voluntary rather than mandatory basis. For both lowland and upland stalkers the Deer Review could challenge a number of the principles upon which the current

Deer (Scotland) Act is based. We will need to wait and see on this one. However, I can assure you BASC and the other organisations in Scotland are doing all we can to reduce the licensing burden that we are currently having to work

under, and also ensure that this does not increase. One of the first steps will be SNH’s review of the Scottish General Licences in the autumn where maintaining the legislative status quo surrounding pest birds would represent success.


There’s a lot going on! By Stuart Blair January to May has been a busy time at North Highland College but in a bid to keep the reader interested, here are some of the highlights. In early April we had our annual trip with the National Certificate class to the island of Rum. One of our new part-time members of staff, “Bradley Bourner“, and myself accompanied the students Not only does Bradley bring a wealth of Wildlife Management experience but is also a renowned rifle shooter/instructor, which is something that our students are definitely benefiting from. As usual, the week on Rum was full of lively events [most of them will never be discussed again!]. Once more our hosts SNH were fantastic, giving our students the opportunity to spend time with their working ponies, take part in surveys and have a bespoke tour of Kinloch Castle. In addition, they were given the opportunity to speak to staff at the Red Deer Research project at Kilmory,

NC student lardering deer


If interested, call us now on: 01847 889000 or look at our website: www.northhighland.uhi.ac.uk where students gained invaluable insight into their work and were given an opportunity to watch deer in the research block. At the end of March, UHI held its annual Integrated Land Use Conference in Carr-bridge, an occasion that brings together approximately 60 land based

students from around the UHI to look at case-studies, go on field trips as well as listen to a host of expert speakers, before discussing the topics in depth within a conference setting. This year the issue of the day was “Conflict Management” and we were very lucky to benefit from some great speakers. Rob Yorke, a well-known blogger and rural commentator hosted the event. Students from the differing sectors of Gamekeeping, Forestry, Agriculture and Environmental studies sat down and discussed some very contentious issues and

amazingly, came up with workable solutions. I think many of those involved in countryside matters at the moment should have a look at what this new generation of Land Managers are doing and saying … there’s hope for the future. Whilst on the subject of emerging talent, two of our Gamekeeping students were nominated for LANTRA 2019 awards. Cameron MacLean from Islay went on to win the Game and Wildlife Learner of the year and Andy Oldham from Perthshire was runner up. Cameron has just secured a fulltime Underkeeper’s position in Inverness-shire and plans to do his Game & Wildlife Management HNC part-time [while working] and Andy is staying on at Meggarnie Estate as a stalker. The agenda of the day is sorting out Student placements and at the moment and there are some exciting opportunities for keen trainees. When I left school, I was told that there wasn’t a future in Gamekeeping, but from Ahmunsuidhe on the island of Harris to the remote and tranquil island of Muck, there are certainly some choice spots for keen gamekeepers to learn their trade.

Students, watching Deer at Kilmory Research area





West End, 127 Main Street, Cairneyhill, Fife KY12 8QX 10 mins from the Forth and Kincardine Road Bridges

Tel: 01383 882222

2019 HGHLAND FIELD SPORTS FAIR 2019 will see the 41st running of the Highland Field Sports Fair which will take place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd August, 2019 at Moy Hall Estate, Moy, Inverness with the kind permission of Mrs Celia Mackintosh of Mackintosh. The event takes place within the grounds of Moy Hall which are adjacent to Moy Loch and provide the Fair with an iconic and beautiful setting which is very positively commented upon by the many visitors who


come along every year to enjoy the vast array of entertainment, shopping and activities that are on offer. The Fair is a non-profit making event and all surplus funds are distributed to local and national charities and deserving causes. The event is planned and organised by a Committee of local volunteers under the chairmanship of Mr James Campbell supported by the Team from Strathmore Event Services Ltd and preparations for

this year’s Fair are already well underway. “Over the last forty years we have also been privileged to support participating clubs that run the events each year. The commitment from hundreds of volunteers makes this fun family day possible and very enjoyable.” says James Campbell. The Fair offers a diversity of entertainments and activities for all of the family and attracts around 7,000 – 8,000 visitors over each of the 2 days of the

event, although an attendance of over 10,000 visitors has been reached in the past. Whilst the emphasis is on Field Sports activities with competitions in Gundog handling, the ever popular Clay Pigeon Shooting and Fly Casting at Anglers Corner on the picturesque waters of the loch, there are many other activities for everyone to enjoy. There is a Gun Dog Scurry area where anyone can enter their dog to retrieve a ‘marked dummy’ over a fence in


scrub. This is really great fun and prizes are on offer for the winners. Bring along your dog and give this a go – you will really enjoy the fun of this competition. Other activities that can be enjoyed are Archery, Air Rifles and Catapults, Musket Shooting and ‘Try a Gun’ where novices can ‘ have a go’ using various different types of shotguns under expert instruction and guidance. There are various Children’s activities available around the arena along with Pony Rides and a Children’s Pet Parade in the Main Ring and also a Child Crèche facility where there are other activities on offer. All of this is supported by a comprehensive Main ring of entertainment varying from Pipe Bands, an excellent Farrier demonstrations, a Foxhounds Display, a fascinating Birds of Prey show performed by the staff from Elite Falconry, Tug of war competition which is always fiercely contested, a display of Gundog handling and the very popular Terrier racing competition which is fast, exciting and sometimes unpredictable. Come along and enter your dog into this very entertaining Main ring event – you will not be disappointed. As well as the entertainment there are over 160 Trade Stands on site offering a wide variety of quality merchandise for sale. Everything from high quality clothing and footwear, indoor furnishings, garden furniture, vehicles, land equipment as well as a wide range of animal related products. There are also a number of Advisory stands offering

information and advice on land and property management as well as some excellent art related stands which offer some wonderful exhibits. There is really a vast selection of merchandise for sale and something to suit everyone’s taste and preferences. Come along and enjoy an excellent shopping experience – you will not be disappointed with what is on offer. In addition to this there are three Craft Marquees on site which offer a variety of specialist individual craft related products for visitors to enjoy and purchase. Many of these craft products are made locally and this is a great opportunity to view the products in relaxed surroundings and enjoy the detail of the work that is presented.

Many of our visitors always enjoy a visit into the Food hall where there are many exhibitors offering a wide variety of different food and drinks for sale. This is always a very popular location within the Fair with sumptuous food and drinks to be enjoyed. Whilst walking around the Fair site, you will find a variety of various Food Outlets where visitors can enjoy choosing from a variety of different types and drinks or food whether for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack and then sitting looking over the loch whilst enjoying the food on offer – there is nothing better and more relaxing. There is also a main Catering Marquee on site where more food and drinks are on offer

and visitors can enjoy a welldeserved seat there whilst enjoying the various excellent food options that are available. Adjacent to the Catering Marquee is the ever popular Licensed Bar where friends and colleagues often meet up for a drink and a chat. All in all there is something at the Fair for all tastes whether that be for food and drink. Overall the Highland Field Sports Fair is great day out for all of the family. For more information please visit the fair’s website (www. moyfieldsportsfair.com) or finds us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Please come along and visit the event at Moy this year – you will not be disappointed!!


cooking with game

Venison Liver Pâté By Wendy Barrie

Ingredients: 220g Venison livers, cut in slices 50g butter Drizzle of Summer Harvest rapeseed oil 1tbsp Benromach Single Malt Whisky Small sprigs of rosemary

Recipe & photography © Wendy Barrie

As summer is approaching it is fun to think of picnics and al fresco eating so a venison pâté is perfect whether you are spreading out a feast on a gingham cloth or perched on a boulder halfway up a mountain! Whatever your preference, enjoy a taste of summer.

Light pinch of Isle of Skye Salt and freshly milled pepper 125mls double cream Extra butter for sealing dish

Method: s4RIMLIVERSANDCUTUPINEVENLYSIZEDCHUNKS s-ELTBUTTERWITHADRIZZLEOFRAPESEEDOILnTHISALLOWS you to cook at a higher temperature without the butter burning. Once foaming, toss in venison with sprigs of rosemary and season. s#OOK QUICKLY OVER A MEDIUM HIGH HEAT FOR A FEW minutes on each side until thoroughly sealed and medium done. Cut through a piece to check - cooking time depends on the thickness of the meat. s$EGLAZEPANWITHWHISKYANDCREAMBYSWIRLINGAROUND in pan with the livers. Reduce cream a little to intensify flavour and give thicker consistency. s2EMOVETHEROSEMARYSTALKSANDPLACETHECONTENTSOFTHEPANINAJUGORLIQUIDIZER"LENDTHEMIXWITHBLITZWANDORINA processor until fairly smooth â&#x20AC;&#x201C; according to preference. s4ASTEANDADJUSTSEASONING0OURINTODISHORINDIVIDUALDISHES)TWILLSEEMALITTLESLOPPYBUTITSETSASITCHILLS s3ETASIDETOCOOLANDTOPWITHALAYEROFMELTEDBUTTER#HILLUNTILREADYTOUSE Serving suggestion: oatcakes with a bramble or redcurrant sauce and a few green peppercorns. Will serve 3 as a starter and leftovers will keep several days in the fridge.

Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife, Wendy Barrie www.wendybarrie.co.uk is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food, popular cookery show presenter and food writer. Founder & Director of award-winning www.scottishfoodguide.scot & www.scottishcheesetrail.com Wendy is Leader in Scotland for Slow Food Ark of Taste & Member of Slow Food Cooks Alliance. 78

rural style

Shooting and looking good! The new Butler Stewart Shooting Collection defines ladies and gentlemenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shooting attire with a collection of beautifully tailored garments with function and comfort in mind. Details such as internal lined pockets, cartridge pockets and Recoil shoulder patches finish their vests, while the Ladies Breeks and Gentlemenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Plus Fours are both designed for performance and style out in the field. With a collection of complementing accessories ranging from flat caps and Italian silk ties through to shooting socks and garters, this heritage tweed label, is on the mark for stunning shooting attire, designed to be worn and loved for many more seasons to come. www.butlerstewart.co.uk


what’s new Italian waxed canvas with quilted leather Gunslip & Cartridge bag

Custom made hearing protection from Hearing ReSolutions

Check out Fur Feather and Fin’s stand G48 at The Scottish Game Fair to see their new and traditional ranges of Shooting Gunslips and Accessories. Having been established since 1978 the exceptional quality of the company’s exclusive shooting leatherware is well known and they will bring plenty of choice to the Fair, including clothing, shooting accessories and gifts for those interested in sporting pursuits. Take a sneak preview ahead of the Fair at: www.furfeatherandfin.com. RRP: Gunslip £275, Cartridge bag £199. www.furfeatherandfin.com.

Latest addition to our range is CENS DX5 and wow! …. what a product! We have a choice of 14 different products and we will help the customer decide the most suitable solution for the optimum hobby fulfilment ! Being custom made, we need to meet to take aural impressions but give us a call before the Show and we can go through your requirement, making it less time consuming for you on the day Prices from £60.00 to £699, with the very popular and budget friendly solution (but soon to be extinct!) Sonic Valve at £90 per pair www.hearing.co.uk

Edinburgh Rifles & Sporting goods stocks J Boult Designs Award-winning J Boult Designs, a local and environmentally friendly small business has started stocking the well known Edinburgh Rifles and Sporting Goods based in Morningside, Edinburgh. J Boult Designs creates handmade and upcycled gifts that are now available in Edinburgh Rifles and Sporting Goods and online through it’s own website. J Boult Designs has a range of cufflinks and keyrings inspired by shooting and conservation in Scotland. The J Boult Designs workshop is based on the remote Morvern peninsula in the Scottish Highlands and the small business sources its materials locally from sporting estates, farms and quarries. www.ersg.com 80

what’s new Ladies Gabriella Fleece Pinewood’s best-selling Ladies Gabriella Fleece. Equipped with a waterproof / wind block membrane lining (no taped seams) Adjustable bottom Hem to keep the wind out and with a feminine cut. Comfortable to wear and functional too. RRP £69.00 www.koolbox.co.uk

Mens Pirsch trousers

Pinewood’s best-selling Pirsch trousers for Spring / Summer. Membrane lined from the knee down to keep your legs dry in wet grass while maintaining maximum breathability above the knee. Elasticated waist and ventilation zips at the thigh. Knees and seat with extra reinforcement to aid wear and tear. Coated with an environmentally friendly water and dirt repellent treatment. RRP £93.00 www.koolbox.co.uk

New Game Larder (non refrigerated) Access Trailer Built on a tandem axle 2,000kg chassis the trailer is constructed with fully galvanised steelwork, alloy sides, checker plate floor, alloy sheet roof and full road lights. The unit is designed to take 762mm(30") long x 508mm(20") wide x 216mm(8") deep plastic Game trays. The unit has a 32 tray (320 birds approx.) capacity with four doors each for loading/ removing trays of game. Plus there is a narrower locker for general storage items again with twin access doors. Extra cost options include rear fold down work table and rotating roof ventilators. For more information visit: www.accesstrailers.co.uk 81


Longthorne Gunmakers The passion behind the brand

Actions in production

Longthorne Gunmakers are famous for their globally patented “one piece” barrel technology, but what many people don’t know is the history and where it all began. In 2006 James “Longthorne” Stewart, a highly skilled engineer in his own right, had the vision of producing a 100% English made shotgun of uncompromising quality at a price that people could afford. His dream began to take shape in his understated workshop to the rear of the family home, hidden away in the small Lancastrian village of Hesketh Bank. His initial idea was to uphold tradition, by using the method of manufacturing shotguns which had previously been tried and tested over the years, namely, taking two tubes of steel and several other ‘bits’ and then brazing these together to make a set of barrels. Unfortunately for tradition, it soon became apparent that this was not going to be the best method as there was no way of guaranteeing accuracy and

James Stewart hard at work

consistency repeatedly. There were too many variable factors, in the way the barrels react to the applied heat, the twist in the metal, the distortion etc. Purely from an engineering perspective James felt that this way was definitely not his way forward. With James’s skills and knowledge of modern engineering methods and technology, and after due consideration he focussed his attentions of designing and developing the concept of the “one piece” barrels, made from a solid billet of steel. After his initial triumphs, which boosted James confidence a little, the simplicity of the project ended and the years of hard work, trials, testing, failures and frustrations began. It was actually four long years later (coincidentally the length of some apprenticeships) involving hundreds of hours work, enduring countless conversations being told it was absolutely impossible, it will not work, it cannot be done, you’re

wasting your time, dozens of test pieces, thousands of pounds spend on tooling and testing, and finally the breakthrough, and the very first set of perfectly made, perfectly straight and parallel barrels were finally finished. The very first Longthorne Shotgun was launched to the public at the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall in 2010, after having visited the London proof house that very same morning!! What are the benefits? Why change tradition Their globally patented barrels are designed and manufactured totally in house, machined from a single billet of high specification steel weighing approximately 27 kg, using modern engineering technology and hand finished, thus removing any distortion or tension transferred to the metal during the more conventional brazing process. The resulting barrels are not only strong, but also lightweight, weighing approximately 1.3 kg

with negligible felt recoil even with the heaviest loads, but also have minimal 'muzzle flip', due to the rigid construction of the design, they are clearly the most advanced barrels available in the world today. Funnily, although James did not know at the time, his theories were not new, This was actually brought to James’s attention at The Game Fair in 2010, where after nearly 50 hours without sleep, a 4am start with a trip to the London Proof House, The Longthorne Shotgun was officially launched, and one of the first visitors to the stand, now a loyal customer and owner of their first ‘Celtic’ model, explained the fact that the renowned engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth (of ‘Whitworth’ thread fame) recognised the benefits of barrels manufactured from a single piece of steel in 1857, but unfortunately, due to the manufacturing methods being so expensive in comparison to labour costs of the day, the fabricated method of making barrels prevailed at that time.

For more information regarding the range of Longthorne Shotguns and Rifles, please contact us at sales@longthorneguns.com or telephone 07523 512667 82

Profile for Athole Design & Publishing Ltd

Shooting Scotland Magazine (June - July 2019)  

Scotland's national country sports & rural living magazine

Shooting Scotland Magazine (June - July 2019)  

Scotland's national country sports & rural living magazine