CITY GOES SHOOTING
Jan 28 2013
While the wily fox and other wild creatures are increasingly opting for life in the city, more and more city slickers are opting for country life – or certainly country lifestyles.
Country sports house , E. J. Churchill Gunmakers, reports a steady stream of young city men and women reporting to its headquarters in Buckinghamshire to learn how to shoot and indulge in shooting practices that might be applied in the field. No wonder Mr Fox favours the safer purloins of the inner city.
"We are seeing a lot more people coming out of the city to shoot with us for Clays and Game," reports Rob Fenwick, managing director of Churchill. "Many start with clays in order to progress into game, which seems to be the ultimate goal. We are finding large corporate businesses are now setting up shooting clubs and then they all come here on a weekend to shoot. It seems to be a great way of having fun with clients in a competitive but friendly environment."
Churchill, one of the world’s leading gunmakers and British owned, provides novices and experienced sportsmen enthusiasts with everything that might be needed for the field. From guns and equipment to clothing and accessories, its base near the infamous Hell Fire Caves of West Wycombe can completely equip the game or clay shooter, as well as the chap just looking for country style with fun.
"The great thing about shooting is that you can be a complete novice but still enjoy and participate at the very best shooting grounds, like here, which is very different to golf," says Fenwick. "Within a few weeks of pretty intense lessons you can soon be doing well and able to go game shooting with the assistance of your instructor.
"Over the last 5 years we have seen a huge demand for what we call in-field instruction. This is where the client actually takes their own instructor, here from the ground, along game shooting with them and the instructor stands with them and teaches them all the etiquette and makes sure they are safe."
Lest this popularity should give any suggestion that the UK is heading for the trigger-happy culture of the US, British shooting is stringently controlled and licenced. But that certainly has not deterred the growing interest in country shooting, both for clay and game.
A beautifully crafted Churchill gun at top, in action above, and below out in the field, country styles. At bottom, country house elegance at the West Wycombe estate.
That it is not just men but many women too who are turning up at Churchill's and other shoot sites is perhaps a testament to the more comfortable and sophisticated surroundings the sport now offers. Such films as 'Gosford Park' and others featuring lavish country house excursions may have promoted the luxury image, but shoots were often cold, gruelling and unenjoyable occasions, especially for the novice.
Now, out in the field it may still be cold but the clothing, facilities for the ladies as well as the men, and organisation provides an enjoyable outing if not for all the family certainly for anyone of an age allowed to hold a gun.
Churchill was established in 1891 by Edwin John Churchill, who set up a gunmaking workshop in London. It continues to make its own guns, and has its own shooting ground, shop, corporate entertainment and sporting agency at its West Wycombe estate.
There are always special events on offer. Stag parties, hen parties, charity shoots and corporate teams are just some available.
For the man looking for a novel Valentine's Day treat, what about taking that special lady for a one hour shooting lesson, then finishing with a glass of champagne and smoked salmon provided by Caviar House & Prunier? Whether or not the girl proves to be a hotshot, champagne and salmon should have appeal. A very reasonable £115 for two, including clays, cartridges, guns and professional instructor. Go to www.ejchurchill.com