As some of you may know, I am a corporate lawyer in the City and my workload (as well as everyone else in the City) has quadrupled since the Brexit vote a few days ago. With the impact of Brexit, including the build up, has meant that I have not been able to get out and do as much shooting as I would like to. No, actually, as much as I NEED to and I am missing it.
See, for me, I find shooting very relaxing. As a natural over-thinker, which is obviously very beneficial to my professional career, it is nice to switch off and not think about anything other than the clay I am focussing on. I also relish in any opportunity to get out of the City and into the country. As the next few weeks may well prove to be incredibly busy at work, I have got my diary sorted and booked in for lots of shooting. I find that getting out there with friends or family is good for the soul!
The other weekend I went back up to Cheshire, to visit my family. Its been some time since I was last back there and, now Jack (my brother) has finished university for the summer, The Sadlers were once again reunited! We are all very close knit and fortunate to share a passion for country sports and conservation. In particular, Jack and Dad have both been active volunteers for BASC for as long as I can remember and are active in promoting young shots. Jack was even a BASC Young Shots Ambassador. We take whatever opportunity we can to get out fishing, or to a clay ground or range to compete with our shooting, and just have a good time together. We always try and get a few others to come out with us in order to promote the sport and show them how much fun it can be.
So, on Saturday, The Sadlers headed off to Cloudside near Congleton, Cheshire, for some clay smashing. Cloudside is absolutely stunning and overlooks the Cheshire countryside. It has a great club-house and a variety of targets. It is a must-visit for anyone in the area. We took a selection of shotguns with us including a semi-automatic, and with game season round the corner, we all wanted a refresher with Dad’s side by side.
What welcome relief to catch up with my family, have a break from work and enjoy some serious banter! As Dad has said to us for years, it’s not always about what you hit. Sometimes it’s just about having fun, getting involved and learning!
And on Sunday, Father’s Day, it was my turn to learn when we headed up to Macclesfield Sporting Rifle & Pistol Club. I haven’t done a lot of rifle shooting in the past but grew up using air rifles with Dad. Both Dad and Jack shoot regularly in Scotland and have both been out to South Africa. The club was very welcoming and is tucked away on the edge of the Peak District. There’s a sense of camaraderie but does not compromise on organisation, safety or professionalism. Ladies are, of course, welcome! I am really looking forward to heading back there.
Under supervision, I was shown the operation of the rifle and how to use it safely. I had the pleasure of using a .243 and 6.5×55 Swedish and, after positive instruction on safe handling, a target was set up 100yds away for me to give my best. Rifle shooting is the polar opposite to shotgun shooting. You are focussed and aiming, whereas with a shotgun you point. You are steady and resolute, whereas shotguns require instinct and fluidity. You are looking for ‘grouping’ (aka consistency of shot) whereas with shotguns, a hit is a hit. In all honesty I loved the challenge of completely adapting and trying something new. It is incredibly addictive and I will be heading back there next time I’m home. As with all grounds and ranges, having a quick brew with the other shots will provide you with many stories of hunting adventures and impressive shooting.
On top of all of this, it was also great to get out with the dogs for some retrieval training. There is something very rewarding about being out with your dog in the countryside and watching him – happy as larry – do his thing. Being with my dogs is one of the things I miss most when I am back in the City, but returning to it last Monday morning was made all the easier by having such a great weekend.