Having heard many great things from friends I decided to give beating a go myself. Not only do you get to spend the day outside with friends you also get to leave with some birds and many great memories. All whilst having fun!
Maybe you can have fun without being in the gun line!
I had prepped my outfit the night before. Warm and dry was the order of the day and lots of layers. I went with moleskins, a top, gilet, wax Barbour and also a lightweight waterproof just in case the weather turned for the worse. I topped it off with some old boots, a tweed flat cap and my pheasant Buff from Sportarm! I also took my trusty stick. Don’t be fooled into thinking I took the stick because I needed it for beating; no, this stick I needed to keep me on my feet! Be prepared to get muddy, wet and prickled with brambles. Definitely don’t wear your best tweed!
After a brief gathering we loaded up in the beaters wagon and headed off to the first drive. With the dogs and the many people that turned out for the day it was a bit of a squeeze but we just about managed it. This was a great opportunity to get to know everyone. I was told I would be flagging the birds for the first drive which was rather nerve wracking given I had no idea what this meant and the line of guns was stood behind me watching my every move.
A charming old chap showed me the ropes and taught me how and when to wave the flag to ensure the birds flew high and did not turn back. It was a great drive and the birds were spectacular. The guns managed to bag a fair few partridge and pheasants so all in all my first time flagging was a success!
For the next drive we were walking up through the woods driving the birds to the line of guns. This was great fun as I got to watch the beaters dogs at work. Wow do they work hard! They flushed out the well hidden birds and got them up in the air for the guns.
After a further drive we stopped for lunch. There was plenty of cake, biscuits and tea! Being a S&CBC girl we all know how much I love the tea and cake so this was definitely a winner for me.
The day finished after a further three drives and as to be expected they saved the most difficult drive until last! Boy was it good to finally reach the top of that hill. All of the beaters were kindly paid and offered a brace or two and the sweepstake winner was announced. All of the beaters put a pound in the cup and guessed the final bag for the day.
If, like me, you have wanted to try beating for a long time but have been too scared to do so please don’t worry. Everyone you meet is so welcoming and you will have an amazing day. Social media is a great place to find local shoots that are looking for beaters – what are you waiting for, go and sign up!
I was muddy, damp and my legs were aching but it was such a fantastic day and I met lots of lovely people. I cannot wait to go back!