William Powell Country

What to Wear – Walked up grouse (or even ptarmigan!)

How To

Article written by 05 July 2012

The vast majority of walked up grouse shooting takes place in August and early September at altitudes of up to 2000ft  above sea level and ptarmigan found over 3000ft above sea level. It is therefore not unusual to quite literally have all the seasons in one day and the right footwear and clothing is of paramount importance if you are to enjoy the shooting, stay warm (but not too warm) and dry!

Given that everyone involved spends most of the time walking in mountainous terrain the correct footwear is vital.  The only real option is a good pair of well fitting, leather ankle boots.  There are many varieties available and the most important factor is that they are comfortable!  In addition unless the boots have a particularly high leg then gaiters are very important.  As well as providing waterproofing for the lower leg they stop heather seeds, etc. from falling into the top of the boots.

Bearing in mind the amount of physical exercise being undertaken when walking on the moors, trousers, breeks or plus 4’s should be relatively lightweight but in suitable muted colours.  Tweed is still the best option here.  Although not waterproof, it will dry quickly but stay warm if conditions change.  Given the amount of walking overtrousers are generally not used, they are too heavy, restrictive when climbing hills or make you sweat – whatever the makers say.

A lightweight, waterproof shooting coat (literally a jacket you can shoot in) is vital as even when the sun is shining the rain may not be far away.  It should either be packable into a small size for storage or something you can wear even when it is raining; the Barbour or Schoffel are both good. If you really feel brave enough to go on the hill without a waterproof coat then a lightish weight tweed jacket (but not a heavy tweed coat) or maybe the Barbour Crossfell which is showerproof, good to shoot in and very lightweight.  Underneath this a good ‘shooting’ shirt in green or brown is best together with a fleece waistcoat or tweed shooting vest as appropriate.

Finally a tweed hat cap is very important to keep the sun or rain off when shooting walked up grouse.

In terms of equipment, a cartridge belt is always easier than a bag and the ‘double belts’ holding upto 50 shells provide sufficient firepower for any walked up day.  Shot proof shooting glasses should always be considered, as are ear defenders and some people like thin shooting gloves.  Finally if you are carrying your own lunch a small lightweight rucksack (maybe with a ‘camel’ hydration system for the high-tech person) is useful to hold this as well as jacket, empty or spare cartridges etc.

Finally if you are out in poor conditions with low cloud and the risk of poor visibility then you should take a compass, mobile phone / radio or even a torch or alternatively best advice is to stay at home!


James Chapel MRICS

James Chapel is a qualified Chartered Surveyor who had several years working for a national practice before joining JM Osborne & Co. James also heads up the William Powell Sporting Agency organising and hosting over 200 days shooting .. Read more.

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