The grouse shooting season started on Monday August 13th.
Early reports are in the main very encouraging;
We understand that Candacraig Moor shot around 100 brace on the 13th and there was a similar good day at Clune near Tomatin, with some extremely good bags shot in the Lammermuirs, including 200 plus brace at Mayshield, two days of around 130 brace at Byercleuch and Rawburn and a record day at Bedshield Moor, on the very edge of the Lammermuirs in south east Scotland.Â All of these reflect the end of July counts which said that there were a good lot of grouse on a number of moors.
However, the counts indicated that Angus would not be very good and so far that looks to be the case, even though fog in the morning of the 13th affected some of the higher moors including Hunthill.
Things are apparently looking very good at Leadhills in the south west ofScotlandwith nearly 40 days planned.Â Much of the shooting inScotlandhowever starts in earnestÂ in a week or soâ€™s time.
The 13th saw some big big bags shot in theCountyDurham area, with Muggleswick, Wolsingham, Stanhope and Blanchland, all out on the opening day and at Wemmergill as well and all reporting excellent quantities of grouse with a lot of large coveys of well grown birds.
It was similarly very good on East Allenheads on the 14th where a record day was shot and at Gunnerside in Swaledale inNorth Yorkshire which had a great start to the season.
Abbeystead in the Trough of Bowland (the all time record moor) was good but undoubtedly has been hit by the horrible June and July weather.Â ApplebyCastleon the Cumbrian/Northumberland border reported a good day.Â Knarsdale inWest Northumberlandhas also started well (but never shoots particularly big bags early on) and Garrigill the highest driven moor in the country near Alston opening well.
We have yet to hear reports from Nidderdale or Wharfdale, but Coverdale reported a very good bag of 90 brace on a small moor with aÂ part-time keeper.Â Not as good as last year, but still good.
In the North Yorks Moors, Hawnby and Bransdale had good opening days, but the weather on the 14th, was really too warm and â€œclammyâ€ on these lowish lying moors with deep beds of heather, to get their grouse moving well.
In the Peak District, there has only been one small day reported to date and that confirmed that the Western Peak District moors have really suffered from far too much late spring and summer rain and so are likely to have a short season.
Overall, it looks as though it is in theÂ main going to be a good to very good season, but with two or three weak spots, almost certainly caused by weather.