OUR FIRST DAY’S BEATING
Although my son Will had been beating in Scotland before, neither Russ nor I had and so we were anxious to take up the opportunity offered by my Brother-in-Law, to go beating on the Snilesworth Estate in North Yorkshire.
It was to be an unforgettable experience! The day was a mix of grouse in the morning and pheasant/partridges in the afternoon on this mixed shooting Estate in the North Yorks Moors. The weather was absolutely foul for our first day out and particularly for fit and active guys (or at least we like to think we are!), but not ones who are familiar either with the tradition or the rigours of a day’s beating in mid-November in a high and exposed part of God’s own county.
We seemed to tramp the moors for ages, trying to keep in a straight line and strictly observe the instructions given to us by the Headkeeper Jimmy and his team of beatkeepers. Much shouting and waving of our flags ensued, but at least we weren’t thrown off the place. Presumably that means we did an okay job? The grouse seemed to fly in every possible direction and not necessarily taking much notice of our white flags – it was very like life at home with my wife and the kids. On second thoughts, maybe I should take the white flag home.
The rest of the beaters seemed to know what they were doing (well at least far more than we did), but were welcoming and the day proved interesting and reasonably challenging. We enjoyed the exercise and having to learn new disciplines.
Driving (not what I understand by driving) pheasants and partridges through game crops and woods was much easier in the afternoon than driving grouse on the moors, but in that weather and at that altitude, I can well see why everyone is so keen on wearing really waterproof and warm clothing. A good plug for my Sister-in-Law’s business William Powell in Banbury!
Overall an enjoyable day and one I would repeat but in better weather!