The Glorious Twelfth

Fly private to some of the country’s most picturesque estates and take everything you will need to start the grouse shooting season with ease – and in plenty of style.


The Glorious Twelfth is fast approaching, with August 12 marking the first day of the grouse shooting season which runs through to December 10. Known for their speed (not to mention unusual call) the native British red grouse demands a high level of skill to pin them down, and from all over the world people flock to try their best to bag as many braces of these coveted birds as they can.


The moors are a seemingly endless carpet of purple as they bloom


The ideal way to experience the best start to the season is of course to be invited – though if a friendly Duke has not yet extended an invitation to join with friends and family who often make up the party on the first days’ shooting, there are other ways to get involved. GunsOnPegs provides access to a number of syndicates for access to shoots all over the country, whether as an individual or in small or larger groups. There is still currently availability for some fine options throughout North Yorkshire as well as The Thirlestane Castle shoot with drives like The Face, Michaels and the Spur offering excellent numbers and quality of birds. Here either stay at Lylestane House, or try Burncastle Lodge owned by the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, located just a short walk from what many consider to be some of the best drives in the country.


A shoot lunch can be anything from a pork pie on the bonnet of a Land Rover, to a sit-down meal, image courtesy of Purdey


The thrill of the shoot is one that lasts all day, with mid-morning snacks and lunches with fine wines. In the evening relax in the comfort of your lodge, or in one of the many fine country house hotels that offer excellent bases whether you are shooting in England, the borders, or in Scotland. At Dryburgh Abbey Hotel enjoy the lovely views of the River Tweed from your room – and be sure to bring your dog along for the journey as the hotel was recently named Scottish dog-friendly hotel of the year.


Good kit is essential and it might be time for another visit to Cordings on Piccadilly – or for an appointment for something bespoke from Holland Cooper at Harrods – if you want to be sure of delivering a sartorial statement as fine as your aim.


Purdey have been perfecting the art of the ‘Best’ gun since 1814, image courtesy of Purdey


If however you also need to think about the equipment you will be bringing with you, the good people at Purdey at Audley House on South Audley Street are a must. Here not only bone up on your shooting etiquette, sign up for a grouse course and even pick up an excellent game recipe, but also explore their extensive range of clothing, accessories and guns and rifles. Highlights from their range for a new addition for a visit to this year’s Glorious Twelfth include a classic gun cover, a brass game counter and a silver hip flask.


Make sure your clothing is comfortable and dry, this doesn’t mean it can’t also be stylish, image courtesy of Purdey


With the chance to fly in style – and with your own guns and maybe even the dog – this August head to some of Britain’s most beautiful estates and heather moorland for some stimulating shooting. While there, indulge in not only sumptuous accommodation but also by early evening sit down to sample some fabulous recipes featuring the freshest first grouse of the year.


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