Grouse shooting, and country sports in general, has been long associated with elitism. However, the range of people participating in the sport is now wider than ever.
The increasing availability of all types of shooting, from clay pigeons to the pinnacle of grouse, means that there is a pathway for young and old, male and female to progress on a journey as they build up experience.
But accessibility is not solely built around the person taking the shot. The whole team around a day on the moor are part of the event, with beaters, flankers and gundog owners coming from varied backgrounds. And with young people often very much part of the occasion, a day on the moor is a great day out for many and can be an accessible pastime that sparks a lifelong passion.
Mhairi Morriss, founder of Scotland’s first ladies shooting club, Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags, commented on the success of the women’s only club:
“We believe there are many women in Scotland who would like to try shooting but are perhaps too afraid to ask or join the traditionally male dominated parties. We started Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags as the first ladies only shooting club in Scotland, giving like-minded women the opportunity to learn the sport beginning with clay pigeon shooting.
“A typical shoot might have up to thirty women of a variety of backgrounds, ages and abilities. There’s the odd tweed jacket and a handful of proper shooting vests but most of us will wear jeans and aren’t particularly experienced.
“Women’s shoots seem to have a different atmosphere from men’s, with men it’s quite competitive. From my experience women tend to be far more supportive. A lot of women have joined the club for the chance to try shooting without the fear of being judged. Grouse shooting as a sport is opening up to so many new people who aren’t interested in joining a social elite but simply enjoy the sport and that’s got to be good news all round!”