‘A day’s shooting for £50, a week’s fishing for £20. It’s hard to believe but that’s what it was in 1959’, says Robert Rattray, head of CKD Galbraith’s sporting department which celebrates its 50 anniversary this year.
Looking back at their books for 1959, their total sporting commission the first year’s trading was £10.05.00 (10 pounds, five shillings)
Since that time, the agency notes that only a few estates have ventured into commercial shooting. ‘Sporting estates including Rhidorroch, Coulin, and Ardverikie are still in our letting portfolio and prove as ever popular to this day.
‘Sport in the highlands has changed very little over the last 50 years. Stalking is very much the same, there is probably less tweed on the hill, fewer ponies, and rifles are a little more high tech but basically the same. Grouse shooting is carried out in exactly the same way. Some sportsmen now favour fast handling over and under 20 bores rather than the more traditional side by side twelves however, both are equally as efficient in the right hands. One thing that has changed significantly over the last 50 years is the price (and there was no VAT in 1959).’
How the prices have changed
Rhidorroch was only available by the fortnight at £594 – today it is available from £3,000 per week
Inverpattack Lodge, Ardverikie was £75.60 per week – today it is available from £7,000 per week with 15 stags
Red stag stalking was £65 per stag – today £375-£400 per stag
Hind stalking was £18 per day – today charged at £165 per day
Roe stalking offered by the week with ten outings and an expectation of 3 to 5 bucks for £125 plus trophy fees – today start from £1,500
Sika stags were charged at £48.60 – today charged at £200 plus
Driven grouse shooting – a day’s driven grouse for 8 guns with an expectation of 60 brace was £680 or £85 per gun for the day – today it costs nearly £10,000 for the day
Salmon and sea trout fishing – a week’s fishing on the Findhorn for two rods was £65 – today charged at £600 plus per rod per week
Wild goat stalking was an exotic – available by the day and for periods of 4 days, at £54 per day – still available today on limited basis but little call for it
The sport that has experienced noticeable changes is fishing. Carbon fibre rods and multiple tip lines have replaced split cane and silk, and hair and synthetics have replaced fur and feather in fly patterns and neoprene waders and goretex jackets now make light work of spring fishing. ‘Salmon and sea trout conservation is very much the watch word today and ‘catch and release’ in some shape or form is encouraged on almost every river in Scotland. It is heart-warming that this initiative has generally been embraced wholeheartedly by the fishing community and rarely are there issues now about releasing fish,’ says Mr Rattray.