Country mouse on fieldsports in winter

I often wonder how people who have no interest in field sports endure the British winter. For them, it must feel like a dull procession of dour, damp, dark, days. For the sportsman, winter is a time to look forward to and, for many, it’s the highlight of the year.

The violent winds of the past fortnight have produced some of the most exciting shooting for years, and, although the accompanying rain has been less welcome, once you’ve committed yourself to being outside, such weather is little more than an inconvenience, except to shooters who wear glasses. The quality of clothing that’s now available will keep you dry in all but the worst of the weather, but it does pay to buy the best you can afford.

My favourite day’s shooting is a friend’s shoot that started more than 30 years ago when we were 13-year-old friends at Radley. This year, many of the original eight guns were in the line, and the joshing was merciless. It was not the day to shoot like a clown, but I did.

Despite my own waywardness, I wouldn’t have swapped places with anyone in the world. The truth is, you don’t need to escape the British winter, as long as you meet it head on and become part of it.

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