Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

24. Grouse butt

Spittal of Glenshee, looking towards Ski Centre, and mountain summit covered in purple heather, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Image shot 08/2008. Exact date unknown.

Carefully crafted in neat, round shapes on English and Scottish moorland, and often topped with turf, the grouse butt is part of the furniture on a driven grouse- shooting day. Designed and pos- itioned to give guns the best chance of connecting with the super-charged red grouse whiz- zing over their heads, these stone structures afford guns and loaders some protection from fellow shots as they swing through in pursuit of these most wily of gamebirds. The last truly wild and native gamebird in the British Isles, that sportsmen will pay extraordinary amounts of money to shoot, can often be heard chuckling in the heather as the party departs.

‘Proud August’s past her blooming, In gullies and in cuts/ Down the big winds go booming,
Upon some waiting butts’
(The Red Grouse, Patrick R. Chalmers)

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