Whistle down the wind
THE thistledown, lit by the bold sunshine, was floating ethereally on the wind. Past the dancing seed flakes and gossamer strands of teleporting spiders, the countryside opened up from Wales into England. It was the best of September in a lingering Indian summer. Then, the brutal crack of a beater’s flag jolted me back into consciousness. Distant dots of partridge and splodges of pheasant scooted over the high ash trees and down the valley towards the guns where I stood. The pheasants were safe for another week, but you had to stare hard to separate the two before squeezing the trigger.
These days, my shooting is inconsistent: one day, I feel that I have mastered the art and then, another, the wheels come off. I shot passably well for the first outing of the season, although being drawn next in the line to a former member of the SAS left me in no doubt about the limits of my ability. Wales is a connoisseur’s destination for a sportsman and the Tregoyd Shoot, high in the Brecon Beacons, is one of its premier spots, with steep valleys topped with broadleaf woodland. Driving home, I reflected that hunting, shooting and fishing have taken me to places of such exquisite beauty, which I would never have seen otherwise. MH