Coun­try Mouse

Whis­tle down the wind

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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