5 minutes with...
The man from the Foxdenton estate and drinks company on his promotion from canine replacement to walking gun.
How were you introduced to shooting?
From the age of eight I used to accompany my father on his annual rough shooting trip to Cornwall. We would stay in Penzance and each day jump in a Morris Oxford and trundle round the lanes looking for woodcock, snipe and plover. For the first few years I was the dog and was often dropped off at one end of a field and told to wait and then walk through the field putting up the snipe and plover. In those days, the 1960s, we still shot green and golden plover. As a result I started on rough shooting and it was only when I was 14 or 15 and had been shooting for three years that I ever went on a driven pheasant shoot.
Who has been the biggest influence on your shooting?
Unsurprisingly it was my father. He claimed not to be as good as his father (who claimed that unless one fired 5,000 cartridges a year one had little hope of being a good shot), but in my eyes he seemed to know everything and be able to shoot just about anything. Years of walking the fields of Cornwall and then loading for him on grander shoots set the seal on my love of shooting. St. Giles, the Earl of Shaftesbury’s estate in Dorset, and we have great fun at the partridges there. When I am lucky enough to be invited by friends in Yorkshire I am always thrilled to shoot on Frank Boddy’s shoots. In the last few years I have also shot with a charming Frenchman, Arnaud de Marmies, at his estate in Burgundy where we combine a day at pheasants (he has two English keepers) and a day at the wild boar. The differences are wonderful and I think we can always learn from our continental neighbours.