Club Call: Mickley Hall
Lara Dale tells Jasper Fellows what it takes to turn a pig farm into a top shooting school
It’s been eight years since John Barnett and his son, Scott, took it upon themselves to turn a Cheshire pig farm into one of the country’s top shooting schools. Having both been elite shooters on the world stage, they already had an intimate knowledge of what it takes to train the best, but it is hard not to be impressed with what they have achieved in such a short time.
“We started off with just a static caravan for a club house and a few stands out in the field,” explains Lara, “then we progressed into a log cabin, and in 2018 we finished converting one of the old barns into a gun room and shop.”
Aside from the excellent new facilities, many shooters find themselves at Mickley Hall for the world-class tuition on offer. “Head Instructors John and Scott Barnett have both shot for Team GB and England during their careers,” says Lara. “With their wealth of knowledge on all things clay shooting, they endeavour to improve even top level shooters.” Don’t worry if you aren’t quite ready to take on the world in high end competition, though – there is something for everyone at Mickley Hall. “We like to have a chat with our shooters before the lessons starts,” explains Lara, “that way we can tailor our instruction to match each individual client, from first timer to seasoned pro.” It’s not unusual to see some of the country’s top shots up at Mickley Hall, either taking advantage of the tuition on offer or taking part in one of the many competitions held there. This June, for example, saw the shooting school host the Eley Grand Prix, where competitors battled it out across 12 Super Sporting stands spread across the estate. “It was a lot of hard work for the staff here,” says Lara, “but we love to host competitions like this. It’s fantastic to see all the different styles of shooting on display and there was a really great turn out too, which makes the hard work worth it.”
For those looking to take part in a spot of competition, Mickley Hall hold a CPSA registered 100-target event on the last Wednesday of every month with some fantastic prizes up for grabs. Famed Italian gun makers Caesar Guerini have been known to hold demo days at the shooting school too, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on the website for the latest news and events.
If the idea of a new gun tickles your fancy, then look no further than the extensive onsite gunroom and shop. With over 300 guns in stock, both new and second hand, you’re sure to find something that works for you. “For just £40 an hour, Scott can be there to help our clients achieve perfect gun fit. This includes making alterations where possible, patterning and heading out onto the stands to break a few clay as well as a bit of training to ensure each client finds the perfect gun for them,” explains Lara. “We’ve got all your favourite country clothing brands in our clothing show room too. As well as our onsite café, with sweet treats, fresh baguettes and more to keep you going all day.”
Any shooter looking to boost their game would be hard pressed to find a venue better than Mickley Hall Shooting School. With their knowledgeable staff, passion for instruction and ability to professionally kit out and train top shots and novices alike, they have put themselves firmly on our list of grounds to visit in 2019.
“They have put themselves on our list of grounds to visit in 2019”