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Blogger on the road

Moving around the black grouse moor ain’t easy.

Country people are renowned for driving enormous cars.

It is the definitive statement of rural intent to own a mud spattered 4×4 and fill it with dogs, sticks and sloe gin.

And a shooting person’s life is eternally improved by having vehicular access to 99 per cent of the British countryside.

What a dream it must be to own a 4×4.

As far as I am concerned, the days when I am able to travel in style are still far in the distant future.

My grouse moor is accessed by a mile of disappearing farm track.

Potholes, divots, boulders and puddles are strewn across the path.

I am increasingly finding that my metallic beige 1996 Vauxhall Astra Montana was not designed for what is essentially off-road use.

A quad bike is available for me to borrow. But once I have loaded the car up with traps, trees, chainsaws, posts, nails, rails, tree guards, sheep netting, shovels and deer carcasses, it is more of a hassle to unpack than it is to endure the crunching sound of my exhaust pipe coming off worse in a collision with a rough stacked cairn.

A cow itched its bottom on my wing mirrors, so they are now held on with silage patches.

And I recently turned the car quickly to get a shot at a calling crow, thumping the steering mechanism onto a massive stone.

I am now confronted with an angry knocking whenever I turn a corner.

Budget limitations restrict my ability to buy a more appropriate battle bus, and with an MOT beckoning in September, some serious work is needed if I am going to face snow and ice again.

In the meantime, I must admit that there is a real pleasure in driving over a peat bog in a family saloon.

The views expressed on Patrick Laurie’s blog are the author’s and not the views of Shooting Gazette, ShootingUK, IPC Media or its employees.