Last night I went lamping in Westerham in Kent with four very different men: Mark, Village, William and Muppet.

Mark Gilchrist runs his own catering company called Game for Everything; Village (as in idiot) is a freelance cameraman who specialises in filming Grand Prixs all over the world; William farms 600 acres of arable land and runs a clay shooting business called Game Shoot; and lastly ‘Muppet’ (real name Nathan) is setting the pawn broking industry alight with his ever growing array of shops up and down the UK. However we all had one common interest: shooting as many rabbits as possible for Mark’s game pies.

Nathan and Village

According to William the weather conditions weren’t perfect, as “it could have been a little wetter with a little more breeze”, but we were optimistic as he had seen hundreds of rabbits out earlier in the day.

Nathan took charge of the lamp while Village controlled the .22. With amazing accuracy Village bagged a dozen, along with a fox. Nathan then took the helm and shot another ten. It was then my turn. The chaps were a hard act to follow so I was pleased I didn’t miss.

Mark was keen to shoot upwards of 40 conies but they just weren’t about unfortunately. According to Nathan, Will’s driving didn’t exactly help either: ‘We’d shoot far more if we didn’t have Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel.” At the stroke of midnight we called it a night with a pleasing bag of 32. With incredible speed and skill Mark then gutted all the rabbits ready for butchering in the morning.

Mark expertly preparing the rabbits

This week he won the Institute of Directors Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 award for his game catering company. At just 26 years old, he has a passion for his job that I do not often see in my townie friends. I was so impressed by his dedication and tenacity, especially as he works an average of 120 hours a week. Along with his pie making and catering business he is determined to bring game to non-shooting masses through means of education and cookery lessons. He will be at the CLA Game Fair all three days this year on stand R79 so make sure you swing by and taste some of his incredible game pies. He kindly gave me a woodpigeon and roast plum pie to take in for the Shooting Times team so I shall let you know what they think! Make sure you have a look at his website as well:

I am extremely thankful to the chaps who took me out last night, I had a fantastic time. Next week we are going out again specifically to control foxes in the area, so I better start catching up on sleep!

One of mine