Surveying my favourite creek this afternoon with a pair of binoculars, I spotted some very familiar shapes bobbing merrily on the outgoing tide.

It’s been a miserable day, but not grim enough to stop me heading down to the foreshore with a ball of string under one arm and a big knife under the other.

The trick to hide building on my stretch of the Solway is to use the natural materials washed in and out by the tides.

Tonnes of rotting vegetation, tree limbs and assorted plastic rubbish slide in and out along the slippy mud banks, and a great deal of it washes up on the deep swing of the estuary’s bank.

Ducks will happily roost and feed around almost anything provided that it isn’t shaped like a human, so the first priority is to break up my shape and blend in with the scruffy background of maritime flotsam.

As a result, my hide for duck shooting looks totally different every year.

When I first started on that long bend of tidal water, I crouched inside the rotten hollow of a rowing boat which had become stranded on the mud.

Within weeks, it had slipped back into the murky deep, never to be seen again.

Year by year, I have used dead rushes, plastic containers and a vast coil of hessian sack cloth to help with my hide building as and when they appeared.

It doesn’t then take much imagination to transform the latest item of junk into a hide, and with the judicious addition of some ever present hazel poles, a great deal of atmospheric odds and ends can be added or hung on to create a really good look.

The string is used to lash the whole thing together, and although it looks like a massive mound of rubbish, my hides seldom fail to do their job.

Now all I need is for the wigeon to play ball.

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. www.gallowayfarm.wordpress.com