It might not be the location you first think of for shooting clays. After all, Scotland has an outstanding reputation for gameshooting. But for those wanting to improve their shooting technique, we select the best clayshooting grounds in Scotland
Gleneagles Shooting School
The name of Gleneagles is celebrated. Based on 850 acres of Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles is a world-renowned five-star estate and hotel. The estate is a dream destination for the countrysports enthusiast, offering fieldsports including falconry, fishing, gundog training and clayshooting (which is run by the Gleneagles Shooting School). The clayshooting school welcomes 14,000 clients a year and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. It provides expert CPSA Level 2 instruction for both beginners and advanced shots.
The English sporting layout, developed over the past 20 years, incorporates 13 stands. These include the Haggis – a jumping target that propels itself away from the shooter – the 100ft Kings Pheasant Tower and the 50ft Queens Tower, which presents nine infinitely variable fast driven targets from every angle. Its unique white ptarmigan target, replicating the flight of this Scottish mountain game bird, tests even the most accomplished guns who shoot from a stand on a tower.
Forrest Estate Sporting Clays
This estate is owned by one Fred Olsen, the famous ship owner and is located in Dumfries & Galloway. Covering a massive 11,000-acres, the Forrest Estate is purpose-built and aims to be an educational centre of excellence to encourage more people to take up field sports. It provides education and access to clay and gameshooting, fishing and deer stalking.
The clayshooting side, run by Andrew Case, offers one-to-one lessons at all levels that give guns a comprehensive flavour and understanding of both clay and game shooting. The estate has over 30 sporting stands. Pheasant flushes are run from the its Olsen Pheasant Drive, situated on the hillside above the shooting ground, with flushes of 20-200 birds for single guns or full teams thrown from automated traps.
Forrest Estate also offers a variety of clay and game shooting breaks including a “MacNab” experience.
County Clays at Dunkeld Park Estate
If you live in either Glasgow or Edinburgh and are looking for somewhere nearby to brush up on your clayshooting technique, then this estate is worth investigating as it is just an hour’s drive from both cities. Country Clays is a shooting centre within the 280-acre Dunkeld Park Estate and one of the the most scenic shooting facilities in Scotland (and in a country this beautiful, that’s saying something). Visitors can stay at the Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel, which offers rooms, suites and two lodges – the Atholl and the Osprey.
The clayshooting ground was built in 1990 by the late Sir Reo Stakis, a keen shot and long-time head of Stakis Hotels, the former owners of Dunkeld House Hotel. The shooting centre has 14 stands each incorporating six to nine different targets from bolting rabbits and driven grouse to fast pheasants. So a comprehensive place to revisit your skills and learn some new ones.
Auchterhouse Country Sports
One of Scotland’s premier shooting grounds, Auchterhouse was judged in the top four shooting grounds at the Shooting Industry Awards in 2010 and voted Scotland’s Favourite Shooting Ground in 2012 by readers of Clay Shooting Magazine.
The 90-acre ground, which hosts local, national and international shooting competitions, is run by the Christie family and son Drew, who acts as a senior instructor, won a Silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Auchterhouse offers a variety of targets including 13 English sporting stands (including its famous high tower). It caters for beginners and advanced shots, corporate events and runs annual ladies’ days for charity.
Rule Valley Simulated Game
This isn’t a traditional clay ground but Rule Valley, does provide simulated pheasant, partridge and grouse over a variety of terrain from its location in the Scottish Borders.
The simulated days take the format of a traditional driven game day with guests meeting in the morning to draw pegs, followed by three drives before lunch and two drives in the afternoon. The end of the day sees guns split into teams to compete in a 100-bird flush finale. Rule Valley runs its days using remote-controlled clay traps that fire clays in a random pattern of speed, height and direction, ensuring no two birds are the same, giving guns a realistic and challenging experience.
Clay coaching is also on offer for all levels of skill and corporate days are offered. Instructors focus on providing the skills shooters will need for the type of shooting they intend to participate in. Run by the Reddihough family, Rule Valley prides itself on offering value for money and excellent, friendly service.
If there are any clayshooting grounds in Scotland that you think should be included, please tell us about them and why you’d recommend them.