roe head

Scottish roe review 2017

With a score of 
175.93, K. Mehl’s Aberdeenshire trophy took top honours for Scotland in 2017, maintaining that county’s place as one of the country’s great roe hunting territories. However, this year it was eclipsed, numerically at least, in the top 10 heads by its principal competitors, Angus, Fife and…

grouse moor licensing

What did we learn from Langholm?

(More background on Rob Yorke here). There is a chunk of moorland in Scotland that has been subject to a 24-year project involving upland land uses, habitat, nature conservation designations, biodiversity, fieldsports and rural economics. It all started with the Joint Raptor Study (JRS), funded by major conservation organisations, on…

wild salmon

Scotland seeks to solve salmon crisis

The Scottish Government has pledged £700,000 to tackle declining wild salmon stocks. With survival rates for salmon at sea having dropped to just five per cent, ministers say that the money will help to fund new research and activities and mitigate damaging factors such as predation, illegal poaching and salmon…

Gamekeepers and beekeepers work together on moorland heather

A new film explores how Scottish grouse estates are supporting local businesses, by teaming up with honey producers to give bees access to managed heather. Estates in Tayside, the Angus Glens and the Lammermuirs work with beekeepers who put their hives on the moors every August and September. The bees…

red stags

Scottish estates urged to seek rates relief

Scottish landowners are being urged to take advantage of rates relief to avoid paying “eye-watering” new sporting fees. Scottish Assessors has issued notices to around 6,500 landowners after repealing rates exclusions on shoots and deer forests brought in by the Land Reform Act. The rates will apply to any landholding…

hen harrier tag

War of the words as hen harrier tag goes quiet

Rural groups have rejected claims that grouse moor managers were responsible for the disappearance of a hen harrier. RSPB Scotland says a satellite-tagged bird, named Calluna, vanished over an Aberdeenshire grouse moor near Ballater when transmissions from the tag ended abruptly on the Glorious Twelfth. First day of the season…

deerstalking male deer

It’s time to ban firearms decides ScotRail

BASC chairman Peter Glenser says: “ScotRail claims its Scotland’s railway but it is 
striking at the heart of rural businesses and communities that rely on the estimated £155million injected each year into the country’s economy by country sports tourism. BASC understands the ban comes as a result of a shotgun…

Butt used in grouse shoots

Why restrictions on grouse shooting would reduce rural tourism

It will come as no surprise that the inquiry and debate into driven grouse shooting, which was triggered by the online petition on Parliament’s website calling for the sport to be banned, has been at the forefront of the Countryside Alliance’s activities over the past couple of months. However, we have also seen further “attacks” on shooting…

Weimaraner

Scottish Government turns tail on working dog tail docking

Those of us with British passports may think that we live in a united kingdom, but that’s certainly not the case, as a look at the law will soon confirm. In Northern Ireland, it is legal to shoot a jack snipe or a scaup, but not a moorhen. It is the other way round in mainland Britain.…

dog tail injury

Scotland drops its ban on tail docking

Holyrood has announced plans to change tail docking legislation to allow the tails of spaniel and hunt, point, retrieve (HPR) puppies to be shortened wherever a vet believes they are likely to be used as a working dog and risk serious tail injury in later life. Tail docking was banned in Scotland in 2007 as part of…

grouse shooting in Scotland

Scottish chef Nick Nairn moves from the grouse moors to cook up a feast

Nick Nairn says: “As a keen shot myself, I really value many different aspects of the grouse season… “It has long been acknowledged that Scotland’s food and drink and country sports sectors are truly world class so it is wonderful to demonstrate how the two can blend together so well. Grouse…

Grouse counts

Grouse counts now underway

Moorland estates across Scotland are gearing up for the start of the shooting season and are carrying out counts to gain an accurate measure for the season ahead. Given the long winter and wet summer months breeding conditions have been less favourable on many estates. However, thanks to perseverance and…

air rifle scopes

Own an airgun? Planning on visiting Scotland?

  A:  The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 comes into force on 1 January 2017. After that date, a visitor to Scotland who wants to bring his or her air weapon with them must apply to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland for a visitor permit and will have…

using an airgun

Shooters decry airgun licence fee

The Scottish Government has finally confirmed that the new airgun licence fee will be £72 for new applications. Visitor permits will be £20, while there will be a £5 charge for existing shotgun and firearm certificate holders. Shooting organisations, which opposed the introduction of the new legislation, have once again voiced concerns. “While…

air rifle scopes

Airguns and visiting Scotland

Q: Now that the Scottish Parliament requires residents to include airguns on their firearms certificate (FAC), how do other UK citizens fare when they take their airguns into Scotland? Presumably, the Scottish Police will not issue an FAC for owners who live outside Scotland and the other UK Police Forces cannot…

airgun

Scottish airgun licences required by New Year

It will be illegal to hold an airgun without a licence from 31 December, but BASC says that the “lead in” period is shorter than anticipated and could place an extra burden on the police. Apply for a certificate from 1 July The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, last…

Warning by Scottish Land & Estates over Land Reform Bill

Mr Johnstone commented: “The Land Reform Bill, as it stands, will have far-reaching and detrimental consequences for land-based businesses across Scotland, which employ many thousands of people and make a major social, economic and environmental contribution to rural communities.” He also raised concerns about “any attempt to make the Bill even more…

Roxburghe Hotel Kelso

Roxburghe Hotel Kelso review

I can’t resist humming the theme from Mike Hodge’s Get Carter whenever I head north on the East Coast Mainline. When I make the journey, sometimes with a shotgun in the guard’s van (not for use in retribution for my brother’s murder, of course), I travel full of curiosity for…

harris tweed

Harris Tweed

“It’s not all old. Brand new in 1970,” Donald John Mackay replied when I asked him whether his loom is an old one. “This’ll be it for me. I bought it in 1984, but I won’t need another.” Coincidentally, 1970 is when Donald started weaving. “My aunty set me up…