Not one but two unbeatable days at Cardney Sporting Estate!
I can think of many who would be glad of a shot at Cardney, one of Scotland's premier sporting estates offering an excellent mix of top-quality driven-partridge and pheasant shooting on and around the hills of scenic Perthshire. This year, however, the core of its beaters and pickers-up were invited to not just one day's shooting but two giving those whose shooting skills were a little rusty a chance to get their eye in for the last day of the season. With the guns tactfully asked to pick up their own cartridges at the end of each drive, it remains unclear as to how many of them actually put such an opportunity to good use since the one experienced picker-up, Bill Duncan, who would have noticed any progress or lack of it, was obviously so well-accustomed to keeping such observations to himself! Nevertheless, some of those cartridges must have proved effective because, on the first day, 13 guns made a bag of 130 and, besides getting off to a good start with two of Cardney's most productive drives, they were treated to the two for which Cardney is especially renowned, Spooky West and Spooky Return or, as keeper George Simmons likes to call them, "Spooky left and right".
With only 8 guns shooting on the second day and our host and accomplished shot, David Hendry, unfortunately absent from the line due to personal commitments, a reduced bag could only have been expected. That said, the day and the sport were no less entertaining with a large number of testing birds driven over the guns by George and his team on all six drives. For the writer of this article, Spooky West, this time driven back to the Shoulder, proved to be one of the most memorable drives in his entire shooting experience and, despite the plummeting temperature, even required him to remove his trusty old beater's jacket and give his pipe a wee rest! We then headed off for another adventure on Spooky Return after which the bag had risen to a total of 85 and, interestingly, contained exactly the same number of partridges as pheasants, 41 apiece. A late but very welcome lunch prepared by George's wife, Christine, was then served at the Lodge where another point of interest soon arose. When the winner of the sweepstake was announced, it emerged that Hugh MacMaster was right on the money for the second day running so, as you can probably imagine, his success was greeted with all the ribaldry and speculation that one might expect from the shooting fraternity!
A very successful shooting season at Cardney Sporting Estate therefore ended on a high note not just for Hugh but also for all those invited to one or both of the beaters' days most generously provided by David Hendry and his team and I'm quite certain that all the guns, and their dogs, would like to join me in expressing our gratitude for such an unforgettable experience.
Baron Charlie Lush