January 8, 2014
The winter of 2013/14 will be remembered for fierce storms and incredible flooding (unless February and March hold more crazy weather)…For those of you who’ve had the privilege of shooting at Bicton, you’ll know just how wet the River Avon can make it in an average year. So yesterday’s adventures were not wholly unexpected (I did wear my waders), but took things to a whole new extreme.
We were one gun down before the day started (apparently BMWs aren’t engineered for wading). And the remaining five guns were wellied up – making the metre plus of standing water a chilly prospect.
Never one to let obstacles stand in her way, Sammy rolled out the dumper and the alternative gun bus was born. So the guys rode and the ladies (chest waders being the fashion of the moment in the shooting field) walked.
The water did the blanking in for us, collecting the pheasants neatly for us. Pushing the birds out over the heads of guns who had been deposited on convenient hummocks presented slightly
more of an effort. I’ll never be disparaging about aqua aerobics again. The added resistance of a metre of water over uneven ground makes brambles look like child’s play.
And then there were the duck. Add an additional couple of hundred acres of aquatic stomping grounds and there was no way we were going to catch up with the little explorers (only one made it into the bag).
Despite climatic adversity and the limitations of attire, it was one of the most memorable days of the
season for the laughter, Blitz spirit, and general sporting fun. Next year, I’m expecting a team engineered for the day: forget waders, we’re going for survival suits, power boats and kayaks on the peg. Of course Mother Nature will ensure we have one of the driest winters on record and no one will need more than carpet slippers to get to the peg. But as the Scout motto says…
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