Famous Grouse Underfoot

September 17, 2009

For every keen shot, August 12th is a red letter day in the sporting calendar: the glorious 12th, the start of the grouse season, harbinger of sport to come. This year I took a mixed bag of guns to enjoy the 12th and 14th on the moor above Grassington, North Yorkshire. The lovely Elizabeth and her larger than life other half Joe welcomed us at Ashfield House, and remained unfalteringly pleasant despite the array of car alarms, barking dogs, and merry guns I deposited on their doorstep. We trekked north for the priviledge of shooting over Grassington & Conistone moor, a fabulously managed and extremely productive grouse moor kept under the eagle eye of three exceptional grouse keepers.
All the effort in burning heather, worming birds, vermin control, and pedantic focus on the health of the moor has paid dividends. We were tripping over grouse: two brace were flushed before the guns had even lined out. Four grouse virgins popped their cherries on the 12th, and a further four on the 14th. And while there was doubting the grouse were the stars of the show, the rabbits filled out the bag and the day with amusing sport. Walking up grouse without the aid of spaniels or pointers was a first for me, and would lead to some very quiet days on less productive ground.
The excitement was rounded out by the presence of the illustrious 2nd generation labrador trainer John Halstead Jr. I’m possessed of a reasonable good, very steady lab, but watching a pro of John’s calibre handling his dogs with knife edge precision at hundreds of yards was like watching an Old Master paint.
I always think the success of a day is reflected in how quickly people book for the following season: four days have disappeared in flash. We do get last minute offerings once the keepers have a better idea of how the season is going, so join our mailing list to be kept abreast of all our offerings.