It can be challenging freeing up time outside our working lives to focus on ourselves, and it is something I am guilty of. I spend my working life on shoot grounds, country estates, rivers, boats, and lochs but rarely do I allow myself the time to fish, stalk, or shoot. However, last week, I took my Beretta 682 out of the gun cabinet and headed to the National Shooting Centre at Slamannan near Falkirk, Scotland.
Over the last two or three years I have shot very little (can count on a few fingers!), but after my first visit to the NSC92, when I was working on a magazine feature, the ground and the people inspired me to set aside some ‘me-time’ to go shooting.
I live on the coast in Fife, and it took me less than an hour to reach the ground near Slamannan, it is within easy reach from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and only just over an hour from Perth. It’s spacious with plenty parking, a modern clubhouse and good coffee (always important!). Amy on the front desk is welcoming and helpful, and resident professional clay shot, and manager, Stewart Cumming, is always on hand to help. You see, it’s these little details that create the right first impressions, and if you are on your own they are actually very significant to your enjoyment of the venue, just ask any lady travelling alone to shoot grounds.
After a coffee, Stewart gave me two boxes of cartridges and we walked over the DTL stand opposite the clubhouse. The stand is well laid out, and the surrounding bushes give you privacy to shoot without attracting an uninvited audience – there’s nothing worse, and it is very off-putting! There’s also a seated area next to the Promatic Claymate, a top of the range clay delivery and recording system. Stewart talked me through using the system: it’s very straightforward and easy to use. The light comes on when you are on the stand, call for the targets, shoot five clays, move to the next stand, and the light comes on and shoot five more, etc., It was an impressive and a highly reliable system, I had zero ‘no birds’ and no broken clays, and my clay usage was recorded and waiting at the clubhouse when I finished.
I can’t say I was impressed by my shooting though! It’s been so long since I last picked up my gun, and although there was high degree of familiarity with my gun, the excitement of being out shooting again was robbing me of my focus, and I forgot to do my pre-shot routine so I had to reign myself back in. Much better to start well than apply damage limitation when I was already into my shooting session.
If you have felt the same way about your shooting (or fancy trying shooting) there is an answer to the problem – join the National Shooting Centre as a member. One of the benefits of NSC membership (only £75) is a free lesson with Stewart: one of Scotland’s most successful shots. He’s shot every type of target, unravelled longstanding shooter issues, and won countless competitions on the home and international circuit.
Shooting ground – National Shooting Centre
Shotgun – Beretta 682 32″ Trap 12 bore
Watch – Brazen Sports