Everyone should go clay pigeon shooting. Pardon me for the banal statement, but I had something of a full Damascene conversion on Saturday as I went clay pigeon shooting and had the time of my life.
Now, admittedly, and to give you some context, before Saturday I was of the opinion (albeit, weakly held) that clay pigeon shooting was an elitist sport, off-limits to the likes of me, which meant that I paid it no mind whatsoever.
However, on a whim, my girlfriend and I decided to book a ‘Have A Go’ session with the East Yorkshire Clay Shooting Ground in Cherry Burton (a wonderful part of the East Riding if you have not already been, or heard) and, as I have mentioned, left total converts. I hope that my much-changed and cheery sentiments can convince you to have a go, as it were, as well!
So, to kick off proceedings, my girlfriend and I made our way to the shooting ground for midday with nothing but head-splitting hangovers and the aforementioned preconceptions. Upon arrival, we were met with a steady stream of country types (they typically wear cream trousers; checkered shirts; and waxed jackets!) and Range Rovers which set the proverbial alarm bells off thus doing nothing to change our ignorant minds!
Despite this, apprehensions were blown away (pardon the pun) once we entered the clubhouse where we received a delightfully warm welcome and enjoyed a delicious bite to eat in the attached café as we waited for our instructor, Shaun, to collect us.
Shaun made the necessary overtures—we warmed to him immediately—and swiftly took us to the range where we received a thorough safety briefing and a pair of very snazzy ear protectors apiece.
At this point, if you have not already made the connection, I must declare that we both had zero prior experience with a shotgun and were feeling concerned because of our ‘freshness’; although, it turned out that we had no cause to fret as Shaun guided us with expert precision through the anatomy of a shotgun and the art of shooting.
Cue the proceedings, and I gave my girlfriend an almighty whooping to the tune of thirteen to six clays—I put the shotgun down with gusto and left feeling like the fastest gun in the West!
Afterward, we said goodbye to Shaun and made our way towards the exit following fourty-five minutes’ worth of pure amusement, as we did this, I reflected upon two serious concerns I had before we began the ‘Have A Go’ session.
Happily, I can report that they were nonsensical. Firstly, I was worried that the shotgun would have an almighty kick as well as a deafening sound; this was not the case, we were provided with ear protectors and in regards to the recoil, I had no problems controlling it and my girlfriend who did—to an extent—was kindly provided a towel, by Shaun, to absorb the worst of it.
Secondly, I naively feared that the staff and the members at the East Yorkshire Clay Shooting Ground would be lax in regard to gun safety. Again, this was not to be; everyone was beyond professional and expertly skilled. To give you an idea of the quality of this place, it happens to be the home of the Team GB Shooting Team! Where better for a novice to learn to shoot?
You may be wondering why I opened this article with the statement that everyone should give clay pigeon shooting a go. Well, allow me to explain. Firstly, being a half-hour drive outside of Hull, the East Yorkshire Clay Shooting Ground is accessible to most. Secondly, we paid £34.50 per person which amounts to an affordable expense if you consider the cost of other recreational activities.
Finally, it was amazingly good fun and the concerns that I had—which I am sure are shared by many—turned out to be wildly far from being the case. All in all, I have every intention of pursuing clay pigeon shooting as a hobby on the strength of my Saturday experience and, to that end, can only recommend that you give it a try too.
Now, if you wish to do so, might I be cheeky and recommend the East Yorkshire Clay Shooting Ground? You can find further information on their website here >>