Interwoven fate – businesses that rely on grouse shooting

Michele Shield

Michele Shield

Michele Shield is the Owner-Director of Isaac Walton & Co tailors in Newcastle

There’s a whole community of people and businesses who support or benefit from grouse shooting in many different ways. One such is Isaac Walton Tailoring of Newcastle, which was founded in 1887 and specialises in traditional tweeds and formal wear. We spoke to Owner-Director Michele Shield.

Grouse shooting is not just about a few days on the moors for a limited number of paying guests. Around 80 per cent of our business comes from shooting. Our clients include some of the UK’s leading sporting estates, and some customers have been with us for more than 40 years.

We employ skilled workers in our Newcastle store and Yorkshire workrooms where we have a vast choice of tweeds and other cloths made from wool produced and woven in Britain from many of the country’s leading suppliers.

I’m delighted to report there is an increase in the supply of tweed within the British Isles. We have a number of long-established working relationships with suppliers and we are excited to be working with some new entrants to the market, too.

Our staff spend a lot of time visiting estates, taking clients’ measurements and getting to know them.  I am a huge supporter of shooting, and grouse shooting in particular, but I don’t shoot myself. I am too busy running the business, which is going through incredible growth at the moment. I do, however, find time to flank on a private estate during the season. All the guys there wear my tweeds. When I visit shoots I am continually inspired, which influences the fabric and styles that I share with my clients.

People are hearing all the wrong information about grouse shooting at the moment through social media and other negative publicity, but there is a very positive story to be told.

I see first-hand the respect for the quarry, the integrity of the whole industry and how important it is that it continues. I’m horrified by the falsehoods peddled about grouse moor management. I’m honoured to be associated with grouse shooting and to work closely with those involved in the sustainable management of this amazing species and habitat. The families who work for Isaac Walton are all very concerned about the financial impact that would result from a ban or restriction on grouse shooting.

For those who work within the industry and for those who participate, this is a wonderful community who support each other inter-generationally. For those who live in truly rural areas, the banning of these activities would have a detrimental impact on their quality of life and mental wellbeing.

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