Grandad Jim Newbold talks about how shooting became a passion shared by his son and grandson and continues to bring the family together, despite the miles separating them.
I started shooting about 40 years ago, as a guest of a fellow competitive water skier, farmer George Oliver, at his farm shoot near Lincoln. I had to borrow a gun.
I enjoyed it so much that soon I was out shooting twice a year and it was time to get my own shotgun. After a few years gaining experience, I joined my first syndicate; a small, walk/stand partridge shoot, Whixley, before joining yet another shoot, a walk/stand pheasant shoot in Hartoft, N. Yorkshire.
After practising on clays with my gun, my son Steven, then 15, had his first go at game shooting on these two shoots.
Over the years, I have shot on about 20 small shoots, mostly walk/stand but also on rough and driven shoots, all in Yorkshire, except for one small grouse syndicate in Cumbria. Steven has often been my guest, or shared a gun with me on most of these shoots.
I have also picked up on several big shoots. For 25 years I always had loyal labs by my side. I’m not quite sure how, but I ended up with a sprocker spaniel, Sikka, who is brilliant at finding and retrieving shot game, but wants to do it all the time and at 90mph – whereas I would rather go at 3mph! Steven now owns a Labrador called Boris, who, even though never trained, still does very well at retrieving.
Just under ten years ago, Max, one of my six grandchildren, then five and a half, joined me and his dad for a Boxing Day shoot at a small farm close to the Harewood Estate (picture in April/May 2008 S&C). It was his first time on a game shoot and he absolutely loved it. As he grew older, he came regularly to join me and his father as a beater, stop, etc., on various shoots in the north. Then, three years ago, his father got him his first 20 bore and took him clay shooting.
After practising on clays for some time, Max then went shooting on any occasion that presented itself.
I am now a half-Gun on a driven pheasant shoot (Parlington) and also a half-Gun in a walk-up/stand partridge shoot (Hollinthorpe), both near Leeds. Max shot in a BASC Young Shots day at Hollinthorpe and got several partridges. He has also shared days with his father at Parlington. Max really enjoys shooting and continues to improve, which makes me terribly proud.
In December last year something unexpected happened! I was invited as a guest Gun on Gabriel’s Farm shoot, near Gatwick Airport, which my son had joined. It is a lovely, well-organised walked up/stand shoot at Edenbridge. It was a real treat and I enjoyed a super day with my son and grandson.
Nowadays it’s so difficult to get the family together, but this year, my 80th, we have a big family get-together in July. I also look forward to the next season and hope to carry on shooting together with my son and grandson, in spite of living 200 miles apart!