Finally we have our little piece of heaven with Hardcastle and Heathfield Moors which gives us over 4,000 acres of some of the finest grouse shooting anywhere – so I am told! That is providing we have the grouse!
Ripley Sporting employs 14 full time staff ; 5 at Ripley Castle, 3 at Mountgarret, 5 on our Moors and at Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side plus our secretary. These together with a number of part time staff, which includes retired keepers and tradesmen who are invaluable to the Shoot, plus on each shoot day approximately 25 beaters and pickers up, make up our team who are dedicated to making each shoot day a success.
After shooting driven game for more years than I would like to admit to, mainly in God’s own Country, our beautiful North Yorkshire countryside. I have found that every shoot is different and have their own way of presenting a shoot day. On our shoots, although the shooting is important, there are a number of other factors which I feel are just as important on the day.
The majority of us take a day’s shooting not only for some challenging birds but also to forget about work, enjoy the countryside and meet old and new friends. With this in mind my fellow Shoot Hosts, Nigel Graham, Christopher Orme, Stuart Thompson and Jonny Dimsdale, my Head Keepers, George Reap at Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side and our Moors, David Cockshott at Ripley Castle, Martin Nesham at Mountgarret and myself always try to create a relaxed atmosphere for everyone to enjoy their day by ensuring everything runs smoothly with excellent hospitality together with some memorable shooting.
At a time when many shoots of our quality and size are run purely as a commercial enterprise fielding only full teams. Ripley Sporting is quite different with approximately 80% of our days being sold by the gun per day specifically catering for individual guns and small parties. On a scale which provides a large variety of drives together with the type and size of bag to suit all budgets, maybe I would prefer to describe our Shoot as a large Syndicate providing something to suit everyone.
Our days are offered with bags from 150 to 450 birds, no overages are charged and we always aim to exceed the target bag each day. Together with a few 80 bird Boundary Days at Mountgarret and Ripley Castle.
The remaining 20% of our days are available for full teams. These are ideal for Roving Syndicates or Corporate Teams and I find many of these days are taken up by Shoot Members to entertain their friends and business clients. This is the nearest we come to commercial shooting.
I do stress that although our shoot has grown and we plan to field 224 days this season, it remains very much my hobby and every day is in its own way special, no matter what the type of day or the size of bag maybe.
Today we all seem to live under quite enough pressure and stress, although the actual shooting and the sporting quality of our birds are very important, one of my main priorities on the day is always to enjoy ourselves in the good company of like-minded people, whilst experiencing some memorable quality shooting. I feel it is important that the guns have an opportunity to meet each other before the shoot day starts. With this in mind, on each day we meet for breakfast before the brief for the day. Well behaved non shooting guests and dogs are also most welcome to join us on any shoot day!
We endeavour to run our shoot days in a safe and business like manner, trying to include the good points and hopefully avoid the bad ones we have experienced elsewhere. Walking to the pegs and butts is kept to a minimum wherever possible and we run our days at a leisurely pace with “no rush” being one of our priorities. By the very nature of the terrain the walking and shooting on the Moors or at Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side can be more demanding compared to our parkland shooting at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret.
I ask that everyone reads my Risk Assessments detailed on our website. Shoot only at birds you are comfortable with and please respect your neighbour’s birds.
I have tried to describe what I hope you will experience on a shoot day with Ripley Sporting. However our website www.ripleycastleshoot.com gives an in depth background to the Shoot and I do hope you enjoy viewing it.
I look forward to welcoming you to Ripley Sporting and hope you will find your day is “Just how a Proper Driven Shoot Day should be” or should I say, this is what we always try to achieve!