Wigwam – Let’s Talk Socks

by Neil Summers,

In 1904 in Wisconsin USA a devastating fire at the Sheboygan Knitting Company resulted in the sad demise of a company that had previously thrived thanks to the continuous demands of the lumber industry. From the ashes of the fire rose the Hand Knit Hosiery company, a family business that would later be become WigWam, a world leader in outdoor, athletic and active sock production.

Being pioneers in what was at the time a totally new concept of athletic socks, by the 1920s they were being asked to produce products for various outdoor retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch. It was during this time that they also started to produce woolen bathing suits in keeping with their athletic innovation as well as sweaters for dogs in the 1940s would you believe? Though by 1945 their entire output was dedicated to the war effort, providing wool socks for the army & navy.

In 1957 the company name was changed to WigWam the origins of which are not known with most people assuming it is because their original crossed knitting needles logo resembled the top of a native American teepee. The only record the company have of a name change is a letter from the company president Robert Chesebro Senior to his staff which read:  “But only our name changes. Our people, our quality, our sales policies – and above all, our desire to work with you – remain the same.”

Since then WigWam have continued to flourish thanks to their high standards of comfort and quality performance socks. In 1978 Robert was even inducted into the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame in recognition of his work utilizing nylon in athletic, hunting and ski socks. By the late eighties WigWam became a global brand and is now sold in over 30 countries where it has become a firm favourite with everyone from aerobic instructors to alpine climbers.

View the range here at The Sporting Lodge.

There’s something in the Air….

by Neil Summers.

Patagonia’s Nano-Air technology is a classic example of their ethos, to improve, innovate and refine everything that they do. Thanks are also due to a design team who live the outdoor life as well as create products for it. Who’s passion and high standards of quality have resulted in a unique form of fabrication that is breathable but still maintains warmth through a unique mix of full-range insulation with nylon fabric.

Whether experiencing varying temperatures on the commute to work or on the side of a mountain, we all know that swapping or removing layers on the move can often result in large amounts of sweat and general discomfort. But working up a sweat in a garment made using Nano-Air technology allows a certain amount of air to pass through the clothing and evaporate to avoid the body getting overheated.

The magic has happened thanks to Patagonia managing to somehow incorporate incredibly warm synthetic ‘fill’ alongside a fabric weave that doesn’t make the insulation clump together and lose durability whilst letting out air. Though exactly how they do it is still a trade secret, this advancement in making a breathable but incredibly warm synthetic fabrication has been a real game-changer in the world of mountain climbing and outdoor sports in general. It’s also stopped a lot of people from getting all hot and sweaty on crowded trains back home from work too!

Shop Patagonia, brand new range, at The Sporting Lodge.

Introducing – Patagonia

Introducing Patagonia, brand new to The Sporting Lodge. If you’re not clued up on Patagonia, the lads Proper Mags dig into the history. 

The name Yvon Chouinard is one that’s synonymous with the great outdoors and has a legendary status in the worlds of climbing, surfing and fly fishing not to mention his ecological and philanthropic work. For those of you unfamiliar with his name then you may be more aware of his outdoor brand Patagonia.


Having moved to California from Maine as a child,  Yvon developed a love for climbing after being taught to abseil at a local falconry club. He instantly fell in love with the sport and soon learnt how to ascend cliffs as well as to get down them. Soon he and his friends would be regularly hopping freight trains to the west end of the San Fernando Valley and to the sandstone cliffs of Stoney Point. Before long Yvon had become part of a group of maverick climbers that had moved on to Yosemite and it’s big walls. Which is where in between hiding from the park rangers that Yvon first started to develop his own outdoor equipment. Initially starting with reusable climbing pitons Yvon then expanded into clothing after importing British rugby shirts whose sturdy collars provided perfect protection from rope burn.

Along with some like-minded friends Yvon set up the brand Patagonia as it’s named  conjured up “romantic visions of glaciers tumbling into fjords, jagged windswept peaks, gauchos and condors.” It also helped that the name could be pronounced by in any language.

Alongside climbing Yvon’s other two great loves of surfing and fly-fishing are also an important part of the Patagonia product range. They also reflect the strong environmental ethos of the company and their anti-corporate stance. Which may sound like something of a paradox for a global clothing brand though they give millions away to NGOs around the world and encourage people to repair their clothing rather than replace it. Such is their level of commitment to reducing waste that on Black Friday2011 they printed a full-page ad in The New York Times encouraging customers not to buy their products!

It’s pretty difficult not to buy Patagonia products though when they’re incredibly durable whether you’re river deep or mountain high as well as being made from organic/recycled products wherever possible. Not only that but their choice of colours and designs really make them stand out from the crowd and have ensured their popularity with the fashionistas as much as alpinists.

View the range now at The Sporting Lodge.

Neil Summers and Mark Smith.

Shooting Instructor’s Day Off To The Royal Cheshire County Fair

by Brett Davies.

It’s a bad sign when your day off work starts with an early morning. But, if you are planning a visit to The Royal Cheshire County Fair, I highly recommended that dreaded early morning start. After a quick Starbucks stop off we still had a long wait in show traffic before we reached the ground. Wishing I hadn’t ordered the Large Coffee we swiftly headed towards the gates.

The Royal Cheshire County Fair, with the familiar smells of cows to your right, pigs to your left and sheep straight ahead. We have been coming to the show for a good few years on the run, no map was needed as everything is well signposted.

We started with the livestock, a good idea considering it was boiling hot and all the tents that featured animals were nice and cool. An impressive display of the sheep shearing gave me some good knowledge to try out on the dogs later at home. The young lads worked quick and precise before educating the audience on the age old tradition.

The Royal Cheshire Show is a good place to look at cars, yes cars (?). As always there was a stronghold of auto-mobiles in the middle of the show ground.

Instead we headed to the main ring and the always exciting Pony Club Games. I highly recommend looking at the games, they are full of energy, some impressive speed and competitive spirit. For those who don’t know what The Pony Club Games are, it is like a sports day for kids on ponies. With games that include passing items to other rides, collecting items and placing them in set places all whilst on a pony and travelling at high speeds. The teams receive points for completing the challenges first, the winning team won a memorial trophy at the end of the games.

Being proud owners of a LOT of poultry, one of our favourite parts of the show is the poultry tent. Which if you are like us and like seeing the different arrays of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese, I would recommend you visiting the show on the first day. The second day leaves only the winning birds, pigeons and rabbits. Unfortunately, at this point Mrs Davies noticed the Pygmy Goat Club sign. Luckily for me she couldn’t fit the goat she had gotten attached to under her shirt, though I’m sure if my back was turned, she would have tried. But, I would like to say a big thank you to the lady who took the time to convince Mrs Davies that the best dog to own is an Irish Wolf Hounds. The dog show provides an array of dog breeds from the great to the small but equally great.

The Show arenas hold all kinds of attractions, from the Scots Guard Association Pipe Band, Falconry Displays, The parade of the cattle and one of my favourite attractions, the Huntsman and Hounds.

We took a trip down to the have a go clay pigeon shooting, with good incoming targets for first timers, they also had an air rifle range and archery. It was nice to see a wide variation of people having a go at the shooting stand. Talking of shooting, back to work I go with a full week of lessons ahead. The Cheshire show is a good county fair and a good day off. But we are, as always, excited for the year’s supply of Game Fairs.

Introducing – Brett Davies

The Sporting Lodge would like to give a warm welcome to our new blog contributor Brett Davies.

Brett is a highly experienced game and clay pigeon shooting instructor at North Wales Shooting School, with an impressive history in competitive shooting.

As a junior, Brett re-wrote history by winning the Home International Championship with a score of 196/200 making him the Inter Countries all round Champion. He was the only junior to win this title. He also was the Home International Champion at Automatic Ball Trap as a Junior shooting for England.

Brett then went on to represent The England Shooting Team three times, winning the English Open Sporting AA class and the English Open ABT.

In 2016, America also opened up a wealth of opportunities for Brett, as this is where he achieved 12th place in the Seminole Cup.

Staying true to his roots, Brett represents Cheshire in national inter counties competitions where he has become Cheshire’s English sporting, English Skeet and Olympic trap county champion numerous times at senior level. Within Cheshire, Brett is also the Sporting and Skeet Doubles Champion.

At present, Brett is ranked 8th in the official CPSA top ten ranked English sporting shooters in the country. Brett is also the current West Midlands Inter Counties all round Champion.

We are really looking forward to getting a glimpse into Brett’s life, seeing where his shooting careers takes him next and getting some of those valuable shooting tips!

Clay Pigeon Shooting Glasses

When clay shooting, it is always advisory to wear glasses to protect your eyes from fragments of broken clay. They are also extremely useful for improving visibility in different outdoor conditions. A variety of coloured lenses are used to help different coloured clays show up better in specific conditions, lighting or backgrounds. I use Beretta or Pilla shooting glasses and generally use a 22N lens now the weather is nice and light.

The Beretta Race Glasses are a particular favourite of mine.

 They offer an all-round lens, which shows up orange clays very well against a background and vision for black clays is not compromised. They are have a rather wide lens, which stops light from flooding in.

During the winter when the lighting is poor and rather dull, I mostly use a clear lens with a slight tint of green, allowing most light to enter your eyes.
There are many different brands and models of shooting glasses, some much better than others, mainly based on the clarity of the lenses. You can tell the difference between cheap and expensive shooting glasses rather easily. Cheap shooting glasses can perform a basic job and are often a popular choice for people who are not keen to invest a lot of time or money in shooting. However, those who are regular shooters and particularly those who compete find that high quality shooting glasses are a great investment of money as the difference in protection and performance is vast.

3 Things to Consider When Clay Pigeon Shooting

3 Things to Consider When Clay Pigeon Shooting

Stance

It is important to stand comfortably when shooting, but positioning and angle is essential too. The front foot generally should be pointing to where you are going to shoot, and the other placed in a way that provides balance when shooting. Being unstable can disturb your alignment and therefore reduce the accuracy of your shot.

Cartridge Choice

Cartridge choice is really down to opinion and preference. The most important thing is being confident with what you’re shooting as this is more likely to ensure consistent scores. The best thing to determine which cartridge is most suitable is to test them and how they go through the gun you are shooting. One method of doing this is to pattern them at around 30 yards and then see how many gaps are in the pattern. It is best to have little or no gaps to reduce the chance of not breaking the clay. 

Time to Shoot

Although shooting in warmer, less windy conditions is always preferable, it is important to practice in all weather conditions if you are planning on taking part in registered competitions as this prepares you for whatever conditions you may be faced with. Knowing how to respond to rain, sun, wind and different lighting will provide you with an advantage.

Thanks Fred – really great top tips! For all your shooting accessories & clothing at The Sporting Lodge browse here.

Fred Whitehurst – at the English Open Sporting Championship

I mentioned in my intro blog that I was going to be taking part in the English Open Sporting Championship, so I thought I would update you on how it went. The event took place on Wednesday 10th May at Highwaymans Shooting Ground in Suffolk. Fortunately, we had extremely nice weather and the conditions were perfect for shooting – Nice and warm with no wind meaning the consistency of the targets was very good.

The shoot itself was set up very well and ran very smoothly, which helps to reduce any nerves. There was a range of targets to suit shooters of all abilities. I shot 105/120 putting me in joint 3rd in the juniors category, however as I decided the 4 hour drive to the final would be inconvenient I did not get placed.

Highwaymans Shooting Ground is a fantastic CPSA Registered ground, which I would definitely recommend it to other keen shooters.

Thanks Fred, and well done – keep us posted!

Cleaning a Gun in Six Simple Steps:

Fred Whitehurst talks gun cleaning – 

Cleaning a Gun in Six Simple Steps:

  1. Dismantle the gun and wipe down with a cloth to remove any grease from handling the gun.
  2. Spray barrel cleaning solution down the barrels and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Run through both barrels with a phosphor bronze brush to remove the debris.
  4. Use a mop to remove any further debris left within the barrels.  
  5. Wipe down the action and grease all of the moving parts to reduce wear on the gun.
  6. It is also a good idea to remove the chokes from the gun, clean them and grease when putting them back in. Using grease instead of oil for the chokes means that they are less likely to come loose when shooting. 

I would advise that you clean your gun after every time it has been shot, as there may be moisture left in the barrels of the cartridges. This kind of damp can cause rust in the barrels. 

Thanks Fred, top tips! There are many different cleaning accessories available from Beretta. GMK, Perazzi, Purdey and more. Fancy a browse? Head over to The Sporting Lodge

Introducing – Fred Whitehurst

Meet Fred Whitehurst, our newest Blog Contributor for The Sporting Lodge.

Hi, I’m Fred Whitehurst, a 17 year old shooting enthusiast. My Dad introduced

me to game shooting at a young age, and over the past three years I have also

got into clay pigeon shooting as it allows me to get my practice in all year

round.

I was ranked No 1 in colts in UK until I recently moved up to the juniors where I

am now ranked 8th in the UK.

I shoot most weekends, whether that be practising, taking part in local

shooting competitions or representing Cheshire CPSN at county shows around

the country. My next big competition is the English open this week where I will

be hoping to improve on my no 8 ranking. Wish me luck!

My current weapon of choice is a Perazzi MX8, 12 bore 30½” barrel (my pride

and joy).

At home, we have 4 dogs; 2 working cockers, a German wirehaired pointer and

a lab x Collie. This is my dog which I have trained myself to be a retriever at our

local bird shoot throughout the winter when I am not clay shooting.

I have a real passion for everything outdoors and I am currently studying

agricultural engineering, so I am pretty handy on the tools which has put me in

good stead whilst working on my Defender.

If you would like to keep up to date with my progress, my passion the sport of

shooting and maybe a few hints and tips then you can find my latest posts here

on The Sporting Lodge Blog.