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!

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!

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.

Taking a Shot for all the Right Reasons

Our guest writer Eleni MacFarlaine finds out what makes Malikaa Wig – one of the best shots from India and a friend of The Sporting Lodge – tick. Although only in her 20s, Malikaa is fast becoming a woman to watch, as she travels the world competing at the highest levels and striving for that gold medal win!

Indian-born Malikaa Wig – a rarity of the sports world – is one of the youngest women representing her country’s trap shooting team, at just 20 years old. With eyes full of enthusiasm, Malikaa is leaning forward with a smile from ear to ear. She’s clearly eager to talk about her passion and intended profession.

Malikaa lives in Kanpur, India, which is also known as ‘Manchester of the East’. Due to its urban stature and heavy industrialisation, it can be imagined that it may be hard to stand out and make a name for yourself amongst 2.5 million inhabitants.

India is famed for its cricketing skill, adopted by a male majority. However, neither Malikaa’s age nor gender are points she believes could single her out negatively – she’s seems amused by the thought.

‘I’m confident! I feel the days of male domination in sport are gone,’ she laughs. ‘Males have been my main influence admittedly, although I am a proud sportswoman!’

‘My country has a rich history of brave women who took up arms during struggle. They fought for our independence!’ she stresses. ‘The same passion has been passed through generations and today I believe that the women of my country are as passionate for shooting as they were centuries ago. I know many other women who are excellent shooters and do very well in their field – that is why I can say I am confident.’

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Wig is loquacious and eloquent. She gained her first big achievement, a bronze medal, at 19-years-old whilst competing in the Trap Women World Championship in Lima and relishes in talking about the subject. ‘Becoming the junior national champion in trap is one of my greatest achievements. I now bear the tricolour on my shooting jacket!’

A brush on the topic of her home country is encountered with an immediate surge of warmth. ‘Fabulous!’ she beams. ‘My country is my inspiration, my home and my inspiration,’ she expresses, ever so simply.

‘Both my father and my forefathers were all in the [shooting] profession, I could not ignore this, I suppose I could say it runs in my blood.’

She is determined to learn through sport and insists that she has learned many lessons since first learning to shoot. ‘I have learned to be self confident and independent. Before I started shooting I was a very indecisive person, yet I have gained knowledge in handling countless different, difficult situations.’ Malikaa’s age is turning into a reminder that has to constantly be reiterated; barely an adult, this young figure holds impressive sensibility.

Taking age into further account, when asked about having possible other hobbies she seems extremely keen to inform. ‘I love chatting with my friends; I dance and appreciate good food. I’m just a normal teenager, I love badminton especially! I try to stay active as I have always been made aware of its importance.’

malikaa-wig-2

When competing, it’s nothing too outlandish to associate guns with fear due to news coverage. Upon being asked if she feels any sense of danger holding a gun, Malikaa seems shocked. ‘I believe that shooting teaches one to handle firearms properly and safely. Surely this makes it one of the safest sports, no?’ Well played, Wig.

Malika has pushed through competitions, sometimes being the youngest competitor. It’s refreshing to witness her high hopes for the near future and to hear her make reference to the Olympics. ‘It’s where I want to be [the Olympics]. I would love to win a gold medal for my country, but especially for my parents.’

The young woman will be attending further trials in April to determine whether she will be able to qualify for further competition worldwide. Germany, Finland, Italy, Iran and Kuwait will serve as the five destinations to further prove her worth within her field.

One of Malika’s all time heroes, about whom she speaks with great respect, is a previous shooting Olympic silver medallist – Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. He is famed for his athletic talent and political opinion, having been both a flag bearer for India during the Olympics and the recipient of the Padma Shri (a special award from the Government of India). It seems as though Wig would be delighted to follow in his footsteps.

Many people will never know how it feels to hold, or even shoot a gun. The portrayal of firearms is often surrounded by controversy, a controversy that young Malikaa seems to overlook. She associates her sport with positive connotations, skill and trust. She goes on to describe the feeling of competing as ‘nerve-wracking but exciting’.

‘One more thing…’ she adds. ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.’ … ‘It’s a quote by Robert Frost, my favourite poet. I’ll always strive for something more.

An Audience with Phil Raisbeck

We had a chat with British blogger and outdoor adventurer, Phil Raisbeck, ahead of his impressive participation in the Fjallraven Classic trek that’s set to go ahead on Friday 8th August. Phil is a regular customer of The Sporting Lodge, who has a great love for the outdoors.

Taking your Fjallraven collection into account, can you name your favourite item and what makes it so special?

That is a tough question. I have so many items now, it’s hard to choose a favourite as all their clothing and equipment are excellent quality. I’m torn between my most commonly used items of Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, Fjallraven Ruaha zip-off trousers, my first Fjallraven trousers, Sarek, or the Keb hooded fleece jacket. I think for its multiple uses for more technical hikes, challenges and varying conditions I will go with the Fjallraven Keb Gaiter trousers, plus they are in my favourite colour of UN Blue.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Without doubt it has to being lucky enough to win 1st place for the UK in this year’s Fjallraven Polar back in April. It was such an amazing unique experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and made some amazing friends during the event.

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Ahead of the Fjallraven Classic on Friday, what are three important steps you take to prepare yourself?

In the last few months I have been doing various hikes locally in places like Weardale, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Lakes. Doing hikes of various distances and challenges with the most recent ones carrying my Fjallraven Abisko 75 litre rucksack fully loaded with around 18kg in weight including everything I will be carrying on the Fjallraven Classic. You can be fit for long walks, but walking with a much heavier rucksack does make a huge difference, and you do need to practice carrying such weight before taking on a multi-day hike like the Fjallraven Classic.

Have you always been interested in expeditions and outdoor activity from a young age? What are your inspirations?

I did a little bit of outdoor activity many years ago in my teenage years, but then nothing for about 20 years. My recent outdoor epiphany only started in the summer of 2012, when my stepbrother Ian asked me to join him on his life-changing 250km trek through the French Pyrenees, where we did the Cathar Way. Since then I have been hooked on everything outdoors and this was followed by completing the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc trek last year. I’m also attempting to do the 282 Scottish Munros (though rather slowly, only done 4 so far!).

I’m always looking for my next adventure. Recently I went to Norway to visit my Norwegian Polar friend Jostein and we did an amazing hike to Trolltunga.

After the Classic next week I will focus on my next big adventure, which is the Toubkal Two Valley trek in Morocco this October. This will be the highest altitude I will have hiked. My ultimate goal is possibly ascending Mont Blanc after seeing it closely as I trekked the Tour du Mont Blanc, though I feel I need a lot more winter skills before I tackle that challenge.

What do you look for in the perfect piece of gear to accompany you in your travels?

That depends on how I intend to use them. If it would be for long multi-day trekking then one of the key thing would be the weight, however I also think ease of use and/or having multiple uses if possible is key and of course the quality. I find if you buy cheap you buy twice, and you really need all your gear to stand up to the challenges you face as you never know what to expect and can’t afford to carry spare items “just in case”, as this would add to the weight you would carry. So quality and practicality is key.

Any last words?

Since taking part in the Fjallraven Polar I have met some amazing people from around the world, some in person and some virtually online through my Outdrr blogging network and past Fjallraven Polar participants and it has been great sharing experiences with all of these people as well as planning many future adventures together.

Thanks a lot Phil! Don’t forget to check out Phil’s blog to follow his quirky and exciting documentation of various expeditions and adventures!

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