Wednesday December 17, 2014
On 25th April, we entered a team of 4 into the annual Princes Trust Charity clay pigeon shoot, which was held at Eastnor Castle in Ledbury. Driving up the never-ending drive, it was hard not to be impressed by the sheer scale of the castle and grounds. Eastnor is set in 5,000 acres and is home to the Hervey-Bathurst family. It was built by the 2nd Baron (Lord) Somers, later 1st Earl, between 1810 and 1824. He built it to impress his contemporaries and impressive it is!
By most studies, the castle is massive - it took 250 men working day and night six years to build – it took 4,000 tons of building stone, 16,000 tons of mortar and 600 tons of wood.
Our team – aptly named the ’four bores’ - consisted of Alistair Cook, Simon Chadwick and David Sedgwick – oh, and Peter. Upon arrival, the teams were greeted by James Hervey-Bathurst (the current owner) who made all the guests feel that they were long-lost friends. After being served with bacon sandwiches and fresh coffee in the ‘Great Hall’ it was time to grab the guns and make our way to the vehicles.
Split into 23 teams of 4, each team was assigned their own chauffeur and new Range Rover (handy that Range Rover was sponsoring the event) and then taken off to the first stand! Normally at these events it is all quite relaxed but this was not the case – "extremely competitive" was how Peter described it! In total there were 5 stands (of different levels of difficulty) – and after competing at each stand there was an opportunity to demonstrate how incredible Range Rovers are at going through lakes, down unbelievable slopes and through mud 3ft deep in total comfort – as a marketing exercise, it was brilliant. Apparently Land Rover use Eastnor Castle as one of its testing grounds.
Unfortunately Peter chose to ‘cash in’ the Joker card, (which can double your score, as long as you designate the stand beforehand) on the High Tower stand – which was the most horrendously difficult stand where you could barely see the clays - rendering the Joker next to useless. Double nothing is nothing! Anyway, the Four Bores managed a very respectable score and came 11th out of 23 teams. Afterwards there was a 4-course lunch and a charity auction in aid of the Prince's Trust which raised £18,000. Naturally, Peter got carried away at the auction and encouraged by his team mates, was the final winner of a day’s shooting at Royal Berkshire. He finally had the last laugh, however, as he then roped his three fellow team mates into the overall cost!