Sport. Adventure. Camaraderie. Amid the county’s hills, woods, river valleys and pine forests, eight friends will spend five inspiring days in beautiful Shropshire—shooting, relaxing, wining and dining. Your mornings begin with a full English breakfast and when you’re not shooting, you will enjoy the comforts of a magnificent country home, open fires and deep handsome sofas.
Shropshire is border country. Here you see the transition from the Midland plains to the Welsh mountains, the rolling countryside of the Shropshire Hills and the wooded valleys of the River Teme. It is all truly spectacular.
As it has for countless centuries, shooting will take place on three stunning local estates surrounded by pure, natural beauty: Friday at Gatley Park, home to Philip Dunne, MP and his wife Domenica; Saturday at Downton Hall, home to Philippa & Mark Wiggin; and Monday at Stanage Castle in Wales, belonging to Sophie & Jonathan Coltman-Rogers, particularly renowned for its testing birds.
A British driven shoot combines history, tradition, beauty and some of the most challenging game bird shooting you will ever encounter. This is what you came for! Surrounded by Labradors, Springer and Cocker Spaniels and the greens and browns of nature, numbered pegs are drawn, and guns are loaded. The guns are placed evenly in each drive and the beaters then gently push the birds forward, so as when they take flight, you will always have a well-presented angle to take a shot.
Pheasants are wild birds so no two shots are the same, and you never really know how many pheasants will flush from a drive, in which direction, at what height and which speed. The skill and the challenge is in following the flight of a rising or curling bird and picking your shot. The dogs get excited when the shooting starts and the birds begin to fall. Once the shoot is over and the whistle goes, guns are unloaded and the dogs are released to retrieve the birds, which they carry very gently in their mouths and then drop at the feet of their owners.
After the second drive each day, drinks appear and you remember that shooting is a very social affair. You are taking part in a way of life that has passed down the generations—a chance for friends to get together, enjoy the sport of shooting and bring home the dinner.
Lunch will be provided in the field on shooting days, and at the end of each day, you will enjoy afternoon tea with the team. This is a relaxed affair, which will be reflected in the comfortable yet outstanding chef-prepared dinners in the evenings. If desired, a black-tie evening will be arranged, and a highlight of this trip will be a dinner party at the neighboring home of your host for this trip, esteemed NWWF Auctioneer, Humphrey Butler, and his wife Davina. On Sunday, the team can enjoy a leisurely day at Downton with an excellent lunch, followed by a tour of the estate if you choose, or a round of golf, weather permitting!
Pheasant season in England and Wales is October 1st through February 1st, and you’ll be shooting on chilly November days. To complement your tweeds and boots, you’ll appreciate the field jackets crafted from cloth from legendary fabric mill Loro Piana with lambskin accents, designed exclusively for the eight lucky winning bidders with the Naples Winter Wine Festival logo embroidered on the inside.
You’re going to want to shoot for this one.
Roundtrip, Private Airfare from New York (or any major airport along the East Coast of the United States) to London on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 and return to New York (or any major airport along the East Coast of the United States) on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 is included. Roundtrip Airfare from the winning bidders’ home cities to the airport of departure is not included. All ground transfers, all accommodation, all meals, shotguns if needed and ammunition are included. Winning bidders will need to be experienced shots as each day will provide up to 300 high birds. Loaders can be provided at all venues if necessary. Winning bidders are responsible for securing the proper licenses and documents required to travel with their personal shotguns. Shooting days will be Friday, November 6 at Gatley Park; Saturday, November 7 at Downton Hall, and Monday, November 9 at Stanage Castle. The team will be hosted by Humphrey Butler for the duration of the stay.
Philippa & Mark Wiggin, Davina & Humphrey Butler and Élevée Fine Clothing
Private Airfare donated by Barbie & Paul Hills, Nancy & Joe Masterson and Shirley & Peter Welsh