I knew that Gemma had always wanted to try clay pigeon shooting, so I thought I would surprise her with her first lesson and use it as an opportunity to review Lowes Lane Clay Shooting Ground.
They are flexible with times where they can, and we ended up going for a one hour session at midday last Saturday.
It is a little set back from the main road (makes sense) and as you park the car you can hear the sounds of gunfire. They are unnerving sounds, even though you know what they are. Gemma wasn’t fussed, she was just excited.
The reception is in a wooden cabin, with a small café and some seats for tired shooters. As we entered we saw an unfortunate stereotype, mostly men over 40 wearing Barbour jackets, with guns hanging over their arms. However it wasn’t an uncomfortable atmosphere, everybody was very kind and smiley, making us feeling welcome.
We found our teacher for the day, Ashley Cumberland, and he got us a cup of tea and said we should relax for 10 minutes before the lesson began.
Gemma was kitted out with her earplugs and safety glasses, then Ashley talked her through how to hold, load and shoot the gun safely and effectively.
We went straight to the ‘training’ range to get cracking, and Gemma was manhandled (softly!) into position. It’s a little awkward when you’re not used to it, like anything I suppose.
Gemma started shooting and after lots of body reshaping and missed clays she hit one!
She had picked up how to do it very quickly and although she was happy to have just hit the one, I knew she could be doing better. We moved onto the ‘big boys’ shooting range and had a few more shots.
Ashley had to nip off for 5 minutes to get some more cartridges and whilst he was away I tried to see what was going wrong. After a short conversation it became clear that Gemma’s left eye is more dominant, yet she is right-handed. So she was struggling to concentrate her vision on the right eye. I told Ashley when he came back and his solution was simple, safety glasses with the left eye blacked out, disabling that side of vision for her.
After the glasses were switched, Gemma hit more than she missed. I got a few on video, and you can see how she did below.
Ashley wrapped everything up after an hour and a half, despite us only having an hour session booked. He explained that with 2 more lessons like that, Gemma would then be free to come down whenever she pleased, hire a gun and some clays, and shoot to her hearts content. Despite there being more men, they do have women and children regularly shoot there and once you are in a club (anyone with willing can join) everybody will try to help you.
Ashley even let me have a couple of shots. I was way off target, and nearly deafened myself because I forgot to put my plugs in! It was enjoyable, but I’m not sure I’ll take it up as a hobby, Gemma seemed far too good!
Gemma’s left arm ached from holding the gun up, and of course there was a small bruise where the butt had been pressing. These disappeared within 24 hours, and she reiterated time and again how worth it they were. She had a great time, and it certainly won’t be the last time she does it, I think she has a new favourite pastime!
We can’t recommend Lowes Lane Clay Shooting Ground enough, for anyone of any age, sex and ability. Their website can be found here.
Lowes Lane Clay Shooting Ground
Have you ever been shooting? Would you want to? Leave a comment…