Saturday, 23 March 2013

Air rifle hunting video for BASC

This week I was joined for three very enjoyable days by BASC video ace Tom O'Carroll.
It was my video debut, and the transition from print to moving pictures was certainly an exciting one.

The sudden cold weather put the mockers on what we were hoping would be a hectic squirrel shoot - we spent three days on two estates that are usually heaving with tree-rats, and didn't see a single one!
But we still got lots of great footage and ended up with what I hope will be a really useful instructional piece that's very different from what we initially set out to achieve.
I was amazed by just how long the filming process takes - our three days will probably amount to a film of about ten minutes when Tom has finished editing it. I'll post the link here when it's ready.

Tom is an absolute pro and a real pleasure to work with. Hopefully we'll be teaming up to produce more airgun content for the BASC website in the future.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Recommended reading: Rob Collins trilogy

I was lucky enough to bump into the great countryman Rob Collins (aka the Ole Hedge Creeper) at the Westcountry Game Fair on Saturday. Rob (pictured) was manning the stand for Pass It On - an organisation which is doing wonderful things to introduce young people to field sports. After chatting with Rob, I wandered off with three of his excellent books.
I couldn't put down From the Start to the Heart after thumbing through it yesterday evening, and got almost halfway through it in a single sitting. This gripping, and very honest autobiographical book is a collection of amusing, and often moving, tales of Rob's formative years. Rob was tagging along on ferreting and shooting trips with his dad and uncles as a tiny boy, and there's a great yarn about him being dangled down a a cavernous rabbit hole by his Rupert the Bear wellies - not to mention the time he got a black eye from a low-flying trout. Rob also had a marvelous grandfather, a real old countryman who reminds me of my own late granddad, and accounts of their misadventures bring back more than a few of the colourful outings I was treated to as a young'un.
Although he's very modest about his writing ability, Rob has a very warm style that really draws in the reader. The book is written almost as if it's in the spoken word, and conjures up images and emotions that really do make you feel you're among the action as his accounts unfold.
I'm looking forward to getting back to it tonight and reading Rob's trilogy in order. I've had a very quick skim through Recipes from the Hedgerow, which is packed with lots of mouthwatering recipes that I can't wait to try out in the kitchen, and will finish with Rob's latest tome: Back to the Heart.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Jack Pyke Countryman Jumper tried and tested

I added the Jack Pyke Countryman Jumper to my hunting attire at the start of the winter and have to say that this new piece of clothing has performed brilliantly in bitterly cold conditions.

It is stated as being windproof and waterproof and, although I’ve not properly tested its waterproofing (because I’ve usually had a jacket over the top) I can certainly vouch for the fact that it keeps draughts out. As well as wearing it under my lightweight camouflage jacket during shooting trips in the woods, I've also worn it under an old waxed jacket during fishing sessions on the Somerset Levels. The Levels are exposed and windswept, and this zip-up jumper provided excellent insulation that kept me toasty during the coldest of days.

The Countryman Jumper is fleece-lined and reversible but the olive-green knitted outer with suede elbow and shoulder padding looks great so I wasn’t tempted to pull mine inside out. It features a nice high collar, stretchy knitted cuffs to really seal in the heat, plus spacious zipped pockets inside and out to keep things like your car keys and mobile phone secure.
With an SRP of £66.95, this isn’t a cheap item of clothing but it’s very well made and should give several seasons of good service. It performs brilliantly and I reckon it represents fantastic value for money.