LLG Travels: Learning to Shoot Clay Pigeons with Barbour in East Sussex

by Sasha Wilkins on January 21, 2013 · 15 comments

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012
(Sophie (Barbour), Sophie (Dust PR), Me (in the new Barbour Hawkstone Parka), Mariella (Tatler), Lucy (Country & Townhouse mag) Don’t we all look fab in our Barbour kit? Not sure why my hair is so insane.)

When you are a features writer or an executive fashion editor on a magazine, or maybe even a full-time blogger, you get invited on an awful lot of press trips. Quite often to Foreign. Although on paper this sounds wildly exciting, unbelievably spoiling, and YES-please-when-are-we-leaving, most of them are utterly unjustifiable from a work or time or  jetlag or sanity point of view: no one needs to take three days out of their life to watch cabin crew learning to do their make-up in the UAE. (Yes, really.)

So I’ve learnt to say no to most offers, unless I have a strong desire or reason to visit a place, or can extend the trip myself beyond the usual three days for exploring/work purposes. (Which is what I did when I went to LA with Citizens of Humanity back in November, making my own arrangements afterwards, so that I could see friends & take meetings.) Or I am going to learn something new and interesting.

Which is why back in November I was to be found happily up to my hocks in mud in a field in East Sussex, learning to shoot clay pigeons – or skeet, as my American friends call them. I haven’t done such a thing since I was seventeen, when it was quietly agreed that I was utterly useless at said activity, and any participation on my part was to be severely restricted if my parents had to pay for it.

When Barbour asked me to join them to try to learn again, whilst kitted out head to toe in their clobber, oh which I am extremely fond anyway, I was beside myself with glee. And especially when I discovered that shiny new Range Rovers were on loan to drive ourselves down to East Sussex. (I left London early, so that I could arrive via the village in Kent where I grew up, and which I wrote about here.). That car is a joyful beast to drive, and I had much, much fun behind the wheel.

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Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012
(The Wealden Hall house, dating from the 16th century, owned by the farm where we were shooting.)

There was a group of magazine editors, one blogger (me), and several beautiful dogs.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

We were all looking forward to learning how to shoot clay pigeons, dressed in our Barbour jackets and woolly sweaters, whilst partaking in proper countryside activities.

Like checking our BlackBerries,

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

(hello Mr Storer, Executive Fashion Director at Rankin’s Hunger (and member of my winning kickass team at the BFC Fashion Quiz, and Mr Michael Hennegan, Fashion & Lifestyle Features Editor on The Sunday Times Style)

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

eating chocolate cake, (yes, fashion people do eat cake)

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

and saying hello to the free-range pigs. (These were not for shooting, in case you were wondering.)

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

We were divided up into teams. I can’t remember our group names, apart from that of the Germans, who had flown over for the trip, whose team name was…The Germans.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

The shooting stands were across a field,

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

with one over the way, through a wooded copse, which we walked through, kicking up dry leaves into billowing clouds around us.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Our team were extra lucky: we only went and scored John Offord, the Manager of the England ‘Olympic Trap’ Team as our coach for the day. Lucky us, poor him. Only one of us, Lucy Cleland, the Editor of Country & Townhouse magazine really showed any prowess, although Mariella Tandy, (the exec retail editor on Tatler), did win a a prize for being most extraordinarily cheerful.

Witness:

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Here I am with a shotgun in action.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

And here’s lovely Sophie, who managed to get the shooting stance just right:

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Here’s charming John, a true professional, who made us feel both safe and at our ease. He is a properly excellent coach, never showing any impatience or frustration at our collective uselessness. He’s holding a pump action shotgun, which was certainly a new experience for me.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

It was getting colder and colder, and as we took our places at the final stand, we could see the bonfire for lunch smoking merrily away.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

The Bell at Ticehurst, where we had stayed the night before, brought lunch to the field. I think all country picnics should be accessorised by silver candelabra.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

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Because we were all finished with the shooting part of the day, there was this to refresh us:

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

Esquire‘s Fashion Director Catherine Hayward never, ever looks anything less than 100% elegant in any situation. (She’s wearing a Barbour International – that’s the one I am always wearing in LLG photos.)

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

The same could be said for Men’s Health Style Director, Dan Rookwood:

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

I was impressed that a dishwasher was laid on too:

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

The winners are announced. Not our team I am afraid. (Apart from Mariella’s nice-ness prize). I believe Mr Storer carried the palm.

Barbour Clay Pigeon shoot Nov 2012

And then we all set off for London again. Mikey and I drove back together in my (loaned) Range Rover, gossiping all the way. A most amusing end to a wonderful 24hr escape from London. A huge thank you to Sue Newton and her team at Barbour, and to the wonderful Dust PR team, who are always a pleasure to be with.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

amanda January 22, 2013 at 00:51

I love this! It is the reality version of ‘huntin’ fishin’ and shootin’ which is an old abfab episode, which both ages me and is so so cliche, but there – i said it. i adore this!

amanda
http://thingstoholdandstir.blogspot.com/
check us out? follow us back?

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LLG January 22, 2013 at 20:27

@amanda: Your comment made me hoot with laughter! LLGxx

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Catherine January 22, 2013 at 03:34

How terribly English! It looks like it was a lot of fun. I especially like the pictures of the dogs and the natty looking men. I have an old style Barbour – a Gamefair – which I haven’t worn for ages. This has inspired me.

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LLG January 22, 2013 at 20:26

@Catherine: Oh do it! I love the old Barbours worn in the city too: it’s the contrast, I think, which looks so good. LLGxx

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Olivia Newman Spencer January 22, 2013 at 08:51

What a simply fabulous post ….. made me miss home in the country even more xx
love liv

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LLG January 22, 2013 at 20:26

@Olivia Newman Spencer: Thanks Liv! Being country bred myself, it is necessary to escape back once in a while, I find! LLGxx

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Blonde January 22, 2013 at 09:49

That looks like a brilliant day. I’m the market for a new Barbour – there’s been much research done of late…

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LLG January 22, 2013 at 20:23

@Blonde: I now have the lightweight International in black which I wear ALL THE TIME, & Barbour kindly gifted me the new olive parka style which I wore on the shooting day which is just genius. (It’s a very clever update of the traditional waxed jacket, and I like how it falls a little longer at the back: maybe good for your riding?)

I’d love it more if my bloody little sister hadn’t stolen it from me at New Year, and failed to give it back! LLGxx

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Elisse January 22, 2013 at 12:30

Looks fun!
I really want a Barbour coat, it is so classic and timeless, but they are so expensive! I want to save up for one though.

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LLG January 22, 2013 at 20:25

@Elisse: They are definitely investment dressing, but I do think that the great thing about them is that they never date – being pretty timeless, and that they never seem to wear out! LLGxx

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Michaela Deasy-Smith January 23, 2013 at 09:19

This is a very cool article. I did something similar a few years ago, and LOVED it, but didn’t blog about it. But I loved reading this day out with Barbour. And I met Mariella from Tatler at 9London. Mariella, if you are reading this, my baby was also Mariella. Snap!

Also, really enjoying the new addition of ‘guest blogger’ posts. Keeping it interesting. Well done. Mx

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Claire January 24, 2013 at 18:26

Love the blue girls parkas,May i ask which styles they are?

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mira January 26, 2013 at 20:47

It’s so epically English in a “But I’m sure that’s only in the books I’ve read in school” sort of way. (Product of a former British colony.)

Love the dishwasher!

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annie January 27, 2013 at 04:21

Have to say I find this much more inspiring and aspirational than a boring fashion shoot. Real people making clothes look brilliant! Off to check out parka….

I met my boyfriend clay pigeon shooting. We were at a 40th party and were both in the remedial class. He got one and I got none. I just couldn’t do it! x

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Rose January 30, 2013 at 04:28

this looks very fun! My only time shotting the clay pigoens at the national shooting range I was very bad at it- but I did have a fun time!

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