Glorious Twelfth

The most highly anticipated day of the year for shooting folk has arrived. Finally in action after a testing summer, the Glorious Twelfth marks the opening of the shooting season for the imperial red grouse.

Since Victorian times grouse shooting has dominated the rugged moors of Scotland and northern England. Particularly prevalent on Scottish estates: gamekeepers, beaters, estate managers and even some restaurants are preparing for a very significant date in their diary – the Glorious Twelfth. The 12th August marks the opening of the shooting season for the noble and rather majestic red grouse.

Completely wild, the red grouse is only found in the environment of heather moorlands in the United Kingdom and has often been classified as the king of all game birds. It is discreet and scarce to lay eyes on. They’re a plump medium-sized bird with a short tail, and have a rich chestnut plumage and white-feathered legs. Awash with changing browns, greens and pinks the heather provides the perfect camouflage for the similarly decorated grouse.

A contentious sport in modern times, it continues to be castigated by opposition, but is still supported by the government. Shooting estates say they bring in £32m to the Scottish economy and attract visitors from Europe, North America and further afield. For many who live in remote and sparsely populated areas, it is a sport they heavily rely on economically.


    Freddie Anderson


    August 2020


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