The third and final activity the team at Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism chose for me at our activity weekend earlier in March was clay pigeon shooting. It might not be quite as adrenaline fuelled as mountain biking or caving, but many people choose to spend their time outdoors shooting and I was looking forward to giving it a go.
Clay pigeon shooting with DCB Leisure. Photo David Broadbent.
We headed just down the road from Coleford to Trowgreen Farm and the home of DCB Leisure, a BASC affiliated shooting ground in the Forest of Dean. Dave, who runs the company, was there to greet us. He runs clay pigeon shooting, air rifle and archery at all levels; he has recently sent a teenager off to train with Team GB, and apparently taught Sean Bean to shoot, so he must be good!
Signing to say I’m not dangerous. Photo David Broadbent.
The lesson, which lasted a couple of hours, was super relaxed and fun. After a safety briefing Dave made sure we each had the right sized gun and explained what we’d be doing. His style was serious but with a sense of humour – he clearly knew what he was talking about and was keen to impart his knowledge so we could get the most out of our short session.
Jenni being fitted for her shot gun. Photo David Broadbent.
Once kitted-out in our ear defenders, safety glasses, and shooting vests, we each took it in turns to point the gun in roughly the right direction and pull the trigger. Much less energetic than the mountain biking and caving for sure, but still a good way to spend a couple of hours outside.
You don’t aim a shot gun, you point it! Photo David Broadbent.
I have actually been clay pigeon shooting before. Last time it wasn’t a proper lesson, it was part of an inter-workplace challenge I took part in probably ten years ago now. On that occasion, I managed to hit a fair few clay pigeons, and while I didn’t have quite as much luck this time, I enjoyed it a lot more. Dave was a great teacher, was super relaxed, and was happy to chat and answer questions. I remember last time coming away with a massive bruise on my shoulder, but Dave made sure the gun was always in the right place and I had no such issue this time.
My favourite shot of the day – did I hit it? Yes! Photo David Broadbent.
During the morning we each got to shoot clay pigeons flying in different directions across the sky – some of us were more successful than others, but part of the fun of our lesson was doing it as a group and celebrating with those who could actually do it. I managed to hit a couple in my first go (two out of six isn’t bad!), and then one the second, but that was pretty much it. It didn’t matter, though, it fun anyway, especially when my fellow bloggers were successful in smashing the clay pigeon to pieces!
Dave really did try to help us hit those clays! Photo David Broadbent.
Who’d have thought shooting a shot gun would be such a nice way to spend a Sunday morning?!
Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism are hosting their annual Activities Festival on Sunday 23rd April in the grounds of Speech House Hotel. There will be “have a go” sessions for all kinds of activities – sounds like a really good way to try something new. Head over to https://forestactivitiesfestival.co.uk/ for the details.
Fellow bloggers and new friends. Thanks all! Photo David Broadbent.
My lesson with DCB Leisure was part of the Dean Wye Bloggers activities weekend. #DeanWyeBloggers was an activity weekend organised by Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tourism to help promote the area. I was invited along with a number of other bloggers and had an absolutely fantastic weekend with them. I have been asked to follow up my visit with a blog post or two, but know that I always write from experience and with my own opinions.