Countdown to Christmas event was not as smooth as hoped

z 5.30am: Hard, hard frost twinkling in the clear moonlight. Horses’ water is frozen, but no overnight snow – whew! All systems go for Braidwood’s Christmas event. Expecting 100 for lunch today.

z 6am: National television news. Disaster – snow UK wide, airports closed, transport network in chaos!

z 6.30am: temperature rises to minus 7c, snow in the air – hope it doesn’t last.

z 8am: snow stopped, only a dusting – then the phone starts. Call after call – “Is it still on?”, “What’s your weather like?”,”We’re blocked in”, “Road impossible”, apologies, call-offs. Fingers crossed some turn up otherwise we’re eating turkey well into 2011!

z 10am: the cars start rolling in – amazingly some even manage up from Northumberland and across from East Lothian. In the end, 58 guns and 79 lunches made it well worthwhile despite the conditions

Ground owner Jim Black set out a 48-clay course over 12 stands to keep everyone on the move and to avoid delays. Fortunately the sun came out and, although bitterly cold, the shoot was set in a beautiful winter wonderland scene.

It turned into a very special day all round for club regular, Donald Livingston (Edinburgh). On the occasion of his 60th birthday he topped the scoreboard with an excellent 44, winning The Hamish Smith Trophy for the shoot high gun. After lunch he was presented with a special birthday cake – and then his name was first out the hat as the winner of the luxury hamper draw. How good could it get?

Jim Brodie (Denholm) and Stuart Donaldson (Dalkeith) shared runner-up slot three clays back on 41. Jim McPhillips (Bathgate) was the top veteran on 38. Struan Brodie (Denholm) picked up the Junior Shield with his score of 33 while Melanie Thomson (Loanhead) was the best lady on 29.

All competitors brought a prize, which meant all won one too.

The first event of 2011 is on Sunday, January 2, when Jim Brodie is all set to defend the Roger Tyrer Cup. Entries close at noon, All welcome. The ground is open for practice daily throughout the festive fortnight, closing only on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.