IT’S very British to moan about the weather, but on a Sunday when Andy Murray was struggling with the heat Down Under, shooters at Braidwood were struggling with Baltic conditions as they took part in the annual Big Stirrer event.
Damp and raw with the odd snow flurry, the sun never broke through, leaving even the hardiest complaining they could hardly feel their fingers and toes.
Good job, then, that Jim Black set the day’s competitions out over two separate 10-stand layouts. Despite the excellent turnout, that meant guns were able to move from peg to peg readily, avoiding standing about and queueing. To add to the day’s challenges he raised the boom on the cherrypicker, launching the high pheasant on stand one well above its regular elevation.
Thankfully, the gale force winds of the previous fortnight kept away, allowing its safe inclusion.
Stuart Dawson (Bedlington) pulled a sterling 34 out of the bag to lift the first-half trophy two points clear of Jim McPhillips (Bathgate) and Billy Williamson (Linlithgow Bridge), A fourth member of the same squad, John Ross (Whitburn) had the third highest score of 31.
The second layout was won on the same score, but by a different gun. This time Jack Carlyle (Dalton) was the man to beat. Jim Brodie (Denholm) and George Brown (visitor) were just one away on 33 with John Kane (Langholm) right up there too on 32.
The biting cold took its toll – just 12 per cent of those shooting managed to exceed 75 per cent on either layout. Carlyle was overall high gun for the day – his 63 earning him the aggregate medal and prize. Kane and McPhillips were only a single clay short at 62, Ross and Dawson both on 61.
The next competition is on Sunday, February 13, when members have the Mowitt Trophy up for grabs. Last year Alex Brown (Newtongrange) only dropped four from 40 to clinch the title. Who will take it home in 2011? Entries close at noon. All welcome.