Date: 25th April 2013
Location: Clay Pigeon Shoot Ltd, South Essex
Cost: £24.00 (special rate)
Rules: In Olympic shotgun events, competitors shoot at moving clay targets launched above and in front of them. In Trap shooting, the shooter stands 16 yards behind the throwing station. Clay pigeons are thrown forward, either one or two at a time.
Sarah: We looked at each other in mild disbelief when we turned onto the active airfield and drove across the runway...what were we letting ourselves in for?! It would be the first time either of us had ever handled a gun (actually- I did shoot a lot of the air rifles on the fairground when I was young, but was guessing they're not really the same thing!). We felt pretty nervous at the thought of our first shooting event, but couldn't have been made more welcome. Olly gave us an introduction to the guns and sport of shooting and then took us on to some practice ranges (where it turns out that Ellie is a natural and I, it is fair to say, definitely am not!). In all of the practices, I didn't manage to hit more than two clays in a round of ten, but really enjoyed giving it a go. As we moved up to the Trap course, it seemed very unlikely either of us would hit anything- the clays catapult out of the station at a random point and angle, so I was properly shocked when I managed to hit one!
Ellie: What a glorious day for a completely new sport; a sport I would never have tried before starting this challenge and in an area of Essex I probably would never have visited. To start with we were kitted out with the safety gear, taught how to stand, how to hold the gun and where to aim. It was explained how it is best to not think about your shooting; to make it as natural as possible and also to expect bruising.
The Trap is, basically, a tease. It shoots pigeons out as and when it sees fit. It's not really a fair sport and how anyone is able to hit anything is beyond me. I'm not sure who was more surprised that both Sarah and I managed to hit something, me, Sarah or the pigeons*.
A big thank you to Olly at Clay Pigeon Shoot Ltd. It's not very common for beginners to try either of these disciplines, so we're so grateful that he could make it possible for us, and more importantly safe! For more info on Olly's shooting range: www.claypigeonshoot.co.uk
*No pigeons were harmed in the making of this challenge.