The London Wing Shooting Fair
On March 23–24, 2018, the Business Design Centre in Islington will be the venue for the second London Fly Fishing Fair and the inaugural London Wing Shooting Fair.
This year’s debut of the London Fly Fishing Fair was a huge success. It was welcomed by the industry as the first fair of its kind in the capital. The Business Design Centre was originally an agricultural hall and the high, glass, domed ceiling lends itself to graceful casting demos on the casting pool. In 2018, The London Wing Shooting Fair will take place in the adjacent hall and one ticket will allow access to both shows.
There are already some fantastic people and companies from the industry that have committed to the fair next year. We took some time to speak to representatives from Orvis UK, The Ladies' Macnab Challenge, William Powell and Grulla Armas – just a few of the companies already signed up to exhibit – to hear a little more about their passions and why they are looking forward to being part of the shows next year...
Lucie Kuehnle, organiser of the Ladies’ Macnab Challenge.
What is your company and what do you do?
The Ladies’ Macnab Club is a private members’ club which aims to embed fieldsports activities into modern lifestyles and concerns such as the environment, healthy living, and contemporary art and design.
Why was exhibiting at the LFFF and LWSF important to you? Why do you think it is good to have a fair in London?
London is at the heart of British culture and history and for a club promoting the Macnab, which is part of British national heritage and tradition being based on a novel by British novelist John Buchan, it is the right place to be!
What do you want to achieve through The Ladies’ Macnab Challenge?
There are four pillars to the Ladies' Macnab Club:
Developing high level sporting competence in the three fieldsports categories – especially fly fishing and deer stalking (DSC1) for which we are now developing courses that we will be promoting at the fair;
Wildlife conservation and ecology, and the promotion of a zero-waste lifestyle. We encourage using our local deer by-products as much as possible (venison, deerskin for design pieces etc.);
Game gastronomy. We promote chefs who are preparing local game and serve our Ladies’ Macnab Club guests exclusively with dishes featuring harvested game;
Contemporary art and design inspired by or using natural substances and materials.
What have been your most memorable fieldsports experiences over the past 12 months?
Experimenting with salmon fly fishing on three very different rivers in Scotland – the Tay, the Ericht and the Shee – within one single day. The three rivers vary in depth and their current speeds, which made me aware of the challenges of fly fishing and the importance of adapting casting methods and equipment. I believe that you get so much more appreciation of this sport if you really build and invest competence and knowledge of fly fishing instead of just relying on short term pleasure accompanied by a ghillie. With regards to deer stalking, I am currently completing the DSC2 in Scotland, and very much enjoying learning skills that are not normally required if you follow a ghillie.”
Chris Maxted, sporting agent at William Powell
Who do you work for, what is your role and what does a typical day entail?
I work for William Powell Sporting as a sporting agent, offering the finest driven grouse, pheasant and partridge shooting in the UK and abroad. During the shooting season, my days generally comprise of hosting shoot days during the day and either driving to another location in the evening or getting everything set and ready for the following day.
What are you looking forward to at the London Wing Shooting Fair next year? What do you think makes London important for fieldsports enthusiasts?
Being our first time exhibiting, we are very much looking forward to meeting new faces (and hopefully new clients) and showing them why William Powell Sporting is at the forefront of its game. London is an important market for us as it’s a destination hotspot for our clientele no matter if they are partaking in fieldsports within the home counties or further afield.
Do you look after any shoots within easy travelling distance to London?
We work with many shoots within the home counties and provide a high-level sporting management service to a handful of them which have seen magnificent returns.
What fieldsports do you enjoy yourself and how would you spend the perfect sporting weekend?
When I’m not hosting I like to be out with the gun myself either shooting clays or pigeons. Otherwise I could be found lurking around with my excitable cocker spaniel Gyp and the forever up-to-no-good Jack Russell Millie. Nothing beats a round of sporting clays on a Sunday morning followed by a relaxing pint of beer with friends.
Rachael Brady, sporting coordinator, Orvis UK
Who do you work for and what is your job role? What does a typical day entail?
I have been with Orvis for about five years now and I work on the sporting side of the business, focusing on UK/European wholesale and managing our fishing bookings for the three beats that Orvis own on the Test and Itchen. A typical day can vary from working away from the office dealing with wholesale orders, or booking days on the river to visiting accounts or guiding on the river for press days and showcasing our new Orvis products.
I love the variety that my job brings and the opportunities that I get to meet industry experts in both fishing and shooting. My job gets me out amongst the public at game fairs and shows, too, and allows me to chew the fat with our customers, new and old, which is a real highlight. There’s always a ‘one that got away’ story or a proud picture moment!
Why are you exhibiting at the London Fly Fishing Fair and what were the highlights of this year? What are you hoping to see this year?
Last year’s show was a great event and it is something that Orvis are keen to support again. Having the fly fishing community gather from across the country, all in one place, was a fantastic way to showcase the sport and get the word out to even more potential anglers!
I am looking forward to having the additional Wing Shooting side of the show in 2018. Everyone who gets out in the field to shoot needs to get into fishing for the closed season. Fishing is the natural complement to game shooting, and keeps the avid fieldsports enthusiast busy and out in the countryside all year round.
This year we will be showcasing our latest ‘accurate-from-anywhere’ rod, the Helios 3 in all its guises, and we will be using the casting pools to demonstrate this and other rods, offering free lessons to those who are looking to improve their casting skills. We love meeting people and for us, the event is like coming home.
What do you love about fieldsports?
There is something quite special about an early morning start, knowing that I am going to be spending the day either on the riverbank or with my shotgun in hand. Since working with Orvis I have become an incredibly keen angler and I now spend my life thinking about the next time I get to fish! I love the thrill of the chase; finding the right fly that will tempt a trout or grayling and then being able to present it in such a way that makes it irresistible to my chosen fish. The adrenaline starts as soon as that take happens, and the buzz lasts for the rest of the day. When I’m on the bank, nothing else matters – all other stresses just fade away, and it is just me and my rod. When the weather starts getting cold and the leaves start turning, I start itching to get out beating and shooting. My love for shooting runs so deep that I was proposed to with a shotgun, instead of the customary ring!
Tell us about two of your sporting highlights in the past 12 months and something you are looking forward to doing in the future?
My shooting highlight of this year has to be back in January when I got my first left and right on a beaters’ day shoot. I was a walking Gun on the drive (incidentally my husband was on the peg) and I ended up having a beater dedicated to picking up for me! Seven birds later, I finished that drive on a high, whilst the husband had barely had any birds to raise his gun to. When you’re the only lady Gun on a day, you’ve gotta show the boys how it’s done!
I was also blessed with the opportunity to fish the Upper Delaware whilst over in the US for work this summer. Being a relatively new angler, this was my first chance to fish outside the UK, and I was not disappointed. Having the chance to fish for wild browns in such a location, cemented further my love for all things fishing.
Future plans involve getting as many experiences under my belt as possible. I will never turn down an opportunity to get out there and learn more!
Inigo Usobiaga, Grulla Armas
What is your company, how old is it and what do you do?
We are Grulla Armas, gunmakers located in Eibar (north of Spain). We have been in the market since 1932, always manufacturing high quality, custom and hand-made side-by-side shotguns.
We manufacture different models of side-by-side shotguns, with the specifications of the best London guns. All our models include five or seven pins, true sidelocks, automatic ejectors, whilst the upgrade models include the H&H style assisted opening system. We use Turkish walnut blanks (different grades depending the model) in all our models, hand engravings, and silver or gold ovals with client´s initials. Our delivery times are between 6 and 8 months.
Why have you chosen to exhibit at the London Wing Shooting Fair?
The United Kingdom is our biggest market right now. Considering the London Wing Shooting Fair will be in central London, we consider it is a good place to be exhibiting to meet old and new clients.
Where do you sell your guns in the UK at the moment?
William Evans Ltd from London (and Bisley) is our biggest dealer in the UK. Our Grulla shotguns are sold by W. Horton in Birmingham, too, and we are working to get a few more dealers across the UK as well.
Who uses your guns in the UK at the moment?
We have been selling shotguns in UK for the last 40 years. Most of these sales were made to private buyers. Well known gentlemen in the industry like the Duke of Northumberland, other members of the House of Lords and many private clients, especially from London, are using our Grulla shotguns, and most of them are happy owners.”
What sets your guns apart?
We believe we make a high-quality custom-made shotgun for a reasonable price and delivery time. We also take great pride in our attention to detail.