Meet the winners

logo 2013

Launched in 2013, The Really Wild Face of Fieldsports is an exciting initiative run by Fieldsports Magazine and the Really Wild Clothing Company. Centred around the CLA Game Fair, we search high and low across the UK for three individuals who enjoy the country lifestyle and will make great ambassadors for our sports. There are three categories, Really Wild Male Face of Fieldsports, Really Wild Female Face of Fieldsports and the Really Wild Future Face of Fieldsports (17 and under).

In the adult categories, the 20 finalists (10 Male and 10 Female) are announced at the Fieldsports and Really Wild Clothing Company stands on Gunmakers Row at the CLA Game Fair, where their photographs are on display for the public to view. It's purely democratic, the two finalists who receive the most votes over the course of the Game Fair win.

In 2013, we had a huge number of entries, ending up with 20 outstanding finalists. Literally hundreds of votes were cast over the course of the Game Fair and, in the end, we had our winners...

Richard Scrope

R Scropes

Richard Scrope (32) is a London-based sporting agent. He grew up at Hungerford Park in Berkshire where his father was the estate manager for Lord Howard de Walden, so he was exposed to all forms of fieldsports from a very young age. “I was incredibly lucky,” he says, “I had access to fishing on the Kennet, an endless supply of rabbit shooting and also stalking.”

What do you do for a living?

I used to work as a quantity surveyor for a London-based engineering company, but I was never cut out for a 9-5 office job. One day I woke up and saw the light, quit my job and founded Where Wise Men Shoot. I haven't looked back since and in early October this year, I amalgamated it with Charles Brownlow Sporting and formed a new sporting agency with Charlie and Ed de la Rue called Venantium Sporting (www.venantium.com). We will specialise in game shooting, rifle shooting and fishing as well as putting together bespoke packages. I also run Salar flies (www.salarflies.com), the UK's largest online salmon fly shop.

Why did you enter the RWFF?

For bragging rights really! No, in all seriousness, because I am deeply passionate about the countryside and countryside issues. Fieldsports aren't just a hobby for me, they are my life.

Shooting, stalking, fishing or hunting?

I love my shooting, stalking and fishing – in that order. Driven shooting is my number one passion but, as I manage 4,000 acres of quality roe buck, fallow and muntjac stalking in north Hampshire, I tend to spend a lot more of my time with a rifle, either maintaining the deer population or guiding clients. My father shot and fished and my mother was also an avid fisherwoman and we had annual family pilgrimages to various sporting estates in Scotland. So that combined with my life at Hungerford Park meant that I caught the bug at an early age.

What was your first ever live quarry?

A rabbit out of my bedroom window. It was eating a lettuce in the vegetable garden and I was very proud of myself but, unfortunately, our unruly labradors ate it before I could retrieve it. The first fish I caught was a rainbow trout on the Avington Beat of the River Kennet.

Other interests/hobbies?

I love my photography. My camera goes everywhere with me and I particularly love to photograph wildlife and fieldsports. When requested, I photograph shoots for clients or other individuals.

What are your favourite aspects of your sports?

Living in London, one of the main draws is simply getting out into the countryside as much as possible. But I also love the teaching side of it – taking people who are completely new to stalking, teaching them how to shoot with a rifle, introducing them to fieldcraft and then guiding them through their first successful stalk. Of course there is also the social side to a day's shooting which, to me, is the most important part of the day – it's all about having a good time with friends.

And your pet hate?

Camouflage! I hate it, in particular this American stuff which is all over the UK now! It is designed to fool the human eye, not the eyes of our quarry. Bushcraft is far more important than what you wear. Move slowly and sit still.

Labrador, springer, cocker, pointer or other?

It's got to be cocker – because she is lying next to me and is listening! I have actually just got my first dog, a 12-week-old black cocker spaniel bitch called Shadow. Bred by Katie Fraser and Ken Rolfe of Woodhaydown Gundogs, she is adorable and goes everywhere with me.

Favourite spot?

The majority of my stalking is done on a beautiful estate in Hampshire, but I will go anywhere anyone will have me, it is an honour and a privilege to be invited shooting! I love to get out and see new places and experience new shoots. My favourite river would have to be the Kennet for wild brownies.

Favourite quarry?

It's got to be driven grouse followed by pigeons. They're both wild, unpredictable, challenging and exciting. A grouse with a tailwind is the ultimate though, there's simply nothing like it.

What is your ultimate sporting goal?

I actually achieved one of my ultimate sporting goals on the day that the results of the Really Wild Face of Fieldsports were announced! I had been to Austria on four previous occasions in pursuit of chamois but had always been plagued by bad luck or bad weather, including a metre of snow on the day that I arrived in December last year. My friend who had invited me was determined that I shoot a good one, so in fairness I had been selective on previous trips. But this year, on the fourth day of the trip, I set off into the mountains in high spirits, having just seen the results of the Really Wild Face of Fieldsports. I finally took the shot late in the evening and at 325m, it was probably the shot of my life. I was elated! It was worth the wait and was the perfect ending to what was
an incredible day.

My next sporting goal is a Macnab. In fact, as soon as this interview finishes, I am getting in my car and driving all the way to the Uig and Hamanavay Estate on the Isle of Lewis where I am going to spend the next eight days trying to achieve the ultimate sporting challenge.

Your dream team of Guns might include...

My late father and grandfather, my best mate Arthur Landon and his late father, Winston Churchill, Lord Ripon (to see if he really was that good) and Edward de la Rue because he is paying me a lot to say so! But actually, every year I shoot with a team of friends and they are hard to beat.

What gun, rifle, rod do you use?

I shoot with Caesar Guerini Maxim 20 bores and do almost all of my stalking with a Blaser R8 .243 Win and am hoping to acquire .300 Win Mag and .375H&H barrels for it soon. My favourite fly rod is a Hardy Zenith 9ft 7wt.

Bit of kit that you would be lost without?

My Canon EOS 5D MkIII camera and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. They go everywhere with me.

Favourite hip flask tipple?

It's got to be a good sloe gin.

What do you recognise as the most important issues facing the countryside today?

Badgers. No, joking aside, a lack of understanding of the countryside by the increasingly urban population. The disassociation between food products and their source is clearly a manifestation of that.

There is also a lack of unity between country sports participants and all of our associations. A lot of people would never go out of their way to show support for the sports and countryside that they derive such enjoyment from. They aren't willing to add their voice to any countryside debates when it's needed.

What would you change about the way that our sports are conducted in the UK?

I would definitely place more emphasis on better educating people on how the countryside works. Education and understanding are key.

If you could change one thing about the public's perception of country sports, what would it be?

I would increase people's awareness in terms of the good that our sports do for the countryside. I have never met a single keeper who wants to kill every single fox, but they do want to maintain a balance between all species.  It's all about balance.

Rowena Pilling

R Pilling

Rowena Pilling (32) is a veterinary pharmaceutical rep who lives in Warwickshire on a 12-acre farm with her husband Mark and their horses, pigs, geese, chickens and dogs. And baby Pilling is due in March. Rowena grew up in the picturesque Tamar Valley in East Cornwall where they were surrounded by farms and fields. “As children, we ran wild!” she says. “We'd go anywhere a bike or pony could get to.”

What do you do for a living?

I did a degree in equine studies and then a work placement at an equine hospital. I'd seen pharmaceutical reps arrive in nice cars and shoes and chat to the vets over a cup of tea. As an over-worked, under-paid groom, they seemed to have the right idea! I love meeting people so it's the perfect job for me and I love it!

Why did you enter the RWFF?

All of those amazing prizes! I would be lying if I said the £1,000 worth of Really Wild Clothing didn't catch my eye!

Shooting, stalking, fishing or hunting?

Hunting is definitely my first love. I have been hunting since I was 11. My late great aunt always hunted and she really encouraged me to take it up when I was old enough. I first went out with the East Cornwall Hunt but I have also hunted with the Avon Vale, Warwickshire, the Worcestershire and the Croome & West Warwickshire. More recently though, I have discovered game shooting. I now have my own gun and absolutely love it.

Stalking is our newest thing – we have just got a firearms licence and our first stalking trip to Scotland this autumn was incredible. We had two wonderful days in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, where I had the privilege of taking my first stag. I am looking forward to getting out with our .243 and doing some woodland stalking once the baby has arrived, and I would love to stalk in Scotland again next year. I've only tried fly fishing for the first time this year and loved it, the prize of fishing on the Eden was a real bonus.

What was your first ever live quarry?

Do flowers count as live quarry? As a child, I shot a lot of flower heads off plants in Mum's garden with an air rifle!My first proper quarry was a pheasant at Severn Valley a few seasons ago. I have come to really adore everything about shooting.

Other interests/hobbies?

House renovation at the moment! We live in a time-warp of a farmhouse that hasn't been decorated since 1968, so we're gently coaxing it into a habitable state. Other interests include my British Lop pigs, putting on dinner parties and entertaining friends and also running. We've only been here for three years and people start talking about our Christmas parties in October!

What are your favourite aspects of your sports?

For me it's got to be the social aspect – the people involved. We have made such great friends through hunting and shooting. And of course being outdoors is a major benefit.

And your pet hate?

A lack of courtesy. Out hunting there is no excuse for being rude to members of the public – a smile and thank you to motorists in particular benefits the whole sport and I'm always surprised at how many people don't do it. I find unruly or badly behaved dogs unacceptable too.

Labrador, springer, cocker, pointer or other?

Whippets! Yes, I know, they're crap at picking-up, but I have tried – Scout, my youngest whippet, knows what to do, but he simply refuses. I don't think he sees the point! If I had to choose a shooting breed, it would be a wirehaired vizsla – I shot over a friend's last season and he was amazing.

Favourite spot?

My favourite shoot is Severn Valley in Shropshire, run by Charlie and Lorna Davies. I also love Coughton, our local farm shoot  which is run by Nick and Jo Turner. In terms of hunting, East Cornwall is special to me – it's where I learnt to hunt and the ground is so varied; moors one week, farmland the next. And of course the people are amazing.

Favourite quarry?

The fox! One of the best days of my life was spent hunting with the East Cornwall before the ban. Also, we have lost 38 chickens to foxes this year, so I have a bit of a personal vendetta!

What is your ultimate sporting goal?

More than anything, I would love to fox hunt in the UK again, like we did before the ban. I have some incredible memories of hunting back then. I also like the idea of shooting woodcock over pointers in Scotland. I haven't yet had the privilege of shooting grouse, but from what I hear it sounds truly amazing! I would love to experience that one day.

Your dream team of Guns might include...

My husband Mark – obviously – and some of our amazing shooting friends including top Shots Andy Castle (who's been incredibly supportive) and Robert Everett (from Hull cartridges) who is very charming and funny. Lucy King, aka Mrs Smartybreeks, as well as the brilliant Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club girls and the guys from Honesberie Shooting School. Nick Hollick and Andy are my go-to people for any shooting advice. I would also have a few people I haven't met before, as shooting is all about meeting new people.

What gun do you use?

I have a Beretta 687 20 bore, which I love.

Bit of kit that you would be lost without?

An old hunting crop that belonged to my late great aunt, Pamela Cooper. That and a good pair of gloves.

Favourite hip flask tipple?

Whisky Mac, equal parts whisky and Stones.

What do you recognise as the most important issues facing the countryside today?

The general public's chocolate box view of rural life, its realities and hardships. A lot of people seem to be oblivious to the difficulties that people in the countryside face simply trying to make a living. And what they don't realise is that it is those people who manage the countryside and keep it looking the way that it does. There seems to be such a lack of understanding of how the countryside actually works. Most country TV programmes put forward a rather sanitised view of country life. It would be nice to see a more balanced story about how the countryside is managed and why. In terms of country sports, I think a great PR job is needed to improve the wider public's perception of fieldsports. There is this misconception that it's solely about sport. People get so hung-up on the sport aspect when actually they should be focusing on all the good that our sports do – the employment that is generated and the conservation benefits.

What would you change about the way that our sports are conducted in the UK?

As a girl I've been made to feel very welcome within game shooting circles, but some clay grounds aren't very female friendly. The blokey, macho atmosphere can be intimidating and off-putting for some women. I believe that getting more women into shooting can only be a good thing, it increases the number of people in the sport and removes some of the social stigma that shooting is just an ‘old boys sport' (not that I have anything against them of course!).

I also think there could be more supportive relationships between fieldsports organisations that, working together, would lend a more powerful voice to political discussions that affect the whole community.

If you could change one thing about the public's perception of country sports, what would it be?

There is so much more to it than ‘sport', it is an integral part of the greater countryside.

RWFF 2014

After the resounding success of the 2013 competition, The Really Wild Face of Fieldsports is back again in 2014. Look out for the call for entries in the June/July issue as we lead up to the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace where, once again, you will be able to vote for your favourite finalists.

For more information about the Really Wild Face of Fieldsports, or to enter the 2014 competition, visit: www.fieldsportsmag.com/reallywild

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