The Inglorious Twelfth

Male Red Grouse
Male Red Grouse on the track above Abbey Brook

Jack the Red Grouse who inhabits Abbey Brook needs to be lying low today.

The grouse shooting season starts today in the country. In the Peak District National Park, the sound of guns will be heard on the shooting estates of the Dark Peak.

The sport is one of the few sports regulated by act of parliament. The Game Act 1831 allows grouse to be shot between the 12th August and the 10th December. If the 12th falls on a Sunday it must start on the 13th.

Shooting butt above Ramsden Clough. Peak District National Park. Dark Peak Walks. Author Paul Besley. Published by Cicerone Press.
Shooting butt above Ramsden Clough. Peak District National Park

In the Dark Peak it is driven shooting that is practiced, driving the birds across a moor towards the people with the guns who are placed in a line of butts in the birds path.

Grouse moors in the Dark Peak can be closed during the shoot so it is best to check on closures by visiting the Crow Access website before you go walking.

Good luck Jack. Keep your head down buddy. See you near Christmas.

Read about Jack here

Dark Peak Cabins

I love cabins. In the early to middle of last century “Cabining” was often part of a walk, either as a bothy or as a lunch stop. Most cabins in the Dark Peak are there to provide cover for Grouse Shooting parties during lunch.

I like to brew up in a cabin and sit and dream of the people who have been in the past. Alison and I once walked to the Ronksley Cabins on Christmas Day for our lunch. Snow and ice on the ground, blue skies and when we opened the door, a cabin full of people having their Christmas Dinner. That was a surprise. With no room at the Inn we had to spend lunch next door in the beaters cabin, the Ronksley cabins being one of the few that has a cabin for the paying guests and a separate one, open to the elements mind, for the beaters.

Above are ten photos of cabins, locations or huts. Can you identify which ones they are and where. If you think you know, write it down in the comments section, numbering them one to ten. Hover the cursor over the picture for the number.

A days shoot on Howden Moor

Howden Moor 1852 

From the Sheffield Times 1858

Sheffield Times

November 21st 1858

Mr T Colley, landlord of the Bluebell Inn, was in the middle of the days shoot on the Duke of Norfolk’s moor. A Gamekeeper handed him a gun and pointed to a wild d on one of the lakes as a target. Mr Colley went up a rising piece of ground in order to get a better shot. The duck appeared to have risen, and, just as he fired, something appeared to leap out of the lake and was shot. On it being obtained, it proved to be a large pike. But this was not all, for on firing Mr Colley was knocked backwards by the rebound of the gun, which knocked him over and he rolled down the hill. He was so stunned that he had to be lifted to his feet by his friends, and in doing so found that he had crushed a hare to death and had thus made on of the most extraordinary shots ever recorded. The duck, the pike, the hare have been stuffed and placed in a box which is at present on show at the Bluebell Inn. The Duke of Norfolk on hearing the story sent Mr Colley a brace of grouse.