October Spanish Partridges
Ollie Severn spends a day on Spanish Partridges and can see why they are on the top of many peoples 'Bucket List'
William Powell Sporting has enjoyed a fantastic early season both here in the UK and also overseas. In the run-up to this season, we have been most fortunate to assist our clients with building some of the most incredible overseas “bucket list” adventures. Much of this interest has arisen as a result of the ongoing pressures we are sadly facing here in the UK.
One trip we continually see at the top of client’s “bucket lists” is shooting Spanish Partridges and for very good reason as there is a huge amount going for Spanish sport, not least the weather and hospitality!
Teams traveling to Spain to shoot partridges is no new venture and Guns have been traveling to the Iberian Peninsula in pursuit of fine sport for many decades. William Powell Sporting has been fortunate to assist many teams over the years and as a result, we have formed exceptional working relationships with a large range of Estates enabling us to offer a wide variety of shooting. It is as a result of this that we are able to build some of the most tailored and impressive trips each season.
Just recently we received an enquiry seeking further information on a possible trip to Spain and the possibility of doing so at very short notice. After a succinct call, we gained a detailed understanding of exactly what the client required and their expectations from a trip to Spain. Following this, we were well positioned to initiate and register the interest with several suitable providers securing various options for consideration with one of our partner Estates. The trip was quickly confirmed, and the finer details were put in place.
Only a short time later that I found myself on the way to Heathrow to board a plane bound for the welcoming climate of Spain. On arrival at Madrid airport, I was met by the immaculately turned-out Jose, one of the Estate’s charming chauffeurs. We loaded into the E-Class and set off on the short drive to the Lodge which is stunningly positioned amongst some of Spain’s finest olive groves. It was here that we welcomed the team of Guns and their non shooting guests that evening as the sun started to set.
On arrival, guests were shown to their stunning en-suite rooms where they could relax and unwind before everyone congregated in the main lodge for evening drinks. The Lodge’s team of butlers attentively assisted with all and any drink requirements providing everything from exceptional Spanish Rioja to refreshing Gin and Tonics. The drinks and conversation were well complemented with endless platers of the most impressive Jamón ibérico and accompanying cheeses. Once guests were ready for dinner, a plethora of food appeared from the kitchen, many being well-recognised Spanish dishes, but some more niche traditional options were also available for guests. After a fantastic dinner, all retreated to their rooms with great anticipation for the main event the following day.
The morning arrived after a good rest, with guests enjoying a beautifully presented light continental breakfast before preparations were made for the day with those requiring gun hire being matched with their perfect pair from the range of available Estate guns after the safety speech was given and the format of the day explained to those shooting and loaded into the Estate four-wheel drive vehicles and winded our way through the stunning olive groves and scrubby valleys on our way to the first drive
Those guests not shooting were offered a variety of activities for the day, and an itinerary was quickly drawn up including a visit to the beautifully historic city of Toledo and specifically the incredible Santa Iglesia Cathedral, all of which is within easy reach of this particular Estate.
Arriving at the first drive, we were welcomed by the always impressive sight of the Loaders, Secretarios and Pickers making their way down the track with a mass of equipment for each drive, including the synonymous “lollipops” which play an important role in both safety and performance by helping shade Guns from the sun. The first drive, “Albina” showed a fantastic quality of shooting down the full line of Guns offering a variety of birds for all abilities. The drive was a great success and a fantastic start to the shooting for all Guns.
Following the first drive, the team re-grouped enthusiastically at a table positioned under an olive tree, laden with refreshing drinks. There was much discussion over the exciting drive, as for many, it was their first ever in Spain. With breakfast a “distant memory”(!) food again appeared from all angles and the team relaxed in the comfortable chairs while the beaters and shoot day team prepared for the second drive.
The second drive was driven in a more traditional Spanish style with flurries of partridges appearing with little notice and passing the Guns at impressive speed making for challenging shooting. Hearing the drive unfold was as exciting as ever, and as the shooting increased, so did the enthusiasm of the beating team. The hollers and whistles of the locals move closer as the drive progresses until the point at which all the game has been shown and the drive naturally came to an end with hot barrels all around.
It was all smiles as the Guns made their way from their individual stands to discuss the excitement of the drive; it was evident that the team enjoyed shooting this fantastic style of shooting less common in the UK.
At circa 1300hrs it was now time for lunch and as intended, the non-shooting guests arrived perfectly on time at the lunch location which consisted of a beautifully laid table strategically positioned in the shade of two stunning trees.
Following an exceptional morning, both the food and conversation was ample with the non-shooting guests who enjoyed exploring the Toledo culture and were no doubt surprised by the impressiveness of the extensive Cathedral.
Following lunch, the final two drives were shot and again showed the full line a beautiful variety of birds presenting some challenging shooting made increasingly difficult by the strong wind which had significantly picked up and resulted in a shot ratio of 6.1 shots per partridge.
After the fourth and last drive, the guests regrouped for a final time and reminisced over the fantastically sporting day we had all been fortunate enough to enjoy.
On returning to the lodge, the traditional display of game was laid out in front of the Estate house. This was a most impressive sight and one that everyone thoroughly enjoyed in the most respectful way possible.
Due to the clients’ onward travel requirements, a quick de-debrief from the Estate was given over a final drink before guests loaded into the three vehicles to head to their final destinations.
As ever, the team had an exceptionally enjoyable time shooting in Spain and showed a strong interest in returning for a possible day next season.
Recently, we have seen a huge spike in demand for shooting overseas, most noticeably from teams looking to shoot in Spain both this season and next, which is undoubtedly caused by the huge challenges that we are currently facing in the UK in relation to price increases and the undeniable problem that is bird flu.
As a result, we therefore, expect availability in Spain to become more limited than in previous seasons and would urge anyone interested in Spain, as either a single gun or full team, not to hesitate in contacting one of the William Powell Sporting team by either emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 01295 661033.