April 23, 2010
Just recently, I had a visitor to my
office. When I say office, I was rebuilding a dry stone wall in a field, when
out of the corner of my eye I noticed a figure in shooting attire making his way
At first I thought it may be a hit man sent by The National Trust head office
to silence me. This I dismissed this out of hand as I could never recall seeing
generic risk assessments for having ex staff whacked.
It transpired that I knew the fellow and we had a little catch up and a laugh
at a past incident at Tyntesfield regarding shooting.
Now the shooting fraternity is a small one and news of a cock up is usually
in your favour. This is what happened.
Evidently, a well known shooter managed to wheedle his way onto the estate to
shoot pigeons. He soon started to take on guest guns (against NT policies) as
was his way of earning a good income.
This did not fair too well with a lot of people, but as he was employed by
the tenant of the land there was very little they could do.
The pigeon population was soon cut down to the odd fly past as more than 500 birds were shot in just over a week. The skies over the estate were no place for much really as the lead was flying in all directions.
This was a real problem for the ramblers as they dodged their way along the
trails and so the first of the complaints went in.
This was remedied by pointing out the public foot paths to Wild Bill and his
gun slingers and all was well for a day or so.
It was soon after this the first of the visitors complained that lead shot
was falling on their cars as they entered the estate. The news spread around the
estate quickly and while the mobility bus was being prepared in UN livery the
shop staff seemed to be experiencing a run on the Vera Lynn CDs as the memories
of the blitz came flooding back. Visitors leaving the estate were heard singing
We’ll Meet Again while waving white flags out of the windows.
The shooting was stopped and this seemed to be the ideal excuse to get rid of
Wild Bill. Meanwhile, the legacy left behind was the field was so full of shot,
there is a real danger the whole landscape could be stolen by scrap metal