Clay Shooting in Barthomley, Cheshire

I met up with Leon on Sunday morning, around 10.30am to follow him to a privately owned farm in Barthomley where there was the monthly clay shooting event being held. To my surprise, they were expecting a hundred if not more, shooters to participate. The land consisted of 10 stands in which the shooters were to make their way around until complete, each time they’d have roughly 6 shots each and were in groups of around 4-6. I followed Leon and his group of 6 men who had all been shooting for some time, I felt this would be the best experience for my first meeting with the shooters, enabling me to gain a feel for the rules of shooting, how they work together and what my boundaries were. Also I wanted to use this time as a way of documenting the shooters, so felt it’d work better if I was to get to know the individuals more so than trying to consume the whole area with so many participants.
I found that just like the bird watchers, these shooters were exceptionally dedicated to this activity. Every single one had their own equipment including gun, gun bad, ear protectors, eye protectors and clay fibre bullets to load their guns with. I was keenly told by many of the shooters how people seem to mistaken this activity as a burden on the environment, but in fact the clay which they shoot, once hitting the ground will disintegrate and the same with the bullets, proving this sport as environmentally friendly, and they wouldn’t want it to be seen otherwise.
It’s hard for me to understand what pleasure they gain from shooting, when speaking to Leon he’d started it as a hobby, something he could look forward to doing every other week. He says he finds it fun, relaxing and very sociable. I felt as though it was somewhere a man could be a man. However, it was surprising to see some females shooting, I was pretty tempted to have a go myself though.
From my set of photographs, I wanted to set the surroundings and the atmosphere of the day. I’ll be looking forward to returning to a shoot with Leon soon.

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