My visit to The Game Fair
One of the highlights of the summer calendar for me has always been The Game Fair. For the last eight years I have camped on site with friends, which is the finest way to experience multiple days at the show. It is worth staying under canvas for a few nights to beat the traffic! We arrived on Thursday afternoon which gave us plenty of time to pitch the tents and then enjoy a barbecue. There is a wonderful atmosphere on site as you are with kindred spirits from the field sports family even if the weather was far from kind.
There is so much to see and do that it takes military precision to make sure you don’t miss out. The wild fowling display in the main arena by Chris Green was both entertaining and informative. You couldn’t help but be carried away by his enthusiasm for a niche area of shooting activity. The Game Fair theatre had lots going on too with many debates including one on bias against field sports within the BBC. Meanwhile famous chefs in the cookery zone were showing how to dress and cook roe deer or wild boar.
There is always an emphasis on trying new activities no matter what age you are. The queues at the instruction stands run by BASC, CPSA and others down at the clay lines were testament to the continued interest in getting into shooting sports. A youngster in our party had great fun trying her inexperienced cocker spaniel in the ‘have a go’ scurry competitions. If you were after something different from shooting then you could take a fly fishing lesson down on the river or meet the foxhounds in the main arena. A highlight for me was the demonstration from Dartmoor Hawking who use retrained racehorses for mounted falconry.
This was also a great opportunity to go shopping with most of the major firms represented. There was a chance to buy things you knew you needed and quite a few items that you didn’t know you needed until you saw them! I fell in love with a beautiful, English leather cartridge bag on the Croots stand and it is now hanging on my pegs at home awaiting some new shooting adventures. Gunmaker’s Row held a new fascination for me this year although I left feeling overwhelmed by the choice of shotguns on offer! Luckily, I have plenty of time to make a decision!
All of this dashing about can leave you exhausted so it is important to refuel; unlike some country events there is a fine array of British produce on offer in the Totally Food area. No need to have a greasy cash and carry burger here! Our favourite was the pheasant goujons and wraps on offer, but you could tuck into cheese, pies, charcuterie or just have a liquid lunch of gin and cider!
If you have never been to The Game Fair before or it has been some years since your last visit then I hope that you will consider coming to the greatest celebration of country sports in 2018. Oh, and if you decide to join us on the campsite do drop by for a gin!