Grouse season defies predictions with late upturn

The grouse season in Scotland is ending today, 10 December, on a high note.

Experts predicted the season would be mixed at best, but as it turned out, some moors in Scotland were able to host fairly full programmes. The east of Scotland tended to fare best overall, from Aberdeenshire down to Angus, parts of Perthshire and then further south into the Lammermuirs.

A healthy interest from America, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, as well as from within the UK, has already produced excellent bookings for 2020, according to sporting agents, with strong demand already outstripping supply.

Robert Rattray, director of Ossian and a partner with Galbraith said: ‘We had fingers firmly crossed that 2019 would be better than the very disappointing 2018 season, and were delighted that, in Angus and Perthshire in particular, certain moors were able to complete much of their predicted programme and escaped the worst of the weather.

‘Demand for both walked up and driven grouse in Scotland is as strong as ever despite the seasonal fluctuations, with clients from all over the world still keen to experience this unique shooting.’

This better than anticipated season will have come as a relief to the many hotels and suppliers who receive significant business as a result of grouse shooting.

Country sports tourism generates £155m annually for the Scottish economy.

Hoteliers benefit to the tune of approximately 970,000 bed-nights per year purchased by tourists, both domestic and international, when there is a good year for grouse.

Businesses from pubs, hotels, shops and taxi firms in rural areas rely on seasonal income from visitors coming to shoot grouse. Over £23 million per year flows into local businesses as a direct result of the trade generated by estate activity during the season.

Tim Baynes, moorland director, Scottish Land and Estates said: ‘Moorland areas rely upon the annual grouse season. With no large-scale industry to support small villages and communities in those parts of the country, the grouse season generates tourism, employment and ensures that some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland are managed for the benefit of all.’