Landowners invest despite mixed grouse season

Scotland’s grouse shooting season begins today – but the forecast for the season looks mixed, marking the start of the long recovery from a poor season last year.

Despite glorious summer weather, 2018 turned into a washout for the majority of Scottish landowners – more of an Inglorious Twelfth than the usual season.

The grouse shooting season runs for 16 weeks from 12 August to 10 December and attracts visitors from the rest of the UK, Europe and North America. Only surplus birds are shot, so that there is a sustainable supply remaining for future seasons.

Robert Rattray, partner with property firm Galbraith, said: ‘Many grouse moor owners will not be shooting at all this year. Those lucky enough to have a surplus of grouse will likely only be shooting a small number of days, mostly with family members and a core of regular clients.

‘Grouse counts have shown better conditions prevailing in the east of Scotland than the west and in some areas there is a surplus which may enable some shoot days; although in many cases starting slightly later than the traditional 12th of August. The good news is that we are beginning the process of gradual restoration following last year’s wash-out.

‘Despite the fluctuations in terms of shooting, the investment that landowners make in the maintenance of the moorland does not vary. Owning a grouse moor is a long-term commitment – as well as a passion – and owners are prepared to shoulder the significant investment required.’

Scotland’s grouse moors are home to many species of rare birds and other wildlife which benefit from the traditional moorland management carried out year-round. Species such as greenshank, lapwing, curlew and golden plover all benefit from well managed moors.

Robert continued: ‘Estates are the principal employers in some rural areas, providing a range of full time and part time jobs and supporting local businesses.

‘Guests coming to an estate to shoot will also spend money in the local shops and pub, and many extend their visit to include golf, whisky tours, sightseeing and other activities. It’s a huge boost to tourism in Scotland.’

The firm has recently rebranded its sporting lets business to Ossian, which, in addition to continuing to be the pre-eminent provider of shooting, stalking and fishing in Scotland, with five decades of experience, is broadening its portfolio to offer Scottish itineraries such as guided wildlife tours, glamping, lobster-potting, heritage visits or munro-bagging. Galbraith’s wide knowledge of Scottish estates offers visitors an authentic Scottish experience, whatever their interests.

The first Ossian guests came to Speyside from the USA earlier this year, enjoyed exclusive use of a private castle, fishing on the river Spey, as well as a series of wildlife & cultural tours, horseback riding and visits to Scottish distilleries and historic sites.

To find out more about Ossian visit