England has Bisley; Scotland has the National Shooting Centre in Jawcraig, not far from Falkirk in Scotland’s central belt. But while Bisley has a focus on long-range rifle shooting, Scotland’s NSC is very much focused on clays, offering eight different disciplines, pro tuition, group sessions, workshops and more.
Accessible to a huge proportion of Scotland’s population – it’s just under an hour from Edinburgh and 40 minutes from Glasgow – the National Shooting Centre has been in operation since 1992 (hence its abbreviated name NSC92) since it opened as part of an open cast coal restoration project. It’s been a family business ever since, staying in the possession of the McCaig family, led by managing director, Andrew McCaig. Also a key figure is Stewart Cumming, the general manager, who shoots Fitasc for Scotland. He came eighth at the Fitasc European Championships in 2018, and shot Double Trap at two successive Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne.
So what is the ground like today? Given that it’s so close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, you’d be surprised to find that approaching the ground is more like driving into the hills of Perthshire. With views over the Campsie Hills and Highlands in the distance, the shooting school sits in 1500 acres of farmland and is surrounded by heather.
Set amid this backdrop, the facilities are state of the art. The ground underwent a major refurbishment in 2016, including new traps, electronics and pathways. Now, the list of disciplines offered is extensive. Olympic Trap, Olympic Skeet, ABT, DTL, National Skeet, Sportrap, Sporting and Fitasc – Stewart and his team can put on just about anything. The ground has 10 combined Skeet and DTL Layouts, and three combined OSK and OTR layouts. There are also more than 20 Sporting stands including a high tower and a Sportrap layout. That adds up to a staggering 130 traps being used across the ground.
Tuition is a big feature of the ground’s offering, with lessons provided for all levels from beginners to professional shooters via the coaching team lead by Stewart Cumming. Individual lessons from Stewart start from £65 per lesson. A ‘group shots’ area provides something different, allowing family or work groups to shoot all at once and maybe give some newcomers their first taste of shooting.
The clubhouse has also been refurbished and includes a shop stocked with shooting accessories, guns and cartridges, with Hull, Beretta, Browning and other major brands represented. And there’s also a café providing the usual essentials and hot food on weekends.
NSC92 is worth a visit any time, but make sure you come back for the competitions. The ground has hosted a number of notable events over the past three years, including the DTL Home International, British Championships and European Championships, OTR Home International, OSK Home International and a variety of Scottish Championships. The ground runs a number of local events including Sportrap Summer Series, Sporting Winter Series and the ALPA Grand Prix.
Comprehensive, scenic and surprisingly accessible, Scotland’s National Shooting Centre shouldn’t just be for Scottish shooters – it’s a must-visit wherever you are from. A visit here is just as essential as any trip to the hill or the foreshore while on a Scottish shooting foray.
Photos by Byron Pace