No skeet vest required

Rest and relaxation: An evening scene at the Reservoir clubhouse

Rest and relaxation: An evening scene at the Reservoir clubhouse

As I write this, it’s been the coldest March on record since 1963 in the UK – and while I don’t wish to get envious or anything, the idea of impossibly blue skies in temperatures upwards of the mid-20s with balmy sea breezes somewhere in the Caribbean does seem kind of appealing.

I wonder whether Horatio Nelson felt the same way about the cold when, in 1784, he sailed west and established Great Britain’s important base in the West Indies: Antigua.

Set amid the Leeward islands, Antigua is about 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, and is well-known as a destination resort for yachting and sailing.

It’s also the island of choice for many of the globe’s rich and famous, representing everything about luxury and a high-flying lifestyle, yet set amid Georgian architecture in English Harbour.

If you do happen to pay a visit, then do make a point of visiting Reservoir Range – a 30-acre shooting ground that’s recently opened and is dedicated to English Sporting.

Father and son Geremy and Will Thomas have now established the ground, though it did prove to be a challenge – it needed approval at ministerial level to allow the facility to go ahead in an isolated, beautiful location resting between Falmouth Harbour and St John’s, at the side of the island’s principal reservoir.

Will Thatcher showing the Antiguan Sports premier, Minister Williams, what he needs to do

Will Thatcher showing the Antiguan Sports premier, Minister Williams, what he needs to do

The Thomases have been joined by respected Sporting and FITASC course-builder Will Thatcher, and together they have created a new layout featuring 12 stands, 36 automatic traps, and four towers.

And, in keeping with the local fauna, you won’t find a bouncing rabbit on the ground – but you might find something very similar known as the scurrying mongoose!

Local businesses have sponsored several of the stands – end stand three with a straight and you’ll be off to Harmony Hall for an alfresco Italian-style lunch. How terribly civilised.

Despite Will Thatcher’s fearsome reputation as a tough course-setter, the layout has been considered to provide straightforward shooting suitable for novices and old-hands alike – and Geremy has become responsible for introducing quite a few locals and visitors to the sport.

For clay shooters, Geremy recommends a one-week package that balances plenty of shooting with other holiday activities – lunches, catamaran tour, swimming in the ocean and exploring the forest.

There’s also an intriguing reason why the ground uses 21-gram loads – apparently skeet vests can prove particularly uncomfortable under a hot sun, and the theory goes that you don’t need such a garment with light loads!

Flights to Antigua start at around £650 per person – and if you manage to get over, do send us a postcard so we can stick it on the wall of our cold, grey office in Warwickshire. Sigh.

Wes Stanton

Antigua Clays

T: +1 268 726 1234
E: gt@antiguaclays.com
W: www.antiguaclays.com

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