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Henderson's northern exposure

James Henderson took the time out from picking up a raft of prizes to compile a diary from the Caithness meeting ...

"The weekend was a great success with some very respectable scores being posted. I'll start from the beginning. A lot of sterling work was done on the range by the Wick Old Stagers, Hugh Simpson in particular who sent some of his employees down a few days before to do some work there. On the Friday night we got a few boys together to put up the marquee to give us some shelter if we got the usual June hailstorms. Unfortunately we didn't have enough bods initially and when we got the tent on end it promptly fell again narrowly missing John Sinclair's new van! Sarah Bates was despatched to hide the van well out of the way, after sombody gave her a leg up to the driver's seat. Then at that opportune moment two unsuspecting Orkney shooters turned up to get a sneak preview of the range prior to shooting on the Saturday. They were immediately put to work heaving on ropes to keep the tent upright untill we got the pegs driven.

"Weather conditions would have been described by Sarah as follows: Saturday: A no-hats day and no thermal underwear.
Sunday: A one-hat day with no thermal underwear.
"On Saturday the weather was bright and sunny with a very light but changable breeze to keep everybody on their toes. Sunday was dull and overcast but almost no wind at all. Very unusual for Caithness.
"As for shooting, Sheena Sharp was streets ahead in the GP and uncatchable in the final. Conditions were very tricky especially in the last card of the qual. I sighted in and fired my first 10 rounds on a 4 or 5 oclock wind, then it changed 180 degs to a 10 or 11 oclock wind. I struggled through the last 10 shots trying to shade for the new condition never having been able to evaluate it on the sighter!

"Sunday saw the Mowat Cup contested as a mini version of the Earl Haig, a squaded Dewar in the morning with the top three from each of four squads going into a final of 2x100yd cards. Graham Sheddon had a nightmare, not changing his sights from 50metres so that his first sighter was in the white of the target but in the scoring area. He then went on to put 18 of his next 19 scoring shots into the bull with the other shot in the 9 ring!

"When his score was posted as a 199, he did the very noble and honourable thing of challenging it to give his first card score of of 189. His wife Fiona went on to win the Mowat. Sunday was finished off with a sharpshooter comp. Our MSP Jaimie Stone (presenting the prizes at the prizegiving) asked for a shot so was entered as part of the Westfield team - a good bit of PR for the sport. "The team event went to a ladies team of Sheena Sharp, Mary Melvin and Fiona Sheddon. In the individual sharp shooter comp I got overhauled in the final by veteren westfield shooter Jim Manson. (Who has considerably more hair than me as he reminded me when we were having pre-final banter on the firing point) When Jim set down his rifle at the end of the final there was a shout from the crowd, "It's the old dog for the hard road, Henderson, you better stick to the pavement!"
Also of note was the Daisy comp for juniors with its 500 prize kitty won by one of the Nicholson boys from WOS. The Ladies event was won by Sarah Bates.

PS Let's not forget the excellent bacon butties, soup, millionaire shortbread and marsbar cake supplied in the tea hut by the WOS groupies, Elsie Simpson and her sister Connie. Always a good way to console yourself after checking out the scores.

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