A CENTURY OF SHOOTING EXCELLENCE: THE WEST LONDON SHOOTING SCHOOL
James and I recently visited The West London Shooting School (WLSS) to shoot some clays - something I have been meaning to do for many years. WLSS is the UK’s oldest independent shooting school - they have been successfully providing people with expert level tuition and gun-fitting for 110+ years. The school features beautifully laid out grounds and as you venture out to shoot, it feels as though you are hundreds of miles away from from the hustle and bustle of Central London. You are actually only a mere 12 miles from the West End.
The team at WLSS provide tailored tuition designed to match your individual ability, so whether you are a total novice or an experienced shooter fully prepped for a zombie apocalypse, you are welcome here. Friendly instructors are on hand to help you develop your own shooting style every step of the way. The school’s teaching is rooted in the expert tuition of the great Percy Stanbury, but draws on the latest sports instruction techniques for both game and clays.
I was a little apprehensive when I arrived at the school. I’d never handled a gun before and my greatest fear was that I would brutally injure my shoulder or that i’d miss every single clay headed my way. When we arrived, we were greeted by Mark Heath, a superb shooting instructor and gun-fitter with a very interesting back story (interview mode: engaged). Mark was a well-respected member of the GB Police Team for many years before deciding to pursue his passions of sailing and shooting full time.
Mark showed to an impressive gun room on the ground floor of the shooting school, where he handed us some dashing shooting vests as he decided which guns would suit us best. From the very first moment we met him, Mark’s professionalism, friendliness and expertise were evident - I knew we were in safe hands and that we’d be going back to Scotland with some exciting new skills.
Our hour-long introductory lesson began with a walk to our first shooting stand close to the main property, where Mark showed us how to the load the guns. He started off by firing a few rounds at incoming clays from a clay pigeon trap he was controlling. I was up first (no pressure) and with my ear defenders and gun securely in place, I followed Mark’s eloquent instructions to find and follow the target with my eyes before shooting, rather than focusing heavily on the gun. I felt amazed and honoured when I shot my first clay out of the sky!
James and I were lead to three other shooting stands around the beautiful and expansive grounds throughout the session, pausing to watch several other groups shooting along the way. WLSS offer different packages for corporate groups and as we made our way round, I couldn’t help thinking how fantastic a group shooting session would be for team bonding.
When our time was up, we found ourselves in Stanbury’s Restaurant, located within WLSS. This charming restaurant offers ‘farmhouse and traditional’ cuisine, including in-season game and delicious puddings. Hearty dishes are lovingly prepared and beautifully presented, made with fresh, local produce where possible. James and I settled on jacket potatoes / sandwiches to regain our energy for the next adventure. We were blessed with a table at the window that looks out across the expansive, majestic grounds of the glorious mansion house. Divine!
Having grown up in both towns and cities, I am thoroughly dismayed that I have only just discovered the joys of clay pigeon shooting. It is exhilarating, therapeutic and fun - a wonderful way to bond with others and to reconnect with the great outdoors. Despite my initial reservations, I was able to overcome all anxieties due to the incredible staff who provide an expert level of hospitality and training. If you’ve never experienced a shooting session at WLSS before, i’d urge you to ‘give it shot’ - you will not be disappointed!
One Hour Lesson: Prices
Members: £82 (Young Shots), £93 (Ladies), £102 (Gentlemen)
Non-Members: £101 (Young Shots), £116 (Ladies), £129 (Gentlemen)
Other Courses Available
The Ladies Course, The Young Shots, The Grouse and Advanced Grouse Course, Deer Stalking Course and Introduction to Rifles Course.
Wondering What to Wear?
The West London Shooting School have an online shop for those looking to go all out on their shooting visage. Please click here to shop children’s wear, womenswear, menswear, accessories and more. As Mark pointed out, after your first lesson it is very likely that you’ll become hooked and will want to return regularly. A whole new wardrobe might be in order to support your new favourite country pursuit.
West London Shooting School, Sharvel Lane, West End Road, Northolt, Middlesex, UB5 6RA