We were thrilled to catch up with Victoria Knowles Lacks – the passionate and proud instigator of Europe's largest and foremost ladies' clay shooting organisation, The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club (S&CBC).
Responsible for shifting the shooting industry to create a movement of confident lady guns, Victoria is currently busy organizing the final aspects of next month’s National Ladies’ Shooting Day (Saturday 10th June) – which sees over 1,000 women shooting across 30 grounds in the UK. It is the largest ladies only clay shooting event in the world.
- What is your earliest personal memory of shooting?
I was quite a latecomer! The first actual game shoot I went on was during my teens. A lovely chap from Young Farmers invited me along. It was slightly embarrassingly as he had an old hammer gun which initially I had no idea how to hold. The recoil of the shells made me wince and I actually shot a pigeon- resulting in cheer from down the line as I didn't aim for it. Somewhat awkward! However, the whole day was just incredible. It was a little sydincate shoot, the banter and sloegasms were a plenty and the après shooting went on in to the night. I was smitten and learnt a fair bit about the importance of gun fit and mount!
- Was there a light bulb moment that instigated your creation of SG&CB Club?
In hindsight I think there was. I learnt to shoot with a load of old boys who were such good fun, but I did feel hugely out of my depth and a little bit alone with it. I remember a distinct lack of women and female support at grounds. Having looked around for fellow female shots and advice and finding virtually nothing, I set up a blog which had more interest that I could have ever dreamed. S&CBC was a natural progression from there.
The real lightbulb moment came 6 years ago when I took four girl friends for a group shooting lesson and made a Victoria Sponge for after (an initial lure as they weren't really keen on the idea so I had to sweeten the deal with cake!). Never in a million years did I think we'd have well in excess of 10,000 women join us at our shoots!
- How did NLSD come about?
Like all the best ideas, the idea came after a few cheeky glasses of fizz on New Years Eve, 2014. S&CBC was thriving and I was keen for a challenge. I spent New Year’s Day brainstorming, planning and getting to work.
- What are you most excited about for NLSD this year?
Oh my goodness, there's way too much to be excited about! Obviously having the Wingfield Digby girls joining us at EJ Churchill is a huge highlight, as is the number of brand new shooters joining us and a full line up of sponsors we love and of course a mega list of prizes that we're giving away!
- Why do you feel so passionately about introducing women to the sport?
Historically, women have been on the back foot a bit (speaking generally, of course) with shooting. There just haven’t been the opportunities like men have had, so I set about evening up the playing field. There is no reason at all why women can't shoot as well men, the problem is that first 'in' in to the sport and sometimes confidence.
- Who is your most inspirational female shot and why?
Cheryl Hall - she is the most wonderful 'normal' woman in that she's one of us, one of the girls, but she has achieved the most phenomenal success and has won over 30 World titles.
- What is your proudest achievement to date?
Being named a Fieldsports Magazine 'Outstanding Gun' in 2016. I was the only lady and given the title alongside so many incredible sporting greats, such as Lord James Percy and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
- If you could save one photo in your house, what would it be and why?
The group photo from Fieldsports Magazine’s 'Outstanding Guns' day. A great line of the best chaps in the business, with me stood in the middle with the most sincere and ridiculous of smiles!
- What is on your Wingfield Digby wish list and why?
The Guinea Fowl placemats.
- Favourite feather type?
Guinea Fowl, and darker pheasant feathers.
For more information on The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, click here.
For more information on National Ladies’ Shooting Day 2017, and booking, click here.
Wild Rabbit & Cabbage Burgers Recipe - Oliver Gladwin, creative chef at Gladwin Brothers' Enterprises
Rabbit at Easter?! Fear not - we haven’t chosen this recipe to reflect any morbid thoughts concerning Easter bunnies..
Instead, Oliver says, “Rabbit is such a great meat – lean, flavoursome and low in cholesterol. We have to keep the rabbit population down at the vineyard or they chew the bark off the young vines, so there is often an ample supply. I don’t know why it is so underused and underrated!”
His top tip? “You will need caul fat to wrap the burgers in, which protects, seals and moistens the meat. Caul fat, also known as crépine - can be bought from any traditional butcher”.
Try it for yourself…
1kg rabbit, skinned and jointed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 lemon, halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns and salt
6 good leaves of Savoy cabbage
200g caul fat, cut into 6
6 ciabatta rolls
Wild Garlic Yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
- Put the rabbit pieces, onion, carrot, lemon and bay leaves in an ovenproof casserole dish.
- Sprinkle in the peppercorns and salt, then add the water.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and place over a moderate heat to bring the liquid to the boil.
- Transfer to the oven and braise for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, blanch the Savoy cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain under cold running water and set aside to cool.
- Remove the braised rabbit from the oven. Allow to cool slightly before picking off the meat, discarding any sinew or bones.
- Put the meat in a mixing bowl with the onion and carrot and moisten with some of the cooking juices.
- Divide the meat mixture into six portions and squeeze into even-sized patties. Wrap each one in a cabbage leaf followed by a piece of caul fat.
- Light the barbecue or preheat a griddle pan until smoking hot.
- Grill the rabbit burgers on the barbecue or griddle for 3 minutes on each side
Serve inside lightly toasted rolls with a good dollop of wild garlic yoghurt.
This recipe is also available in The Shed: The Cookbook, compiled by Oliver and his brothers Richard and Oliver and winner of the Michael Smith Award for Work On British Food. Available to buy here.
Follow Oliver and his culinary outlets here:
Instagram: @nutbourne_resto @rabbit_resto @theshed_resto
Twitter: @NutbourneSW11 @RabbitResto @TheShed_resto
Facebook: @NutbourneBattersea @RabbitResto @The-Shed
We are thrilled to announce our Mother’s Day Competition. Read on for a chance to win a terrific bundle of goodies for your Mother, worth over £225!
Win EVERYTHING in the below picture...
We’ve teamed up with some of our favourite brands to offer one lucky winner all of the below:
- Hicks and Brown pheasant feather fedora hat
- Sipsmith sloe gin
- Pink City Pashmina silk scarf
- Wingfield Digby cock pheasant photo frame
Dressed up in a luxury fedora and pashmina while sipping on Sloe Gin - what more does a mother need? A handcrafted Wingfield Digby Cock Pheasant photo frame to capture the occasion…
Enter via email or social media.
Email: Simply email your full name to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading MOTHER’S DAY COMP
For best chance to win, why not enter both ways?
Closing date: Midnight, Sunday 19th March
Hicks and Brown
First up, the beautiful Hicks and Brown dark brown wool felt Fedora hat with pheasant feather wrap-around (RRP: £85). Like us, the Hicks and Brown founders (sisters Alice and Rosie) are passionate about real feathers and have crafted both natural and bright feathers into their water resistant fedoras to create headwear that is both pretty and practical. Based in Suffolk, Alice and Rosie create clothing and fashion accessories infused with country style - and do so to much acclaim. Aside from a portfolio of celebrity clientele, they won ‘Best Dressed Trade Stand’ at the 2016 Royal Windsor Show.
The lucky winner will also receive a 50cl bottle of Sipsmith Sloe Gin 2015. Whether swirled into a crisp glass of Champagne or paired with a good dessert, this velvety spirit is perfect for mother/daughter sharing! Sipsmith pick all their sloe berries in the autumn before leaving them to rest with their award-winning London Dry Gin, resulting in a tantalisingly fruity serve. Don’t take our word for it, Sunday Times Style say “We thought Sipsmith couldn’t top its British-brewed gin, but this Sloe version is even better.”
Pink City Pashmina
Next up – and on a similarly cerise note - Pink City Pashmina has kindly provided a completely unique, pure Indian silk pashmina. Straight from The Pink City itself, Jaipur in India, Pink City Pashmina scarves are handwoven using wooden loom techniques that have existed for centuries. The result? Pashminas that are as steeped in colour and character as the country from which they’re from. Founder William Mitchell works closely with his friends in India to ensure that these exquisite creations are made in the most sustainable and ethical manner possible.
Last, but by no means least, this Mother’s Day Prize will include one of our signature Cock Pheasant photo frames (RRP: £70). It even matches the Hicks & Brown fedora!
How did you get into skiing?
Skiing has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Every weekend during the winter, as a family we would drive up to see my grandmother (who lived near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands) and ski. My dad also ski raced when he was younger.
Favourite ski resort? Kitzbuehel, Austria.
Best ski memory (career wise)?
Making my first Top 10 in the European Cup last season in La Molina, Spain. In the 2 years before that, I had broken 4 vertebrae in my back, endured continuous back complications and had all of my funding removed, so when I then recorded the best British female result in Europa Cup since 2002, I was over the moon.
Best ski memory (holiday wise)?
It was about 10 years ago at Christmas. My three younger siblings and I were each given a present from our parent with a clue inside. When pieced together, the clues told us that we would be heading out to Tirol, Austria for a 10 day ski holiday over New Year. It was completely magical!
Best tip for those looking to improve on their skiing? Firstly, find a pair of boots that are comfortable and – ideally – fitted to you. Secondly, do not be scared.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Dave Ryding: World Cup Alpine ski racer.
What is on your Wingfield Digby wishlist and why?
The stag canvas and leather belt and scented candles – both would fit right in here in Austrian chalets and the Alpine environment. I can imagine the candles sat on every table in my apartment here as well as in my family home in the Scottish countryside.
Favourite feather type?