They shoot like a dream, rock tweed, eat cake, and even have their own gin. We hung out for the day with the very fabulous Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club. Nicole Abdul reports…
Being a La Di Da lady it goes without saying that I love cake, shooting, and cutting a dash in tweed so when I was given the opportunity of meeting a group of lady shooters who end their day with homemade cake on vintage china and a cup of tea, I was in seventh heaven. The fact that they share our passion for gin just sealed the deal.
The hugely popular Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club was set up by Victoria Knowles-Lacks who describes herself as ‘an accidental business woman’. The club is for women only and it is all about making friends, having a jolly good time learning to shoot (or perfecting your skills) with excellent coaching and eating cake – how very La Di Da! It doesn’t matter if you are a proficient shot or have never held a gun before, the club is there to embrace you whatever your level, and you don’t even have to be able to bake.
Victoria has been a keen shot since the age of 21 after her uncle introduced her to the sport.
“I loved shooting from the get go but often wished I had some fun ladies to shoot alongside and have a cup of tea with at the end of the day,” she says. “I managed to persuade four of my girlfriends who had never shot before to try clay shooting with me. To overcome their reluctance to venture out on a rainy autumn afternoon I baked a homemade Victoria Sponge Sandwich to persuade them,” she explained.
The homemade cake, complete with a crystal cake stand for serving natch, worked and after a fun and successful day you could say the rest is history. That was in 2011 and over the past five years the club has had over 10,000 women shoot with them at their events across the country.
I went along to one of the club’s clay shooting days at Hazel Bank, near Harrogate. I have shot before but only occasionally and not for about two years so I am far from being a proficient shot. I was put into a group of beginners who were all very friendly. I was a bit nervous going to an event like this alone but I needn’t have worried because everyone was really friendly.
We spent the morning taking it in turns to shoot different clays under the expert tuition of our instructor Ned, and I got to know the other girls by having a natter inbetween shots. Despite being put with eight rather feisty (but fun) ladies, Ned calmly led each of us through the shots so that we were all hitting good number clays by the end.
After a couple of hours shooting we all went back to the clubhouse with the intermediate and advanced shooters to have cake and tea, which was very civilised. It was lovely chatting to the more advanced lady guns and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. All of the delicious cakes had been baked by Bun Club ladies. A particular favourite, and well-deserved winner of the cake competition, was a gin and tonic cake, which was heavenly. The day finished with the presentation of awards to the best shots and, of course, the best cake.
I was already itching to get out shooting again so I am planning my next shoot with the Bun Club ladies. You don’t need to be a member to shoot with them but they do have membership options with great benefits. The Bun Club has shoots planned all over the country at luxurious shooting lodges. Check out their website for more information but, be warned, it has some fabulous products on there from raspberry gin to silk scarves, which you may find hard to resist.