Before I begin my blog, I should introduce myself. I’m Hayley, I’m 35 years old, live in the West Midlands and have a normal day job in an office. I do not come from a county or shooting background and didn’t know anyone that shoots when I started.

My shooting journey started back in September 2018, it was something I really wanted to try after taking my dog Reggie to gundog training.  I wasn’t really sure where to start so I booked a lesson at my local clay ground. One sunny Sunday morning I pulled up at the clay ground car park and sat and watched the gentlemen unload their guns out of their wagons. Then it dawned on me… no females, no one under the age of 50, I knew I was going stick out like a sore thumb! I contemplated on driving away and never looking back! Then something clicked and I changed my mind, put on my big girl knickers, booked fortnightly lessons and haven’t looked back since.

In January, I entered an Instagram competition where you have to “tag” fellow country people to win some clothing, it dawned on me I didn’t have any country or shooting friends. I typed that on the comments, moments later I received a message from Tania, she sent me a message asking for my number and offered to add me to The Group… I’m not going to lie I thought it was scam at first, was Tania going to steal my identity with my name and telephone number?!

That was the only time I’ve ever been happy I’d given my number to a total stranger. It was so nice to chat with a bunch of friendly like-minded ladies being able to get or give advice and support each other.

A few months down the line Tania advertised a Game Day in Leicester in December, I had heard the girls talk about how much fun a game day is and how nice Sloegasms are. It wasn’t something I ever thought I’d do but I decided to try something new and push myself out of my comfort zone, especially as I’d been learning a lot about the field to fork concept… plus I wanted to try a Sloegasm!

Fast forward to the Game Day, this was honestly one of the best days I have had shooting, whenever I think back to this day, I can’t help but smile. The day was at The Folly Farm, I was the first to arrive, greeted by the lovely Kate and her family before the rest of the amazing ladies started to arrive. The scenery was incredible, the food was delicious and the hosts so welcoming. The highlight of my day had to be when I shot my 1st bird (actually 2 partridges in a row!) all the other lady guns and picker ups cheered so loudly and I was so proud of myself, the support and encouragement were just so lovely. I even won the novice shooter of the day! A lot of the girls here on this day I now call my friends and we still meet up at other events.

In February 2020 I got my gun license, got my 1st gun in September 2020 and went on my 1st simulated day with CGUK at Ladywood; which was another amazing day. I can honestly say Tania and CGUK has opened up so many opportunities for me, I doubt I would ever have applied for my licence, attended game days/sim days and many other events if I hadn’t joined. I can’t wait for more fun days with the CGUK! 

Written by Hayley Varney