Going beating for the first time?

Going beating for the first time?

The week of the shoot arrives, you've been invited to join the beating line - but you're nervous of looking foolish. Should you arrive early? What should you wear? Do you need a tie? A packed lunch? Is it OK to bring your dog?

The best way to answer any questions is to speak to the keeper or shoot captain. Check on the meeting times and places, as these are quite likely to vary from one week to the next. If you have a dog, be honest about it: has it been trained for the working line, or is it you and the pet out for a walk?

As for the rest of it, you won't go far wrong if you follow these guidelines:

Footwear: a stout pair of walking boots or wellies are a must. These should provide plenty support around the ankle, and be comfy for 8 hours of walking. Wear a comfortable pair of trousers, a shirt and a warm jumper - nothing brightly coloured.Tie? Take one with you - you never know!Waterproofs: these are another must. Many beaters like to use chaps or gaiters, which are great when it's wet but also help to protect your legs from undergrowth even on a dry day. Make sure they are robust, or they'll be ripped to bits on the first drive. A water proof jacket with plenty of pockets is useful - it gives you somewhere to store items like your car keys and mobile phone. Add a waterproof cap or hat and you're equipped to cope with whatever the weather brings!Reporting for duty: when you arrive make yourself known to the keeper so that he knows you have turned out. Introduce yourself to fellow beaters too - the social side is an important part of a day's shooting for everyone involved.And they're off: when the day begins, keep your ears and eyes open and your mouth shut. It pays to watch and learn before offering up any advice. If you're unsure about something, just have a quiet word with a nearby beater. It won't be long before you find your feet, and can really start to enjoy the day.The two big sins are getting out of line with the other beaters, or letting your dog run wildly off into the next drive. Avoid doing either of those and you won't go far wrong. Above all, have fun!

For more advice, remember to check out the beater's forum.

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Not the recommended way to travel!