A major new campaign highlighting the benefits of grouse moors in Scotland was launched today in the Angus Glens.
The Gift of Grouse, unveiled today to mark the Glorious Twelfth, the start of the grouse shooting season, is a yearlong initiative that will focus on four key points – tourism & leisure, employment, environment & conservation, and accessibility – that demonstrate the benefits brought to the fragile Scottish countryside communities and the nation as a whole.
Renowned for its country sports, Scotland is the ideal destination for shooting and as such draws in visitors from across the globe. Grouse shooting plays a major part in the £200 million that is generated for the economy by shooting and stalking every year, with 970,000 bed nights purchased by tourists. Factor in the transport, hospitality and entertainment sectors – which equally benefit from shooting tourists – as well as the 2,640 full-time jobs provided directly by grouse shooting and it all adds up to a sizeable income.
Indeed, the income generated from grouse shooting not only supports vital rural employment but also provides the money to underpin the vital conservation measures carried out by land managers and gamekeepers. And whilst grouse shooting has been long associated with elitism, the range of people participating in the sport is now wider than ever. From clay pigeons to the pinnacle of grouse, there is the opportunity for young and old, male and female to take part. But accessibility is not solely built around the person taking the shot; the whole team supporting a day on the moor are part of the event, with beaters, flankers and gundog owners coming from varied backgrounds.
Tim Baynes, Director of the Scottish Moorland Group, which is leading the campaign, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have grouse moors in Scotland that provide us with so many gifts to the nation in the form of tourism, employment, conservation and accessibility.
“Rural areas that have managed moorland on their doorstep understand the positives that the sector provides, and appreciate the income that flows through the economy as a result of grouse shooting.
“However, we have often not been vocal enough in letting people know how vital the sector is. All too often, there is a deliberate misconception that moorland owners are the only ones to benefit solely from the tourism that grouse shooting provides. That is simply not true, as we can see through the magnificent conservation work that goes on across our hills and glens every day.
“This initiative seeks to demonstrate what the grouse gives to Scotland every year and importantly, to provide testimony from the people and businesses that rely on grouse shooting for their livelihoods. Whilst the Glorious Twelfth is an occasion to start the campaign, the gifts that grouse provide to us run all year round.”