This events organiser so loved her first day on clays she set up a ladies’ shooting club in Scotland, Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags
Mhairi Morriss had no idea that inviting a few friends to go clay shooting would grow into a ladies’ shooting club. Now she is passionate about encouraging women to try the sport, on days where making friends and memories is of equal importance.
For more sporting Dianas, seriously sporting ladies offering advice and encouragement, Callie Coles is thrilled to be passing her love for hunting to the next generation. And for Siena Clarke shooting days centre on family.
Previously, my shooting experience had been on the beating line, trying to keep our three small children and one quite badly behaved dog under control. But everything changed one sunny afternoon at a friend’s farm when I tried clay-pigeon shooting for the first time. The adrenaline rush as I hit my first clay, then another and another was incredible. I loved the feeling that it was me against the clay. At the time I had just started my events and marketing business, Jomm Events. A few months later I was organising a corporate clay-shooting day for clients at the fabulous Raemoir House. Some of my friends had started shooting and I thought it would be fun to arrange a clay shoot for them on the Sunday afternoon. After messaging a few chums, it just grew arms and legs. One press release later, a few posts on social media and the clay shoot was sold out with 30 guns joining “my day out for friends”.
Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags was born. In a matter of weeks, I had the name, designed the logo, had fabulous sponsors on board, sourced prizes and was already looking at the following year’s calendar of events. I wanted to create something truly unique. Unlike other ladies’ shooting groups we do not hold our events at traditional clay-shooting grounds (Gleneagles is an exception). We are more like a roving syndicate visiting exclusive, stunning venues: Cluny Castle, Gordon Castle, Wardhill Castle, Netherdale House, Kincardine Castle and Douneside House, to name a few.
As well as learning how to shoot properly a Glad Rags day out offers much more. There is the experience of the unique locations, the social side and making everlasting memories. Ladies who have never held a gun to the more experienced shots are welcome. There is no joining fee and ladies dip in and out, coming along to the events they can manage. I naively thought I would get more shooting when I started this adventure but, sadly, I never get as much as I would like as all the events sell out.
I am passionate about encouraging more ladies to try our sport and encouraging the younger generation to give it a go. I also hold family events where friends, partners and the younger guns are urged to come along. One memorable family event was when one of my ladies, who is a granny, persuaded her husband, their two children with their partners and three of her grandchildren to come along and give it a go – three generations clay shooting together. We all must start somewhere and being out of your comfort zone can be daunting. All the ladies are so supportive of each other, the sound of cheers, applause and laughter always echoes round the shooting area.
Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags generally meets once or twice a month. As well as holding instructional clay days I arrange simulated game days and driven days. One of my fondest memories was our first driven day. The location was at Leys estate at Crathes and it was the estate’s first ever all ladies day. Nine ladies were met by the then headkeeper, Brian Sim, appropriately dressed in his full tweeds accessorised with a stunning fascinator and Dior sunglasses.
With my background in sponsorship it was a natural progression to work in partnership with sponsors. Weatherby’s Private Bank, Shepherd and Wedderburn, MHA Henderson Loggie and Country Ways have all been such a tremendous support throughout 2020. Through the sponsorship even more ladies are being introduced to the world of fieldsports.
Despite 2020 being a year like no other Glad Rags has been able to adapt through it all and be not only reactive to the changes but proactive, and it is continuing to go from strength to strength.
My proudest moment took place in October. By gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen, Glad Rags and Tiaras took place at her private estate, Delnadamph. It was a charity event raising much needed funds for Children 1st.
I am so excited for the future of Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags. We have Brewin Dolphin joining our team of sponsors, I am expanding the brand to include Glad Rags & Dog Leads and Glad Rags & Floral Creations. We have new venues coming on board and new enquiries continue to flood in.
Who would have thought that six years on this is where we would be? Hundreds of new ladies to the sport, thousands of places taken at the 84 events, HM The Queen knowing all about us and expanding during a pandemic. It is the fantastic ladies who come that make Glad Rags what it is. It is such a pleasure to be part of something so very, very special.
TOP TIP: Just try it! You will not find a more supportive atmosphere in which to give shooting a go. We give everyone a buddy to keep them company on their first day. And never forget, everyone was a beginner at one time. I promise you, you will have a fantastic day.
Mhairi Morriss is the founder of Scotland’s ladies’ shooting club Glad Rags & Cartridge Bags. Call 07841 393155 or visit: gladragsandcartridgebags.com