Chipchase Castle, Northumberland
Chipchase Castle is a 17th-century Jacobean mansion with more than 3,000 acres of varied terrain. Fanatical shot Jonathan Elkington, who moved into Chipchase Castle last year, is the eighth generation of his family to live there and has been running the Chipchase Castle shoot for five years. He opens up the mansion to teams of guns for around 18 days each season.
“We tend to attract American businessmen who require the full castle package,” he explains. “Under the direction of headkeeper John Henderson we offer days of up to 300 birds over five drives before the team settle in to Chipchase Castle for the evening.”
The three-course dinner is taken in the main dining-room. “We sometimes ship top chefs up from Michelin-starred restaurants in London,” explains Elkington. “A typical menu includes beef fillet, Dover sole and scallops. We are very keen on our wines as well, particularly from Château Meyney and Château les Ormes de Pez.”
After dinner, evenings at Chipchase Castle tend to revolve around cigars, port and gambling in the double-vaulted billiard room. Elkington reveals that some evenings can become quite raucous.
“Many of the guns only meet up once a year, so they have a lot of gossip and business to catch up on. A few seasons back, some guests took delivery of a huge Partridges hamper on the platform at King’s Cross. By the time they arrived at Newcastle train station they were rather uninhibited.
Chipchase Castle has seen all sorts of behaviour, but the guns are never late for the first drive.”
London-based lawyer Michael Young took a day at Chipchase Castle last season with his Texan clients. “Chipchase Castle is an extremely comfortable, luxurious place to stay – not as eerie and forbidding as you may fear. Jonathan is a congenial host who stays up with us to the bitter end. There is never any shortage of alcohol or after-dinner entertainment. It is not just the castle that is superb, the shoot definitely holds its own as well.”
Pheasant-shooting costs £32 per bird (no VAT).
For a team of eight guns to stay at the castle the cost is £3,000 (no VAT) per night, full board, partners extra.
Call Jonathan Elkington on 07703540352 or visit Chipchase Castle.