SUPPOSEDLY scarred for life by failing to knock over the tin cans on the rifle range at The Shows during Braw Lads’ Week as a kid, an invitation to go shooting at Bisley at Braidwood was a daunting challenge.

Armed with the misconception of this being an elitist pursuit for the country set, the visit to the Midlem shooting ground blasted that theory out of the sky by catering for complete novices to seasoned professionals.

Formerly known as Braidwood Sporting Clays, it was taken over by Surrey-based Bisley Shooting Group earlier this year after the retiral of Jim and Joyce Black.

Managing director Alex Roupell said since then they had made “a substantial investment” increasing facilities at Scotland’s largest clay shooting ground with a huge range of targets.

He joined the management team at his father Anthony’s firm last year and having attended Edinburgh University, knew the stunning scenery of the Scottish Borders would provide the perfect backdrop to the shooting range.

Alex explained: “There is already a passionate following for clay and rifle shooting in the Borders.

“But our aim is to ensure that the ground is the place to shoot in Scotland, for everyone from the seasoned professional too the keen beginner looking for instruction.

“We want to cater for corporate groups wanting a relaxing day out to the individual who has a spare hour and just wants to shoot a few cartridges.

“There is so much potential here and we want people to come from all over Scotland and from down south to enjoy the facilities and also what the rest of the Borders has to offer.” To back this up, invited along to the day’s shooting at Braidwood recently were hoteliers, guest house owners and representatives of other sports clubs who could put together packages to make the “Borders Experience” even more enticing for visitors.

The event was split into two groups - the experts and novices - with The Border Telegraph naturally taking its place in the latter squad.

After a short briefing from instructor Joe from Hawick, the supposed “novices” were blasting the clay pigeons out of the sky until I held a firearm for the first time in a few decades.

Call it beginner’s luck, but six out of ten was a pretty impressive score for yours truly and proved that it is a sport which can be enjoyed by people of all abilities.

It’s a point Alex was keen to stress during the morning’s shooting on a brisk but beautiful morning in the Borders.

He said: “Bisley at Braidwood is also home to Scotland’s first 100m full-bore pipe range, perfect for rifle enthusiasts.

“Whether looking to zero ones rifle, load ones own ammunition or hold a competition, the rifle range provides a safe and controlled environment sheltered from the weather.

“Guests of all skill sets will enjoy a fantastic day out at Bisley at Braidwood, with young shots and ladies encouraged to try their hand. Visitors are also invited to relax in the clubhouse, enjoy a light snack or home-baked cake in the café, or a delicious seasonal meal in the restaurant before shopping in the country retail store.

“Those looking for a challenge will appreciate the hugely versatile set up, including simulated game experiences and the highest clay pheasants, rising teal, bolting rabbits and driven grouse.” “But Bisley at Braidwood is also the perfect place for events of all sizes and the team is happy to tailor experiences to suit any requirement.

“The excellent catering facilities and cosy clubhouse ensure a great day is had by all - both on and off the field.”