Stoney Creek

Stoney creek long bush shirt in the snow this morning

A cutting from the latest John Norris catalogue

I don’t normally write “reviews” of shooting related products. It either ends up sounding like you’re thanking someone for a freebie or tearing strips off someone because… well, because it’s always fun to write negative reviews.

What I will say is that I bought a “stoney creek” long bush shirt last week – a garment with an ambiguous name which wouldn’t ever have made me look twice unless I had heard such good reviews from a number of local keepers and stalkers. It turns out that the New-Zealand made smock is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I spent three hours this morning planting downy birch trees in the sleet and snow, and when the time came to take off my jacket and have a cup of coffee back in the house, I was perfectly dry underneath. The only inexplicable downside is the absence of side pockets, leaving my fleshy, chipolata-style fingers very much exposed to an unpleasant northerly wind all morning. I have dozens of suitable gloves which would have done the job admirably, but I had left them in the car without imagining that they would be needed. I wonder why there are no side pockets. At least there is a big breast pocket which is now full of cable ties, penknives and crumpled lengths of tree binding wrap,.

You quite often see the word “waterproof” used in relation to shooting jackets, and while most generally are, they have a tendency to soak through after several hours in the rain. Even my much beloved barbour jacket just gets heavier and heavier in the driving rain, and I can’t help thinking that this “stoney creek” thing is a serious step up. At least, it had better be. I have another three hundred birches to go in tomorrow, and the forecast doesn’t look very bright.

Just as an aside, once back off the hill and full of pink-foot pie (both shot in Norfolk in January), I headed down to the loch beside the house for a walk with my girlfriend. Although I didn’t see it myself, she described seeing a black ferret with a white chin which was dabbling around in the water below the heather line. By the time that I had got there, it had idly wandered off, but there is no doubt that what she saw wasn’t a ferret.

It is a good mile to the Chayne from where this brute was spotted, but there are streams and burns which would lead it all the way up. I’d better get some Mk. 6 Fenns sorted out.

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