Spaunton Moor – Gamekeepers playing vital role in saving lives

TRIBUTE has been paid to gamekeepers for their vital role in helping with search and rescue missions on the North York Moors.

About two-thirds of Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team calls come from the vast tracts of upland heath.

And members say they rely on the expertise of keepers who manage the remote and unforgiving landscapes for grouse shooting.

Last year, the busiest in the organisation’s 50 year history, saw 80 call-outs with some rescues running over a number of days on moorland that is difficult to navigate and access.

The team’s incident controller, Ian Hugill, said expansive moors with few identifiable features or landmarks made rescues difficult on many fronts – but harnessing gamekeepers’ unique knowledge and understanding was invaluable.

“They are our eyes and ears and often the last to have seen those who go missing,” he said.

“Their all-terrain vehicles help get us on to the moors and can take casualties to the roadside. We frequently ask for help in opening private gates for our 4×4 ambulance.

“Lack of buildings and shelter on the moors result in hypothermic casualties. It’s not just the injured, but those who have stayed with them that need our assistance.

“Another problem is establishing mobile signal and even if there is one, it’s not easy for people to describe their location. Again, it is the keepers who manage this land that can come to the rescue.”

Owner of Spaunton Moor in North Yorkshire, George Winn-Darley, said he was delighted his gamekeepers were able to play such an important role.

“We are acutely aware of our pivotal role and are very proud to help,” he said.

Moorland keepers from left Anthony Orr, George Thompson and Bradley Collis on Spaunton Moor.

Fur Feather & Fin – Supermarkets increase game stocks

The article below was published by Fur, Feather & Fin.

While gamekeepers have been managing game stocks for centuries, supermarkets have only been doing so for a short time – but they’re starting to catch up.

A number of UK supermarkets have recently started upping their game – literally – when it comes to stocking the product of country sports.

This is the news that several major UK supermarkets have started to dramatically increase the amount of game stocked in their stores as consumer demand rises. With 25 per cent of Britons having enjoyed some form of game product in the last six months, chain stores like Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco are starting to respond accordingly.

Marks & Spencer’s food department has put in orders with Yorkshire Game, as has Sainsbury’s, Aldi has signed a contract with Highland Game and even Iceland is now selling grouse sourced from Scottish company Kezie Foods. Morrisons has gone a step further and launched its own brand of game products, Wild as Nature Intended.

Since 40 per cent of people in the UK say they would be prepared to try any game product, supermarkets cannot afford to ignore this market. With people becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits wild game offers, thanks to initiatives such as the Countryside Alliance’s Game to Eat campaign, it is certainly a lucrative market.

The Countryside Alliance’s Jack Knott said: “Consumers are looking for increasingly reliable and healthy foods, and there is no reason wild game shouldn’t be at the forefront of the market. Butchers have long been filling their shelves with wild game cuts and now we are seeing supermarkets follow suit with an even wider range of products including game ready-meals which allow customers to sample game without having to worry about cooking something with which they are unfamiliar.”

As our readers will know, venison is high in protein and contains higher levels of iron than any other red meat, while all other game is wild, natural and free range, low in fat and cholesterol, and also contains no additives.

Given the health benefits it is of little surprise the general public is beginning to enjoy produce countryside folk have enjoyed for years.

Stephen Crouch, the chairman of the National Game Dealers Association, said: “The game market certainly looks strong right now and for the future, which is obviously good news for the future of shooting.”

If you fancy trying out a game recipe, why not use some of our country kitchen essentials to put it together?