Shooting: Clay Pigeon & Air Rifles


Whilst almost anyone can be taught to fire a gun, not everyone can fire one accurately and hit a target. Shooting sports test your aim and accuracy to a precise level. Whilst guns have been used in battles for a few centuries, it’s thought that recreational shooting started to grow in prominence following the establishment of rifle associations in the UK and the USA in the mid 19th century.

Both associations aimed to improve the skill level of the population in shooting, should it be needed in times of war. Today, shooting is a highly competitive sport, as demonstrated in the Olympics, where athletes lower their heart rate to provide themselves with the ultimate relaxed state in order to be more precise with their aim.

What Clay Pigeon Shooting & Air Rifle Shooting Involves

There are two types of shooting sports available for you to try in the Lake District. Clay pigeon shooting derives from pigeon shooting, although today it is far more humane with no live birds being involved. Using shotguns, participants must try and shoot down flying targets made of clay that are fired across the land at various angles using a device called a “trap”.

Air rifle shooting takes place within a specially designed shooting range with various fixed targets to take aim at. Shots are taken using a pneumatic rifle, (sometimes referred to as a pellet gun, or BB gun) that uses compressed air to fire the bullet rather than propellants that are used by the more powerful firearms.

With both sports, you can expect to receive some tuition on how the guns operate, as well as a safety briefing. Your instructor will be on hand at all times to ensure your safety and the safety of others throughout. You will be encouraged to progress to increasingly difficult targets as you develop your skill in the sport.

What to Wear and Bring

Shooting is an outdoor sport, so you will need to dress for the weather. Layers will help to keep you warm in the winter, and waterproofs will keep you dry. You may need to walk between targets over uneven ground so a good pair of walking boots or sturdy wellies are the best type of footwear for this activity. During the winter, gloves will help prevent your fingers from going numb in the cold, which could prevent you from using the gun accurately.

Clothing with plenty of pockets would be helpful so you can keep your valuables on you without requiring a bag. In addition, if you are clay pigeon shooting you may want to wear a hat to protect your head from pieces of falling clay. You should also be provided with eye protection by your activity provider.

Where to Go Clay Pigeon Shooting & Air Rifle Shooting in the Lake District

There are several places across the Lake District where you can try shooting. Some only offer clay pigeon shooting, whilst others offer both clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting.

Rookin House

This large activity centre close to Penrith and Ullswater has a plethora of activities, as well as accommodation available. Both clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting are offered here, so you could try both activities on the same day.

  • Address: Rookin House Farm, Troutbeck, Ullswater, Penrith, CA11 0SS
  • Tel: 01768483561
  • Website:

The Outdoor Adventure Company

Located close to Kendal, the Outdoor Adventure Company has a 300-acre site with numerous activities available, including both clay pigeon shooting and air rifle shooting.


Michael Coates

Michael Coates leads clay pigeon shooting from various privately owned locations across the Lake District with the primary base being located between Windermere and Kendal at the Wild Boar Hotel. Taster sessions, tuition, and large groups can be accommodated.

  • Address: Registered Office: 32 Serpentine Rd, Kendal, LA9 4PD
  • Tel: 07814030249
  • Website:

Crabtree Clay Shoot

Although it is located just over the border in Lancashire, Crabtree Clay Shoot is easily accessible if you are staying in the southern Lake District and draws many visitors holidaying in the area. This is a privately owned farm with numerous shooting sites, and shoots take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • Address: Crabtree Farm, Cow Brow, Lupton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Carnforth, LA6 1PJ
  • Tel: 07818080841
  • Website: