The sound of gunfire resounded across the moors of the UK as shooting parties were quick to take advantage of the Glorious Twelfth, the annual day when grouse becomes fair game for hunters.
Tweed-clad hunters were out in force as they trained guns on birds that until midnight had been off limits with dutiful dogs bounding through fields of purple heather to retrieve the quarry.
Byrecleugh Farm, part of the Roxburghe Estates near Duns in the Scottish Borders, was one area where guns were cocked although there have been concerns expressed by the Scottish Government about the practice of shooting grouse.
The Extinction Rebellion protest group had placed a large “don’t shoot” message in the hills near Dundee Airport.
Head keeper of the Roxburghe Estates Drew Ainslie defended the practice, saying: “Well-managed moorlands provide habitat for at least 57 bird species in Scotland, as well as mountain hares, reptiles and amphibians.
“Curlew, lapwing, meadow pipit, oystercatcher and golden plover, as well as a range of birds of prey, including golden eagles and hen harriers, all thrive on grouse moors.
“We are proud of our year-round conservation work.”
In Yorkshire, another shooting party was quick to take advantage of the turn in the calendar.
The moors in North Yorkshire also heard the noise of gunfire on the day when grouse and other birds became fair game.
Dogs were out in force to perform retrieving duties while one gunman brought along his young son for the experience.
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