The sun shone, there was a buzz in the air and by 8am there was a long queue of people snaking around the car park, queuing up for the gates.

Once 8.30am arrived everybody streamed in and set off to enjoy their day.

Sitting in the sun, watching the gundogs scurry

Parents, children, grandparents, couples, all sorts of people and a variety of dogs walked up the main thoroughfare, stopping on the way for a coffee from one of the artisan vans, a catch-up with a friend they had caught sight of, a look at a stand that had caught their interest.

Outside there was the gundog area to enjoy, watching top class working dogs in action. And those owners who wanted their own dogs to have a go on the scurry, put them through their paces and show what they could do.

Working gundog test winners

Every now and then a loud blast filled the air – the .50 cal experience which was a a popular attraction over the weekend, with around 600 people arriving to fire the monster gun.

Then there were the clay competitions (more on the results here), clay shooting lessons – wonder how many youngsters have gained a taste for shooting clays and want to pursue the sport, having had a go.

Axe throwing drew a lot of attention and was a lot harder than it looked, with people walking away saying things like: “How can you aim that thing properly?” Those Vikings must have put in a lot of practise!

Further up the path there was archery – with a whole array of bows on display, as well as arrows.

axe throwing

Axe throwing – harder than it looks

The Shooting Lodge, new for this year, was a popular attraction. People sat outside on the tables, sitting over a cold beer whilst watching our Ambassadors give talks on subjects including pigeon shooting, cooking venison and game, gundog training, deer stalking and getting into gamekeeping. We were also honoured to have a Q and A session with the GB shooting athletes.

On the air was the delicious scent of barbecued venison and the Game and Flames barbecue area was a hit. Further along that row was the BASC area, with the Hunters Kitchen attracting a keen crowd. However possibly the most popular attraction were the BASC daily bird box building sessions for kids, who left proudly clutching their own handmade bird box, ready to position at home in the garden.

Inside the cool Halls, shoppers browsed the latest guns, rifles, semi-automatics and air rifles on display – talking to the stand holders and receiving invaluable advice on gun fit and suitability. Then there were the scopes to peer through – some of which were on display for the very first time at a show.

Children particularly enjoyed the VR display on the indoor BASC stand

You can tell a lot from an atmosphere, and the happy, buzzy, busy National Shooting Show appears to have been a winner, with many people commenting that they were making the most of their BASC complimentary tickets and coming back for two days running.

All in all the show welcomed over 20,000 enthusiastic visitors over the weekend, who browsed through over 200 stands.

If you’d like to book for next year, and benefit from an on the gate discount, click here.