Sporting Chance – Andrew Inkster
SHETLAND currently boasts an impressive list of talented clay shooters, among them ANDREW INKSTER. A member of the team which competed at the Rhodes island games in 2007, he was also selected for Scotland last year. Andrew recently took over as chairman of the Shetland Island Games Association and will shortly be visiting Åland, the venue for next year’s event, in his new role.
Sharp shooter Andrew Inkster.
Photo: Keith Morrison
My first taste of action was at . . .
Princess Mary’s Royal Airforce Hospital, Akrotiri, Cyprus on 17th September 1970. I arrived at 1pm, just in time for lunch!
I mainly got into clay shooting because . . .
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and shooting and fishing were things I grew up doing. I looked along the club at the old range one day and shot reasonably well. I was hooked and it just progressed from there. Had I missed more targets that day I might well have tried something else.
A big influence were . . .
The members of the Shetland Clay Target Club are a friendly bunch and happy to help beginners to improve. People like Jim Work, Ewen Johnson, Peter Davies and John Magnus Laurenson have all helped me reach the standard I have achieved.
As a youngster my sporting heroes were . . .
To be honest, as a child I wasn’t a big sports fan. Of course, being half Welsh I was always pleased to support the greatest rugby playing nation on earth. I could also mention Sharron Davies, but I’m not sure it was her swimming ability I remember her for.
Currently I most admire . . .
Shetland has a wealth of talented shots, with five members of our club shooting for the national squad in 2007. John Magnus, Jim and Peter are consistently among the top shots in Scotland, and Jim’s son Ross is also shooting very well in the junior ranks.
There are others in the club who are also regularly shooting qualifying scores so all in all we have an incredible amount of local talent. Our lady shooters, Lou Jackson and Jo Dunlop, are also making their presence felt on the national scene, and coupled with their outstanding performance in Rhodes I have no doubt that international caps aren’t far away.
My best achievements have been . . .
As far as sporting achievements go, being part of the Scottish team for the 2007 international in Ireland was a fantastic experience. I also shot for Shetland during the 2007 island games in Rhodes, which was an interesting experience to say the least. While I shot well on the first day, the heat got to me on day two (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).
More recently, becoming chairman of the Shetland Island Games Association is an honour, and following in Sandra Jamieson’s footsteps will be very hard work. The dedication and hard work shown by Sandra and the rest of the association members is incredible.
The best thing about clay shooting is . . .
The people. Through the inter-county and the island games competitions I’ve made friends from Orkney to the Falkland Islands, Grand Cayman and most places in between.
Another bonus is that you don’t have to be the fittest person to compete. Although I’m no salad dodger, I’d say I was built for comfort, rather than speed.
And the worst thing is . . .
The constant bad press about gun ownership in the UK. There is no link between legally-held firearms and violent crime, and the continued restrictions on law-abiding members of the public are a token gesture which ignores the real problems facing our society.
Abiding memories were . . .
During the 2005 island games in Shetland we arranged a visit to a local fish farm for some of the visiting shooters. The plan was to get a fish or two for a barbecue, and we figured that big Rob Harris from the Cayman Islands was the man for the job.
Well, I’m not sure how they catch fish in Cayman, but it’s certainly not the same way we do it. Rob ended up dangling over the side of the boat, being held by his ankles, flailing wildly with a net at any salmon daft enough to come near him. Needless to say we pulled him back aboard, and one of the locals had a fish in the net in no time. On the way back we also convinced a few of them that salmon feed pellets were in fact quite tasty . . . they soon found out the truth!
A way of improving shooting would be . . .
The big worry in shooting circles at the moment is the use of lead shot, and for how long it will continue. There is no doubt that lead has its drawbacks from an environmental point of view, but the truth is, there are no viable alternatives at present.
Other than that, a few more women at the club would be welcome, as shooting is generally thought of as a male dominated sport, but our lady shooters are testament to the fact that gender does not play a big part.
My ambitions are to . . .
Keep shooting well, although I’m having a rest from qualifiers this year, and to do my best to promote Shetland at the island games during my time as chairman. Losing a few pounds (stone?) is always high on my agenda, but every time I lose them they seem to find me again!
My hobbies apart from shooting are . . .
Just getting outside, whether it is walking our labrador Finn or cutting the grass! Shooting qualifiers for a Scotland place last year took up an awful lot of spare time and money, and my wife Julie was fantastic in putting up with me. This year I’m enjoying not having to be at any given competition, and just taking it easy.
Musically I like to listen to . . .
Anything really. I have a pretty broad taste in music, and the CDs I’m listening to in my van at the moment are Amy Macdonald, and Lissa Schneckenburger who was fantastic at this year’s folk festival.
I like to read . . .
I must admit I’m not really into reading books, especially fiction. The last book I read was Bear Grylls’ account of his Everest summit attempt. I do indulge in a few shooting and fishing-related magazines though, so that passes any spare time I find myself with.
And watch . . .
Again, all sorts. I’m enjoying Heroes and Dirty Sexy Money at the moment, and I’ll even watch Eastenders, but only because Julie does of course. Natural history documentaries and rugby internationals usually feature in my viewing list.
The best films I’ve seen are . . .
God knows – too many to mention. I enjoyed the Bourne series of films. I went to see Sweeney Todd while in Aberdeen, and was disappointed to find out after about three minutes that it was a musical! For all that, I actually enjoyed it after all. Julie is desperate to see the new Sex in the City film, so I suppose I’ll have to drag myself along to that, just to keep her company of course.
My favourite actors/actresses . . .
Ulrika Jonsson was pretty hot in Gladiators, but I can’t really remember anyone else.
My favourite food and drink is . . .
No surprises here – I’ll pretty much eat anything. I don’t do shellfish though as it doesn’t agree with me. I enjoy Chinese and Indian cuisine, but mince and tatties or fried fish are as good as it gets. For drinks, a small sherry or two never goes amiss.
The best places I have visited are . . .
Julie and I toured around southern Ireland a few years ago and the people are so friendly – it reminds you of home. Further afield I’ve been spending a bit of time in Holland on business recently, and Amsterdam is a nice place to visit, and not at all as seedy as some would make out. I’m sure there are areas there like that, but obviously, I haven’t visited them . . .
If I could live anywhere in the world other than Shetland it would be . . .
I have no intention of leaving as I’ve never found anywhere as good as Shetland. Southern Ireland or the west coast of Scotland would be okay I suppose. I’m not a big sun worshipper so that rules out a lot of places.
My pet hates are . . .
Being late – I just hate being late for meetings or other functions. Rude people – manners cost nothing at all, and I always try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Mobile phones in restaurants and cinemas are another annoyance.
The living person I most admire is . . .
Too many to mention, but I’m me mammy’s boy so she’s pretty high on the list.
Because . . .
She’s always there, no matter what happens, and has put up with me for so long.
The five people I would invite to my dream dinner party are . . .
A cosy table for two with Ulrika would be just fine – we might not have much to say, but who cares!!
Nah, being with close friends and family is good enough for me, who better to share your time with.
Did I mention Ulrika?
Anything to add . . .
Despite the obvious and well-publicised problems we faced during the Rhodes island games last year, the trip was fantastic. The heat and lack of organisation conspired to make some days a bit of a struggle, but getting back to the hotel at the end of the day, for a nice meal and a beer beside the pool with the rest of the team was brilliant.
Fortunately, or unfortunately perhaps, the Falklands shooting team were also at our hotel, and boy, do those guys know how to party!
The island games are a fantastic showcase for the incredible amount of sporting talent we have in the isles, and I’m really looking forward to Åland next year. Go Shetland!