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Saturday, September 16th
This is an invitation to take part in a uniquely Scottish fieldsports tradition. It is seen by many as the ultimate challenge. The stars have to align in order to achieve one of the most prestigious accomplishments in the sporting field.
The challenge is simple, but very tall; land a salmon on the fly, put two grouse in the bag, and take a red stag off the hill...all between dawn and dusk on the same day. Success requires planning, perseverance, fitness, skill, and a healthy dose of luck. And one needs a team of ghillies, keepers, and stalkers working in unison to have a sporting chance. It is a truly unique blend of camaraderie, collaboration, and solitude. There is no guarantee of success, but there is definitely a guarantee of challenge and adventure.
The 2023 Macnab Challenge will be based out of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle (pronounced 'aven-suey'), a remote seaside estate on the Isle of Harris, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, comprised of 55,000 acres of sporting paradise. Deserted, wild, beautiful lands. Amhuinnsuidhe has a network of lochs, streams, moors and mountains overseen and managed by a dedicated group of conservation minded professionals.
We have arranged for a group of six sportsman and sportswomen to make three Macnab attempts over the course of the week. We will have exclusive use of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, and all of the sport will be conducted on the estate. This provides obvious logistical and tactical advantages.
The entire team will be collected mid-day on Saturday at Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis and transported to the Castle, a little over an hour’s drive away. After you get settled in, you can explore the Castle grounds, go fishing, or simply relax, and then we will all gather for a welcome dinner.
Sunday will be a lay day, providing some time to beat jet lag and prepare for the week. Everyone will get a chance to select a shotgun for the grouse shooting.
We will make the Macnab attempts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On each morning two members of the team will head to the hill with the stalkers in search of a red stag. The remaining four will go to the lochs with the ghillies. The stalkers, ghillies, and keepers will stay in contact with the head keeper, the leader of this orchestra, to make sure that the day goes as planned. As soon as someone succeeds with one leg of the Challenge, he or she will be whisked away to the next stage of the adventure. Everyone will gather around the table at the end of the day to share their tales.
Tuesday and Thursday will be lay days, but anyone is welcome to fish or go spotting with the stalkers as they plan for the next day. The team will be returned to Stornoway Airport on the morning of the last Saturday for flights out.
A Macnab is seen as the ultimate sporting challenge and only a select group has come away successful. The concept was first mentioned in a book by John Buchan entitled John Macnab. This is a fictional tale of three friends who have become bored with their mundane aristocratic lives and yearn for something exciting. They decided to poach a stag and a salmon from nearby estates. The modern interpretation requires a stag, two grouse, and a salmon. All taken in the same day. If the stars align, this feat can be achieved. Having three days to make this attempt will help eliminate some of the barriers to success, however there are no guaranties and the sought after MacNab can easily become the MacNot.
The day will begin early, before dawn, with two members of the six person Macnab team heading out to the hills for a stag. The rest of the team will go for the salmon. The order will switch each Macnab morning. When a member completes a leg of the challenge, they will be transported to the next leg of the attempt. The day will be long and could end after dusk. Food and water will be available when needed. The staff will be with you every step of the way!
This might very well happen! But having three attempts will help increase the odds and provide a sporting chance. The Field Magazine picked a day to film a Macnab. You can watch the video here: Macnab attempt video. As you can see, weather and animals have a mind of their own!
Packing your bag and getting yourself to the closest airport is all you have to do. We will arrange pick up from Stornoway Airport on the Isle of Lewis. Book your incoming and outgoing flights so that it aligns with our group pick up time. Rick will be there to greet you. If your flight is delayed, we can arrange a taxi service to bring you to our home for the week.
In short, we provide airport transfers to the Castle, three Macnab attempts (all guide fees and trophy fees included), food and accommodations, wine with dinner, gun hire (rifle and shotgun) permits, ammunition, ghillies, stalkers, and keepers, and field insurance while shooting. Airfare, gratuities, alcohol, and extra sport on lay days are not included.
Whether it’s a spouse, son/daughter, or friend, companions are welcome to attend at an additional cost. However, other than observe, there isn’t too much to occupy their time during the week. We will be located on a very secluded island. Your companion would have to arrange their own sightseeing and basically will be on their own, but are welcome to observe if you would like an observer.
Absolutely! Many shooters do arrive early or stay on and go to London, Edinburgh, or Glasgow. It is up to you, just make sure you are at the Stornoway Airport at the group pick up time - TBA.
The shirt you wear in the morning needs to be fit for fishing, stalking and shooting. A muted cotton checked button down will be fine. Do not wear anything white; the grouse will see you and your chances will be thwarted. No camouflage or blaze orange and wearing drab colors of greens and brown is good. Staying comfortable, warm and dry is most important. Rubber boots, rain gear, warm layered clothing in case of cold weather, good shooting gloves, glasses (polarized when on the water), a tie (optional), and a comfortable jacket. Fishing will be done from the bank or boat, so only pack waders if you have room in your bag. Eye protection and ear protection are highly recommended. Things you do not have to pack are guns, rods, gun slips, cartridge bags, and walking sticks.
The island is basically closed on Sundays. No hunting or fishing (or flights) allowed. Macnab attempts will be tiring for both you and the staff and days off on Tuesdays and Thursdays are needed for everyone to recoup. However, fishing, hiking, and limited opportunities for walked up grouse or stalking will be available both days.
A deposit of half the amount ($6775) is due when booking. The balance due ($6775) and the cost of a companion ($1750), if applicable, is due on May 1st, 2023. We suggest obtaining travel insurance (https://www.travelinsurance.com/) within 30 days of sending your deposit. We will have to pay a non-refundable deposit to the estate, so if you need to cancel for any reason, we can refund your money only if we are able to sell your spot to someone else. If WE need to cancel the trip on our end due to insufficient enrollment or other issues, we will refund your money or transfer the amount to another trip with your approval.
Here is a link to the Castle: Amhuinnsuidhe Castle. This is not a hotel and we will have exclusive use of the entire estate/castle for our shooting team. The castle was built in the 1800's and comes with all the Scottish charm! All rooms are ensuite and we will place the individuals/couples in the rooms at a first come first serve basis. We will eat a prepared menu as a team together in the dining room for every meal, except lunch, which will be packed on days that we are in the field.
We suggest bringing no less than £550 for gratuities. This will cover tips (£300-£400 to the field staff and £100 to the house staff at the end of the week). Some left over for incidentals and gifts. Getting some pounds from your local bank before you leave is a very good idea as rates will be more at the airports. Do not expect to be able to use an ATM on the island, but your credit card will work at the Castle.
Our phones will work abroad: +1.724.504.4921 for Rick/+1.607.435.3449 for Amber so you will be able to reach us. Before you leave the states, call your cell phone company to go over enabling your phone for international usage. Depending on your provider, the calling rates are not prohibitive. However, you should not use international roaming for data or internet usage, as the relevant rates can vary wildly. Your phone should be able to use the Castle’s free wi-fi service, so you can check emails in the mornings and evenings and even use Skype, What’s APP or Face Time.
Amber (607) 435-3449
Rick (724) 504-4921
Office (607) 265-3798
3663 County Highway 35 ~ Sidney Center, New York 13839
Rick Watson ~ (724) 504-4921 ~ email@example.com
Amber Newman ~ (607) 435-3449 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org