Skip to main content

A Week on the Estate: Laser Shooting, Bottle Deliveries & Boiler Fuelling

In autumnal weather veering from beautifully bright to cold, dark and wet, the South Ormsby Estate continues to be a fine place to live, work, earn and play.


On the land, the Lincoln Red beef herd was pictured enjoying their grazing on a rare, blue-sky day on the estate. Soon, they’ll be moving to their new winter quarters at Keal Yard where they’ll be kept warm and safe during the worst winter weather. At the weekend, three of our finest breeding heifers will be strutting their stuff at the Newark Livestock Sales.


Chris Brooks has been helping out on the estate and getting hands-on with the biomass boiler. In late October weather, the boiler receives one bale of bean-straw in the morning, another at lunchtime and a late-afternoon or evening top-up with wood. The bean-straw is loosely packed and can burn relatively quickly so other options may be explored in future.

Graduate trainee Daniel Hall has been filling in for Estate Manager Paul Barnes, looking after the estate’s land and buildings. This week, Daniel arranged meetings with contractors, kept tabs on clear-felling in the woods and renovations in untenanted properties, and made sure the fans were running in the corn stores following cold overnight weather.


Daniel’s next attachment is with Housekeeper Jacqui Rhodes, and he’s already been given plenty of work to do around the Hall. Not only will Daniel be involved in a deep clean of the Hall, but he’ll be looking for a solution to the annual, autumnal nuisance of houseflies.


In the meantime, the build-up to production continued at Tristan’s distillery with the arrival of more equipment and supplies, including 1,080 bottles from Saverglass in France. The social media poll to name Tristan’s test-still concluded, with Theresa L Cooke’s suggestion, ‘Isolde’, winning with 54% of the vote.


New team-member Oliver Roberts was pictured turning South Ormsby staff into crack-shots. As well as running the estate’s laser clay-pigeon business, Oliver is studying International Relations at the University of Lincoln, co-captaining Horncastle Rugby Club, shooting competitively for the Lincolnshire County Clay-Pigeon Team and is about to start flying with the East Midlands University Air Squadron.


Oliver started shooting regularly at the age of 12 and has competed since the age of 15. His last competition involved ‘shooting down the line’ – gunning for targets moving away at increasing distances, with five shooters firing in sequence. Oliver scored 99 out of 100 and is still more than a little gutted about the one he missed.

Oliver is passionate about his shooting and believes laser clay can make the sport more accessible. It is perfect for those with little or no firearms experience and can be staged at venues where real firearms would be impractical. As an experienced shooter, Oliver believes the laser-clay experience feels remarkably close to the real thing. Real but deactivated firearms are used, and a diffused pattern of laser light is fired at plastic clays with reflective surfaces. There is no kick but there is a simulated sound of gunshot and – for the dead-shots out there – shattering clay. Oliver also has to apply less ‘lead’ or ‘deflection’ to his aiming point as light travels a tad more quickly than lead shot.


Oliver has held part-time jobs since he was 14 – first at a butcher’s, then at a local petrol station. Working for local traders who cared about their community taught Oliver a lot about customer service. His new role combines his passion for shooting with the opportunity to reach out to new customers and build an exciting new business.