By Clive Aslet

There is still too much ignorance about pursuits such as grouse shooting and plans for rewilding

Friday 12 August: the opening of the grouse-shooting season, known to shooters as the Glorious Twelfth. This year, it arrived with some ironically glorious weather: perfect for guns alive to the beauties of the purple-clad heather moorland.

I write “ironically” because the cold and wet during the spring, when the grouse were breeding, means that there are precious few birds to be shot. Some moors have cancelled altogether, at severe financial loss to their owners. But grouse are like that: the population booms for a few years, then collapses. When conditions are right, this completely wild bird, which bursts suddenly over the guns, with a fast, jinking flight, is regarded as one of the supreme sporting challenges, hence the thousands of pounds aficionados around the world will pay to have a pop at it.