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Sarah Mottram: Gamekeepers wife, underkeeper, keen shot and game cook

Sarah Mottram shooting pigeons with winchester 101

Sarah Mottram grew up in Reading, a town in the home counties of England but moved to Scotland in 2008 to be with her gamekeeper husband. She works alongside him as his underkeeper on the 6,500 acre Hopetoun Estate, near Edinburgh, helping on shoot days, picking-up birds with one of their 14 gundogs. She’s passionate about the outdoors, game cooking, gundogs and country sports photography.

The Team of all4hunters.com / Text: Linda Mellor

Back in 2008, Sarah Mottram had no idea about the role of a gamekeeper or what happened on a shoot day. She’d left school, trained in stable management and became a stable lass and travelled all over UK, Ireland and Europe with racehorses. The only time she’d seen a pheasant was when they got in the way when she was exercising the horses. 

Sarah Mottram and her gundogs.
Sarah Mottram and her gundogs near Edinburgh

Now-a-days, Sarah plays a supportive role as a gamekeeper’s wife and is an “unpaid underkeeper” said Sarah, laughing. She’s out checking the snares and topping up the bird-feeding hoppers around the estate. 


On a shoot day, Sarah is up early preparing the soup for the beating team, but, if it’s a weekday shoot, she also gets her 12-year-old daughter ready for school, before she puts on her shooting gear and dog whistles to spend the day picking-up on the shoot with her gundogs.

Sarah Mottram picking up shoot day
Sarah Mottram picking up shoot day.

Passionate outdoor life:

Gamekeeping, stalking and game cooking

Sarah told us: “We do a lot of lamping together, and shooting pigeons. I enjoy setting up the hide, putting out my decoys, and usually, Paul reminds me to cover my blonde hair up before we start shooting.” said Sarah. “I do a lot of picking-up on grouse days, I’ve been out nearly every day since the season started. If Paul is away loading I take care of everything on the estate for him. Before I met Paul I’d never picked up a gun, but I had shooting lessons and enjoy the challenge and the thrill of shooting clays.  I love the feeling you get when you start shooting well and hitting the clays, and shooting on Keeper’s day at the end of the season.” 

Sarah Mottram shooting with Winchester 101.
Sarah Mottram shooting with her Winchester 101.
Sarah Mottram with hen pheasant
Sarah Mottram shooting her pheasant Winchester 101 shotgun.

Sarah went out stalking with Paul, “he’s a good teacher, and very safety conscious, and made sure I was comfortable with the rifle (Tikka .222 with a Swarovski 6 -24 x 50 Scope) before I started target shooting.  


It was early morning when we went Roe deer stalking. Paul set up the rifle for me, I got into position, took my time and looking through the scope before pulling the trigger. But it didn’t end there as Paul said it was important I experienced all parts of the stalk and not just shooting, so I gralloched the deer under his instruction, and then dragged it back to the Land Rover.”


Cooking with game is one of Sarah’s countryside passions. She recently adapted a Tom Kitchin recipe (Tom Kitchin's Meat and Game book) for grouse sausage rolls, replacing the mushrooms with red chillies, “they were so tasty and everyone loved the them!”  

Sarah Mottram can be found on Instagram @gamekeeperswife


Who is our author  Linda Mellor?


Linda Mellor is one of Scotland’s foremost shooting, fishing and hunting female writers and photographers. She is the product Ambassador for Venator Pro, a premier hunting company and stockist of the European brand Hillman. With a lifetime of countryside experience, Linda’s passion, enthusiasm and respect for the outdoors and hunting is explored and shared across her writing and photography. 


For more information on Linda Mellor, please visit Linda Mellor's website, Twitter (LindaMellor) and instagram (linda_mellor).

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