A Spanish Trip With The Sporting Agency

A Spanish Trip With The Sporting Agency

Earlier this year, when the UK was still in its colder darker days, the Purdey Sporting Agency escaped for their annual trip to Las Golondrinas in Spain with six lucky guns. It was, as one might imagine, pretty special – a couple of days shooting the birds and the breeze in excellent company, relaxed in the knowledge that everything was taken care of. On their return, we spoke to our Sporting Agent and Shooting Instructor Matt Smith for a full debrief. Here is an idea of what you can expect from a Purdey trip, and how to book yourself in for our future travels.

Ahead of the trip

The beauty of our roving syndicate trip is that it allows for up to eight individuals to enjoy a great trip without taking on the onus of organising. We take care of everything, presenting the group with the itinerary and details ahead of time, so it’s as easy as possible.

Though the day is led by the estate, our role is to keep everything running smoothly, working with the Spanish team to make sure everyone is having the best time. We’ll help to keep an eye on your tally of birds shot, and can arrange extras or additional transport for later starts or earlier finishes, for example, anticipating and managing expectations throughout. 

The location

We fly to Madrid and transfer to the estate from there. Las Golondrinas is about three hours west of the Spanish capital in the region of Extremadura, quite close to the Portuguese border. It’s very rural and not very highly populated at all, with exceptional topography for shooting. The estate has belonged to the Díaz de Bustamante family since the 14th century; they are distantly connected to Spanish royalty, the British equivalent to aristocracy, and passionate sportspeople. The entire estate spans 30,000 to 40,000 hectares, though we shoot in a smaller area of around 17,000 acres. It’s a true word-of-mouth gem that few outside of Spain have heard of.

On arrival

At the house, we are greeted by the staff, an extensive and friendly team. Luggage is taken to the rooms and guests are shown where they are staying. It’s a very traditional, comfortable, welcoming house – in Spanish it’s called a ‘palace’, but not what you’d consider as such – with lots of hunting-themed art on the walls, taxidermy, and many original features. 

The first evening, drinks are served on the terrace overlooking the estate, which has a beautiful view and gets the group talking about the days ahead. The unique part of these Spanish trips is the absolute all-inclusivity, from the accommodation to the shooting to the food and wine. It’s all very good quality, and there’s no holding back in terms of catering. 

Dinner is typically three courses, served at the table in the grand dining room, with traditional Spanish fare, cheeses, seafood and meats. After dinner, we head to the courtyard lounge, a long room with sofas to sink into and an open fire, for drinks and cigars. 

Day 1 of the shoot

We have a leisurely start, with breakfast in the dining room around 9am. The weather was beautifully bright on our most recent trip, which is just one of the advantages of shooting in Spain. A member of the Bustamante family joins us to host, typically the youngest son, and once we’ve got our boots on and chosen our guns, there’s a quick briefing to cover everyone’s positions before heading out. 

The day typically covers four different drives, each around 45 minutes to an hour of fairly constant shooting, which is longer than they tend to be in the UK. The opportunities are numerous, even for beginners. Each person has a loader, plus someone to keep a tally of how many birds you shoot (this is billed individually). 

Mid morning we stop for refreshments; and on this trip we decided to do all four drives and then end with an extensive lunch. This takes place at the lodge in the middle of the estate, with an abundance of tapas and drinks. We catch up and debrief on how the day has gone before heading back to the house – the staff clean everyone’s boots and dry any coats and kit if we’ve had rain. And after an hour or two of downtime, we reconvene for a later supper, sometimes lighter fare depending on the timing and how much we’ve indulged at lunch!

Day 2 of the shoot

The second day is often a little shorter with three drives, following a similar format to day one. It’s a nice mix of shooting and we can cater to all abilities; I would have no qualms taking either a very discerning, experienced team or a team of novices, there’s something for everyone. The ammunition is included, so you can make the most of that, getting plenty of shots in. 

The partridges that flew this year were exceptionally fit and strong, and because there are plenty of them and the drives are long and over varied landscapes, you can always get into a rhythm and connect well, picking out more difficult birds should you choose to. Each drive is challenging and exciting for different reasons. 

Of course, there are plenty of refreshments along the way and a generous paella lunch to finish. We then take a car back to Madrid for the flight home – though for future trips, we might spend the last night in Madrid itself, so there’s no rush and guests can experience the city, too.

Need to know

The package represents amazing value for money because nothing is too much trouble and everything is included; guests only pay extra for what they shoot and the flights. The food and drinks are very high quality, with generosity in abundance.

We have been running this particular trip for over 10 years, and working with Las Golondrinas – and several other exclusive Spanish estates – for almost 20 years. We already have trips in the pipeline to Spain and Mallorca for 2025, do get in touch for more details. 

To get in touch with the Purdey Sporting Agency, email matt.smith@purdey.com