The Countryman's Weekly

Interview

Interview
March 25
08:04 2020

Sir Johnny Scott still striving to protect countrysports

by David Egan.

SIR Johnny Scott’s love of the countryside first started during the post-war years of rationing when he was taken for walks as a child by his mother who would always take a trug and pick additional things you couldn’t get through rationing. In those days, Sir Johnny recalls: “Once breakfast was over – out you go – everyone was booted out regardless of the weather.”

As children in that era, the principle source of entertainment was nature and there were many more people working on the land at the time. Subsequently, you learned about nature through your own inquisitiveness and from the hedgerows and farm workers who would teach you how to read the weather.

“There was so much one did in those days that are now considered obscene really,” Sir Johnny recalls. “I believe that every child should have a ferret because you have the responsibility of looking after it. Additionally, for the first time, you can potentially produce something for the household.

“We used to get a bird-nesting kit and you learned about nature by watching birds carrying a feather and going to its nest. It was the same with gifts of a butterfly net and a keeping jar. We had pet dogs, hedgehogs, pet jackdaws and even grass snakes which, of course, nowadays nobody does because the countryside has become so very sterile. I was very lucky as a child as I had gamekeepers, ghillies and shepherds I knew who were happy to share their knowledge with me.”

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