Shooting in Scotland
Contact us

Balfour Castle

Activities

Balfour Castle has a huge amount to offer however you like to spend your time.  If you'd like to experience some of the best shooting and fishing in Scotland then you have found the perfect destination.

If walking or wildlife watching is your preference then the Island of Shapinsay is teaming with all manner of birds, as well as otters and seals.  

We have plenty of indoor activities too including cookery lessons with our award-winning chef or if you'd prefer to just relax then it's our pleasure to provide the most comfortable environment possible.

Billiards Room

Available for billiards, snooker and all other variants of these games the Billiard Room offers a traditional environment in which to play. Decorated with stag heads, otters heads and wildfowling images by renowned wildfowl artist Peter Scott, the room reflects the sporting heritage of Balfour.

  • Billiards Room
  • Billiards Room

Bird watching

Balfour is a sporting estate and as such has been managed to provide and improve habitat, ensuring that a wide range of birds nest on the estate. Shapinsay also has an RSPB reserve at the Mill Dam. A well-equipped hide is provided here to view this haven for waders and wildfowl.

Habitats on the island include a range from salt marsh though tidal sands to upland heather ensuring that there are a wide range of species to view all the year round.

An impressive variety of wildfowl such as sheldrakes, grebes, shovelers and mallards can be seen around inlets of water created by trapped sea water  known locally as 'ayres'.  Look to the skies for glimpses of Hen-Harriers, Arctic Skuas or even a short-eared owl.

During migration easterly winds often bring rarities to the island. We can provide experienced guides if required.

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Clay pigeon shooting using our promatic triple arm thrower is available under the watchful eye of our friendly game-keeper.

Cookery lessons

By prior arrangement our award-winning Chef Jean-Baptiste Bady is happy to give lessons in cooking to individuals or small groups.  

Jean-Baptiste is driven in his belief that sourcing produce from local farmers and producers delivers the essential freshness and authenticity required to truly “create taste on a plate”. An enthusiastic tutor, he will both inspire and instruct to ensure a memorable day in the kitchen at Balfour.

Fishing

Sea-angling can be arranged for your group either from the shore or from our private boat. Go fly fishing for wild brown trout on the spectacular Harray Loch on Orkney’s mainland. Something for all abilities whether you have your sea-legs or prefer to cast from a tranquil shore.

Golf

On a calm day practice your game on the challenging hole to the front of the Castle. Alternatively take a swing on the virtual St Andrews fairway of our state of the art Golf simulator whatever course takes your fancy of the 56 different courses to play on.

Up to eight players at a time can be accommodated. It is also possible to practice driving on the range, putting on the green or to hold a 'closest to the pin' competition. A perfect pastime for a rainy day and you won’t even get wet making your way back to the 18th hole.

In-house Cinema

Choose from our extensive selection of movies from the DVD library and whittle away a few hours enjoying your film of choice on the full size screen. Alternatively work up an appetite on the Nintendo Wii. Conversely should you just feel the need to lie down in a dark room - luxury throws provided and no questions asked.

Seal-Watching

Orkney’s coastal waters are home to both Common and Grey Seals. There are several resident colonies on Shapinsay and you can expect to see these adorable creatures sun-bathing on the nearby shores or showcasing their impressive agility in the bay.

You won’t need to go scrambling over rocks with binoculars either, a gentle wander down to the shore or their favourite spot outside the island’s only shop is just minutes away, though you may be gone for quite some time, it’s a captivating past-time. June and November are the pupping seasons when you are likely to see these adorable fur-clad pups beginning to moult in preparation for their aquatic life in the surrounding sea.

Shooting - Wildfowling

The Balfour Estate boasts one of the  finest shooting estates in the world. Today, Shapinsay is spoken of in hushed tones in elite sporting circles, as the name has become synonymous with the unpredictable but utterly addictive sport of wildfowling.

Advantageous Location

Due  to Orkney's favourable geographic location, situated  on  the migration routes from the Arctic breeding grounds of our visiting birds, you will have the chance to shoot from dawn till dusk in often challenging conditions. 

Recipe for success

The insightful enhancement of the Estate, such as well-stocked feeding ponds designed to attract birds helps improve the odds of success even in extreme weather conditions. For this sport you need skill, patience and on occasion insomnia, the first-light shoot can be lucrative despite the rather early start to the day. You also need to be in the right place at the right time so expect to move suddenly and silently - the ultimate adrenalin rush. 

Whilst a successful shoot can never be fully guaranteed, the odds are much improved in part due to local knowledge, patient observation and meticulous recording of bird activity. Additionally, the sharp eye of Balfour's GameKeeper and the experience of our resident Shoot Captain all add to the likelihood of there being something to boast about in the gunroom , with a hard-earned dram in hand and the spoils of the shoot proudly logged in Balfour's sporting chronicles.

Tennis

An all- weather tennis court is located in the Castle grounds, racquets and balls are provided. Alternatively you may prefer a more sedate game of croquet on the lawn.

Tours and trips

Orkney has world heritage status thanks to magnificent sites such as Skara Brae the ancient dwelling place of the islands ancestors, pre-dating the Great pyramid of Giza whilst the Ring of Brodgar and Standing stones of Sternness provide the Neolithic gateway to Orkney’s past.

Alternatively you may wish to do some island-hopping, perhaps fly on the world’s shortest scheduled flight between Westray and Papa Westray with stunning views over Orkney’s coastline. Orkney has something for everyone and the team at Balfour will be pleased to assist in organising memorable excursions.

Walking

The estate is over a thousand acres, giving our guests a variety of walks and views these can be either guided or unguided. Why not find a sunny spot and telephone the castle to bring you out a picnic lunch or tea.