Fields Of Dreams
Growing up in the wilds of Northumberland and Scotland, James Percy has enjoyed a privileged life dominated by sporting adventures. He shares his deep respect for the Great British countryside and his passion for conservation, wildlife, shooting and fishing in a series of beautifully written essays.
He recalls sepia-tinted memories of childhood trips to river banks and moorland, and his developing love affairs with pigeons, grouse, salmon, trout... family dogs and girls. Now married with four children, his young family plays a big part in his sporting life. Home, at Linhope, in Northumberland, is also the base for the grouse, pheasant and partridge shoots that he has painstakingly developed since the 1980s.
Snapshot entries from some of his 2007 and 2008 diary pages highlight the heartache, triumphs and disasters that shoots endure in this part of the world. But shooting and fishing are only part of the story. James Percy is first and foremost a passionate countryman and he writes not so much about the numbers of game or weight of fish, but the very essence of the creatures, traditions and characters. It is a colourful mosaic of unapologetic nostalgia, quiet comedy and Northumbrian humour – the hard truths and gentle reflections of a northern countryman’s way of life.
Fields Of Dreams press reviews
"For those Trout & Salmon readers who shoot as well as fish, this lavishly produced book is well worth the price for its photographs alone – many of which, such as grouse in flight by Tarquin Millington Drake, are simply stunning. But, superb though they are, there is much more to it than just the photographs.
Lord James Percy writes with a genuine passion for Fieldsports and the countryside, and with the enthusiasm and excitement of a schoolboy at the end of term. His stories of days with rod and gun are entertaining, enlightening and often very funny.
Good fortune has enabled him to enjoy a variety of sport that we lesser men can only dream about-and good luck to him-and it is heart-warming to see that he confines his adventures to these shores. Spanish partridges and Russian salmon are not for him, it seems; he revels in the beauty and bounty of the British countryside, whether he is catching salmon in the Highlands, fishing the family beat on the North Tyne, night-fishing for sea-trout, or shooting grouse, pheasants, partridges and pigeons in his beloved Northumberland.
The chapter on his dogs past and present is both funny and moving, completes a classic pot pourri of the finest of British sport, its characters, countryside and conservation. I recommend it unreservedly."
Sandy Leventon, Trout & Salmon
"The Percys of Northumberland, with their ancient castle in Alnwick, are almost synonymous with the countryside and fieldsports, especially shooting and fishing.
Growing up the wilds of Northern England, James Percy’s life has been dominated by his passion for sport and this book is a wonderful distillation of his adventures with rod and gun. But like so many keen sportsmen, he is equally passionate about conservation and wildlife-something that comes across clearly in this beautifully illustrated book.
Early essays cover childhood memories of fishing and shooting forays while other chapters chart the progress of the grouse, pheasant and partridge shoots that he has developed and nurtured since the 1980s.
Occasional entries from the author’s diaries highlight the triumphs and disasters that shoots experience in this remote, beautiful but also harsh part of the world.
Beyond shooting and fishing the book is a marvellous mosaic of nostalgia, quiet comedy and Northumbrian humour-the reflections of a northern countryman’s way of life."
Land & Business, (CLA magazine)
"With over 120 stunning colour photographs, Fields of Dreams, A Journey of Sporting Passion by Lord James Percy is a very impressive and well illustrated book. It is also a delightful celebration of the unrivalled variety of shooting and fishing that the UK has to offer.
With its clear insight into what goes on behind the scenes to produce great sport, this is a great read that any sportsman will both enjoy and treasure. This was our bestselling product last Christmas - limited stock remaining - £30."
Gamewise Magazine, (Game Conservancy & Wildlife Trust)
"Lord James Percy leads a privileged life driven by a love of country sports. His book, Fields of Dreams, covers many aspects of British and European sport-with a clear emphasis on grouse and the delights of the Scottish moors.
This substantial tome contains spectacular photographs of the author’s own adventures, as well as those borrowed from elsewhere. Lord James Percy writes mainly of exquisite and exclusive shooting and his own painstakingly developed sporting estate, but there are plenty of more familiar accounts in there too-lyrical tales of Christmas shoots, nights on the Tweed and even some pigeon decoying."
"This book - at first glance a well-produced coffee table volume with great images - is surprisingly compelling. Percy’s text elevates it to a must-read, with his genuine humour and warmth. His unguarded and deeply felt views on the countryside and its sporting quarry charm the reader.
The book is divided into four parts-grouse, the Linhope shoot diaries, other favourite pastimes and unsung essentials. It is a combination of history, memoir, sporting diary and instruction, accompanied by excellent images. Percy takes us through days on the moor and the stellar (and sometimes not so stellar) shoot days of which he has been part.
His enthusiasm for the grey partridge, for shooing pigeon and for night fishing for sea-trout comes across with the same edifying vim as his advice on keeping fit for the purpose (do) and handling the missus (with care). This elegant, pastoral take on a sporting life will be a sure fire hit in the butts."
Alexandra Henton, The Field
"Lord James Percy, one of the country’s top shots and part-time shooting kit designer, has been steeped in country sports since childhood. His passion for hunting and the rural life has spilled out into the pages of this handsome coffee-table book as a series of essays and diary excerpts. It is a diverse and entertaining mix of sporting history, anecdote, advice and appreciation of what the countryside, its wildlife and characters have to offer the sportsman.
Drawing on his Northumbrian roots, the author describes the ups and downs of restoring the once majestic grouse moors at Linhope, his home in the Cheviots, and the developments of successful pheasant and partridge shoots. There’s plenty of fishing tales, particularly pursuing sea trout in the rivers of the North East and an homage to the humble woodpigeon or ‘blue grouse.’"
BASC Shooting & Conservation Magazine
"Sporting top gun and passionate Lord James Percy has released a new book celebrating the joys of his sporting life. Taking the form of a collection of essays covering a lifetime of conservation, wildlife, shooting and fishing, and illustrated with over 120 colour photographs, Fields of Dreams is a fascinating and beautiful insight into the countryman’s way of life."