In this video, a Scottish couple tackle the Macnab Challenge, a one-day race to complete three difficult hunting and fishing tasks.
This triathlon of sorts for sportsmen requires participants to shoot a grouse, catch a salmon on a fly and take down a stag, all between sunrise and sunset.
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The contest is named after a 1925 novel named John Macnab, which features some elements of the outdoor sports. The Macnab Challenge is famed for not being not just about skill, but good fortune. The animals targeted are known for their elusiveness, and the odds are stacked overwhelmingly in their favor. As the video states, “To simply take part commands respect. To succeed takes far more than just skill.”
The film breaks the couple’s attempt at the Macnab Challenge into three chapters for each of the animals, all of them featuring gorgeous cinematography and footage of the Scottish Highlands.
The viewer is first shown the couple rising early and mapping out their plan for the challenge, before being picked up by a guide and taking off to pursue salmon.
Salmon is considered the toughest part of the challenge, as Atlantic salmon are rare and exceedingly difficult to catch on a fly. Despite changing flies and tactics, the couple fails to land a salmon, a reminder that in the Macnab, nothing is guaranteed. While the overall challenge is abandoned, they decide to pursue the other animals and make the most of their day.
The couple moves on to hunting grouse, which proves to be more successful. Using dogs to flush their prey, they easily down the birds with a double barrel shotgun.
The challengers conclude their day with chasing stag, climbing steep hills to get within range of their quarry. For added sport and authenticity, the couple uses an older rifle with iron sights, and are able to bring down a large stag.
In true Scottish fashion, the couple cap off their pursuit of the Macnab Challenge with a whisky toast. While the experience of the challenge is a reward unto itself, considering its difficulty, it’s fair to say they’ve also earned a drink.