After driving to Manchester and picking Craig up along the way, we jumped on the train heading for London Euston, and then over to Heathrow. It was a pretty eventful trip! It all started to go wrong when we stepped on the wrong train.... we weren't the only ones, we were informed the Virgin train was expected on Platform 6 and so that’s what we boarded... unfortunately someone had got there wires crossed and we ended up on the wrong train...anyway disaster averted, we realised, and boarded the correct train over to Euston. Once on the right train I ventured off for a cuppa and ended up with two cans of larger which I subsequently dropped and exploded everywhere, much to the amusement of the other passenger’s (Bloody brown paper bags). Many trains, taxis and tubes later we eventually arrived at Heathrow airport, and our nights’ accommodation. We decided to sample a couple of beers before venturing down the road for a curry in one of the local Indian restaurants. Sensibly we decided to call it a day as we had an early start the next day. The next morning we arrived nice and early at Heathrow Airport, were we met the other guests and the UK Swarovski team.
We passed through customs and into the departure lounge where there was Whisky tasting going on, I foolishly got myself involved, which soon became apparent to not be the best move at 8.30 am! We then met the other guests, who ranged from gun shop staff, specialist optic suppliers, to camera shop staff. They seemed a sociable bunch, so off we went and boarded the plane for Munich. Considering most plane journeys are a little boring this went quite well, with a little help from the free food and beverages supplied. We then had a two hour bus trip into the Tyrol region of Austria which passed relatively quickly, thanks to the stunning scenery, and general chitchat as we got to know each other. Once all the guests were booked in we settled down into our amazing alpine hotel. We soon rejoined in the bar for pre dinner drinks, before being privileged to an amazing meal and welcome speech from the UK Swarovski team followed of course by a few more drinks and chit chat.
Early the next morning after breakfast we had a short bus journey to the Swarovski HQ where a warm welcome greeted us. The day started with a couple of strong coffees and a small session in a class room learning and discussing manufacturing procedures and new products. This was shortly followed by a very informative breakdown of the family history and structure of the business. The SEO Carina Swarovski even popped in and shook every one of our hands and made a little speech. We were then split into two groups, one for the camera and bird watching industry and the other for the shooting industry. The Swarovski Manager for 'The rest of the world' then talked us shooters through the use of the Swarovski Z6i with ballistic turrets and how to use the Swarovski app which is available as a FREE download. Amazing app.
After a lovely lunch of mixed chicken, salad and bread, we had a factory tour of the different departments showing us the manufacturing techniques and assembly line, which unsurprsingly was all very impressive. The final item on the agenda was a shooting competition on the underground range obviously with a Swarovski scope on a .222 Sako, even the non shooters amongst us thoroughly enjoyed this. Back at the hotel we had a couple of hours before we were picked up, and taken the short journey to a wooden lodge where we watched traditional dancing whilst eating a delicious meal of Zander washed down with beer, wine and schnapps. A great night was had by all, and after more drinks back at the hotel, we all retired for a well earned sleep.
Another early start, and after breakfast we departed to Innsbruck where we had four hours browsing and shopping, for anyone who has never been it is a impressive and very picturesque city. After meeting up for lunch, we boarded the bus to head back to Munich to catch our flight. After landing at Heathrow and saying our goodbyes we endured the nightmare that is the London Underground in rush hour, but after a thoroughly marvellous trip I couldn't complain! I'd just like to thank the Swarovski for their hospitality and the UK Swarovski team for inviting us & our sponsorship.
Hunting Experiences Team