Caberslash Recommends: Custom Leatherwork by C A Gammack of Aberlour

Leica Amplus 6
My experience with this maker begins with a helpful recommendation from Freeforester of this board.

I was looking for someone to make a telescope case for a fine Ross of London stalking telescope that I had acquired, as out of the several telescopes that have gone through my hands, this was the very best of all and deserved a proper case. I had made several inquiries but most leather-workers had never seen a telescope case, let alone made one.

Thankfully, FF shared a photo of his own handmade case on my Ross of London telescope thread.

From here I was directed towards Lynn of C A Gammack, a phone call was made and I was pleased to hear that she had made quite a few, although she 'had not been asked to make one for a while now...'

Through my travels I was eventually able to visit their shop in the town of Aberlour, in Moray. Named after a tributary of the Spey, where a distillery is also conveniently located. Infact, the main route into the town runs along the Malt Whisky trail so you will pass many a distillery when coming off the A9. Having sampled a few of these, I would not bother with stopping, as my taste in Scotch whisky rules out everything south of Ross-shire.

Anyway! If you do plan on visiting it is worth the drive; Aberlour is probably one of the most idyllic towns in Scotland. The main street runs parallel to the Spey and is also home to Walkers Shortbread, which also offers factory rejects at knock-down prices, sometimes tasting better than the store bought stuff! Lots to see and do, but my interest lay in a little hardware shop with an unassuming storefront. They have a good chinese as well!

The shop itself is full of any hardware related thing that you might need, they also offer handmade walking sticks, antler keychains and many other interesting little things. But the real treasure lies in the workshop behind, a proverbial Aladdin's cave of leather and bridle-work. As soon as I showed Lynn my telescope, I knew that she knew her stuff. She is no-nonsense and gets straight to the point, but is exceptionally accommodating and great at giving progress updates.Designs and specifications were discussed and I agreed on a deposit. I went for a traditional design and asked for it to be overbuilt with extra thick leather that will last a lifetime at least.

About a month later, it was ready.


I picked it up and was very happy with everything, but I wanted to make it totally rigid so I waxed the inner leather sleeve and inserted a thick PVC drainpipe that would give the scope a tight fit to the case. I haven't shown Lynn this modification as I fear I would get a telling off!:p

I feel that the price was right for the materials used and the time taken by Lynn to make the case for me. Come to think of it, I probably got a good deal considering that very few people would be willing to take on this sort of work (a good saddle maker quoted me £1000! I paid around a third of that.)

While I was there I saw a gamebag and cartridge belt hanging on the wall. This got me thinking as I needed another piece of equipment that is essential for Highland stalking, the rifleslip.

I wanted a slip made to my own specifications, as I have had the displeasure of carrying a rifle over long distances and bad weather in a Croots gunslip. Most slips are not made for the hill, the materials don't do well in wet weather, fleece lining soaks up rain and mist, making them a pain to dry. Furthermore, the fabric used tends to cause the rifle to jam in the slip and make it difficult to extract. Some add a full length zip to rectify these issues, but that creates another problem! Adding to the fact is that the shoulder strap is not positioned in the right place and in high winds you can get thrown about as the slip acts like a sail. I have also seen a few slips where the shoulder strap attachment broke, not a good thing to happen on the hill.

Having confidence in her work, I was quick to ask if she would be willing to me make one. I was asked to bring my rifles over to the shop so she could take measurements and get the dimensions right. I gladly did so and we agreed on a design that would be able to accommodate my rimfire, stalking rifle and varmiting/plinking setup. I was shown examples of previous ones made by her, and they were in a real, printed photo album! What a rarity these days.

All of them have moderators and reasonably sized scopes, and I would be using bipods on some of them. I also specified that the shoulder strap should be in the centre, and the rifles should be carried with the bolt facing away from the back and muzzle down. I also specified that a flap to secure the rifle and stop it flopping about when tucked over the stock should be generous enough to accommodate the different lengths (all have barrels of 20" or less, but stocks differ quite a lot.)

This was at a busy time of year and I was in no particular rush for it. Lynn warned that it would take some time as she does not like to rush something out the door and get it wrong, leaving both parties unhappy. A couple of weeks ago I was informed that it was ready and would be posted to me, having received it and carried rifles in it I can say that once again Lynn has made a heirloom piece.



Simple, lightweight (this really matters!) and effective. All for the price that you would pay for a regular Croots rifleslip.

All in all, I can't recommend Lynn highly enough if you need something made properly and to your specs with good materials. I am already saving up to get a gamebag and cartridge belt, hoping she does not decide to retire before I have the money!

If you are in the area or planning a trip it is well worth the effort to go there. Just a stones throw away from Moray Outfitting as well!
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