EXPERTS are predicting this year's grouse season will be excellent after good breeding conditions over the spring and early summer.

The season does not begin until next month on 'the Glorious 12th' but Robert Rattray, partner at CKD Galbraith and head of the firm's Sporting Lets agency, said he was optimistic.

He said: "We had an interesting winter; the high grouse moors experienced more traditional winter weather with good snow falls, indeed Glenshee had an excellent ski season, while lower ground moors had much milder and frost free conditions.

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"Historically our better grouse years have followed a hard winter. Across Scotland, the mild spring and good weather in May and June should have provided ideal breeding conditions."

Sportsmen and sportswomen can expect to pay around £150 plus VAT per brace for driven grouse and £100 plus VAT per brace for walked up grouse.