The start to the Scottish grouse shooting season yesterday sparked a race to put the birds on to Scottish restaurant tables.

Among the first making their way on to menus were hundreds of birds from the morning shoot at Roxburgh Estates in the Scottish Borders, which were loaded and transported at breakneck speed up the A1 to Edinburgh.

Time was of the essence, as the grouse had to be delivered to The Pompadour by Galvin restaurant at the Waldorf Caledonian hotel by supplier Braehead Foods in Kilmarnock in time for the evening menu.

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Head chef Craig Sandle and his team had only hours to pluck and prepare the birds, which were roasted and served with pommes fondant, creamed Savoy cabbage and bread sauce as part of the £58 three-course a la carte menu, and from today grouse will also be on the Brasserie de Luxe menu alongside game chips.

The Glorious 12th marks the first day of the world-famous Scottish shooting season, which lasts until January. Mild weather earlier in the year is thought to have been the ideal preparation for a bumper season. Recent research shows that country sports enthusiasts spend £155 million in Scotland each year.

Craig Sandle said: "This is a great day to be a chef in Scotland as we welcome the first grouse of the season to our menus. The heritage and tradition associated with the Glorious 12th is one we're proud to be connected to."

A group in traditional tweed dress were among the first to set out on the shooting season in Scotland near Forest Lodge, Blair Atholl, Perthshire.

Moorland managers hope the season can add to the series of world-class events being held in Scotland this year and deliver a further environmental and economic boost.

Tim Baynes, director of the Scottish Moorland Group, said: "As Scotland's tourism minister recognised recently, Scotland has a global reputation for country sports which occupy an important position within the wider tourism industry.

"Apart from the tremendous economic benefit it is also important to underline the very substantial environmental contribution delivered by high-quality moorland management.

"Grouse moors typically have five times as many golden plover and lapwing and about twice as many curlews as other moors operating without that management regime."