The Elcho is the oldest long range rifle contest in the world and it is also one of the oldest international sporting competitions. Scotland challenged England to the inaugural match in 1861 with the match taking place in 1862. England won this match although they could not be awarded the Shield which had not been completed in time.

The Elcho Shield
The Elcho Shield

A few years later in 1865, Ireland competited for the first time in the Elcho. But it was not until 1991 when Wales first competed. There has been a match each year since 1862 except for during both World Wars and during 2020 due to the Cornavirus pandemic.

The 1861 rules dictated that each of the successful champions would receive a small prize paid for by the losing side. The appropriate choice of this prize was individual miniature Elcho Shields. To this day, these are awarded, although now there are gold, silver and bronze miniature shields.

Currently England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland shoot for the The Elcho Shield during the NRA Imperial Meeting. Each team provides eight firers along with two reserves as well as coaches and team management. Quite uniquely in long range shooting, there are no sighters. Therefore, any mistakes in the first shot either through user error, rifle malfunction or a mis-judgement of the wind can be very costly. As The Elcho is usually a very close affair, these mistakes have decided the outcome of the match.

Please see a more indepth History of the The Elcho Shield and its design written by Rosemary Meldrum.