Metal, collapsible highseats from Keith's Highseats - designed by a stalker
PUBLISHED: 10:36 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:36 01 December 2016
Rifle Shooter talks to Keith Watson who designs and makes the most comfortable highseats we've sat in - they're durable, collapsible, and come with top notch customer service
A high seat’s a high seat, right? Wrong. If your high seat is not comfortable, you won’t be able to sit as still for as long. If the design is wrong, it will make taking a safe, killing shot more difficult.
In fact, when Keith Watson first started buying seats 15 or so years ago, he thought that pretty much everything about them needed changing.
“At the time I needed a lot of seats for the estate I was stalking on, and to buy that many seats was going to cost a fortune. Plus, I felt that most of them were all wrong. They were too heavy, too bulky, hard to transport… The rifle rest was too low or too close to you, the foot position was either too high or too low. I wanted to make a seat that was just right for me.”
So with his metalworking skills, that is exactly what he did. Keith designed and, over the years, evolved the design of his own perfect high seat and discovered that other people wanted them too; a business was born.
Another seminal moment came a decade ago when he finished the lease on one of his estates and had to move all the seats on the ground – 14 of them. “It took three pickup trucks, two trailers and a quad bike and it was a nightmare. I then came up with the design for the Mk3 version of my seat, which is completely collapsible. It is still the design I use today.”
The Mk3 dismantles into nine pieces, can be assembled in under 10 minutes and fits in any vehicle except a Smart car, according to Keith. He has fitted 11 Mk3s in the back of his Hilux, which allows you to set up a whole estate with seats on your own in a matter of hours, as well as facilitating much cheaper and easier delivery to clients.
Those clients range from the Forestry Commission to the Woodland Trust to individual stalkers wanting just one, single seat. And they all get the same level of treatment. “The fact that people deal with the guy who designed and built the seat, rather than a salesman, has advantages. And although I offer no guarantee or warranty, I always tell customers that if one of my seats breaks or fails when being used as intended, I’ll give them another one. I have never had one returned.
“I look at it always from the stalker’s point of view. I want it to be comfortable for a long period so the foot pegs have to be spot on. The bar has to allow ease of shooting and I like a flat timber seat (tanalised redwood) that allows me to sit in the middle, even on a two-man seat, and gives me options to shoot in various directions.
“All the parts are interchangeable on the seats and all the bolt heads are designed to face out so you won’t scratch your gun on any sharp bits. All of my seats are still going strong – and the oldest are 16 years old now. They are designed and made in Britain to be practical, strong and easy to use. And I try to be as fair as possible on the pricing.”
Single lean-to seats start from £170, with free-standing versions of all lean-to models available at an extra £125. There is even a very clever 360-degree version and a compact, lightweight single-man portable version currently under development.
For more information on these seats, as well as Keith’s other brilliant stalking equipment, visit his website: www.keithshighseats.co.uk or call 01922 722988.
Keith’s other products include the Carcass Preparation unit, the Quad Multimate, and the Carcass Extraction Barrow