Shoot Report – Lyme Valley – August 2016

Lyme Valley shoot - August 2016

Lyme Valley shoot – August 2016

So a few Sunday’s back saw us headed north up the motorway to revisit Lyme Valley shooting grounds. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that this is one of Sharon’s favourite club grounds and if you are interested you can read a previous shoot report here.
The weather was kind being both dry and warm, making for good conditions under foot; an important factor to remember as Lyme Valley course is along either side of a steep valley and it can be very, very slippery conditions if wet.
The course would be 36 targets, two being paper faces and the remaining being 3ds. One weird announcement at the start was for those shooting bare bow. They were told they MUST remove the screws on their bows that are for holding clickers. Why? Because they could be used as a sighting aid which is not permitted in that class. This resulted in a flurry of activity as people tried to find suitable hex keys or screw drivers which would release the screws.
Starting on peg 7 there would be three others joining us Terry who we had shot with previously at South Cheshire and a couple from Centaura Elaine and Stan.

First target of the day - Lyme Valley shoot

First target of the day – 3d Fish across stream Lyme Valley shoot

Our first target would be a 3D fish across the stream which flows at the base of the valley and a shot that Lyme Valley have used a few times but still works well and looks good. Though maybe they could disguise a backing boss so any arrows that miss don’t run the risk of breaking when embedding themselves in the stony river bank.

Down hill 3D crocodile on the river bank

Down hill 3D crocodile on the river bank

By the fourth target we’d caught the group in front at a small 3d rabbit under a fallen tree with the next shot being a small 3d deer across the stream. This would be the norm for the day. In hindsight it might have been better to space these two shots out a bit more as it was a bit crowded.

Sorry bit out of focus - first target after lunch small down hill 3D

Sorry bit out of focus – first target after lunch small down hill 3D

Lyme operates a lunch break from 12:30 – 1:15 and as luck would have it we were at one of the further points on the course when the lunch horn sounded.
Following the lunch break we would return to a long downhill 3d capercaillie. Sadly Stan had to retire at this point due to his arrow rest breaking and he was not able to replace it.
Overall the day didn’t flow well with a number of hold ups on targets while we awaited our turn to shoot. From what I understand I think this might have been due to a number of reasons, some being associated with the course and others with archers.

3D bear - the tree branch forces you to change stance

3D bear – the tree branch forces you to change stance

As a course it didn’t feel it knitted together as other courses have at Lyme Valley. Don’t get me wrong there were some nicely laid shots such as the 3d bedded elk, which i wish I’d got a better picture of. Unfortunately that same shoot saw us waiting over 30 minutes to shoot it. Coping with that long a break and keeping concentration and focus can be very difficult.
There were a couple of sections of the course where the shooting pegs for two targets were very close leaving little space for the two groups to stand. I’ve mentioned the 3d rabbit and 3d deer already. This made people feel a bit uncomfortable as they tried to find somewhere to stand without being in sight of the archer shooting.

Up hill 3D standing bear

Up hill 3D standing bear

I don’t feel the delays can be all attributed to the course though as by some reports there were a few slower groups who let’s say took their time to shoot and retrieve arrows, enjoying a bit of a prolonged chat in the process.
I have little doubt that Lyme Valley course layers will take this on board for future shoots.
Despite the delays Sharon shot well with her winning Ladies AFB. I had far too many second and third arrows. I think I coped better on this course and shoot psychology speaking than on past shoots when dealing with the delays and my poor shooting. When I go to a second or third arrow I tend to let it affect me for the next few shots. That day I tried to focus on just the basics of form and breathing, reminding myself I can do this hobby of ours. Maybe it’s slowly sinking into this thick Welsh skull of mine. Stranger things have happened, I think.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – Harlequin Archers – July 2016

Ken Adams - birthday boy

Ken Adams – birthday boy

We are nearly at the end of August and I’m only just getting to finish this shoot report from July.  Where does the time go?
Anyway onto this long awaited shoot report. The last day of July saw us head up to the Leicestershire / Derbyshire borders for the Harlequin Archers shoot and unlike other summer days in July,  it was dry and even sunny at times.
As I write this, yes I tend to write these reports up in note form before typing them up, so yes you can call me old fashioned and explains why they sometimes take so long. I remembered that I promised a shoot report for Harlequin Archers previous shoot but never published it. I know one keen follower picked up on this and asked why only recently. Apologies for this, I did start writing it but it didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped so it never got past the draft stage. So I’m going to combine some of my thoughts on that shoot with this report.

Before I start on the shoot report I’d like to wish a very belated happy birthday to a great man, who was celebrating his 70th that Sunday. Happy birthday Ken Adams of Spirit of Sherwood fame,  may you have many more archery filled days.

 Anyway on to the shoot report.
As we pulled up to park, one of the marshals tapped on the car window asking “is that Rob?” To my shock and delight it was an old university and house mate from over 20 years ago! Stuart had recently taken up field archery with his son, having joined Harlequin club only a few months ago. We’d lost touch some 15 years ago as so often you do. Guess it really is a small world.
Our shooting group for the day would be Roger and Julie from Long Eaton both shooting barebow. This is becoming somewhat of a regular thing at Harlequins (not a complaint).
Clever use of foliage on 2D bear

Clever use of foliage on 2D bear

The course was a shoot through with two food stops, one either end of the woodland, with both serving hot and cold food and drinks. I can testify to the quality of the lemon drizzle cake which was lovely and yes I had a couple of pieces to check the quality. Having the two feeding stations was a very good idea for Harlequin as it gives the archers chance to grab a drink and relax. It also means the club doesn’t have to route all the course round one central point which could limit the ground used. Something that can be very hard for some clubs whose woodland doesn’t allow for multiple easy routes to and from one central location.
Harlequins ground is pretty flat consisting of broad leaf woodland  with an area of dense scrub and rhododendron bushes.
Sharon photographing me on the peg before missing a 3D bedded deer.

Sharon photographing me on the peg before missing a 3D bedded deer.

Harlequin have purchased some new 2d targets of various sizes including a gorilla, tiger, huge moose, kangaroo (yes you read that right a kangaroo), bear on all fours and standing bear. Of them all I think the tiger looked the best as you could see distinguishing features clearly something that wasn’t possible on some of the others.
Tiger 2D

Tiger 2D

In fairness to the suppliers I thought the silver back gorilla artwork was amazing up close making it probably my favourite.
The one down side of these new targets was the degree of effort required to draw arrows, as it normally required two of us to extract them. I witnessed several of the compound archers struggle extracting their arrows. Guess the upside is the targets are likely to last well and some have replaceable inserts for the kill or higher scoring zones.
Julie shooting 2D bear

Julie shooting 2D bear

One shot I thought was really good was an owl 3D. This was positioned in the V of a tree branch and shot through a gap in bracken over a small mound. It worked because of the framing of the owl through the undergrowth, proving you don’t need distance to make a technical shot.
3D owl in the tree through the bracken

3D owl in the tree through the bracken

There were some familiar shots too which had been used in the previous shoot. These, I thought worked well as the extra summer growth and leaf cover made them again nicely framed. The white goat shot returned which I think was one of the cleverest shots from their previous shoot and was again a challenge as it is set in such a way as to give an optical illusion thanks to the supporting trees making the distance hard to judge. I don’t want to give too much away as I think its a very clever shot.
Paper face turkey across marsh

Paper face turkey across marsh

I found this course a marked difference to the previous shoot they hosted which I attended but never finished the shoot report for.  The most recent course was I feel a better course with a better mix of targets and distances. The previous course had used a new areas of the woodland and I felt it was a lot tougher course, with what felt like several long shots  (around 40 yards or more). My personal feeling was there were a few targets at the limit of what I feel is appropriate distance for the size of target. I wouldn’t use the phrase stretched as I don’t think this would be fair or entirely accurate. I also felt this latest course felt like it flowed better and more rounded or balanced overall. Though it flowed well as a course progress on the day was quite slow initially, I think the organisers didn’t quite get the balance of groups quite right, as  in front of us there was a group of 6 people and then 5, while behind us there were groups of 3 or 4. The balancing of a group list is very hard though and when we along with others raised the delays with a couple of marshals they did their best to improve the situation by tweaking the groups (possible because they had left free pegs and there was nothing to be brought in). Some of the free pegs may have been due to the lower number of attendees at this shoot.
Sharon on the peg

Sharon on the peg

Overall it was a good day, with Sharon shooting well and winning ladies AFB. I believe it is worth noting that a few archers have commented that they had been put off shooting at Harlequins ground having shot their previous shoot and not enjoying it for one reason or another. I would suggest to them that based on the latest course I think they are worth a visit.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot Report – Liberty Archers – July 2014

Liberty woodland

Liberty Archers woodland

This was the first time we had made it to Liberty Archers shoot. This made us Liberty newbies and  we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, as the stories of robo deer had spread along with the tall tales of huge steaks and wild turkey (the drink not the bird).
Add to this was that the shoot was to be themed winter wonderland which was kind of ironic, since it was probably the warmest weekend of the year so far with temperatures hovering round the low 30 degrees centigrade. This would also be my first real test of shooting with a glove rather than a tab of for any real duration.
We arrived Friday afternoon following a three hour drive, some times crawl along motorways. Many archers had arrived  a day or so before including a couple of members of the SVF club who had been kind enough to take our tent along with others tents to pitch, this meant we were all located together.
So after unpacking the last of the camping gear and a quick run to local takeaway we settled down for a couple of drinks and an early night. Friday night / Saturday morning saw a huge thunder storm overhead with a very impressive light show, visible even through the tent and tree canopy. It left us wondering if a travel lodge  might have been a better plan, if this was to be a taste of the weekend weather.  Fortunately the rain didn’t last and we were left with a dry warm read very warm day come morning.

Saturday

The course on both days would comprise 42 targets, more than the normal 40 targets, the extra couple had been added so as not to disappoint those archers on the waiting list. These targets were all 3Ds ranging from small raccoon to huge moose and elk. I don’t think there were any stretched shots with a few lovely set natural looking shots.

An abandoned 3D target reclaimed by nature

An abandoned 3D target reclaimed by nature

The ground is flat, very flat but then again it is next to an airbase (Lakenheath). In fact the grounds are part of the air force base with you camping a stones throw from the runway overshoot. (If you had arrived a day or two earlier you could go plane spotting which I think some people did). Thankfully it’s very sandy ground so the heavy rainfall of Friday night quickly drained away. The downside of this is your arrows burrow themselves into the earth, so searching for any misses can take time. If you aren’t a fan of bugs then be warned there are a few as we discovered when packing the tent up on Sunday.

Sharon shooting on Saturday

Sharon shooting on Saturday

Unlike other shoots this had a really relaxed almost party atmosphere, with the organisers working hard to keep everyone happy. Most noticeable from the shooting perspective was the work they put in to finding lost arrows with marshals having metal detector near permanently attached to their arms. Thanks guys for all that work in that heat it is really appreciated by all.

Saturday - view of the group

Saturday – view of the group

Our shooting group would comprise six of us Theresa, Ben and their two grandchildren  Conrad, Charlie joined Sharon and I. So one flatbow two barebow and three hunting tackle; beginning to sound like Christmas Carol lyrics.

Most groups had between 5-6 archers but it didn’t seem to cause any real delays in our progress round the course. I think the biggest issue was the heat on Saturday, which at times was very uncomfortable. Part of the woodland runs alongside the main road and there we a couple of shots where you could see the traffic in the background which was a bit off putting, maybe some nets would have been a good idea.
By the end of the day we were all tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening.

Saturday Night entertainment

Saturday night was party time and Liberty put on a great show complete with Christmas lights, music, father Christmas a sleigh and of course it was drawn by reindeer. Though saying that the deer were lacking target zones as they were made of polystyrene.  Did I mention the wild turkey, there always appeared to be a bottle being passed round. The theme encouraged lots of archers to enter the spirit of things and to go in fancy dress, with Sharon having made an ice queen costume.

Sharon in her costume

Sharon in her costume, yes that is a blonde wig

The organisers arranged Saturday night as a steak night too, so there was plenty of food to help soak up the alcohol which was flowing. You can see a brief YouTube video of the evening celebrations here.

Sunday

Sunday morning dawned with bright and clear skies, though maybe not so many clear heads. I’m guessing there were a few sore heads as the camp was a lot quieter first thing with less activity early on.

Sunday would see the same shooting group except for Ben whose s health didn’t enable him to join us. Think he may have overdone it  a bit in the heat of Saturday.
Me preparing to shoot on Sunday

Me preparing to shoot on Sunday

Sundays course was similar to Saturdays with the organisers changing a few of the 3ds and peg positions so you wouldn’t be shooting exactly the same course. The nice thing was there were a few very nicely framed shots between trees, that proved quite decepetive.

Sharon shooting on Sunday

Sharon shooting on Sunday

I also think I got the luckiest shot of the weekend on a 3D boar (glad it was modeled on a male boar).
Lucky shot on boar

Lucky shot on boar

Fortunately Sunday wasn’t as hot as the previous day and there seemed a few less people, so the day flowed well. By the end of the day I was a little happier with using the glove, though there’s still a long way to go before I’m completely comfortable.

Novelty shots  Robo Deer

Robo deer is a somewhat famous or is that infamous target which Liberty is renowned for. Made up of 6mm steel plate cut to the shape of a deer (hence the name) with a 5 inch circle hole to represent the kill area.
It’s a one arrow target with the option of shooting a different target but with a lower score. With it being about 18-20 yards downhill its not the hardest. All yYou have to decide what to go for.

Robo Deer from the peg

Robo Deer from the peg

So you can run the risk of going for the deer and possibility of breaking the arrow if you missed the soft spot. If you hit the metal you get 16 points if you hit the soft spot its 20 points.
By the end of the weekend, the top of the boss saw a collection of broken arrows where people had gone for it but failed and had broken their arrows.

Robo Deer up close

Robo Deer up close

When we got to robo deer on the first day I’d just had an arrow flick off a target and develop a slight bend. Not wanting to use a good arrow I thought Id give this one a go and lo and behold it sailed perfectly into the soft spot.  Sadly this was not repeated on the second day with my arrow clipping the metal and exploding in a shower of splinters and fletchings.

Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend and far more sociable than we were expecting helped by the light hearted party on Saturday night and laid back feel. It was great to see so many SVYF club members out at a shoot too, with many camping.
The club did quite well too, with  Chris and Keith Harley, Debbie, John, Jason and Colin all placing. As for us, Sharon won ladies Hunting Tackle despite not being happy with how she shot on Sunday. Amazingly on Sunday I shot far better than expected, resulting in winning Gents Hunting tackle. Guess I’m getting used to using a glove after all.
As always thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Lyme valley – May 2014

Lyme Valley May 2014 practice area

Lyme Valley May 2014 practice area

It was an early start again on Sunday with a drive up to just outside Stoke-on-Trent to Lyme Valley club for their only shoot of 2014. Normally they run a couple a year and if you want to read a previous review look here.
As the name implies the course is in a valley and with the rain they had in the preceding days and  on the day of the shoot would prove to make it a very muddy walk read sliding course and yes it was very very slippery.
The course was made up of a mix of 3d and paper faces.  36 targets in all with I think only a half dozen faces, it gave a good warm up for the 3d Championships which is just round the corner.
Speaking to the organisers they said they had about 50 archers who cancelled prior to the event or were no shows on the day, this resulted in about 130 archers attended the shoot. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to get soaked but it was a shame as it was a good course with well set targets and good use of ground. As it turned out, the weather was not as bad as forecast but it was wet for much of the afternoon.
Lyme Valley May 2014

Lyme Valley May 2014

The shot above looks flat but in reality you shoot it from down the slope so were shooting across the ground. Good use of ground.

Lyme Valley May 2014

Across the valley

You can just make out the standing bear on the other side of the valley. You shot this from the river bed uphill.

downhill turkey Lyme Valley May 2014

downhill turkey Lyme Valley May 2014

I’m really glad we took the water proof trousers and yes I remembered the waterproof jacket this time too. Might do an equipment review on the waterproof trousers as they are a good buy.
Lyme valley have a break at lunch time from 12:30 -1:15 and as luck would have it we were at the furthest target when the lunch horn signalled to stop. This made for a long walk back made longer due to me being slow having fallen earlier. More details later.
It’s never easy putting on a shoot, especially on a hill side with steps being eroded either by water in wet weather or animal activities. I really feel for these guys as I know at Black Arrow we struggled to keep all the steps and paths going and it was half the size of Lyme Valley. With a course and ground like Lyme Valley its especially difficult with the fine silty mud clay soil. Maybe on a few shots they could have cleared or levelled it a bit to make it easier but in fairness I saw more than a few marshals spade in hand working on cutting fresh steps and clearing paths themselves covered in mud.  Thanks guys your work was noticed and appreciated.
With the grounds Lyme Valley have they made good use of up and downhill shots but also some nice flat shots including one along the stream and for the first time to my recollection there was a shot in the field, nicely set using the gentle slope.
It was a long day and with people struggling along the paths and steps. The drive home was via accident and emergency query broken wrist. I had taken a fall on the 10th target when retrieving arrows.  Landing heavily on my right leg and quiver resulting in a very sore leg and developing a bruise but I had put my hand out to stop my fall and bent my wrist back. This didn’t hurt much until about half way round but by the end I was finding it uncomfortable on the release. Fortunately it it appears to be a bad sprain but doctor has said to monitor it.
Sharon shot really well, with me chasing her score all day. which saw her coming first in ladies and beating the mens scores too. Not only that but she matched her best bare-bow score too. Well done. Well done to all the other Severn Valley members who also were placed.
Thank for reading and for the meet up with readers of this blog. Nice to put a face to a reader of the site.

Club meeting and photo shoot

Severn Valley Team photo

Severn Valley Team photo

Last week saw our clubs annual general meeting where the organising committee feedbacks to members and members have an opportunity to pose questions and raise concerns, elections taking place etc. If you are a member of all club I think it is important to attend these meetings to hear the discussions.

It also gives you the opportunity to raise questions and understand the work that goes on behind the scene.

Like last year the event was well attended with over 60 club members making the effort to attend.

The meeting also provided the opportunity for a photo session. As some readers will know at last year’s NFAS national championships the Severn Valley Yeoman Foresters club won a few trophies and this meeting provided the perfect opportunity for team members group photo.

So below is the bare bow team photo.

Bare Bow Team

Bare Bow Team

The other photo is of the 3 team trophies, the instinctive, bare bow and longbow with corresponding team members. Well done to all involved.

Thanks for reading.