The view from the valley

Shoot Report – Lyme Valley Archers – April 2017

Lyme Valley - starting biref

Lyme Valley – starting biref

On a beautiful bright spring Sunday morning we loaded up the car for an hour or so drive up the motorway to Lyme Valley Archers NFAS shoot. This would be my first shoot since Spirit of Sherwood in December last year and to be honest I was more than a little nervous.

For those who are interested here is a link to a previous shoot report. Lyme Valley club always put on a challenging course, helped by their ground which is a steep sided wooded valley outside Stoke-on-Trent. Thankfully this year the weather was warm and dry being more like summer shoot conditions than spring, the grounds and paths can be a bit slippery in the wet conditions.

Joining us to form our shooting group would be Paul and Claire from Long Eaton Field Archers, both shooting unlimited (that’s a compound class with all the whistles and bells). They were great company throughout the day which helped make for a relaxing and enjoyable shoot.

The view from the valley

The view from the valley

Lyme valley is always a popular shoot and this day was no different with well over 130 archers attending. I thought it went quite smoothly for us anyway with no real delays or hold ups until the end of the day when I think everyone was feeling a bit tired. Though I know a couple of archers chose to leave at lunch as they were finding it very slow going. It was great to see Jim smiling and enjoying shooting a flatbow again.

Great shot by Sharon

Great shot by Sharon

The event has a lunch break from 12:30 to 1:15 which see all archers stop shooting and walking back to the entrance for lunch. Though this can be disruptive and I’m not a fan of lunch breaks, it is necessary at this clubs grounds due to the geography being such as catering is at one end of the wood and you only pass it once. We were very fortunate in being near catering when the lunch horn went off.

Long down hill shot

Long down hill shot

3D target in valley floor

3D target in valley floor

A couple of shots I think  worth mentioning were the downhill bedded antelope, along with our first target an uphill lion right at the end of the wood.

First shot of the day

First shot of the day, 3D cat between the trees.

The 36 target course was a mix of 3D and paper targets.

3D Dragon emerges from an egg

3D Dragon emerges from an egg

3d fish behind log

3D Fish behind log on the river bank

Speaking with a couple of Lyme Valley club members the course had been set by new coarse layers and I think they did a pretty good job. There were a number of challenging shots, offering up and downhill challenges for all, something that not many clubs can offer. Personally I think with a couple of small changes to the route or standing places for groups it might be even better and feeling less cramped between targets.

Jim chatting with Sharon before we start.

Jim chatting with Sharon before we start.

If you want to experience a different course with ups and downs then Lyme Valley is a good course to go for, just be aware it can be quite physically demanding to be going up and down the slopes. Though I think Sharon and I were feeling tired before starting, having spent the Saturday from walking round Derbyshire woods scouting shots for the 3D championships.

Sharon on the Last shot of the day

Sharon on the Last shot of the day

Despite feeling tired Sharon shot really well, winning ladies AFB. I even managed to scrape a third in gents AFB. Once again our thanks to Paul and Claire for their company and to all of Lyme Valley for their hard work. All contributing to a lovely day out shooting, made it good to be back.

Thanks for reading

Shoot report – Long Eaton Field Archers – May 2016

LEFA Practise area

LEFA Practise area

Despite the best efforts of the weather forecasters to predict poor weather for the Long Eaton shoot,  the British weather provided a  spring day which was mostly dry although not that warm.

The shooting group couldn’t have been better company, with fellow Severn Valley members JT, Paddy and Jim Kent aka Grizzly Jim joining Sharon and I.

LEFA marshals and shooting group

LEFA marshals and shooting group

The course was to be 36 targets, all 3d targets, with LEFA running it as a shoot through. Targets included the normal LEFA favourites of the bison and moving target, along with a couple of choose the target where you had a couple of 3d targets at slightly different angles and distances. This gave the archer the choice as to which to go for.
JT shooting our first target

JT shooting our first target

There were some nicely laid shoots, framed well between trees and using dead ground. It  was evident the course layers had worked hard on redesigning the course and it seemed to work well with few hold ups. You can read a previous shoot report here. Despite the easy flow, it was a tiring day as you were slipping and sliding in areas due to the mud, nowhere near as bad as Wolverine had been. I was very grateful that it didn’t rain as we would probably have joined that carpet of bluebells covering the forest floor.
View through the trees

View through the trees

Sadly my archery was not up to the mark and I don’t feel I did the course justice .
JT shooting

JT shooting

The lack of practice over the past few weeks showed as I struggled to hit anything. Amazing how a few weeks off shooting has such a negative effect for instinctive archers or at least it does for me.
Sharon shooting at LEFA

Sharon shooting at LEFA

Sharon shot well winning ladies AFB and congratulations to Jim on his placing.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Harlequin Bow Hunters – February 2016

Mark mustering the archers at the start of the day

Mark mustering the archers at the start of the day

So last weekend was a baptism of fire back into the field archery circuit with Paget de Vasey shoot on Saturday and Harlequin club shoot Sunday.
So with slightly aching shoulders we set off up the motorway to Harlequin’s grounds. You can read my previous shoot report here. (Just so you don’t get confused Harlequin changed the club name recently from Hay Smiths to Harlequin)
The course was a mix of 3d, 2d and paper faces set over sensible distances. In fact I would say it’s one of the best set courses I have shot for a long time.
We had great company on the shoot with Roger and Julie joining us shooting Hunting Tackle and Barebow respectively.
Sharon shooting at Harlequin

Sharon shooting at Harlequin

The club have a lovely piece of woodland offering some great opportunities to frame shots and use dead ground, including a cracking shot at a 2D lynx which was across a small pond that wasn’t even visible from the first peg. A great example of how to cleverly lay a target.
Action shot of Roger shooting the 2D Lynx

Action shot of Roger shooting the 2D Lynx

Due to recent heavy rain areas of the course were very muddy and waterlogged.
The shoot had a really good vibe with a relaxed atmosphere. Catering was run really well by the club especially as it was the first time they had done it.
Sharon shooting 3D goose between the trees

Sharon shooting 3D goose between the trees

It was also, like Paget, well marshaled, something that became apparent when the whistles blew and the shoot was stopped. An archer had slipped and injured her back and was helped off the course. The fact the marshals handled it so well was great to see and a credit to the club. It was also great to see that all archers also obeyed the rules and had stopped shooting.
Martin bear set between the trees

Martin bear paper face set between the trees

Great framed shot through the trees

Great framed shot through the trees

I think the only negative I could say was that the latter quarter slowed which I think was down to people misjudging targets and having to take second or third arrows. I know I took way too many second and third arrows.
Sharon taking a shot after lunch

Sharon taking a shot after lunch

I must say though it was good to shoot a challenging course, made challenging by clever course laying and not stretched targets. Nothing couldn’t be reached you just needed to take time to judge it carefully. In fact we started on, I think, the longest target – the 2d tiger.
First target at Harlequin the long 2D Tiger

First target at Harlequin the long 2D Tiger – sorry slightly out of focus

The small (read very small) bedded fawn caught a few out as it had been set in such a way that you thought it was the large one.
Congratulations to Sharon on her first in Ladies American Flatbow with a score that would have got her placed second in the Gents class. Congrats to Jim Kent on his placing and JT on getting his personal best.
It is a shoot like Hawk that we will do our best to get to in future as I think it is one of the best on the circuit.
As for me I need to practice more and to build up the strength in the shoulders to cope with two days of shooting. P.S, Mark if you are reading this sorry for not hearing the comment about targets, I was distracted by some fellow SVYF archers talking to me.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Long Eaton Field Archers – October 2015

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

Long Eaton making announcements at the start

The early mist of the October morning soon gave way to a bright sunny day, giving dappled sunlight on many of the 3d targets at Long Eatons ground. If you are interested you can read an earlier shoot report here, along with a listing of all shoot reports being available on where the Arrow lands page.
The course this time would be 36 targets all 3D, including predator prey and a moving target.

First target

First target

Sharon and I were joined by two Paget de Vasey archers Craig and Breanna Smith, both shooting hunting tackle. As we shot round I discovered Rianna follows the Off the Arrow shelf tumblr blog. Small world this archery community is.

Long deer target in the sun light

Long deer target in the sun light

The early morning low sun made shooting the big 3d Bison very difficult with the sun directly behind the target. There was quite a bit of discussion as to the distance and I think it was around 68 yards. I managed a very lucky lower leg hit with my first arrow, far more luck than skill.

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Long bison in the sun seen from the red peg

Unlike previous times we had shot LEFA , they organsied the day as a shoot through, rather than everyone stopping for a hour for lunch. I think this worked well and we flowed round the course easily all day. In fact, I don’t think we saw the group in front or behind most of the day. The result of this was, at times we thought we were the only ones in the woodland. This made for quite a relaxing shoot, surprising when you think there were over 120 archers present.

Lion on the log

Lion on the log

I think LEFA must have bought a job lot of small 3d targets as there were a number of them, including a flock of magpies and small birds. Whilst there were many well laid shots, there was one target I think could have been improved. This was a small 3d hedgehog. The shooting pegs were situated in a hole and you were just over eye line to the ground, if like me you are 5ft 8 inches. The issue was you had to shoot over a low log. Anyone 5ft 4 or shorter struggled especially if they were shooting flat trajectory bows like a compound.

I’m not a huge fan of small 3d targets as I’m not convinced they are worth the money. The other thing I have found is if the 3d is soft then it gets shot out quickly, if its hard then due to the small size and shape they tend to result in glance offs if not hit straight on. This might be a personal thing, but if I was putting out a small target I’m more likely to use a paper face.

LEFA set some excellent shots like the large stag in the woods, along with the puma on the horizontal log.

Long 3D stag in the woods

Long 3D stag in the woods

Turkey shoot through an avenue to trees.

3D turkey

3D turkey

One highly unusual target was the running deer, which from a distance looked like it was flying.

The flying deer

The flying deer

There were also a few targets set at an angle making it harder to judge and hit.

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot from the red peg

Predator / Prey shot up close

Predator / Prey shot up close

It was good to meet up with Steven Tomkins, who I’d been chatting with online about Prokill24 all weather targets. I’d seen the targets at the national championships and there had been some posts on the various forums about them. Steven took the time to have a chat about their design and production. I hope to do a write up on there target faces in the next few months after I’ve tested them out, so watch this space.

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

Example of the Prokill target face on the practice bosses

I didn’t shoot well largely due to my shoulder playing up following a couple of hours of heavy gardening on Saturday using the petrol engined strimmer. Should have known better, really. Sharon was successful in winning not only the ladies Hunting Tackle but also the ladies handicap trophy. Congrats to Rianna also who was placed in Hunting Tackle.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Long Eaton Field Archers – May 2015

Long Eaton

Long Eaton 2015

The standard joke about the British sense of humour is we always talk about the weather. In many ways this is true and I think the reason for this is it’s so changeable. Weather forecasts at the start of the week had promised heavy rain over the bank holiday Sunday and even up to Friday and Saturday it was forecasting rain. In reality we had a beautiful sunny spring day making me wish I had chosen lighter, cooler apparel but it make make for lovely shooting weather. Having said this the drive up the motorway was unpleasant with lots of standing water and some chaotic drivers pushing their luck and speed limits.  Anyway on to the shoot report.
We hadn’t been to Long Eaton Field Archers  (LEFA) for a year and were looking forward to catching up with some old faces.  It was great to see David chair of LEFA , Adrian from black arrow and others just a shame we did get to chat longer. Was also good to catch up with JT and the media legend that is Jim Grizzly Kent. Here are some links to  previous LEFA shoot reports May 2014, 2013
Due to the forecasts Long Eaton had quite a few no shows and this delayed the start of the event by a few minutes along with the extensive pre shoot briefing and peg changes due to the no shows. As it was there were over 130 archers present.
Like many clubs LEFA have seen part of their woodland felled and this has changed the look and feel of the grounds dramatically which I think has improved it. The new layout enables fresh shots and new possibilities. The only thing I would say is they need to be aware of tree canopy as on a couple of shots the trees made it difficult for low poundage bows but this is easily resolved with a little pruning or change of peg position. Something I am sure they will sort for next time.
The fine weather did mean I was able to take a few photos.
Cliff Shooting

Cliff Shooting

Our shooting group would be Cliff and Nadeem shooting longbow and hunting tackle respectively.
It was to be a 36 target course of 3d targets of all shapes and sizes from bison to small pheasants.
Cliff nicknamed the shoot the Noahs ark shoot due to the number of targets where you had to nominate which 3d target to go for. This was an interesting dynamic as it meant you have to consider which is easier or more suitable for you to shoot.

3D target behind tree stump

3D target behind tree stump

Talking of the 3d Bison it was set well in the open at about 65 yards.

Bison 3D target

Bison 3D target

They had two predator and prey shots and a moving target. Personally I think one predator prey shot is enough and if you do put it in then have second arrow scoring for prey so a maximum of 14 if you hit the prey. Otherwise it inflates the scores if you get two good kills as it is a possible 48 points on one target peg.
The shoot was a bit slow at times with us catching up the group in front but I think this was inevitable as it was a challenging course and I went to second and third arrows  more than a few times as did others. I think I had the luckiest shot of the group on a 3D with my arrow some how just holding in the target.

Lucky shot

Lucky shot

LEFA changed the format from past shoots, to a shoot through rather than lunch break which worked much better as it allowed us to time our breaks so groups in front could have more time.
Also it was nice to sit and chill out in the sun. Catering was as good as remembered with a selection of cakes to make Mr Kipping happy and hot food in form of baked potatoes, burgers etc.
I think overall the course layers did a good job with well placed targets and good use of ground.
The standing bear which you shot from a hollow worked well.

3D standing Bear

3D standing Bear

There was a lovely set 3d stag in the trees which looked so natural.

3D stag

3D stag

Really special thanks to Nadeem and Cliff who were really supportive and fabulous company to shoot round with. Some readers may know I am struggling to get my head in to shooting the flatbow at present and at one stage nearly stopped on Sunday but their support and friendly banter got me sorted. Thank guys and belated happy birthday Nadeem.

Full results for the shoot are available on LEFA website and here’s a link if you are interested.
Sharon came away with first in ladies hunting tackle and despite starting badly I managed to scrape away fourth place in afb I think through luck rather than skill. Congratulations to Nadeem on his second place too obviously the force is strong in you.
Thanks for reading.