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

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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 – Lyme Valley Archers – August 2015

Lyme Valley Archers field

Lyme Valley Archers field

I’ve been falling behind on writing these shoot reports over the last few weeks so I’m going to try and catch up now starting with Lyme Valley Archers shoot.
Last Sunday we headed north to Lyme Valley shoot grounds outside Stoke on Trent. Due to the extensive road works on the motorway and the 50 mph speed limit  we seemed to take ages to get there arriving to find the field already full of archers’ cars. A clear sign of the shoots popularity. Here is a link to their past shoots.
The good news was that the weather was dry and warm though I’m beginning to think August is less summer and more early autumn this year. As it was there was a slight chill in the shade of the wood. Thankfully it was not raining, Lyme Valley can get very slippery in the wet, since it is as its name suggests, situated in a valley with quite steep sides in places.
The course was a mix of 3d and paper faces with a couple of new 3d targets I don’t recall seeing before. There were 36 targets in total, unlike last time though they were all in the wood and none in the field.
Dan, David and John

Dan, David and John

There were five in our shooting group with David and Dan from Paget de Vasey shooting flatbow and longbow respectively along with John from Forest of Arden shooting flatbow all joining Sharon and I. The group gelled well and it was a really good laugh all the way round the course.
Dan and Sharon

Dan and Sharon

We started on target 30; a down hill 3d bear that was trickier than first looked.  I think we didn’t stop joking and laughing all day . The course only problem we had was when Sharon’s rest broke about 7 targets in and she had to fit a replacement.

Downhill 3D bird

Downhill 3D ptarmigan

Lunch break was between 12:30 – 1:15 after which saw us return to a tricky uphill shot at a 3D turkey. Lyme Valley operates a lunch break where all shooting stops to allow archers safely off the course for lunch. To be fair I think it would be very hard for them to do a shoot through due to the woodland shape being along a long narrow valley.

Archers heading back after lunch break

Archers heading back after lunch break

Over lunch and chatting to others we discovered there had been a problem at the opposite end of the woodland which had stopped archers shooting for a short time but we were unaware of.
The mix of targets and distances was good though I think the crocodile was a little on the far side as you were aiming at its side.
There was a great shot across the stream to a 3D bedded large deer that I completely misread resulting in a third arrow as my first and second landed in the mud in front.

Uphill shot

Uphill shot

I think something that could improve peoples’ enjoyment of the shoot and save on broken arrows is if when the course layers dig out the bank for a shot they put either a boss or thick foam behind. They could camouflage it easily enough with undergrowth etc. The reason I mention this is that both Sharon and I broke the piles off a couple of arrows when we skimmed the top of 3ds and went into the bank.
To be fare the course layers must have worked really hard to get in some of the shots so credit to them for that.

3D goose

3D goose

There were some really nicely framed shots and some good use of up and downhill terrain features. I liked a 3D deer between a fork in a tree which we shot early in the day.
3D deer between the trees

3D deer between the trees

The large grizzly bear up against the tree was another shot which made you think about which angle to take.

3D Grizzly

3D Grizzly

Overall it was a good challenging course with a couple of shots that could have been improved with modification to peg position and consideration of overshoots.

Sharon came away with first in ladies hunting tackle but nothing for me other than a couple of arrows to repair and good memories. Sadly the journey home was even slower due to more traffic and reduced speed limit.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – Lyme Valley – March 2015

Lyme Valley

Lyme Valley 2015

Lyme Valley is one of our favourite shoots, but getting there was a pain this year with motorway traffic and some very inconsiderate driving which nearly saw us in an accident. Fortunately we escaped, though the car didn’t as we now have a sizable chip in the windscreen, but could have been much worse.

As its name suggests Lyme Valley club’s ground are situated in a steep sided, narrow valley not far from Stoke on Trent. You can read a previous shoot report here.

First Target of the day

First Target of the day – very small at this distance

The course was a mix of 3d and paper faces with 36 targets in all. Our group besides Sharon and myself would be made up of Mark, David and Wendy all shooting longbows.

Mark drawing arrows from our first target

Mark drawing arrows from our first target

Thankfully the weather was dry and mild as Lyme Valley paths can  be very slippery when wet. (Treacherous is a phrase that has been used in the past )
As it was it felt a very long day, possibly because it was a challenging course which meant more second and third arrows by those present. We were waiting on nearly all the pegs for the group in front to finish because they had been delayed. I think the delays were all along the course which  meant that the day didn’t feel like it flowed.

Another 3D target

Another 3D target – Grizzly Bear

Due to the geography of the grounds Lyme Valley have a lunch break at 12:30 and as luck would have it were at the opposite end of the wood when it started which made for a long walk out for lunch and an equally long walk back for the restart.
I think a few strategically placed bosses would have saved a few broken arrows and might have speeded the day up.

Sharon shooting a small 3D deer

Sharon shooting a small 3D deer

There were some nicely set targets, with a couple in the field which made for a bit of variety.
There were quite a few shots framed between the trees which many archers struggled with not just me. Most notably the large cobra which was a talking point for many.

As luck would have it we both came back with all our arrows but I know several people didn’t. Though Sharon didn’t feel she shot well she won ladies hunting tackle. I’m still struggling with the flat bow though and need to get my head and heart sorted.

3D fish was our last target of the day.

3D fish was our last target of the day.

Due to traffic and road works on the motorway it proved a long, slow drive home but fortunately with less idiotic driving by fellow road users.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – part 2

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

Day two of the championships dawned and we wondered whether staying in the premier inn had been a good plan. We had had a very disturbed night having been woken by a fan humming noise which we’d thought was the aircon or heating but neither of these were on and it seemed to come from the corridor. The annoying thing was it would stop only to restart a few minutes later.

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

So bleary eyed we checked out and headed to Catton park. I’d taken some Lemsip tablets so I was hoping my head would be a little better.

B course - views across the fields

B course – views across the fields

The mid point placings were out showing Sharon in first place and me way down at 19th.
Sunday was brighter day with clear skies and a slight autumnal nip in the air. Shooting group would be different on each day so I wondered what to expect.

Sunday Shooting group

Sunday Shooting group

To say my possible concerns were ill founded would be an understatement as we never stopped laughing all day. Thanks to Julie and others in the group we had a great laugh often at our own expense.

Catton Park

Catton Park

I think we were fortunate on Sunday as unlike other groups we weren’t held up by the previous groups. I was speaking to one fellow SVYF member who was waiting over 10 minutes to shoot each target with a 45 minutes delay after food stop. When faced with these delays it is very hard to remain focused. I’m not sure of the cause but a possible solution for the future might be to allow groups to jump slow groups at food stops. This would mean that targets could not be taken down until much later though. (Normally the target you finish on, on the last day is brought in by your shooting group to help the organisers to break down the course. If you allow jumping them you might not be the last group to shoot the target.)

View on B course

View on B course

Think B course had the best grounds in my opinion with two separate pieces of woodland and a few open ground shots and a couple over water making for a good mix for all.

B course - 3D Crocodile

B course – 3D Crocodile

They also set up some interesting shots down the side of the woods or out of the woods into the fields, making distance judgement challenging.

B Course shot after food stop

B Course shot after food stop

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Thank you

At this point I would like to say a huge thanks to all the people who gave up there time to not only lay the courses but find the ground initially and thanks to the administration staff for all the work behind the scenes.

Outcome

The full results are available here.
Despite feeling rough I managed to climb 9 places on Sunday from 19 to just get in the top 10. Not too bad I suppose. Sharon did wonderfully well winning ladies hunting tackle making her not only 3D champion from earlier this year but now also the national champion for 2014.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Sharon

2014 NFAS Nationals – Sharon (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

Svyf came away with the team hunting tackle trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - ht team

2014 NFAS Nationals – Hunting Tackle  team (from left to right, Nigel, Johnny, Sharon and me) thanks Alex Tyler for photos

With Colin capturing a bronze in crossbow. Sharon and I also came away with the Nearest and Dearest trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Nearest and Dearest

2014 NFAS Nationals – Nearest and Dearest (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

So not a bad weekend considering I was feeling rough.
As always thanks for reading.