Sunday, 14 July 2013

Team Sagittarius Shoot Report 14th July 2013

I'd heard about the Team Sagittarius shoot many times from fellow archers and it had been recommended by many of my fellow wooden arrow archers as one I should not miss. So this year I finally booked in to shoot the Team Sagittarius shoot which is held at the Fleet Ibex grounds.

For those who have not shot this shoot their are some subtle differences to a standard NFAS shoot; being that it is restricted to wooden arrows, single shot at each of the targets which are laid in a more natural way and finally scoring only 10s and 20s (wound and kill). The key aim, apart from having fun, is to simulate a more hunting style shoot where you would not get a second chance.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Westfield Driving Experience

Okay this is not the typical blog entry for this site but on this historic day in 2013 when Sir Andy Murray (okay not yet Sir but by this time next year !) became the first Brit to win Wimbledon for 77 years I had decided to do something far more entertaining that watch a ball go back and forth.

So it was off to Silverstone for a Westfield driving experience with Ryan for a nice early start to what would be a most entertaining day out driving rear wheel drive cars that weigh virtually nothing around cones in a large car park and being told to drive it like you stole it.

So with 2 cars to drive a 1.6 with the 2” lower floor (my favourite because I could fit in it) and a 2.0 sport spec it was going to a great day as long as we didn’t get burnt in the 30 degree summer heat.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Druids Shoot Report 23rd June 2013

DruidsWith the arrival of the Summer Solstice it was time for the Druids shoot unfortunately I'd only be shooting the Sunday this year but based on previous shoots I was expecting another fun days shooting. So with an early arrival it was time to register and grab my cards before a cup of tea and then a chat with my fellow archers some of whom I had not seen for a fair while.

So following te standard talk it was off to my starting target, 30, and time to find out who I would be shooting with. On arrival at target 30 I was surprised to see that this year I would be shooting with Adrian and Dylan who I'd shot with on the Sunday last year and we  would be joined by Brian for an entertaining days shooting.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Raven Shoot Report 15th & 16th June 2013

RavenWith the 3D Nationals Done and dusted Raven was going to be my first shoot and I'd booked in for the 2 days knowing by the end of Sunday I would be either fit or dead. I'm sure they pick the steepest hills for the 2 day shoot. Anyway the weather was promising to be slightly damp and although the rain mostly held off the grass banks were slippery especially the grass by the side of the road as I found out on the Sunday as my car slipped during the day leaving the front wheel off the ground.

So having arrived in plenty of time on Saturday it was time for the usual tea to kick off the day and burger for John before picking up the cards and the off to our starting peg, 24, and time to meet our fellow archers. So today and as it worked the weekend we would be shooting with Ben and Rob two fellow longbow archers and a fun weekend we would have.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

3D Nationals Shoot Report 25th & 26th May 2013

3D NationalsIt was the late May bank holiday weekend and time for the  2013 NFAS 3D Nationals and having shot last week at Fleet Ibex and lost / broken three arrows I was hoping for a less destructive two days. With the weather looking to be totally the opposite of last years 3Ds it was looking as though it would be a cracking weekend at Osmaston Park, near Ashbourne, a wonderful drive down the A515 from my parents.
With the Nationals spread across the weekend the NFAS organisers had arranged for some glorious sunny weather for this our, expected to be, last 3Ds at Osmaston Park. With the temperatures due to head for, the toasty, mid-teens it was time to dig out the sun cream.

Again this year the traditional longbow archers would be shoot B course, laid by Lyme Valley Archers, on the Saturday and A course, laid by Duvelle Bowmen, on the Sunday with a short walk on Sunday we would be the first out for the long walk on Saturday.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 19th May 2013

IbexWith the 3D Nationals looming it was time for the Fleet Ibex pre-3Ds shoot and what initially looked like a wet shoot but as it turned out was quite a glorious day. So with only a few layers of clothes, a bit different from the Easter shoot, it was off to registration and then a quick chat with some of my fellow archers before setting off to our starting target.

Today we would be starting on target 9 and shooting with Stevan and Alan new friends who I've never shot with before so this was going to be a good day. On arrival at our designated target it was to find that the first shot of the day was multi target shot at a couple of Deer that I completely blanked. Well from this pointed the only way is up.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Raven Shoot Report 14th April 2013

RavenSo this being only my second shoot since last years Nationals it was off to Raven for a round of 36 3Ds in their rather hilly woodland. With the weather having been wet for the last few days I was expecting a rather stick and muddy shoot but at least it would be warm and no chance of frostbite unlike the Fleet Ibex shoot a couple of weeks ago. So with a nice early arrival it was close to the tea tent with 2 wheels on the track and 2 wheels in the mud at least that way I should get some traction when leaving. Having arrived early their was time for a quick bacon roll for John before setting off to our starting target (22) and finally find out who we would be shooting with. Today it was going to be Rob and James (a handy man to shoot with because he nearly always hits the 24).

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 31st March 2013

IbexIt has been some time since I last shot an arrow essentially last September at the Nationals and so I was looking forward to what I expected would be an entertaining first shoot of 2013 at Fleet Ibex. So after what was an early start with the clocks going forward this weekend it was to Fleet and a rather chilly start to the day. The one thing you notice about Fleet Ibex is the wind certainly whips across the field that is the car park and into the woods.

So with plenty of layers on it was off to registration and, unfortunately, not an immediate bacon roll that would have to wait until after the first target as we would be starting on target 40. Today we would be shooting with Dave and Alex who I've shot with a couple of times and as it seems mainly at Fleet and so with 2 adults a junior and cub we had a small group that would be quick to shoot and with John not scoring that would be slightly quicker as well.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Home-made String Jig In 30 Minutes

Having completed my longbow course up at Heritage Longbows I decided the first thing I should do was give string making another go. So I had a couple of option here either purchase or try making one myself and as you may have guessed I opted for the DIY method. So the first thing I needed to do was find a template for a jig and although I have many in the books I have I decided to take a look around the internet and track one down I liked that was downloadable as a full size pdf. Having downloaded the pdf and printed it off it was time to put it all together and the following entry shows just out simple it is.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Nationals Shoot Report 15th & 16th September 2012

NationalsHaving not shot since the Druids Summer Solstice shoot this years Nationals were going to be rather interesting and the aim of the weekend was to come away with as many arrows as I arrived.  This years Nationals were going to be held at Arley Hall, in Cheshire, and would consist of two course of mixed archers. The numbers had been limited to 400 and on arrival on the Saturday the place looked empty but as the queue for the tea showed there were more archers around than it looked.

So after an early and prompt registration and general instructions it was off to B Course for my Saturdays shooting. We arrived at the B Course tea tent to be given the final instructions from the South Cheshire Course layers and then off to the first Peg where I met my fellow archers for the day. Because there were only two courses for the weekend we would be shooting in a group of mixed bow styles and I would be shooting with Colin, Steve, Mick and Derek all veterans of NFAS Shoots.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Making my own Longbow

I've been shooting the longbow for a fair few years now and making my arrows essentially since I started, much cheaper given the amount I break, but have always fancied having a go at making my own longbow but never seemed to get the time. Finally this year I decided to find a course and have a go after all what would the worst that could happen. So after some research I decided on the course offered by Lee at Heritage Longbows in Cannock. One great advantage with Lee's courses are that he does not restrict you to specific dates rather you can simply phone him and arrange dates to fit.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Druids Shoot Report 23rd & 24th June 2012

DruidsIt was time for the Druids Summer Solstice  shoot and I had booked in immediately after my previous shoot at Druids. Initially I had planned on camping on the Saturday night but having seen the weather forecast decided that may not be a good idea especially if I wanted some sleep.

So with a wet 3Ds being my last shoot I was hoping this weekend was not going to be a re-run but regardless I was going to shoot. So having driven through a few wet patches it was time to check-in and grab a cup of tea and a chat with some old friends before we were off to our designated target.

Saturday I would be starting on target 18 and on arrival at the target it was a nice open shot across the field and a good way to start the day. Today I would be shooting with Jenni and Andrew from Blackcat Archery and Paul who had not really shot for a while. With the cards exchanged we had already started the entertaining banter that showed today would be fun.

Monday, 4 June 2012

3D Nationals Shoot Report 2nd & 3rd June 2012

3D NationalsIt was the Jubilee bank holiday weekend and time for the  2012 NFAS 3D Nationals and having shot in 20+ degree heat at Fleet Ibex last week the traditional English Bank holiday weekend weather had arrived. Oh well the weather is not everything and we would be shooting  at Osmaston Park, near Ashbourne a wonderful drive down the A515 from my parents, the same as last year.

With the Nationals spread across the weekend the weather was going to be drastically different between the Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was going to be cool and damp whilst Sunday could be described, in that Top Gear way, as Mildly Moist and for those that were there you know what I mean.

Again this year the traditional longbow archers would be shoot B course, laid by Pride Park, on the Saturday and A course, laid by Cheshire Oak, on the Sunday but instead of the short walk we had last year we would be the first out each day for the long walk out.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 27th May 2012

IbexWith the 3D Nationals looming Fleet Ibex is the last practice shoot before the big event and boy this year did I need some practice. After my Smashing experience at South Wilts I had finished making a new set of arrows and this time they would be 3/8 Ash in the hope that a simple ricochet would not destroy an arrow. So also knowing that these new arrows were 20 grams heavier and 3 inches longer, than my Pine ones, I decided it was also time to finally get my draw consistent and use the same for both Field and Target archery. Given all of that today was going to be an entertaining day and I was looking forward to another fun day on an exceptionally laid course (as usual) that would be a complete learning experience.

So with what promised to be another scorching day I was well prepared with the factor 50, bug spray and many litres of water and boy did I need all of them. So having packed everything into by, Utility, belt it was off to registration and a flea in my ear for not cancelling John sooner then after a chat to my various fellow archers off to the first target of the day. Arriving at target 39 it was time to introduce myself to two relatively new Field Archers Sarah and Alex and the tradition exchange of score cards. With this being only there 3rd Field shoot they'd managed to pick an excellent ground and some pretty good weather.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

South Wilts Shoot Report 5th & 6th May 2012

South WiltsWith the success of last years Bluebell Shoot South Wilts were again running it over two days with camping and partying on the Saturday night although given the weather of the previous week the field was likely to be wet and as such I decided I'd rather drive than camp.

So with the weather forecast expected to be dry and cold it was was looking like a good weekend of shooting was on the cards. Little did I know at this point that I was in for a cracking weekend and by that I do do not I had an excellent score. With 8 broken arrows on the Saturday and 3 on the Sunday I only manage to put a score in for the whole weekend that I should have score in a single day. This I have to say was totally down to the archer who could only seem to hit trees and ricochet off the backs of the 3Ds. So given my abilities over the weekend if you had asked me to hit a Barn Door at a 100 yards I'd have missed by a mile good job I was not hunting for food.

Anyway enough of the bad points of my weekend on on to the positives because as usual the course layers at South Wilts did an exception job using all the best features of the wood providing the usual mixture of tricky and deceptive shots followed by simpler and supposedly easier shots. These easier shots usually followed a deceptive one and you were left thinking is this as easy as it seems.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 15th April 2012

It was time to visit Fleet Ibex again and see how it had changed since January. The loggers had almost finished and we would see what would be left of the wood and as it turned out a whole lot of space. On arriving it was one of those cool, well damn cold actually, sprint mornings with an icy wind whistling across the fields. This is not normally a problem because once into the woods the trees break up the wind and things warm up a bit but not today.

So as always it was the traditional start to the day with a bacon roll and a cup of tea and then onto the friendly banter with the fellow archers. With everyone registered it was off the the targets and find out who I would be spending the day with and it would be David and Alex, longbow and cub HT, and with John missing we would be in a group of 3.

So with the horn sounded it was time to start shooting and a 20 was a great start and unfortunately as it turned out for the day things could only get worse although you could say I had an absolutely smashing day with 5 broken arrows two of which were cause by the target legs. A fraction to the left and they would both of scored but there is always a positive for every broken arrow I have Fred, from Westcott, gets a new one. So it was quickly onto the next target a badger and a 4 before an interesting Bedded Deer behind a tree stump which covered part of the kill. But as luck would have it I grazed the tree stump and into the kill; it's handy having a heavy bow at times.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Raven Shoot Report 25th March 2012

RavenSo for my third shoot of the year it was off to Raven for a round of 36 3Ds in there extensive woodland and it was promising to be an absolutely glorious day. With blue skies forecast I was looking forward to the days shooting with a fair few up hill and down hill shots.

So as usual it was arrive in time for the traditional Bacon Butty and cup of tea before registering and finding out who I would be shooting with today. As it turned out I would be shooting in a group of 5 with two crossbow archers, if you can use that term, a compound and a free style. So it looked like I would be shooting quick and finding arrow slow whilst the rest of the group would be shooting slow and finding arrows quick. I've previously shot with Jo and Pete in my group and would find out how entertaining Charlie and Keith were going to be throughout the day with the steady friendly banter.

Keith, Jo, Charlie and Pete
Keith, Jo, Charlie and Pete

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

NFAS Field Shoot Distance Calculator

For a long while I've been looking for some new clubs to shoot at but hot knowing what's local and what's not can be a bit of a challenge. So I decided to extend the NFAS Map information so that I could easily see what clubs are within a reasonable driving distance. As a result I put together a simple web page that will show the distance to each club and provide driving directions. Having initially posted this on the NFAS Web Forums and received some positive feedback I thought why not a quick blog. So if anyone is interested in knowing what's local or how far a certain clubs ground is then please check out

Their may be a few missing clubs but it's based on what I know so if your's is missing just post a comment.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Druids Shoot Report 19th February 2012

South WiltsHaving had a short break from shooting, in all forms, today I would be doing something that I haven't done for a while and that was shooting at a new club and hence a new course. I have been meaning to shoot Druids for quite sometime but other commitments always managed to get in the way and so I was looking forward to shooting this highly recommended course.

As it was the gods smiled on us today because the rains of Saturday had passed and we were in for a glorious day if a little chilly in the wind. Because of the number of entries the Druids course layers put on 40 targets of 3Ds and painted faces which we would be shooting Fur & Feathers (much better than wound lines). In addition most of the groups would consist of 5 archers to allow for the large number of archers.

WolfSo after the standard pre-shoot talk it was off to my first target and to meet the people I would be spending the day with. I was on my own today and hence it looked like I would be shooting with a complete bunch of strangers although as usual they would not be by the end of the day. On arrival at the first target it was time to say hello the Angus, Robert, Janet and Ruth who I would be spending this sunny early spring day with. In a group that was composed of Longbows and AFBs shooting was going to be quick and fortunately the mix of archers across the course allowed for a short days shooting and hence 40 completed targets by 16:30.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fleet Ibex Shoot Report 08th January 2012

          IbexHaving not shot field or even much target archery since the Nationals I was looking forward to getting back out into the woods chasing down those 3Ds. So given that this was a friendly scoring was optional, quiet good for me, and all the pressure was off. So having decided to go around a couple of times it was a case of getting to Fleet for a 09:00 start and see who else had arrived.

Arriving at the same time as Fred and his crew we decided to tag onto their group and wander around as a large group of  7 (maybe a bit large) but with the easy going conversation it was going to be entertaining especially as we had a junior.

Having not been to Fleet for a while it was a bit of a shock to see how much tree felling had been going on and the woods looked quite bare and empty with lots of open space. This said the course layers did their job well finding all the bits of cover and tricky shots as I can attest when I reached the Skunk. Being a friendly there was only a single peg to shoot from which meant that John would be shooting exactly the same shots as me. The net result of this was to prove how much better John is at this archery lark than I am and it was rare for him to take a second shot let alone miss whilst I had a few misses and hence a few exploding arrows.