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.

SpiderSo with the score cards exchanged and the camera ready we awaited the single shot from the shotgun and then it was time for the first target of the day, a wildebeest, and a 10 not bad for the first target. Then it was off to one of the smaller targets and a quick miss on a small spiders from when could be considered a long distance, given the size, but I must say it was an interesting shot.

This was going to be the trend for the day the South Cheshire course layers had used the woods and terrain extremely well and what looked like easy shots were not. Most were covered by some undergrowth and many were through small gaps between the trees. Easier for the crossbows and compounds but slight tricky for a longbow with its around the bow path.

Working through the wood we were enjoying the easy going banter of a friendly group and the odd bit of scoring as we went along. I was quite happy with the way I was shooting if I missed the target it would be on the boss and hence no significant time looking for arrows.

StoatHaving worked trough a number of well laid targets it was time to bump into Alex and her camera at the stoat and what I consider an extremely short shot. At least with the stoat if I hit anywhere on the body with my first arrow it's likely to be a kill but as it went I missed with the first and ended up with a 14.

A few more targets took us out into the field and our first hold up of the day. It was at this point that it became apparent just how warm today was and a number of layers needed to be removed. With the first long field shot a Wolf, that I hit in the throat and was still 6" away from the line, they were not going to be good targets for me providing me with no points and losing and arrow behind the second (I was not the only archer to do that).

After that it was back into the woods and some bird shots with the first at a pheasant and the second a ptarmigan with provided me my first and only 24 of the day.

mooseWith a 24 in the bag I was happy and then it was off through a number of bird targets and a crocodile by a stream to one of my favourite shots of the day a moose across a pond. Although at this point I was pulling left until I followed Micks suggestion and aim for its bum and then I missed to the right and blanked the target it was still one of my favourite shots.

So having missed a moose it was back to some smaller targets and better shooting before we came across another shot across a pond. This time things would be different we were shooting a ram across a wider pond and a 20 was just what I needed to boost my score. These pond shots definitely gave you the incentive not to drop short because there was no way you were going to recover any short arrows.

Having said that the South Cheshire course layers had not placed them silly distances and hence should be achievable by all.

By this time is was beginning to get late and in the woods a bit dim making some of the shots a bit more of a guess and 3 arrows were a must because you simply could not see where you hit. With the final few targets shot it was off back to the admin area to hand in the cards at the end of an excellent days shooting and then back home for a beer and a rest.

Having watched the overnight weather forecast Sunday promised a wet afternoon and memories of the 3Ds but fortunately the worst of the rain decided to bypass Arley Hall and hence the heavy waterproofs were not required. Today I would be shooting the Seedfield Archers A Course. Again it was another short walk out and a quick briefing before we were off to the first target. With the customary hello it was time to meet the group I would be shooting with today and it consisted of Kay, Dave, Paul and his son Philip although Dave would not be shooting with us all day because he was forced to retire after a dry fire of his compound left him with some broken strand in his string.

The Seedfield Archers had laid what they called a more technical course than the B course but it also appears to have been laid for the slightly shorter archers with many shots where I had the choice of hitting the target one the first or preserving the top limb of my bow. Needless to say the top limb won on all occasions as I proceeded to adopts some interesting shooting stances. This said we had another well laid course to shoot on Sunday and yet another entertaining easy going group of archers.

RavenOur first target of the day was a ram with larger horns and once the shotgun had sounded it was time to start shooting. I was hoping for a better day than Saturday and as it turned out I did improve my score.

Following the ram it was time for a number of deer and then onto the slightly smaller targets like the raven. The interesting thing about this course was that the sight lines frequently had small branches and twigs in the way that you only noticed as they deflected the arrow away from where you were aiming. 

Following the raven was what could only be described as a Hobbit shot and the only way to see the target was to kneel and then bend down further before the fox appeared. Personally I simply chose to shoot through the undergrowth and scored a 16. Not bad as I could not see what I was shooting.

With that fun target out of the way it was off to some more interesting shots tight to the trees before we reach a grey squirrel that that was all but obscured by the trunks of various Yew trees and required another of the very odd shooting positions.

Moving on it was time for some open shots before moving to the first on the A Course shots across a lake and time for a shot at a rhino. This one was sufficiently long that I took 3 shots only to find out the first was in. Then it was off around the edge of the lake shooting through the Rhododendrons before another shot across the lake and an arrow in the water for Philip.

By this time the light banter going on within the group was based around Paul knocking my line cutter 16 off the line and a few other mistakes so as Paul reached out to get Philips arrow it was choice of push or pull but we allowed him to stay dry.

With the arrow recovered it was off to a stoat and on around the lake before heading back into the woods and onto a small, muddy, pond in the woods. This time as Philip dropped short there was not retrieving the arrow it had simply vanished into the mud. Following this is was off to a hyena then a squirrel before we reached a prong horn.

The prong horn was the target that ruined Dave day as with a resounding crack, that could be heard, across the woods, he accidentally dry fired his compound the result of which was some snapped strands in his string and having to be escorted off the course to relieve the tension on his bow before string went completely.

With the sad departure of Dave the 4 of use were off to shoot the last 16 targets of the day. The next was another shot across a lake, at a moose, through a small looking gap in the trees before moving back to the small targets and some more entertain angles and stances.

The final 16 targets went quickly and with only 3 to go I finally managed a 24 on the Hare before finishing on leopard well hidden in the branches of the Yew trees for anyone of above average height.

Having returned the targets to the road it was off back to admin to hand in the cards and find out we were the first back and hence plenty of time for tea.

So after great weekend on two excellent courses it was time to head off on the long trek home.

It was never tillered for that draw length !
Does it count if I kill the reflection ?
What the hell
What the hell happened !
Dave takes aim
Hobbit Shot
Finally got one

Saturdays Photos

Sundays Photos

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