Misty sunrise over the fields
The weekend of the 25th-26th of May saw the arrival of the annual National Field Archery Society (NFAS) 3D championships.
This 2 day event would see archers from around the country (just under 600 competitors) travelling to Osmaston just outside of Derby. This was the 4th year the event had been hosted there and possibly the last as the contract with the estate is ending this year. Here is a link to last years report
I will admit to approaching the weekend with a level of apprehension, the week before I had struggled to shoot round our wood on both days, so wondered how my shoulder would cope with 2 days of no doubt challenging courses. Only time would tell.
We’d chosen to camp this year with a group of fellow archers from SVYF and had taken the Friday off work so we could get up early and set up the tent.
3D Champs, Sharon sheltering from the wind
As it was pitching the tent was a bit of a challenge in winds, gust up to 50mph and showers but we managed it.
Rainbow over campsite
Format of the weekend
Each class would shoot a different course over the 2 days, A+B course if shooting wooden arrows X+Y course if shooting metal / carbon arrows. The courses had been set by 4 different clubs Artemis Archers, Lyme Valley, Hanson and Duvelle.
Since I was shooting my recurve in the Hunting Tackle class as my shoulder was still not 100% I would shoot course A on Saturday which had been laid by Duvelle archers and Sunday it would be Lyme valleys course (B course). Sharon would be shooting X&Y course (X course Saturday and Y course on Sunday)
The courses were made up of 40 3D targets of various size and distances and I do mean all shapes and sizes. Over the weekend I shot everything from 3D deers, bears, frogs, raccoons to the occasional dinosaur.
Saturday Morning – archers gathering
You register between 8:30-9:30 and go through arrow check, this is where a marshal will check your arrows to ensure they are marked with your name, and shooting order. (this is a requirement for both the rules and insurance)
Announcements started at 10 and we were sent off onto our respective courses on the walk out, which can take up to 15-20 minutes itself before you even get to your course and then have your course briefing and escorted to your starting peg. Roughly by 11am you should have started shooting.
Saturday dawned with a clear bright sky, thankfully the wind from Friday had gone too. having made up a few new arrows I thought I’de try them out on the practise targets before they got too busy.
The day didn’t start too well with breaking 2 arrows on the first 6 targets, one of which hit the target but broke on the leg after hitting the leg support. By the end of the day I had smashed one into pieces and had to re-pile 2 others.
My only criticism of this course would be that within the first 16 targets we shot,there were a number of the same targets, we had 3 of the same bedded panthers and 2 Velociraptor. This isn’t the clubs fault as they are given the 3D targets, but I think it would have been better to spread them out a bit more.
Having said that the targets weren’t stretched for their size or distance. I think a few more signs informing archers to shout clear when they had left the target they had shot, so the following group knew they were clear and could start shooting would have been good. There were a number of large bushes that blocked vision so at times it was hard to tell if people had cleared the area.
As for shooting, well I didn’t blank any targets so wasn’t too bad a day, though my shoulder was beginning to ache. Here’s hoping for a decent nights sleep.
We had finished by 4 pm and I was back at the tent shortly afterwards, A course being the closest to the campsite.
As the evening approached we gathered round the camp fire, lit the barbecues and sat chatting about the days successes and failures over some hot food and a few drinks. Good social end to the day.
Sunday was another bright and clear day, a complete difference to last year when it was continual rain all day.
The one downside was I hadn’t slept well and my shoulder was stiff and painful, add to that my stomach wasn’t feeling 100% (guess that was the Barbecue I thought). The organisers had posted the first day results on the net late Saturday night and a copy at Administration so there were people massing round comparing notes and scores.
This days course had been set by Lyme Valley archers. Lyme Valley’s home ground is in a valley outside Stoke on Trent and they make great use of up and downhill shots. They had obviously taken this skill set to the course and applied it very well.
There were a number of deceptive shots making use of the height and dead ground.
I’m sorry but I didn’t take any photos of the course, but I’ve included a couple of photos from the course Sharon shot on Sunday.
upsidedown Baboon Y course – thanks to Sharon
Including an interesting upside down baboon.
Photo from Y course – thanks to Sharon
I didn’t shoot as well on this course as Saturday, partly down to it being a more testing course and partly due to my shoulder beginning to cause me grief. Despite blanking several targets I came in with 30 points less than Saturday, just under 600 points.
Hanson were doing the catering for Lyme Valley and they always do a great spread, sadly my stomach was not feeling right so I only snacked.
It transpired that I had a better day than Sharon who was shooting on Y course (Artemis), she had had the misfortune of being held up on most targets which interrupted her flow and concentration.
Sharon on Y course
So how did we get on? Well Sharon came away in third for ladies Barebow (despite shooting badly on Sunday) As for me well I came in 15th, not bad for feeling off and having a bad shoulder. You can see the full results here
We got home on Monday after a fun weekend, the only down side was I came down with a very unpleasant stomach bug which saw me not venturing far from the toilet for 3 days. The doctors think it was gastroenteritis.
So despite falling ill after the event, it was a great weekend. What is more it has made me realise that despite having a bad shoulder I can shoot and do well. Big thanks to all those archers and friends out there who have been so supportive, especially a certain lady called Sharon. Thank you.
As always, thanks for reading