A walk with Trish Jones

Some readers may already know Trish, either from her role as National Field Archery Society president or from the European bowhunter championship which she regularly attends.
I know her from the many NFAS shoots she attends, up and down the country as she continues her “presidential” tour, trying to get to as many NFAS shoots as possible. Before then though she has been a familiar figure at NFAS Championships, as a competitor.
I was lucky enough to catch up with her recently and she agreed to be the subject of this walk and talk session.
Anyway onto the chat…

Trish Jones

Trish Jones

Rob – For those people who don’t know you, how would you describe yourself?

Trish – Outgoing, Happy disposition, friendly, passionate and very vocal!!! Polite way of saying I can often be very loud!!  Especially my laugh!!

Rob -How did you first get into archery?

Trish – It all started when we had new neighbours who were members of the NFAS, when you have two young sons and the folks next door are in the back garden practicing their Archery… it was inevitable that the boys were going to be interested….
The eldest son started first and after a while and after walking round some shoots with him… my youngest son and I then decided to have a go… and the rest as you say is history…..

Rob -You shoot in a number of different classes in the NFAS and other organisations, but what makes archery such an ongoing draw for you?

Trish – Archery to me is fun and a way of getting out and about and seeing the countryside and visiting other countries….. being able to try different bow styles makes it even more interesting……. but no matter what you are shooting it is always the fun of pitting your skills against the course layers….. who often get one up on me and therefore the aim is to try harder next time so the challenge continues…..

Trish in Austria

Trish in Austria

Rob -Can you explain what your love or passion is that drives your interest in archery?

Trish – Archery is something that can be done by all age groups and abilities and is a wonderful way of making friends and helping others to enjoy a wonderful sport.  I love helping others and if i am doing it whilst doing something I love to do…. then its a win,win situation.

Rob -If ten years ago I’d told you where you’d be today, how do you think you’d have responded?

Trish – To be honest when I started which is nearly twelve years ago now, If you told me then that I would be the President of the NFAS, won medals abroad, and several 3D champs and National Titles in different shooting styles I would have just laughed at you……..
I was not a natural archer and through persistence and perseverance and pure determination i managed to get were I am today….. and am very proud of all that I have achieved.

Rob – I find that an interesting and telling statement as many who see your successes might find it hard to believe you didn’t have an aptitude for the hobby.

Trish shooting barebow

Trish shooting barebow

Rob – so do you consider yourself an instinctive archer basing shooting on how it feels at the  time rather than a conscious process of steps which some people follow for distance judgement etc. ?

Trish- yes I am defiantly instinctive, and have no idea how I do what I do, I look at a target aim and when it feels right I let go!!!

If I missed judged it then I try again…… simple as that!

Rob -We all face our own challenges in life. What do feel has been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered to date with your archery? How did you overcome this challenge?

trish- shooting compound

Trish- shooting her compound

Trish – The biggest challenge I have ever faced is trying to maintain the NFAS as a Society that is Family friendly and Inclusive to all ages and styles and abilities….. as this is why the Society was founded in the first place…… and my way of overcoming this challenge was to become the president….. through experience, hard work and pure bloody mindedness i hope that I am helping maintain the NFAS ethos but still allowing it to progress.

Rob – I know there is more than just archery and the NFAS. When not out shooting or coordinating a national society what do you enjoy doing?  Are you out walking or a secret foodie at heart?

Trish- I enjoy swimming, walking and the occasional baking of cakes, but to be honest most of my free time is dedicated to Archery in one form of another.

Rob -If you could reach every newbie archer out there with one single piece of advice what would it be?

Trish – Have fun, enjoy your archery and just be the best that you can be.

Good advice for all archers, I think there from Trish

For those of you who aren’t aware of What the NFAS is I’ll do my best to try and explain. The NFAS is a national society set up to support the hobby of field archery across the UK. There are clubs from Cornwall to Scotland with over 6,000 members national wide. Every weekend there are competitions up and down the country and each year it holds 2 national championships, the 3D champs in late May and the Nationals in September.
If you want to find out more about the NFAS here is a link to the society website http://www.nfas.net/home.asp

Thanks for reading


Shoot Report – Draig Goch – Welsh NFAS Championships – July 2016

Archers massing for start of Welsh Championships

Archers massing for start of Welsh Championships

July this year saw the Draig Goch club hosting a two day shoot, billed as the NFAS Welsh Championships. Their hope is to make this an annual event in the NFAS calendar. Apparently there used to be such an event years ago but not recently and it is hoped that this event might rekindle that flame of interest. Let’s hope so.
So this was to be the first NFAS Welsh Championships we’d been to and we were looking forward to it. Partly because of it being a new club that Sharon and I hadn’t visited and partly because of liking the idea of there being a Welsh Championships, on par with the Scottish, 3D and National Championships.
The Draig Goch club is situated in the North Wales countryside not far from the coastal town of Rhyl. The club grounds consist of what appeared to be a beautiful woodland consisting of a mix of broadleaf mature woodland along with some densely packed coppice area.
Sadly the heavy rain over the previous few days caused organisers to rethink the parking arrangements; the original plan was to use a local farmers field. Unfortunately this didn’t work as one marshal discovered when he drove on and promptly became stuck fast in the Welsh mud. Apparently it took them several hours at the end of day one to get his car out. The only solution was to park along the country lane by the shoot ground which didn’t go down well with some locals.
Cars parked down lane.

Cars parked down lane.

Unlike some of the other attendees who were camping or staying along the coast, we were staying a short drive away at my Mam’s house.
Considering it was the first Welsh champs, the event was well attended with approximately 150 archers from all over the country making the trip.

Day one

Saturday would be a long day partly due to the weather and partly due to the holdups on shots, as we waited for the group in front. The day started dry and with the customary booking in and waiting for the start.
If, like me you are Welsh then you expect it to rain, liquid sunshine as I’ve heard it called on several occasions. Saturday this liquid sunshine was present from about midday until the late afternoon. The effect this had was to make a very challenging course even harder. It also slowed the shoot for many, ourselves included. as people took more second or in some cases third arrows.
Sadly it also meant I didn’t get to take as many photos as I’d have liked. So apologies for that, but my phone’s not waterproof. (Note to self, next phone I get needs to be waterproof).
First target on day 1 - small 3D rabbit

First target on day 1 – small 3D rabbit

The course consisted of 40 targets, 38 3Ds and a couple of 2D hessian targets. The shoot didn’t start until quite late in the morning compared to other shoots, being past 11am before we actually commenced shooting our first target. I think they may have been waiting for some late arrivals.
Sharon shooting the large 2D bear

Sharon shooting the large 2D bear from the white peg.

We would start the championships on target 15 a small 3D rabbit set under tree canopy. Our shooting group would be quite small, with just Sharon, myself and a father and son team of Nathan and Harry, shooting freestyle and compound limited.
I’d like to say how much of a pleasure it was to shoot round with these two. Harry should have been shooting form the junior pegs, but instead wanted to test himself and shot every target as an adult. What’s more he got quite a few despite the distance.
After only a few shots we were at catering for our first stop of the day just before mid-day, little did we know that due to delays on the course we wouldn’t get to have lunch until nearly 4 in the afternoon.
very small 3D bat

very small 3D bat

Despite the woodland being pretty flat, it would prove to be a tiring day which I think was partly due to the number walk backs on each shot and partly due to the number of shots you were taking. Due to the distances and target sizes you were often taking 2 or 3 arrows.

Fortunately in late afternoon the weather improved and the liquid sunshine departed and we even saw some clearer weather.
We would eventually finish shooting by 5:45 and I know others were still to come off the course. We headed back to my Mam’s house, taking over her airing room to dry our boots and outer layers in readiness for Sunday.

Day two

Sunday would see actual sunny weather with it being fine and dry all day.
One observation I made on the Sunday morning when watching archers warming up on the practice bosses was that none of them were aiming for the closer targets. All were going for the two furthest bosses whilst on Saturday morning archers were shooting at all of them. Maybe this was an indication of how archers perceived the shoot and there were no short targets. I commented on this to a few and they agreed with my observation and conclusion.
Sharon shooting 3D tortoise from white peg

Sharon shooting 3D tortoise from white peg

The placing from the previous day were posted up by admin for those interested to see how they had fared compared to others.
The course shots didn’t change that noticeably on Sunday with a few peg changes, though the organisers reversed the route round the woods. Not sure if that worked as well as they thought or hoped for.

Harry didn't hit with every shot.

Harry didn’t hit with every shot.

Our shooting group would be the same as the previous day though we started on a different peg.

Nathan shooting 3D crocodile on Saturday across pond

Nathan shooting 3D crocodile on Saturday across pond

Our second shot of the day would be the big bear which was a little closer than the previous day so about 65 yards.

General comments

This was the club’s first attempt at running an event on this scale and I know they put a lot of effort into it. I’ve shared the following feedback directly to the club and event organisers.
Overall I feel there were way too many walk backs on the course; of the 40 targets we shot I think 39 were walk backs on each day (people who were wearing FitBits commented on walking around 7 miles each day). True, there are times you need walk backs due to the access to the shot or for safety, but I didn’t feel it was needed on many of the targets as there appeared to be space for some to accommodate a different walk off. I am guessing they may have done this to make it easier to reverse the course direction on the second day. Having since communicated with the organiser, they confirmed this had been their plan, but it didn’t flow as well they’d hoped.
Group drawing arrows from a black 3D wolf on black background

Group drawing arrows from a black 3D wolf on black background

Secondly would be the use of target bosses behind the 3d targets to catch wayward arrows. Their presence should be applauded and I would love to see them at 3D championships to speed the recovery of arrows. It needs to be remembered that if you are going to use them to catch arrows, they must be secured or staked to the ground, with the wood to the side not the top and bottom.  I know on the second day we spent 15 minutes on one target extracting 2 arrows that had embedded into the wood frame after going under the 3d target. I did hear other archers comment how bosses had fallen when trying to draw arrows. Again this is a learning curve that many clubs go through and can be easily solved in the future.
Probably most importantly were the distances targets were set at. I know it was a championships course so it should be challenging but there is a difference between challenging and stretched for those shooting traditional style bows.
Sunday and dry weather

Sunday and dry weather

Ok so those are my thoughts and feelings on the matter. Agree or disagree as you see fit.  I offer them in support of the event, an event that I feel has so much potential to become an annual championships in a beautiful woodland. As I have said I have written to the organisers directly and given them this feedback and to their credit they have responded, hence more comments.
Sharons arrow in a tree stump, yes she does sometimes miss

Sharons arrow in a tree stump, yes she does sometimes miss

I think it is important to remember that there were many things that worked well so please don’t read this and think it is all negative, because it wasn’t. We got to shoot with a couple of  lovely people and meet up with friends. Catering on both days was effective, very friendly and not overpriced which you sometimes see at shoot. The woods are quite simply beautiful and they have great facilities.

Routes and paths were clear to follow though I didn’t feel swapping directions on the second day resulted in the perceived change they wanted. Maybe in future keeping the direction the same would prove better as the archers would be more familiar with the course route and less likely to become lost or stray.
Sharon on red peg shooting 3D boar

Sharon on red peg shooting 3D boar

All of the marshals we spoke to were friendly and helpful, willing to stop and chat. I really liked the simple slate trophies, maybe that’s the Welsh man in me.

On a very personal and probably patriotic note, I would love to see a Welsh championships thrive in the field archery calendar. Draid Goch have the grounds and I hope the capability to produce a great event in the future.  Ok there are a few things they might want to work on, but that can be said of many shoots. No one gets it perfect first time, that’s why we have a second and third arrow in our quiver.
Sharon shot well, winning ladies AFB and I managed to scrape a 2nd place in gents AFB.
Thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – September 2015

Saturday morning at National Championships

Saturday morning at National Championships

I can truthfully say I think this year’s NFAS National Championships was probably the toughest I’ve shot over the last few years. Not due to poor weather, but simply the demands of the course and terrain. I also think that the weeks of practice shooting 80-120 arrows every other day built up my stamina and helped me cope with shooting so many arrows over 2 days. If you are interested you can check out a review of last year’s championships here.
The location of the championships was stunning, with it taking place on the banks of Windermere lake in the Lake District, which we were able to enjoy in fine dry weather. Yes, dry weather in September in the Lake District, we were shocked too.
The location offered some stunning views as we headed up and down the slopes and through beautiful mature oak woodlands of the Graithwaite estate.
Sharon and I had decided not to camp this year and Sharon had managed to book  a two bedroom apartment in Near Sawrey which proved an excellent find with a fabulous local pub 200 yards away. This accommodation we would share with fellow SVYF member Steve.
Having been able to get the Friday off work we headed up the motorway  Friday morning meeting Stephen at the apartment shortly after 2 pm. We unloaded the cars and popped down to the camp site and venue  to check we knew the route down the country lanes for the following day. As it was our accommodation was about 10-15 minutes drive from the venue.
This years Nationals would see 400 archers spread over two courses, the courses having been set by Lakeland (B) and Kendal (A) clubs.
Traditionally the nationals had been solely paper faces but a couple of years ago they started to introduce a few 3d targets. This year would see over a quarter of the 40 targets being 3d targets. This year they imposed a time limit of 8 hours, stating all archers had to stop shooting after 8 hours from the start, even if they hadn’t shot all the targets.
General observations

 I’m going to make a few general observations.

Peg positions varied and I know a few archers have commented on this. By all means make the red challenging, but please ensure that other pegs are at reasonable distances especially for juniors.
It is my view that some targets were at their maximum range, possibly even beyond. You don’t have to stretch shots just because it is a championships, especially with the quality of the grounds the championships was on. The challenge is in what you score not whether you score.
When you have a long shot and then put a face which may have a large scoring kill zone but wound lines are unforgiving I personally don’t think it is fair.  It slows down the day as archers are forced to take three arrows.
There was some discussion on some new target faces produced by ProKill (http://prokill24.com/), which people hadn’t seen before. The problem with them was they had been stapled to the card rather than glued which meant the face was pulled off when arrows were extracted. That meant they were only used on the first day. I hope to write a review of these faces in the near future.
We must give top marks to the catering van that was providing food on the camp site and relocated during the day to provide food for A course. The guys were fantastic starting serving at 7 and going on into the evening. They also have a very cool Star Wars themed catering van.

The weather, initially misty, soon turned into a beautiful autumnal day of no breeze and bright sunshine.We were on site shortly after 7:30 am with registration opening at 8 am.The shoot starting just after 10.

A course - 3D crocodile - seen from the side

A course – 3D crocodile – seen from the side

Day one would see me shooting A course, set by Kendal Archery Club and Sharon would be on B course. With only two courses the groups would be of mixed styles.
A course was located nearest admin so was a short walk. The group would be Helen shooting compound, Sandra who I’d shot with at the 3d championships this year shooting longbow, Lionel and another Rob, both shooting primitive. We started on target 24 which was a longish paper face small deer.
A course - target 24 - first target

A course – target 24 – first target

One beautifully set shot was a long shot on a bedded 3D elk, that looked fantastic.
A course - bedded elk 3D from the blue peg

A course – bedded elk 3D from the blue peg

Another was a shot across a small pond to a 3d crocodile.
A course - 3D crocodile - seen from the side

A course – 3D crocodile – seen from the side

A course - view back from 3D crocodile

A course – view back from 3D crocodile

I think it is fair to say A course felt as though it had been set by two teams.
Targets 1-20 proved slower and longer distances, with several waits or hold ups on the peg. Whilst 20-40 flowed well, the only holdup being the long bedded deer , which both looked great and was a technical shot.
A course - 3D Javelina

A course – 3D Javelina

The worst delays of the day were at a downhill skinny turkey followed by an uphill paper face wolf. We were waiting 10-15 minutes to shoot the turkey and another 20 minutes on the wolf, while we waited for the groups in front to shoot. These delays broke up the flow of the day noticeably in those 20 targets and I  think we had two clear targets in those 20.
A course - long paper face small deer and me Robin hooding fellow archers arrow

A course – long paper face small deer and me Robin hooding fellow archers arrow

We were off course by about 4:30 and headed back to the apartment and then to a local pub for food and then an early night.


Sunday morning dawned a little cooler than Saturday with a slight breeze. Again we were on site from about 7:30 am for a breakfast roll and registration.

The scores and placing from the first day were posted at administration tent. Sharon was in a slim lead in ladies hunting tackle and somehow I was in second in American flatbow. It is a weird feeling having so many people congratulate you on placing when you felt you hadn’t shot well.
Unlike A course, B course would see us having a mile walkout to the assembly point.
B course - long 3D dinosaur

B course – long 3D dinosaur

I would start on peg 4 an uphill paper face leopard, my group comprising of 2 compound archers Dave and Alan, along with Ken Adams shooting longbow. We were also joined by Joan Adams who wasn’t shooting this year.
B Course - uphill turkey 3d

B Course – uphill turkey 3d

I didn’t feel Sunday flowed well with a few hold ups whilst we waited for the group or groups in front to shoot the target. On one target there  was over 30 minutes while we waited with other groups to shoot a long paper face moose.

B Course - downhill 3D crocodile

B Course – downhill 3D crocodile

One thing Lakeland did was have a marshal checking arrows whilst archers were on course to make sure the arrows were correctly marked.
B course - paper face puma between the tree bough

B course – paper face puma between the tree bough

I knew I’d not shot well on Sunday and think I can put that down to a loss of confidence. I broke one arrow quite early on and a second a couple of targets later and I think this got into my head. Unlike A course, B didn’t have as many backstops for the 3ds so if you did miss there was a chance of breaking an arrow, as David, one of the compound archers in the group can testify to; when he misjudged a long downhill shot on a 3D ram and the carbon arrow exploded as it hit the tree behind. I was very lucky on this target, with my arrow just staying in the top of the animal.

B course - lucky shot of the day

B course – lucky shot of the day

There were a few targets with trees or banks behind that were unforgiving on arrows.
The only advantage of all the delays was being able to chat with Jim Pierce from Artemis and also a fellow ex-Black Arrow member who was in the group in front. He did a grand job trying to keep my spirits up, cheers mate.
I walked back to the parking area on my own thinking over my shots, feeling pretty low. I need to work on coping with delays and not letting it effect my performance.
As the award ceremony approached I met up with Sharon and other archers patiently waiting for the results. The first to be called was Gents AFB and the first name was mine. By some miracle I had managed a third place. According to Sharon my face was a picture when it was announced. I was so touched by the number of people that came up afterwards to congratulate me.
Bronze medal from Nationals

Bronze medal from Nationals

Sharon retained her title as Ladies Hunting Tackle champion. Sharon and I  also won the Nearest and Dearest trophy for the second year running.
Our fellow SVYF member Robin won Gents Barebow, which helped the club towards winning the Instinctive Team trophy. Congrats to Colin who won 3rd in Crossbow too. Here is a link to the full results (http://www.nfas.net/downloads/champs/2015%20Sept%20Nationals%20Reults.pdf).
well done to all that managed to make it round the courses and congrats to all medal winners on what I think were a very tough couple of courses.
Thanks for reading.