First aid with the Forest Knights

Forest Knights logo

Forest Knights

Normally when you undertake a course or when you spend time learning a new skill, you will want to start to practise it at the first opportunity, using this new knowledge as soon as possible. You might even be looking forward to the opportunity to try out your newly acquired knowledge. So there is a degree of irony that despite undertaking the first aid course run by Forest Knights I hope I never have to use the skills they taught, as it would mean someone’s been hurt.
Forest Knights offer a variety of courses and duration not just focusing on first aid, with details available on their website ( This was to be a one day course focusing on injuries that are likely to be encountered on a field archery event from slips and trips to more serious injuries. It had been organised by our archery club (Briar Rose Field Archers) for interested members.
Back in the 80s I’d done a Saint John’s ambulance course and yes I am that old, thank you. Over the years I have at times had to use this knowledge so it was good to have this update.
Normally the course would comprise classroom and outdoor activities but due to the truly awful weather that day, the outside elements of the course were moved indoors, much to the relief of all present. I think we would have ended up soaked to the skin and in need of medical aid ourselves. Despite this, we covered lots of practical elements.

The course covers a huge variety of topics, from bandaging sprains, to recommendations for contents in club first aid kits. All the time presented in a professional and engaging manner. As with any active learning activity, there are periods when you have to get up and do things, with both Beth and Wayne taking it in turns to roleplay various injuries.
One thing that struck me when looking back at the course, for this review was how it made me realise just how much your trainers really know about the subject matter along with how much they managed to cram into the time available. Covering the skills we might need and still taking the time to ensure we were understanding the steps and the why’s of why it’s information that is good for you to know.

Undertaking such a course makes you realise how there are some simple tips and advice that can make a huge difference. One great tip was how to fold and use a survival bag in such a way as to make it easier to cover an injured person without causing them more injury. A simple thing but could make a huge difference when trying to keep an injured party sheltered quickly in poor conditions.

Personally, I would encourage everyone to undertake some form of a first aid course as in my view it is better to know something and not have to use the knowledge than need the knowledge and not have it in an emergency. Having said this I still hope I’m never in a situation where I have to use it as it means someone’s hurt.

Thanks for reading.

First Aid Kit

Carry a simple first aid kit

It is the time of year when the days have been getting longer and we are out more often. Some will be out on two day shoots, camping in some beautiful British countryside, or maybe course laying in readiness for the shoot.  The downside of the warmer days is it results in me having to start taking antihistamine tablets due to slight hay fever and possibility of insect bites.
I’m pretty lucky, as I’ve been bitten or stung by most things including a swarm of angry bees one time when we disturbed a nest putting in a new target. The only bug that tends to result in a very bad reaction are horse fly bites and those I really react badly too. You can see below how my hand swelled up after a few hours, following one. Luckily I got my wedding ring off before the fingers swelled up too much or I might have had to have it cut off. (The ring not the finger)
horsefly bite

horsefly bite = very swollen hand

It is also when I go through the first aid kit on my quiver belt to check things are still in date. I do it every year and whether camping, skiing, hiking or enjoying field archery I always carry a simple first aid kit, either in my backpack, day sack or on my quiver belt. It doesn’t take up much space and weighs nearly nothing.
Top tip – put everything contained within the kit into waterproof zip bags. It keeps the kit together and more importantly dry.
The kit is pretty basic, the sort you can pick up from most outdoor stores with a few extra items, I’ve added  like antiseptic wipes, spare micropore tape, antihistamine cream, dehydration sachets etc. I’ve also added in a tick removing tool, as the numbers of ticks seem to be on the increase and we as field archers tend to frequent areas infested with the little things.
When asked why I bother carrying one as the organisers are bound to have something I tend to reply saying “It’s one of those things you hope to never have to use but am glad to carry”.
Thanks for reading.