Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – part 2

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

Day two of the championships dawned and we wondered whether staying in the premier inn had been a good plan. We had had a very disturbed night having been woken by a fan humming noise which we’d thought was the aircon or heating but neither of these were on and it seemed to come from the corridor. The annoying thing was it would stop only to restart a few minutes later.

B course - Archers mustering

B course – Archers mustering

So bleary eyed we checked out and headed to Catton park. I’d taken some Lemsip tablets so I was hoping my head would be a little better.

B course - views across the fields

B course – views across the fields

The mid point placings were out showing Sharon in first place and me way down at 19th.
Sunday was brighter day with clear skies and a slight autumnal nip in the air. Shooting group would be different on each day so I wondered what to expect.

Sunday Shooting group

Sunday Shooting group

To say my possible concerns were ill founded would be an understatement as we never stopped laughing all day. Thanks to Julie and others in the group we had a great laugh often at our own expense.

Catton Park

Catton Park

I think we were fortunate on Sunday as unlike other groups we weren’t held up by the previous groups. I was speaking to one fellow SVYF member who was waiting over 10 minutes to shoot each target with a 45 minutes delay after food stop. When faced with these delays it is very hard to remain focused. I’m not sure of the cause but a possible solution for the future might be to allow groups to jump slow groups at food stops. This would mean that targets could not be taken down until much later though. (Normally the target you finish on, on the last day is brought in by your shooting group to help the organisers to break down the course. If you allow jumping them you might not be the last group to shoot the target.)

View on B course

View on B course

Think B course had the best grounds in my opinion with two separate pieces of woodland and a few open ground shots and a couple over water making for a good mix for all.

B course - 3D Crocodile

B course – 3D Crocodile

They also set up some interesting shots down the side of the woods or out of the woods into the fields, making distance judgement challenging.

B Course shot after food stop

B Course shot after food stop

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Julie Shooting paper face on B Course

Thank you

At this point I would like to say a huge thanks to all the people who gave up there time to not only lay the courses but find the ground initially and thanks to the administration staff for all the work behind the scenes.

Outcome

The full results are available here.
Despite feeling rough I managed to climb 9 places on Sunday from 19 to just get in the top 10. Not too bad I suppose. Sharon did wonderfully well winning ladies hunting tackle making her not only 3D champion from earlier this year but now also the national champion for 2014.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Sharon

2014 NFAS Nationals – Sharon (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

Svyf came away with the team hunting tackle trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - ht team

2014 NFAS Nationals – Hunting Tackle  team (from left to right, Nigel, Johnny, Sharon and me) thanks Alex Tyler for photos

With Colin capturing a bronze in crossbow. Sharon and I also came away with the Nearest and Dearest trophy.

2014 NFAS Nationals - Nearest and Dearest

2014 NFAS Nationals – Nearest and Dearest (thanks Alex Tyler for photos)

So not a bad weekend considering I was feeling rough.
As always thanks for reading.

Shoot report – NFAS National Championships – part 1

Day 1 -  Archers mustering

Day 1 – Archers mustering

This two day event would see some 400 archers plus organisers descend from across the UK to Catton Park in Derbyshire for the 2014 NFAS National Championships.
Over the course of the weekend archery skills would be tested on two separate courses across the park grounds. Each course would consist of 40 targets with 30 paper faces and 10 3Ds.
Since Sharon and I would be shooting in the hunting tackle category we would shoot A course Saturday which had been laid by Wolverine Archers. Then B Course Sunday set by a group from Duvelle Bowmen, Cheshire Oak and Lyme Valley Archers.
Due to issues with finding volunteers to lay the courses this year there would only be two courses and places were capped at 400 archers. This resulted in places filling within a few weeks of the booking opening, helped by a very efficient online booking system. I think the difficulty with finding volunteers had arisen because of the 3D championships. The 3Ds event normally has four courses, having been hosted in the East Midlands for the past four years has used up the good will of many clubs. Maybe it’s time to move the event round the country but this means finding a suitable venue and willing volunteers / clubs to set the courses. Anyway back to the shoot report.
It would be fair to say i was feeling really rough on Saturday with my head spinning every time I lowered it. This was not due to a night on the town but I think a head cold that was and still is affecting my ears and sinuses. Not a great way to start the day.
Day 1 A course paper face

Day 1 A course paper face

Saturday was a bit grey and overcast with flat light and light  showers as we set off up the track to the course . A course was situated on a wooded hill a short walk from the mustering point.  This poor light made some of the longer shots very hard to see in the wood. The result was archers taking 3 arrows on many targets as they couldn’t see if they were in or not.
A course - 3D cobra

A course – 3D cobra

I must say a huge thanks to Shirley and the rest of the shooting group who kept my spirits up all day. By half way round I was feeling shattered and grateful to the group for pulling arrows, in return I opted to mark the score cards, which is something I normally try to avoid.
Day 1 - A course paper face wolf

Day 1 – A course paper face wolf

With the poor light and the distances of the targets there were the inevitable delays at some shots, the worse being the downhill rhino at about 50 yards. When we  arrived we were the third group waiting to shoot the target, nearly everyone taking 3 arrows. Later in the day they stationed a marshal down by the target to let people know when their shots were in.
Day 1 Course A 3d deer

Day 1 Course A 3d deer

One of the best shots was a downhill 3D deer where I had a very lucky leg shot.
A course - Lucky leg

A course – Lucky leg

In all I think it was a good course though some people did comment that the junior pegs were a bit long and I think that might be a fare comment for some of the shots.
In all though a good course I just wished I could have done it justice.
Thanks for reading, part 2 will follow shortly.

Shoot Report – Liberty Archers – July 2014

Liberty woodland

Liberty Archers woodland

This was the first time we had made it to Liberty Archers shoot. This made us Liberty newbies and  we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, as the stories of robo deer had spread along with the tall tales of huge steaks and wild turkey (the drink not the bird).
Add to this was that the shoot was to be themed winter wonderland which was kind of ironic, since it was probably the warmest weekend of the year so far with temperatures hovering round the low 30 degrees centigrade. This would also be my first real test of shooting with a glove rather than a tab of for any real duration.
We arrived Friday afternoon following a three hour drive, some times crawl along motorways. Many archers had arrived  a day or so before including a couple of members of the SVF club who had been kind enough to take our tent along with others tents to pitch, this meant we were all located together.
So after unpacking the last of the camping gear and a quick run to local takeaway we settled down for a couple of drinks and an early night. Friday night / Saturday morning saw a huge thunder storm overhead with a very impressive light show, visible even through the tent and tree canopy. It left us wondering if a travel lodge  might have been a better plan, if this was to be a taste of the weekend weather.  Fortunately the rain didn’t last and we were left with a dry warm read very warm day come morning.

Saturday

The course on both days would comprise 42 targets, more than the normal 40 targets, the extra couple had been added so as not to disappoint those archers on the waiting list. These targets were all 3Ds ranging from small raccoon to huge moose and elk. I don’t think there were any stretched shots with a few lovely set natural looking shots.

An abandoned 3D target reclaimed by nature

An abandoned 3D target reclaimed by nature

The ground is flat, very flat but then again it is next to an airbase (Lakenheath). In fact the grounds are part of the air force base with you camping a stones throw from the runway overshoot. (If you had arrived a day or two earlier you could go plane spotting which I think some people did). Thankfully it’s very sandy ground so the heavy rainfall of Friday night quickly drained away. The downside of this is your arrows burrow themselves into the earth, so searching for any misses can take time. If you aren’t a fan of bugs then be warned there are a few as we discovered when packing the tent up on Sunday.

Sharon shooting on Saturday

Sharon shooting on Saturday

Unlike other shoots this had a really relaxed almost party atmosphere, with the organisers working hard to keep everyone happy. Most noticeable from the shooting perspective was the work they put in to finding lost arrows with marshals having metal detector near permanently attached to their arms. Thanks guys for all that work in that heat it is really appreciated by all.

Saturday - view of the group

Saturday – view of the group

Our shooting group would comprise six of us Theresa, Ben and their two grandchildren  Conrad, Charlie joined Sharon and I. So one flatbow two barebow and three hunting tackle; beginning to sound like Christmas Carol lyrics.

Most groups had between 5-6 archers but it didn’t seem to cause any real delays in our progress round the course. I think the biggest issue was the heat on Saturday, which at times was very uncomfortable. Part of the woodland runs alongside the main road and there we a couple of shots where you could see the traffic in the background which was a bit off putting, maybe some nets would have been a good idea.

By the end of the day we were all tired and looking forward to a relaxing evening.

Saturday Night entertainment

Saturday night was party time and Liberty put on a great show complete with Christmas lights, music, father Christmas a sleigh and of course it was drawn by reindeer. Though saying that the deer were lacking target zones as they were made of polystyrene.  Did I mention the wild turkey, there always appeared to be a bottle being passed round. The theme encouraged lots of archers to enter the spirit of things and to go in fancy dress, with Sharon having made an ice queen costume.

Sharon in her costume

Sharon in her costume, yes that is a blonde wig

The organisers arranged Saturday night as a steak night too, so there was plenty of food to help soak up the alcohol which was flowing. You can see a brief YouTube video of the evening celebrations here.

Sunday

Sunday morning dawned with bright and clear skies, though maybe not so many clear heads. I’m guessing there were a few sore heads as the camp was a lot quieter first thing with less activity early on.

Sunday would see the same shooting group except for Ben whose s health didn’t enable him to join us. Think he may have overdone it  a bit in the heat of Saturday.
Me preparing to shoot on Sunday

Me preparing to shoot on Sunday

Sundays course was similar to Saturdays with the organisers changing a few of the 3ds and peg positions so you wouldn’t be shooting exactly the same course. The nice thing was there were a few very nicely framed shots between trees, that proved quite decepetive.

Sharon shooting on Sunday

Sharon shooting on Sunday

I also think I got the luckiest shot of the weekend on a 3D boar (glad it was modeled on a male boar).
Lucky shot on boar

Lucky shot on boar

Fortunately Sunday wasn’t as hot as the previous day and there seemed a few less people, so the day flowed well. By the end of the day I was a little happier with using the glove, though there’s still a long way to go before I’m completely comfortable.

Novelty shots  Robo Deer

Robo deer is a somewhat famous or is that infamous target which Liberty is renowned for. Made up of 6mm steel plate cut to the shape of a deer (hence the name) with a 5 inch circle hole to represent the kill area.
It’s a one arrow target with the option of shooting a different target but with a lower score. With it being about 18-20 yards downhill its not the hardest. All yYou have to decide what to go for.

Robo Deer from the peg

Robo Deer from the peg

So you can run the risk of going for the deer and possibility of breaking the arrow if you missed the soft spot. If you hit the metal you get 16 points if you hit the soft spot its 20 points.
By the end of the weekend, the top of the boss saw a collection of broken arrows where people had gone for it but failed and had broken their arrows.

Robo Deer up close

Robo Deer up close

When we got to robo deer on the first day I’d just had an arrow flick off a target and develop a slight bend. Not wanting to use a good arrow I thought Id give this one a go and lo and behold it sailed perfectly into the soft spot.  Sadly this was not repeated on the second day with my arrow clipping the metal and exploding in a shower of splinters and fletchings.

Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend and far more sociable than we were expecting helped by the light hearted party on Saturday night and laid back feel. It was great to see so many SVYF club members out at a shoot too, with many camping.
The club did quite well too, with  Chris and Keith Harley, Debbie, John, Jason and Colin all placing. As for us, Sharon won ladies Hunting Tackle despite not being happy with how she shot on Sunday. Amazingly on Sunday I shot far better than expected, resulting in winning Gents Hunting tackle. Guess I’m getting used to using a glove after all.
As always thanks for reading.