A year in review

Autumn view

Autumn view

As 2015 draws to a close it is traditional to review the past year, taking stock of what has gone by. So being a bit of a traditional archer here goes.
There has been nearly 50 posts on this site over the past twelve months, with more than 20 of them being shoot reports, the rest have been a mix of articles on archery, with tips and advice. Some I have written, others are reblogs, along with equipment reviews from Leatherman multi tools to Timber Creek arrows. So here we go and I hope you find it interesting.
Timber Creek Arrows

Timber Creek Arrows

2015 prompted a change for me, having shot Hunting Tackle in the NFAS for the past few years, 2015 saw me move to a different class, that of American Flatbow, Sharon stayed in Hunting Tackle for 2015.

Yosemite valley deer in early morning

Yosemite valley deer in early morning

One thing we have been able to do this year is a road trip to the USA, something Sharon and I had wanted to do for years. If you ever get the chance San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are amazing places to visit. I would love to go back and do some more hikes or even a ski trip to Lake Tahoe.
Yosemite valley in early morning

Yosemite valley in early morning

More recent developments have been with coaching. In the last few months I’ve managed, with the approval of the club and the support and help of the club members (cheers Andy, Sharon and others, you know who you are), to set up the basics of a coach program for new and / or  experienced archers.
2015 saw us travelling around the country for different shoots. One of the advantages of getting to lots of shoots is that you get to meet so many different archers from around the country. It also provided me with the opportunity to meet some readers and followers of this blog and sister blog on tumblr (http://offthearrowshelf.tumblr.com/). I see this as a great privilege and I’m very grateful for all your comments, support and feedback, both online and face to face. Thank you all so much. If you asked me to pick the best shoot of 2015 it would be impossible. I shot at over 25 courses this year, not including championships, these ranged from our club night shoot, two day weekend shoots, to the normal Sunday club shoots all round the country.
Sharon studying a shot between the trees

Sharon studying a shot between the trees at Hawk

My favourite ground has to be Hawks, situated on a beautiful wooded hillside in South Wales. Others well worth mentioning are Spirit of Sherwood who always put on a cracking wooden arrow shoot. The award for the muddiest shoot has to go to Wolverines which was very, very wet, but still great fun.

SVYF on the next peg

SVYF on the next peg at Liberty

Liberty two day was great for the social aspect of group camping with group discussions round the camp fire at the end of the day of the shots you made or wish you had. For a different reason the 3D championships in Devon was very sociable over a meal in the hotel restaurant and drinks in the bar. We really enjoyed Wasps shoot with the beautiful bluebell woodland. Other great shoots have been Centaura, Thornbury and of course Lyme Valley.

Sharon shooting from one of th towers

Sharon shooting from one of the towers

2015 would see Sharon’s skills tested at both NFAS championships. would she retain her title in Ladies Hunting Tackle for a second year? Firstly at the 3d Championships in Devon and then at the Nationals in the Lake District she proved what a capable person she is and how good an archer we all know she is by winning both.
Bronze medal from Nationals

Bronze medal from Nationals

A personal high for me this year was securing a third place at the National Championships in September, my highest position at any championships.

A course - view back from 3D crocodile

A course – view back from 3D crocodile

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the course layers, admin teams, marshals and catering crews. Not just at the championships or national organisations,  but at all the local clubs around the country. Without the hard work of these people the archery community be far less than it is.

So as I am always writing, thanks for reading and may I wish you all great success in 2016. Whether that be placing at shoots, mastering a new bow or style, simply developing your skills or supporting the greater archery community.
Thanks for reading.

Spooky shoot report – SVYF Halloween night shoot – October 2015

Halloween shoot

Halloween shoot

Well that was a very busy weekend. Saturday morning we were driving up to Loughborough for Sharon to collect her new Blackbrook American flatbow from Andy Soars, then back home to collect the bows for club Halloween themed night shoot which meant we finally got home about 10:30 pm. Sunday we were back to the wood for 9:30 am to tidy and clear away the temporary course and for Sharon to try out her new bow.
Anyway on to the shoot report. Some of you might remember that last year Severn Valley ran a charity night shoot and this year Nigel and crew set about doing another.
This year we had just over 50 people for the shoot, made up of members and guests arriving in the early evening as dusk began.
SVYF welcome all, just don't feed the zombies

SVYF welcome all, just don’t feed the zombies

Even the weather helped to set the mood, with mist just forming as people started to arrive. The weather was unseasonably warm and completely dry, which was as good as could be hoped for for this time of year.

Mist appearing as dusk falls

Mist appearing as dusk falls

One thing about a night shoot is how very different the woodland is at night and you can hear the owls not being too happy with us being in their woodland.

woods at night

woods at night

As was the case last year it would be a simple 20 target course with custom faces and scoring from one arrow getting you 40 points to negative scores if you were unlucky in picking the wrong target. The flock of bats (or should that be colony) was one where you picked the target and shot two arrows. Problem was you only found out what you scored when you got to the target.

Themed pumpkin target

Themed pumpkin target

The targets themselves were illuminated with candles buried in the ground just in front of the bosses . (Yes you did have to be careful not to go too low or you ran the risk singeing your arrows.)

baby ogre target

baby ogre target

There was the floating bat distraction too, which Nigel controlled on a length of fishing line and would bob up and down as a distraction. sound effects were also played at some shots or along paths to set the atmosphere.
One target that worked well was the skull. Normally you have to hit a target to score, with the skull you had to shoot through the eyes or nose and had one arrow.

skull shot in day light

skull shot in day light

Here is what it looked like in day light from the peg. At night it looked like it was floating in air.

Skull target from the peg in day light

Skull target from the peg in day light

There weren’t any very long targets,  the longest target was about 30 yards
Once the shoot was over there was hot food of chilli or a variety of soups along with mountains of cake to warm you up for the journey home. The atmosphere was great with lots of laughter and joking around. Congrats to Nadeem on shooting so well in longbow. I’m sure you will remind Rich of your sucess, but stop picking on Cliff 🙂
I  think we raised just under £300 with the plan being to donate the surplus once the costs are covered to local charity.
Thanks for reading