Friday, 18 July 2014

Hiding In The Shade

Hello once more, it's been a good while since I last updated this blog. Mainly because recently I've been quite busy and don't have a great deal of time at me computer.

Well since I last updated my heavy bow had a bit of damage so got sent away and was repaired. A new set of arrows, dubbed 'Blue Murder' has been made for it to shoot outdoors, and they managed to win me 3rd prize at Assheton's Early Bird shoot. If you are wondering, why I named them that, it's because they have a blue cock feather, and a group of ravens are called 'a murder'.

Though recently my shooting as been suffering recently at close range, though at long range it's been going very well. I'm not exactly sure why that is happening but I'm sure I'll work it out in the end.
A few things though have been achieved this year. Firstly the longbow shoot at Kedleston Hall is really the only longbow shoot we go as a team, and last year (not sure if I mentioned it on here) but I set a goal to have an archer from my club on every target at the shoot. Being 16 targets that's quite a push to get 16 people from one club to shoot longbow, but after some hinting, and light pressure a band of 16 archers arrived at Kedleston this year.

It was a good day (though my shooting was bad in comparison), and prizes were won in forms of trophies and raffle. You will also notice that most of the archers in the picture are sporting the new club shirts.

The second achievement is hosting our longbow shoot successfully for the second year in a row. Which once again was very successful, the moving boar provides something quite special. So you can see below the team with the prize boar.

Recently I've been having a few people ask me why I took the raven as my archery icon. Well originally it stemmed from my quiver. I chose the image of the raven with the pentagram and Celtic swirls in because I thought it looked good. Since then I liked to adopt it because Ravens like my archery is seen as both good and bad. It's often depicted as a bird of death, as in years past they would feast on the bodies left on battle fields, and in the bible Noah sent up a raven before the dove, but the raven never returned and therefore was no friend of man.Also it was said witches were able to transform into ravens so they could go secretly to their meetings.
But in other eyes they were the informers of Odin, the father of the Norse gods, and his daughters could appear as ravens. Vikings used to take them out with them to spot for land (so obviously had better luck with them than Noah). But even in England they are seen as positive birds, the tower of London always have ravens, and it's said if the ravens ever left the tower England would fall to it's enemies, and we've believed this so much, ravens were imported from Wales during world war two, and during bird flu the ravens were kept isolated in the tower. Ancient Greeks had the raven as a solar symbol and dedicated to the sun gods, native Americans see it as a symbol of the creator and a friend to mankind.
What is also interesting about these birds is their average IQ is seen to be highier than humans, also coupled with good linguistic skills it's thought that they can understand a good amount of human words and even mimic them.
But why I like them most is because they work together as a team for the good of the group, which for archery is what you want. I.e. You want your arrows to fly together in a group.

Though at the moment I'm preparing to start up a home-business in leather work, so do keep an eye out to hear more news on that, and might get a chance to get some of my leather work for your own kit. For those with facebook you can see some examples here:

So I'm going to close this update with a quote from an unknown source, happy shooting everyone:

Sometimes the way to win is to forget to take score

Monday, 10 February 2014

Stretching Wings Ready For Spring

Well I've not posted since November, wow. Well this indoor archery season I’ve not really been shooting very well. Most of my scores have been quite below my averages of last year, but that hasn’t put me off. True it’s irritated me a good few times but what I’m putting it down to is that the new bow I’ve been using for this indoor season is a much stronger draw and faster, so it’s more me getting to know the bow and learning how to control it.

My finger is also getting better, though I still strap it up before shooting just to help it cope till it’s fully healed. But with new bow means new arrows, which I mentioned in a previous update. But to help you remember, these are a set that are different from my old sets in the fact they are made from pine rather than cedar, which are a heavier shaft. I've also gone for a new cock feather colour and a new style of point. Do you want to see them? Do you? Well here they are in their glory, the newest set dubbed ‘The Blue Quills’

After shooting them, I've had some issues with the arrows. There is a bit of variation in the shafts which anyone using wooden arrows would know, but the variation in these seem quite a lot, whether this is something I've done or not I’m not entirely sure. It’s not put me off pine but I’ll have to make a few more sets to get a better idea of how consistent the wood is. But the other week I was shooting them to see which ones grouped with each other and managed to get a small group that grouped very well. One of them though has a bit of a mind of its own, generally when it shoots it shoots very well, but every ones in a while it decides that it’s bored of shooting well and wanders off and does its own thing normally resulting in just missing the target.

After a dismal season of shooting last Sunday we marched to Chester (Ok we drove really) for the Cheshire team shoot. Being selected for the 2nd team rather than the first the pressure was off me. Not only did I not bother looking at the scoreboard through-out the shoot, I didn’t even look at my own score. Which resulted in me shooting much better than I had been shooting that season. Not only was it better than I had been shooting that season, but it was the best I’d ever shot at that shoot, a nice round 400 for a Portsmouth with only one miss *grumble*, but 11 golds. This meant I’d shot well enough to get a new Cheshire archery badge, the ‘black deva’, I also won Gent’s Longbow Most Golds prize.

Some more good news came out of this shoot. As regular readers of this know I whip my arrows and this has been noticed by a few people. Partly because of this and a few other things, I’ve been asked to make some arrows not for shooting but to be trophies for a special shoot between Welsh and Cheshire archers. So I’m very pleased about that as you can imagine. One thing I will note, I’ve been shooting with my new set of arrows and the quality of the thread I bought as ‘fletching thread’ is a little low because its nylon. If anyone plans to whip arrows use linen, I've used that for all arrow whipping up to this set and it’s never gone wrong its tough and lasting, whilst this nylon seems to fray and snap quite a bit of the time.

With our new range at new local, the club decided it was time to revamp the uniform and club colours. So after a large amount of discussion (you would not believe the amount of conversation and emails this took), we went back to our archery roots, esp. Cheshire roots and went with green and white, which look rather snazzy. Plus we brought club hoodies into the kit which I believe we can get zipped or unzipped. ‘But green is a boring colour.’ I hear some of you cry, well for those that don’t like to take the green can take the charcoal. Yes we brought in a charcoal grey (off black) shirt with the same pattern which as you can see from the photo above blends together rather well.

On a different hand of my archery world (though not completely contained within it), I like to play with leather to see what I can make from it, and recently this is being noted by members of not only my club but people I meet at shoots as well, and I have been getting a few people requesting me to make some things for them, which I would love to turn into a proper job rather than just a hobby. So far all my work has been received with grins and aside from one minor problem there have been no complains. So if you are in the need of some leather goods (whether archery related or not) then please do drop me a message. If you are on facebook you can see some examples of my work by searching for ‘Mudd Hutt’, I hope to hear from some of you in the future.

Back into archery and preparation for our 2nd longbow shoot are underway. Form has been updated and published, judges booked, soon I’ll be sending e-mails out to prize winners. Even had news that some people are delaying their holidays just to come to our shoot. I think the main attraction to this shoot is the fact at the end of it we’ll be shooting at a moving target, which is a rarity (at least in target archery, I can’t comment on other forms). But with plans to expand upon last year perhaps with sandwiches or burgers/sausages something piggy themed, we’ll have to see.

Is it for this update dear readers, and I leave you with the following quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it: Every arrow that flies feels the pull of the earth.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Nursing A Crippled Wing

Hello once more dear readers, I must apologise for missing the update for last month.

My archery seems to have taken a bit of a nose dive since we moved indoors. I can't seem to get the scores I should be getting and not entirely sure why, I've probably changed my form in some way and its not proving beneficial. What might be effecting it is that I'm switching between my new bow and old bow depending on how my finger is feeling. At the end of last indoor season my third finger on my drawing hand was giving me alot of pain whilst drawing up, so much I was missing a few practice nights to try and relax it. Though as is always the way its only when things hurt that you realise how much you use things.

One of the archers at the club gave me a good tip to help it heal and it is working, but I still need to practice with the new bow to get better control of it, also when the new set of arrows are ready I'm hoping they'll be a better match to the bow than the current arrows are.

I still get bored shooting indoors as its always the same two rounds over and over again little to no change in distance and just dull. If there is a sunny day I might try and convince some people to come and play outside, though with the chill in the air people might be less inclined to go out.

Not much has happened since my last update, aside from attending White Roses' Sherry shoot. Though I do have to admit part way though I was almost going to drop out as drawing the bow was getting very painful. Thinking back it would have probably been better for my finger if I had, but I still shot and because of it I shot rather poorly as I couldn't draw the bow with any form of consistency. But it was still a nice shoot to attend and very well catered.

I also attended New Century's novice shoot where despite shooting with a bad finger (and not shooting very well) I managed to set a new PB for a National round and won a white wheat sheaf Cheshire badge. So that was one bit of good news.

We have had one fun shoot since we moved indoors on Halloween, which was great. Lots of people dressing up (myself included). Fun games (thanks Meg) and wonderful food.

As things stand though I'm still nursing a bad finger and stuck indoors. But things will come back to me again, they often do.

I will end this update with a quote from master Yoda himself (yes not an archery quote but relates to all things);
'Do' or 'Do not'. There is no 'Try'

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Flying On The High Winds

Greetings once more readers, seems like ages since doing my last update. But this update I'm going to do slightly differently from the previous ones. Reading over the last ones talking about rounds and scores one by one is getting more of a track record rather than what I wanted this blog to be.

Though saying that, this past month has certainly been a record breaking one, for those that don't know I keep a track record of all the shoots I do, scores, averages, percentages and the odd graph thrown in. Yes I know much too technical for the simple longbow archer, but I still do it. Well since last update I've shot eight rounds outdoors and of those rounds, six have been new personal records. Also I've managed to achieve my third (and fourth) Bowman classification score, so the new badge is on the way.

One of the shoots I went to was Pontifract, which is a shoot I enjoy. This year though I wasn’t enjoying it as much, mainly for the reason I was scoring. Now I don’t mind scoring generally, even though it was for six people, which is pretty common at longbow shoots. It was because we had to fill out these score slips at the end of each dozen. Again not a major problem but shooting three arrows, coming off the line and then going back on to shoot three more, you don’t get much time to do it and you end up rushing shots to get it done and making mistakes on the score sheets. Now if we did ends of six then it would be better but as it was it was a real rush and ended up rushing shots just to get the scores done. It wasn’t just me struggling with this, but seems quite a few scorers were having difficulty with this and a few had to have two people to help do it to get it done in time. So I think some improvement could be done there. There are a few things I like about Pontifract, which if you go back to last year you can probably find out. But I’ll remind you, firstly it’s not a recognized round, its 10 dozen at approximately 50yds shot within castle walls. Second it also has speed shooting (which I wasn’t far off winning this year) a 3D bear hunt and wand shooting. All of which I didn’t do very well on this year, though this year was a lot of head to heads as the chance for a prize spurred on archers skills. In fact one of our very own managed to win the bear hunt David Shackleton, well done Dave. I myself brought back the best gold trophy and left with is as well after once again taking out the cross leaving just a fraction of one stick of it left. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that, should have done really to go with last years.

One thing that I’m realizing is that recently esp with trying to get the third bowman pip, was that I was score chasing, and that is not what I wanted archery to become for me, I shoot because I enjoy it, not because of the score. Now admittedly a high score is nice but it’s not what I want to drive my shooting, because following scores leads to disappointment. I suppose in a way it can be linked to the dark side in Star Wars. Shooting just for scores makes you sacrifice a lot of those things to get scores and if you don’t, I suppose you get disappointed that you don’t get those scores because something is standing in your way. I guess that must be why a lot of people like shooting compound, it’s getting higher score for less effort. Now I’ve probably annoyed compound archers with that statement and that they will argue that their archery is just as difficult and competitive (comment below if you have an opinion). To a degree that is true, meaning when shooting against other compound archers it’s as difficult as any other bow type to get a higher score BUT compared against another bow types and you have the advantage. The form of a compound archer may not be great but the bow compensates. If you don’t get good form with a longbow and you barely hit the target, so you see the link.

On a different note my new bow arrived recently and though it was the weight I had asked for I was surprised that it was much shorter than my previous one. Not that that is a problem, shooting it is great and after a few sessions with it I’m beginning to gain control over it and get to know it. The difference in length is making it difficult though, as the angle of the string seems wrong on the fingers for now. Also it’s taken a toll on one of my fingers, and the top knuckle is rather sore so I may have to rest it before really using it properly again. I’ll see how it goes I think.

In the mean time new bow means new arrows, so in production are a brand new set of arrows with a change in design, as well as trying modkin points I’m switching from POC shafts to Pine, hopefully they’ll work out well I’ll post pictures when I’ve finished but in the mean time they are still in production. I’m quite interested to see the results as lots of people like pine but having never tried it it’ll be nice to do some comparisons. For those of you asking what a modkin point is, imagine round version of a bodkin, so gives the medieval look, but doesn’t cut the bosses to ribbons.

Oh something interesting and new (for me) was that recently I attended Assheton Bowmen’s shoot which was a York (Hereford for ladies & juniors) and at the end of 100yds (halfway through) I was in third place, the first two positions being held by Master Bowmen level archers. So having never placed in a competition before (save a novice shoot I attended) I was excited. Unfortunately my 80yds shooting wasn’t good and I was struggling for the first two dozen of that range, which allowed a couple of other archers to catch up and overtake. Though at the 60yd range I shot very well (for me) in one end landing 3 golds (almost 4) two sevens and a five. In fact coming into the last dozen it was a buzz of excitement between myself and an archer on the next boss both of which the same level. In the end he managed to beat me by 9 points, which I might add if I got those points I would have beaten my PB by one point, so I’m not unhappy about it, though would have been nice to place.

Ok, I shall close this update with a quote from Pip Bickerstaff’s book, ‘The Heritage of the Longbow.’

Learning to shoot the longbow well is, in many ways, like learning the art of pleasing a good woman. The first few fumbled attempts do not lead to any sort of success, but as you come to understand its little ways so you come to be more at one with the bow. The more it becomes a part of you the more you can get out of it creating an accuracy which is built entirely on an instinctive and natural feel.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Swooping Low Only To Fly Higher

Hail and well met readers, it’s been of a bit of an odd month this month in and outside of the archery world.

With our first open longbow shoot fresh in the muscle memory was the monthly medal, which was a FITA 60m. Now I’ve never really liked metric rounds, and I maintain that. I’m not sure why I just prefer imperial rounds. I know a lot of archers who use more modern bows prefer the metric rounds to separate the inner gold from the outer gold. But with a longbow if I hit anywhere in the gold at a long range it’s a bonus. It was my first FITA 60m and it was enough to win me the longbow medal for this month.

Next was out clubs longbow/barebow shoot. This is where those who have spare longbows bring down spares and lend them out. Though because some don’t want to try or our selection of bows is limited then it’s also a barebow shoot. Interestingly though the regular longbow shooters were suffering as arrows seemed to just go higher and higher, despite the heat. This left some questions as with the heat you’d expect the bows to become a bit more floppy and lose some cast. It was the first time I did a Short Windsor, so another personal first. To be honest though the score was a lot lower than I was expecting, but means a chance to improve. Though it is interesting, that these shoots often seem to spark some interest in longbows in other members.

So despite my drop in shooting ability at the longbow shoot, the next shoot I did of an evening was a Long National, which I put over 100pts on my PB, making it just shy of my National PB. Which was shocking to say the least so I put it down to fluke/luck. But yet the following Sunday was our Club Championship shoot which is a York. Now I’ve always struggled on York shoots and have never shot a 1stclass score on one, and I never have.....but I have now shot a Bowman score on one.

So on the run of good luck/ shooting I managed another Bowman score the following Sunday shooting a Long Metric, where I shot over double my last PB for a Long Metric.

Though with these two Bowmen scores under my belt, with one more to get (till I can get a new badge) I headed to the Yorkshire Championship Longbow shoot, which is a two way shoot. Now I wasn’t expecting a Bowman score and I was right. This was due to two things, it’s a two way shoot so I was expecting a lower score as you’ve got to work with weather opposing each other. The other is the gusting strong winds. But as always a wonderful day, added to by the fact I earned some coins from the gold sweep achieving the best gold at 80 yards won a prize in the raffle. According to the results I ranked 9th out of 23 shooting the double york, so quite pleased.

But I shall leave you now as always with an archery poem, by an unknown author (if you know it please comment below);

Now I sight my shaft to shoot,
I pray thee Lord to win me loot,
And if I miss the target yellow,
Let me hit another fellow!
I nock my arrow and draw my bow,
Then loose my shaft and watch it go.
And it may hit the target with some luck,
But incase it don't, I suggest you duck.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Soaring On The Winds Of Triumph

Hello once more, this is the second part of June continuing from the last update, and will probably be just as long.

OK, so picking up from where I left off last time, the next shoot in line was a club shoot, so no pressure. It was a FITA 900, easy enough though being a metric round will just have to suffer through it. Anyway it did not go well, for reasons unknown I couldn't seem to hit the target at all. they were going in every direction but the target which was not putting me in the best mood. This got worse but one arrow (arrow number 1 in fact) driving itself deep into the left and gouging out a chunk of itself, in the first 6 arrows. The next incident was with arrow number 7, knowing it drops low I aimed higher and it cracked the edge of the boss shattering itself into two bits. With two arrows down though I had spares they were very dodgy ones, so I abandoned the shoot, demoralised.

I was cheered up by a test shooting of the boar target for the up coming longbow shoot. As its rather unconventional we had to test the idea to see if worked and work out any kinks and its a god job we did as there were a couple. But with a bit of testing these were solved quickly and the test shoot went very well.

So with our longbow shoot looming and with not enough arrows to shoot it, it was time to make some more. My lovely lady took our little one out for a few hours leaving me alone to get on with it. Though making arrows doesn't take too much time if you have to straighten shafts it takes a lot longer. Straightening bare shafts I've found is an art form, one which I'm getting better at I will admit, and it always helps if the arrow heads are on straight, which I found a couple of mine were slightly off, but the shafts were straight so that was good enough for me. Few hours later I straightened all but 4 to a standard I was satisfied with. For those that have never made them, I cannot describe the beauty of spinning an arrow on your hand and feeling no vibrations at all when before there was a lot.

So with arrows in production I had some of the shoots trophies to make too. Originally they were meant to be painted archers on stands, but as I was painting the archers when I was tired and it was dark so the light was poor I wasn't happy with the results. So taking the bull by the horns and on the Friday I abandoned that I idea and set to work on a new one. Of part of log rounds, cut to size to suit the different categories of the shoot: Gents, Ladies, Juniors. so off into the garden to find a suitable log of good size and proportions, then it was sawing (by hand I will add) through and shaping. Originally I did want to leave the bark on, but the plane had different ideas as it quite happily ripped chunks off, so to make it nice I removed the rest. A good sanding and bit of drilling and I was done for the night.
Saturday was a busy day, with my daughter assisting me the trophies got oiled, waxed and polished. what surprised me was how much oil the wood seemed to need, it just drank it up. So around 9-10ish the trophies were finished. Arrows were all fletched, so I was sitting up whipping my fletchings and cresting, and out of the 9 arrows I had fletched, 7 were complete and it was time for bed.

The day of the shoot was an early start, up early, dressed, breakfasted, packed up gear and lunch and off to the range, where thankfully people were already there and working on setting up the field. At this point I would like to thank Mrs. Allen for letting Shaun out for a rather long 5 mins after being away shooting for most of the week. Starting at 8 the field was laid out and ready for 9:30 and judges had already started to arrive to make sure all was OK.

Targets lined up straight as.....well an arrow :p

Thanks to Mr. Foster & Son, and Mr. Wingate for their help in making these.
 A wonderful selection of trophies if I do say so myself.

Wendy Hodkinson
In spirit of the shoot our lovely Lady Paramount turned up sporting the traditional green and white.

Being the organiser I was the one who introduced Wendy and our judges for the day, and if  I say so myself the shoot seemed to go very well. We only had one no show archer. Unfortunately for me for one reason or another my score was a little lower than what I had expected, but put it down to stress and lack of sleep, and to be fair I didn't really mind as long as people were happy and enjoying themselves that is what counts, though would have been nice to get the next Cheshire badge, as it would have meant a new PB too but next time. The addition of Port and cake after the first two dozen at each distance seemed to assure this. Even the weather was looking out for us, because despite some gusty winds it was a beautiful day, as you can see by the burnt tiger stripes on my arm.
Of course to finish the round 3 arrows were shot to command, dubbed an Agincourt Volley. To me no longbow shoot is complete without one. The commander (in this case our head judge) would give the commands:
"Archers nock your arrows!"
"Loose!" - NOT 'Fire' as our judge found out when, he said this going through how to do it and the archers as one corrected him, he he. Now some of you may have been to a shoot when the commands are slightly different, e.g. 'Draw to the head!', or a command between "Draw!" and "Loose!" of "Mark!" mean mark your target i.e. aim.
Rather than show you lots of pictures, one of the photographers of the day; Jacob Taylor made a video:


The Boar Hunt
Now I know I've been keeping you waiting but we are finally here. So what was the secret of the boar hunt I was keeping from you. Well, with the finish of the shoot and volley, the boar was set up. Bosses were set either side of the run, and polystyrene blocks in front. Ah yes you spotted the key word, 'run' not only were we shooting at a boar, it was moving too.
the rules of the game were simple, as the boar moves shoot as many arrows as you can at it. If you hit it on the first pass you are through to round two. Round two was moving again but this time you had to get it in the kill zone. Some of our visitors were obviously hunters in training for we had to do a third run to find our champion. and standing next to the boar after its first run is our champion, Dale Message:

The archer with the white spiky hair to the left of the boar.

Unfortunately for me, but fortunate for the shoot I didn't hit the boar, so I scurried off to do the scoring, so by the time the raffle was finished everything was ready. to be honest the results were close, but our own Angus walked away with first place for gents, and Agincourt Volley. Lizzie Foster was literally one millimetre from claiming Worst White.....the judge had to get out a magnifying glass to determine whether it was touching the line or not, so she had to make do with just Junior most golds. As for myself I won best gold, being off the cross by millimetres. Admittedly there was a mistake with the ladies awards but it was sorted out in the end.

What was most satisfying was at the end, I had people come up and shake me by the hand and thanking me for organising the shoot, both people I knew and hadn't met before. So I was feeling very pleased. BUT I cannot take all the credit, so I would like to thank everyone who helped out on the day. Setting up not only the field but the function room for raffle and prizes, donating prizes, selling raffle tickets, selling cakes and drinks, taking photos, sorting out scores and tidying away. Every little bit helped to make a wonderful day for everyone, and with that success and lessons learnt we know what we can do for next year too. So a BIG BIG thank you to all of you.

Now, as you know I generally end my updates posts with a quote or saying, but this time I'm going to do something a little different. Since the shoot we've already had some feedback, all positive, but I would like to share the one that I think is the one that shows how successful the day was. Until next time, good shooting everyone.

Hi Stephen,
I really enjoyed the shoot, it was the first tournament for me since 1956/57 and really made me think how much time I have wasted before getting back into archery, and especialy Longbow.
I thought the finale of the "Running Boar" was truly fantastic and can't wait till next year shoot with you all again and to try and get a Purple Cheshire Cat,

Best Regards
Will Spalding

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Stretching The Wings

Hello everyone, I know it’s not the end of the month yet but seeing as it’s a busy month I thought I’d split into two posts. Save you reading mass amounts of text and gives you double the pleasure. Plus means I forget less, so everyone is a winner. So let’s kick off;

First shoot of this month was our friendly match with Rochdale, and this year was their turn to host. Well I can truly say they did a very good job of it, both clubs turned out in force from veterans to novices totalling in 35 archers altogether.  They day was a good day for archery, sunny but with a chill in the air, no rain and minor wind. Alas though we did not win, but we can claim a moral victory for we did beat their longbow archer with ours, but unfortunately they had no compound archers to compare our too. But a big thank you to the Rochdale archers, especially those who supplied the food it was welcomed and judging from what little remained it was well liked.
Our team against Rochdale
Though I was not in attendance myself, I'd like to give a shout out to those from the club that went to the church Fete at Toft Church to run a have-a-go session. If you went I hope you said hello, and tried your hand at archery, if not maybe next time.
The next Sunday saw a FITA 70 being shot. Not one of my favourite rounds as I tend to prefer imperial rather than metric. Whether this is because I am a longbow archer, or because there is less variety in the metric rounds….That is probably it really there are fewer metric rounds compared to imperial, so less variety. Again it was a lovely day for shooting with little to no wind and I took full advantage of it shooting not only a new PB but also to a handicap of 60, which if it is the Bowman classification handicap level. So just need to shoot that well at a York or FITA round, I better start practicing at the longer distances. Twice as well I came close to earning a 3-gold end badge but close was all I got, so the badge can wait for another day.

Our monthly medal I missed this monthL. This was due to my shoulder still not being fully recovered and with a competition on the Sunday I decided to bow out and rest it, which is just as well because we were invited out for a meal.

Sunday morning, I was up early prepping my gear for the trip down to Kedleston Hall’s grand lawn upon which myself and all of my club’s longbow archers would attend to shoot. Unfortunately two of our members were not able to attend, but it still left us with nine longbow archers shooting on the day, three of which won awards. Highest Score Gent, Most Golds Junior Girl and Best Gold overall, none of which were me, the gold ring at 60yds seemed to repel my arrows.  For the rest of us the raffle was where the prizes lay, and with a small tankard for me and a tub of chocolates for my good lady and daughter there were smiles all round in my family. What I would like to see for next year is a member of my club on every target there, 16 archers, it’s possible though a stretch.
We few, we happy few we band of brothers archers.
The sorrow of the day though was in the first 6 arrows, one of the archers on my target smashed one of my arrows nocks, so I had to shoot with a spare which has a mind of its own. So through the shoot I had one arrow that like to go low, and another that sometimes liked to go high, but would change its mind on occasion.

Not sure about that shot

It was a nice day overall, sunny and warm but not too hot, little wind to trouble the arrows though oddly enough the sheep in the next field were being disturbed by something. Usually one or two sheep bleat, fair enough but the entire field of sheep were calling throughout the day, I think they were trying to put people off for a laugh. The judge’s comment was, “If those sheep don’t shut up, I’m going to make you all do an Agincourt volley in that direction.” 

Ah last update I said I’d tell you what the surprise for the boar hunt at our longbow shoot is, well………I’m not going to, and you’ll have to wait for the next update. It was announced at Kedleston but if you weren’t there then I’ll keep you in suspense just a little longer. But I will tell you we had a test shoot to test the support for it (as it doesn’t come with any), and I shot 3 arrows at it, somewhere around 45yds. The first arrow is the one in the picture below, the other two (admittedly not my best arrows, because I was worried about damaging them) flew straight over the top. But with the first arrow being a kill it didn’t really matter, but it was odd shooting at the boar. With target archery where you want to hit is raised off the ground quite a way, so you’re aiming much lower than you would otherwise have done. Having never done field this is a new and interesting concept to me.

Bacon anyone??
I think this is the place to close this update, see I told you it would be a long one. Just image how long it would be if I had waited till the end of the month.

So until next time, good shooting everyone, I leave you with the words of Eugen Herrigel:
“The right art," cried the Master, "is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have a much too wilful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.”