A trip into the noble art of Field Archery

When Tim, our illustrious Chair, mentioned a have-a-go session for Field Archery, images of green, triangular hats with feathers in, Robin Hood and lots of gorgeous woodland came to mind…I was IN! Long Buckby Field Archery Club were our hosts, with their Chair, Martin Ross, a talented archer and all-round good chap, tasked with taking the Targetcraft Archers around the course. The date was set for 25 September 2022 and Chris T, Charles C, Izz T, Laura S and I set off for Daventry Sports Club and field…. not the sort of place I had in mind for field archery but once there, the woodland was tantalisingly calling to us, in the distance!

Martin went through the safety aspects of the course and had kindly set up a few practice bosses for us to check sight marks etc. The course consisted of 16 targets, set out throughout the woodland, some at known distances and some unmarked distances. The maximum score for each target is 18 points; three arrows, six scoring points, giving a maximum score of 288 points….I was going to be happy to get anywhere near the target and so had no expectations whatsoever! Still being a relative newbie to the sport, I only pull a 16lb bow, which meant that some of the distances were way beyond my capability and I was a little concerned about this. Martin was so kind and wanting everyone to have fun, made sure that I and anyone else who felt the distances were too great for them, could stand at a flag, nearer to the targets.

After some checking and re-checking of sight marks, the course being in metres, not yards, as I am used to…we set off. The course is set in beautiful, undulating and winding woodland. Sturdy footwear is essential, and a degree of fitness and mobility is required, as some of the terrain is up/downhill. The targets are basically set within the woods, with the ‘stand’ flags for distances, being set out. The archer’s ‘standpoint’ to the target, can be uphill, downhill, to the side or slightly obstructed by scrub/branches. It made for interesting shooting! The biggest difference for all of us was that known sight marks are only accurate when you are square or almost square to a target face and on flat terrain. There was much laughter as arrows flew exactly where you were not aiming! It took a few targets for us to adjust sights and for me to also adjust my expectations, as this was a lot harder than I had anticipated! None of our little group lost arrows, which is always a bonus, and we laughed our way around the course, as we all took time to adjust to the new way of shooting. At the end of the course, our scores were not too shabby, and I was most surprised to be in triple figures!

I would say to anyone interested in giving Field Archery a go, please do! Be prepared for laughs, some exercise, take good footwear, water and a snack plus no expectations of a high score for your first time! We all had a thoroughly enjoyable time and said that given the opportunity, we would do it again. I never did see anyone with a green, triangular hat with feathers in and Robin Hood was nowhere to be seen, which was a shame, as he could have helped carry the bows up and down the hills!

Catherine F

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