So this Sunday, Tom and I enjoyed his surprise early birthday present at Cotswold Archery in the grounds of Batsford Arboretum for a two hour lesson. If anyone’s signed up to Groupon or Local Amazon, Cotswold Archery are offering some smashing offers, which I would definitely recommend.
Its safe to say that it’s a good job that we don’t rely on our archery or hunting skills to put food on the table, but having said that we both managed to shoot an arrow or two into the target’s golden centre.
We had a busy class of 12 people, with all ages joining in. In pairs you each take it in turns to shoot six arrows to the best of your aim and then swap over. After the succinct safety breathing, Neil ran through the best posture…
…Arm slightly bent (this is important!!), loose grip, fingers pull back string in line with cheek, release… (See I was paying attention!)
Between Neil and his wife, Jenny, the pair work their way down the line fixing posture, correcting head position (chin up!) and helping you to aim at the target 17 metres away rather than launching arrows into the distance. Tom definitely got better with practice and might make it into Robin Hood’s Merry Men, I definitely got worse and will certainly be resigned to the role of ‘maiden in distress’.
After an hour’s shooting, a number of other bows are introduced. Everyone gets a chance to use a Syrian bow, usually used on horse back, the traditional Mongolian bow (which I could not pull back for the life of me) and a compound or hunter’s bow, sadly, a similar kind to that used by a dentist to kill Cecil, the lion.
With two hours of continuous practice, I’d discovered shoulder muscles I never knew existed and which ached something rotten on Monday morning. I also had a whopping bruise on my elbow where I kept getting caught on the string (that’s why you bend the arm!)
A few things to know before you go along:
- Wear covered shoes,
- Once in Batsford Arboretum head to the main visitors car park, the meeting point is sign posted and is in the top car park.
- All equipment provide, suited to all ages and all abilities!
But Neil and Jenny, both accredited Archery coaches, made the morning a real pleasure with their cheery banter and good instruction – although I don’t think either of us will be 2020 Olympic hopefuls.