Long-term readers of my website (all two of them – Ed) and, indeed, people that have known me for a long time (I feel like that Venn diagram is just a circle – Ed) will remember that I very much enjoy shooting sports. Here I am, taking aim at a bell target at a local league match a few years ago:

Me, aiming my Feinwerkbau Model 700 air rifle at a local bell target match.

This stems from my parents. Both my Mum and my Dad were keen target rifle shooters in their younger years. Mum was a competition-winning markswoman in the Territorial Army (if I remember correctly) and I’m fairly sure my Dad also had some competitions under his belt.

Both parents would regularly shoot at our local indoor range, under the Telepost Club on Town Walls in Shrewsbury, and almost every year my Dad would take on the responsibility of head Bar Steward at the English Twenty Club at Bisley Camp in Surrey during the 3 week long Imperial Meeting, arguably the most prestigious event in the rifle shooting calendar in the UK (and if not the world).

We would often go to Bisley with him and stay there for two weeks, watching events unfold, joining in with celebrations with the Queen’s Prize winner each year (now called the King’s Prize!). Here’s me and my dear old Mum, stood outside the clubhouse one sunny July afternoon.

Me, as a young boy, standing outside the entrange to the English Twenty Club, my Mum stood next to me with her arm around my shoulder.

My brothers also took up shooting when they were teenagers, although I don’t really remember much about their efforts on the range. So, it’s probably no surprise that eventually I took up shooting sports, too.

I have written here about my air rifle shooting exploits before, so I won’t go into detail here. I also used to do a lot of airsoft gaming back in the mid 2000s, until the laws changed and made the whole thing feel a little less fun. I’m attempting to get back into that in 2024 though, and this Sunday will be attending my second game at West Midlands Airsoft. All good fun, but that’s not what this post is about!

Adding another string to my bow

So, what is this post about? Well, I made a decision a couple of months ago to give archery a try!

A photo of six archery targets in a line, with a dramatic cloudy sky behind them.

The thought was put into my head by a friend of mine from BeEx, Neil (aka Trooper). During our annual BeEx Cottage weekend last year, Neil brought along his archery gear, having recently taken the sport up himself. I’d done a little bit of archery before, but not for a long time. I really enjoyed myself, and found myself wanting more.

So, in the early part of the new year, I sent an enquiry off to Bowbrook Archers, my local archery club. They run a number of beginners courses throughout the year, the completion of which is required to join a club as a full member.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the beginners course in February thanks to other commitments, but they had another one in May and June that was much more achievable (although it did mean I had to skip my TKD lessons for six Tuesday nights in a row)

The course was great, it taught me a lot about correct bow technique and safety guidelines and rules (although obviously, having experience with rifle shooting in general, I was pretty familiar with these anyway!) and I had an absolute whale of a time! We did standard archery, and a little bit of “3D Archery” too, which is where you shoot at foam targets shaped like animals and other objects, from varying distances. Despite having a firm stance against ever shooting at living creatures, I enjoyed this enormously, and my shining achievement in that session was to successfully hit a large lizard target that was approximately 60-70 metres from the shooting line:

A photo of a 3D archery target with an arrow piercing its leg.

I’ve now sent off my application to be a full member of the club, and Neil has very kindly loaned me one of his first bows and some associated gear to see how I take to it before I look to acquire my own.

Eventually I’d like to take part in competitions, but it’ll be interesting to see whether I can get up to the required standard!

Watch this space…