A cold and windy evening saw the Spa Sweethearts go on their first field trip, to the St George’s Archery Club at the back of St John Fisher High School in Harrogate.
We began with a serious talk from Bill, who told us the importance of listening to whistles and instructions in order to avoid anything unpleasant happening with the (rather sharp) arrows.
The club had organised for a number of experienced members to be there to help guide us through the basics. We split into groups and took it in turns to shoot at the targets, which seemed quite a long way away until we noticed the fully-fledged club members shooting at least three times that distance on another part of the field.
Not only did we learn the best technique for shooting, we were shown how to remove the arrows from the target without spearing anyone in the stomach. We also noticed our technique improving as we were given one-to-one tuition and help.
Despite this being our June meeting, by an hour in the wind had got through all our layers and was steadily numbing our hands and feet. Used to the exposed field and its effects on archers, the club had laid on hot tea and coffee, as well as biscuits, for all of us, and there was almost a scrum as it was wheeled over to us. It was also a good chance to catch up with friends without a lethal weapon in our hands.
Once the break was over, we were challenged to compete against each other. We were split up according to which target we were aiming for and were told we would score points based on where our arrows hit: five points for getting the “gold” centre, then four, three, two and one for each circle moving outwards. Everyone seemed pleased they were able to score some good points for their team even after just a little bit of coaching, although one team did out number the others!
Finally, we were told to all line up together and raise our bows ready for an “Agincourt volley”. When we all released at once, the resulting sound of the arrows slicing through the air and hitting the targets at the same time was incredible.
Quite a few people were so impressed by the session they asked for information about the club’s courses for beginners and many said they would bring their partners along too.
It was a great evening despite the cold and we were very grateful to the club for making it so much fun.