Alex Tyler reports from the Eden Valley
Ah, Cumbria. Home of fells, daffodils and lakes, right? Wrong, as I was firmly corrected by the owner of Mains Farm, where the 2022 NFAS National Championships were held. This was the Eden Valley, with low hills, trees and farmland rather than rock.
The farm provided a spectacular setting for two courses which wound through woods and grassy slopes above a tributary to the River Eden. From a crisp start on Saturday morning, the weather stayed fine and dry all weekend.
For the Nationals, the targets are NFAS’s own range of paper-face animal targets. Archers shot 76 targets over the weekend, set by North Lakes Field Archers.
Unusually, a number of bosses were placed in the open, meaning gap shooters had less to reference when distance judging, adding another test of skill to the challenges of the undulating terrain.
Next year, NFAS will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and a range of special events are being planned.
|American Flat Bow||Mark Treadwell, Long Eaton||Christine Marshall, Viper Archers|
|Barebow (recurve)||Lee Gregory, Lyme Valley Archers||Lynn Ellingworth, Independent|
|Bowhunter (compound)||Chris Plant, Foxhill Bowmen||Helen Harris, Artemis Archers|
|Compound Limited||Chris Smith, Foxhill Bowmen||Trish Gramauskus, Redoubtables|
|Freestyle||Anthony King, The Stewartry Archers||Penny Kennedy, Lamberts Castle|
|Hunting Tackle (recurve)||Allen Grayson, Wye Valley||Susan Gill, Pennington Archers|
|Longbow||Richard Davis, Kings Norton Traditional Archers||Kay-Leona Hodgkinson, Artemis Archers|
|Primitive||David Sanderson, Woodend||Freda Marshall, The Medieval Society|
|Thumb draw||Sarfraz Aslam, Company of Sixty||–|
|Traditional Bowhunter (recurve)||Ronald Brown, Regent Archers||Wendy Horobin, Duvelle Bowmen|
|Crossbow||Mike Melladay, Spirit of Sherwood||Gemma Hough, Cheshire Oak Bowmen|
|Unlimited (compound)||Richard Edwards, Worcester Woodland Archers||Terri Boyce, Nemesis|
Teresa came away from her first championship with a silver medal in Compound Unlimited and a determination to do more field archery.
How did you get into archery?
In their last years of school, my daughters were introduced to archery as part of their Duke of Edinburgh programme. They were indoors, shooting balloons but it was enough for one to really get the bug and take it up more seriously, including being spotted by the county. I was taking her to a lot of AGB target competitions and was getting bored of sitting around waiting for her, so I got my own sighted recurve before moving to compound. Then I heard about field archery from Scott Stanbury (EFAA and NFAS championship winner in Freestyle).
I started with the EFAA (English Field Archery Association) with marked distance rounds and enjoyed the atmosphere in the woods compared to standing on a shooting line. Moving to unmarked distances was a big step which I’m still getting used to.
What did you think of the championships?
I’ve shot an EFAA championships before and found this event more relaxed, with traditional styles shooting alongside compounds and no streaming of groups by scores. Everyone has been welcoming and encouraging, which is great for a newcomer and I’m pleased to get a medal. Now I’m a member at Long Eaton Archery Club, I’m planning to get more distance judging practice and looking forward to attending more NFAS open shoots.
How did you end up as a marshal at a championships before you shot one?
My focus had been powerlifting but I picked up an injury and needed to find another sport. When I was a kid, I used to make bows in the garden, so I thought I’d try archery. I tried a target club but they had a waiting list for beginners, so in June 2021, I approached Eagle Archery, which was running a beginners’ field course.
By the second lesson, I’d decided this was what I wanted to do, so I bought a Samick Sage and joined Butsfield Bowmen. In September, as the owner of Eagle Archery, Richard Wright, is also the NFAS field officer, asked me to help marshal the first championships since the pandemic, so I did.
And how did the experience change as a competitor?
This ground, North Lakes, was the venue for my first shoot — I was petrified but the community has been great, welcoming me and always ready with advice or help.
The championships has felt like a pumped-up open shoot and it’s a real buzz to see so many archers in one place.
I like the fact that none of the competitors brags or boasts and there’s a great mixture of familiar faces and people from all over the country. I’m looking forward to more shooting because, since getting my first bow, I’ve bought another five.
For more on the NFAS, including how to join, visit: nfas.net