Sunday, 15 May 2011

Primitive Archery/Bowyers Meet

Great day out on Saturday, the primitive Archery meet was held at the Magna Carta Club .
It's a two day event, but I could only make the Saturday.
It was a real eye opener to see so many primitive bows there and the variety and quality of the craftmanship put me in awe (see the pic left. They are not my bows, I think they were made by Peter Broad.
The people were really friendly and it was refreshing to be able to talk to people who understood the intricacies of the wood and the techniques, we were joking about stuff which would have been wasted on non bowyers. Hmmm that sounds pretentious, there were peole there wanting to start out making bows too and there was plenty of free advice and help on offer.
One of the recurring themes was that the received wisdom always needs questioning, there was a guy there (Bob?... sorry but I'm awful with names) who'd made a very long Hazel bow from a smallish diameter stave.
It was effectively a 'longbow' but with a roughly semicircular back and flat belly. He was tall with a very long draw, and I was expecting a soft trajectory, but that bow really threw the arrows.
He'd made a nice primitive crossbow too with a wooden bow and wooden trigger mechanism of a type I hadn't seen before, people were queueing up to have a go with it. There was atl-atl throwing too, an atl-atl beings like a giant long arrow (see in the left of the photo) thrown with the aid of a throwing stick. Axes were also being thrown and there was a demo of how to use a sling, using tennis balls for safety as they were flying in all directions!
People were swapping and trading stuff too so I came home with one less Hazel stave and a lovely slat of Bamboo, which I'll eventually use to back a bow, brobably an Ipe/Bamboo recurve...

I met a few people who I'd only previously met online which was great and everyone was very friendly. I shall certainly go next year and take more of my stuff, Sunday is a 'Primitive Championship' shoot, which I'm sure will take place in the same good natured spirit as the shooting on the practice course on Saturday.
My personal thanks to Wally and everyone else involved in the organistion... Oh and I left my Portsmouth football club mug there, so hopefully someone will find it a home (obviously not with a Southampton supporter!)


  1. Hi Del,

    The hawthorn bows you have pictured are made by Peter Broad, latterly of Bridge Woods NFAS club.

    The tall guy with the crossbow was indeed Bob, and he made an oak bow from a stave over Sat/Sun, only to shoot it and come 3rd in the shoot overall on the Sunday, a fantastic achievement. With his massively long drawlength he did a great job, and the bow really shifted arrows.

    It was a great fun weekend and good to meet you in the flesh, as it were.

    Bob Dysart

  2. Cheers Bob, I'll edit the name in the post