Sunday, 1 December 2013

Fraternity of St George Shoot

I had a great day out with several guys from the club at the Fraternity of St George shoot in Windsor Great Park. (You can just make out Windsor Castle on the horizon in the gap between us).
We rendezvoused at a pub for registration and proceeded from there to the shoot venue. There was a great turn out, I've don't think I'd seen quite so many longbow archers before.
The organisation was great and there was even warming fruit punch before we started.
The weather was cool and dry, perfect for the time of year. We were shooting at marks from a variety of ranges, some barely visible, some over trees. There were some closer timed shots too, one being 10 seconds to loose as many as you could at the head of a goose (a polystyrene cut out) for a prize. Apparently this replicated a Scottish shoot where a goose was buried to the neck in the soil and shot at. The range was about 40 yards or so, my first shot was a few paces short, the second (last shot) was about 10" away. Someone managed to hit it!
At one point there was a rider on horseback, she kindly agreed to ride away about 250 yards and then come at us at a fast canter so we could get a feel for how it may have been in battle! I mimed shooting and felt I could have got about 7 shots away in the time it took her to reach us. It felt quite intimidating having the horse come at our line (with a suitable gap in it for her to ride through) but I'd rather be in our shoes than hers, for she would surely have succumbed to a hail of arrows were it in earnest.

I was shooting my 50# Yew longbow and there were several other Yew longbows there too, including a lovely characterful one from some slow growing English Yew found on chalky hills (Malverns if I recall correctly?) The bowyer recognised me from one of the forums and we had a good chat, scoffing at those who would have you believe that you can't make bows from English Yew.

In the afternoon I was also carried the big Elm 100# Warbow which drew some interest.
The flight shoot was to be the final shot (4 arrows) and the shoot captain Brian Mooyaart kindly suggested I warm up with the Elm bow on the last Mark to be sure I'd manage it. I let fly and my heaviest (600grain) flight arrow seemed to go for miles. This gave me the confidence that rather than being tired, I was in fact nicely warmed up!

The flight shoot was great, however, the strain of trying for a full 32" draw was throwing my aim way off left and I was missing the shooting lane. I actually shot the furthest arrow at 302 yards, this didn't count as a win, being out of bounds, but it told me what I wanted to know about the bow and my flight arrows.
The arrow which went the furthest was 385 grains, the four arrows I had were nominally two at 400 gn, a 500gn and a 600 gn. The 600 fell shortest, followed by the 500 and the two 400grain arrows. The result pretty much falls in line with the results from my experimentation here:-
Lighter is faster, as long as the bow, arrow (and my elbow) can take the force!
I was really pleased with the bows performance (if not my aim), the light was fading and it was getting late. We had a fair distance to travel home so we reluctantly took our leave and drove home, missing the prize giving in the pub.

My thanks to the Fraternity of St George for the excellent hospitality, organisation and a thoroughly enjoyable shoot.

1 comment:

  1. Wow thanks a lot for descrive it so well, it really made me feel like if I had been a bit there.
    In Menorca, Spain, maybe there are some other people shooting ELB, but I'm quite sure that they don't do meetings like yours.

    I will have to pack some of my selfmade ash and yew bows and visit UK!