Archers Review Articles
Some times a review just isn't enough, here you will find a list of archery related articles, shoot reports, interviews and pretty much anything in between. Steve, Andy and Geoff have been touring the world looking for the best archery articles.
Chris Boyton of Boyton Archery took some time out to talk to us and if you own one of Chris' Ipe Longbows you will know why he is such a revered authority on Longbows and their history, not just bows though, Chris produces superb pine shafting too..
This "10 minutes with" is Herb Meland of Pronghorn bows, he kindly took the time to talk to us about himself and his bows. I have owned and shot several of Herbs terrific bows and was interested to know a little bit more about the man behind them, Herb has been making bows since 1969
Lee Ankers of Heritage Longbows. Although an archer for some time ( and a longbow archer of some note at that) he is a relative newcomer to the black art of Longbow making, you will find a review of at least one of his bows amongst the reviews and we are looking forward to reviewing a couple more in the near future - we managed to get him to take 10 minutes from his busy schedule to find out a little more about him
For some while we have heard whispers from "up north", it seems there are some extraordinary English Longbows being produced by one Aidy Hayes, national target records are starting to fall and the word "in the greenwood" is that these bows are startlingly fast. We have tracked down the bowyer responsible and in addition to a couple of bows we have on test right now we thought we should find out a little more about the man.
It's no secret that Border make some of the finest bows in the world, but the bows are not magic'ed ( I know it's not a word .. point is, it should be) out of thin air. So this month we take a quick peek behind the brand and spend 10 minutes with Sid Snr one of the driving forces who has made Brorder Bows one of the most lusted after makes.
Archery is like a sickness (but in a good way). You know when you have it: you will see a patch of woodland and think “Ah... I just know where I would put the Deer” or you imagine a post-apocalypse shoot at the mall whilst you are being dragged shopping by the good lady!
We asked new archer Ian Tillot to tell us all about the bow making course he attended with Ben from Barebow Archery - this is his story...
It seems fitting that in this special Robin Hood edition of the magazine that we should catch up with "Little John" Catley of Little John Arrows to talk about himself, Little John Arrows and a his thoughts about making the perfect arrow. We went along to Johns studio a few weeks ago and spent the day picking his brains.
Pedro who? You may well ask!
He is, however, not the hero of our story, that particular epithet belongs to Edward Woodstock.
He is though, most assuredly, its' villain. As vicious and murderous a blackguard ever to occupy the throne of Castile and Leon, or any throne, for that matter. He was, in fact, the cousin of Edward Woodstock, Prince of the blood of the house of Plantagenet, known to later history as the Black Prince.
For most people involved in a hobby, especially when coming in to them as an adult, the introduction is rather sedate. A friend or work colleague is the usual route in to many pastimes and it often takes a while before their interest peaks and they look for more serious endeavours in their chosen field. Not so for me as my route in to the elite competition of archery was both swift and a minor disaster. I had done archery a number of times, first via the scouting association, then a 6 week course in the summer and then at a small family run local club, where the social aspect was more important than actually teaching anybody to shoot to any decent level (although I must add things were always very safe).
Where is my Navy? Where are my supplies? Where, in God’s name, is Wallace?
Edward was in a tight spot.
It was July 20th 1298 and his army was on the verge of mutiny.
High on the flank of Norway’s largest peak, the Galdhoepiggen, 8000 feet, home to the legends of the old Norse gods, a small party of archaeologists work quietly and quickly, the season is short and there is much to be done.
I am sure that there cannot be an archer out there that hasn't at some point wanted to make their own bow, I wouldn't be at all surprised to note that there are also a huge number of folk who only shoot bows they have made themselves. In the UK there was a new class developed just for the folks who want to make and shoot their own home made primitive style bows.
Over the last few months we have had several modern day heroes of archery and there have been mutterings that the most famous exponent of our art has not yet been mentioned- Robert Hode, Robin Hood or Robin Of Loxley. Known throughout the world for taunting that rascal the sheriff of Nottingham and rescuing the Maid Marion from his evil clutches. After at least 800 years he still has the power to elicit several hundred million dollars from Hollywood to tell more tales of his escapades and further enhance the legend. With Russell Crowe starring in the latest film about to hit the screens perhaps a closer look is required.
When it comes to archery heroes I imagine that like me most archers will have their own, it could be Fred Bear, Saxton Pope what about Howard Hill or Byron Ferguson ( I like Byron but imagine he is in fact his own hero ), the list is seemingly endless, mighty archers taking their place in the hall of fame. There would be a strong claim too from those bowyers that are constantly improving and making innovations to the bows we use both in performance and handling.
Before I started writing this I thought I had better look up some definitions of the word Hero - we all have our own interpretation and in the context of archery it could mean many things.
The vast majority of archers, at least in Europe don't hunt, in fact in the UK hunting is banned with a bow and arrow, we don't want to get in to that particular discussion because the point we want to make is that even though we don't all hunt we do know that a bow and arrow is a lethal weapon.
You know what golfers are like. From the first amateurish slash ( and miss ) to some sort of proficiency, they pursue perfection from that moment on with an almost religious zeal. I say this, because it staggers me to find that at the Grove golf club in South Wales (Porthcawl ) the committee agreed to give up members precious game time on a Sunday afternoon for a bunch of archers, in aid of charity, to wander around their course shooting arrows into their hallowed fairways. In all my years in archery I have never had the opportunity to shoot archery golf on an actual golf course, the obvious reasons being that the members would object to give up their play so that strangers with an even stranger game would shoot big holes in the sacred turf, or, heaven forbid, set fire to it.
I couldn't say for certain that it was the exposure to the Mary Rose got that started me off in archery, I think more likely it was the interest I had always had in the romantic notion of a band of English Longbowmen, out numbered, with no hope of victory and only the certain knowledge that soon they would be slaughtered. Instead of running before their foe, or seeking to surrender, they stand steely eyed and grim faced, their trust in God, each other and their mighty warbows. Time and again this scene was played out across Europe and in particular France in the 14th and 15th century.
Imagine if you will a park football field containing Pele, Sir Stanley Matthews, Brian Clough and a whole host of other famous faces from the footballing world, all getting together for a quick jumpers for goal posts style kick about. No doubt it would get world wide media coverage with numerous TV crews print, press and no doubt a huge crowd of spectators. Imagine further still if they invited you to play and at half time and full time were willing to share the various stories and anecdotes from their footballing lives over an orange or two. Well on Sunday I found myself in what can only be described as the archery equivalent, a field somewhere in Berkshire filled with some of the biggest names in English Longbow archery
This article should really be called "taking the crap off the bow". At pretty much every shoot I went to last year I had Andy standing behind me on the range and inevitably at some point he would berate me for having 4 spider silencers and 2 limb saver dampers on my bow, he was convinced all the stuff was sapping the speed from my bow. I had put it all on almost the day I got the bow just to see what it looked like and it looked super - I don't need silencers when shooting 3D, it was purely a decision based on what it looked like, they stayed on the bow all year.
Back in April we did a feature on the South West Challenge, a 9 day archery event which takes part annually in the South West of England. I had taken part in this event last year with Steve and Geoff and was caught up in the fantastic spirit of the event. There are many people who take archery very seriously, shooting most weekends, evenings and practising for many days, however at the South West Challenge you meet people on a slightly different level. People so in love with the sport that they are happy to commit a whole week of their busy year totally to archery and it is a big commitment because this isn't a quick shoot and then off for some fun, this really is a challenge.
Rise! Is there anything more annoying than ingratitude? You do everything possible to help people, their troubles, their lack of a good, fair and just ruler, they then throw it back in your face. Well, I’m afraid this face* has turned from soft and smiley to solid granite. And a chip from this block, Wallace, old chap, is coming to a place, near you, very soon…
We haven't been everywhere, that would be a silly thing to say, however we do get about. During those travels in search of ultimate archery madness we have stumbled across some great shoots and some terrible ones. One place however never fails to disappoint and when these guys announce a shoot it will be booked out in days.
The Sun, cool red in the early dawn. Shafts of Sunlight picking out the tops of the long low hills of the Teviot. No light was to be seen in the inky black shadows of the valley below, where Riccarton lay.
France was prostrate, the land ravaged and denuded, bled of her children, bled of her wealth. Illustrious captains dead, defeated, captured, her armies destroyed and dispersed, her people in despair, hope dying, vitality seeping away in a war, now, almost one hundred years old. Her arrogant attacker, victories, their blood lust, came upon her once again. Now as the final battle for her soul approached she was all but helpless against this, her most dangerous foe.
On TV recently there have been some adverts for a well known Sofa store, you know the one, it's the place where you couldn't pay full price even if you wanted to as there seems to be a permanent half price sale... well this ad does my head in, you see, they show pictures of an old boy in a white coat with glasses and the smallest hammer in the world, he peers over the top of his glasses in a "craftsman like" manner whilst tapping ineffectually at the arm rest on a a sofa. Honestly, I ask you, is anyone going to be taken in by this nonsense ? and how the heck do they get away with such blatent rubbish - we all know they are probably nocked together by some convict in a far off land or some poor labourer being paid thruppence farthing a fortnight. In any case the colours are horrible and they all look like they have been beamed out of 1974.
After our latest few escapades with Warbows, namely the pig shoot, the visit to the Mary Rose Trust and our shoot with the folk from the Medieval Society, my affair with heavy bows has been rekindled. In years past when there were few shooting such monsters it was hard to find those of a like mind so you can only imagine my delight at finding a group of lads shooting big bows just 20 miles from me. The Company of Canterbury Longbowmen are based quite obviously around Canterbury and have managed to find themselves a landowner who acts as "patron" to the extent that they may shoot on Sundays over his land - "oh, how times have changed over the last 600 years" ( the smile you see on my lips is a wry one !)
While talking and writing about archery is fun and doing product reviews gives us an opportunity to try new stuff and tell you all about it, the real joy of course is getting out there and actually shooting. In what we hope will become a feature that everybody can be involved in,
A young boy, in pyjamas, sits on an old thread bare sofa eating toast, it is 09:03am October 11th 1982 and rather unusually for this time in the morning there is actually something to watch on television. But this isn't some cartoon, some piece of television drivel this is the event of the century. This is his generations moon landing, something so momentous and special that it will live in the mind for many years to come. Because at 09:03 am on that morning he sets eyes on something that, other than a relatively small team of divers, people have not seen in nearly 500 years, this is the Mary Rose
It's not often that one gets the chance to compete in a national level championships. Rarer still is the opportunity to partake in two in the same week, fresh from the NFAS National 3D archery championships the following week saw the first ever UK Atlatl Championship. Steve and I have been using Atlatl's for around 6 years and during that time had been given permission by the World Atlatl Association to run the official UK championships, it has taken us a while to organise the first event and things came together this year.