Now who can honestly say that they have watched Kevin Costner wielding bow and arrow without thinking “Now that is *seriously* cool!”? I may well be showing my age here now that Russell Crowe has also portrayed Robin Hood, but for me, that dashing rogue will always be Kevin, and will always have an American accent.
I remember once gazing out of a school window (the class being thoroughly absorbing, naturally!) and seeing a group shooting arrows on the field, and thinking “I’d love to have a go at that”. Last year I finally turned “would love to” into “am going to”!
An online friend mentioned he was a helping at a “Have a go at Archery” stall at a fayre to raise funds for an Archery club he was a member of. A few minutes of googling, and I’d found a local Archery club in Bournemouth and enrolled on one of their 3 taster courses per year
My sole experience of Archery having been envious awe watching Robin Hood, I was expecting to be handed a curved length of wood with string and a quiver of arrows. Instead I was first led to a rack of bows, critically appraised (for my weak and pitiful stature and shoulders, it turns out!) and handed a recurve bow with a left-handed grip, a sight (Kev is above such things as sights, but for me, it was essential!), and a stabiliser which balances the bow, and reduces the vibrations to your arm as you shoot. You pull the string, with your dominant hand – I’m right-handed, hence hold the bow in my left hand.
The addition of a bracer to protect my left forearm, a tab to protect my right twanging fingertips, a quiver hanging off my belt, and some green tights and I was good to go. Ok, I jest about the tights. I wore jeans and a t-shirt and everyone was able to keep their breakfast down.
Archery Taster Course
Bournemouth Archery Club‘s Introduction to Archery course consists of four 2 hour lessons run by qualified coaches. There were 16 of us attending, divided amongst 4 targets, with one coach per target. After our first attempt with the coach’s undivided attention, we were shooting 2 at a time, so hardly any time waiting your turn. By the end of the first lesson I not only felt I’d had oodles of attempts (and numerous bulls eyes, get me!), but ached in shoulder and back muscles I didn’t even know I had!
Archery as a Hobby
- Sociable: Bournemouth Archery Club has club nights, pic nics, friendlies, you name it. You could get as immersed as you wished
- Solitary: Company is not a prerequisite. Lone wolves could shoot solo
- Competitive: There are plenty of competitions
- Non-competitive: You could ignore everyone else’s performance and compete against your own high score
- Fitness: No great level of fitness is required
- Age: Suitable for nearly any age (juniors can shoot, although parental accompaniment is required)
- Equipment: Bows can be rented, and you’re strongly advised to do so initially, since you will pull a higher poundage as your muscles strengthen
- Consumables: Arrows are reusable, so no real upkeep costs once equipped
- Indoor/Outdoor: Weather independant
- Equipment: Bows can be expensive to purchase if you don’t wish to rent
- Club membership: Another outlay (although prices seemed reasonable to me)
I thorougly enjoyed my Archery experience. I chose not to apply for membership, but purely because I’m currently being an experience junkie, and sowing my hobby oats before settling down. But watch out Sherwood Forest – I might be investing in green tights yet!
N.B. This is not a sponsored post. The opinions and bad jokes are entirely my own