UKIFAC 2015.

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 UKIFAC came and UKIFAC was conquered.

The Welsh were happy because they had ‘gone down to the Valleys’.

(You did read that with your imitation Welsh accent didn’t you?)

The English were happy as they learnt the true meaning and intonation of versatile word, ‘feck’, and how to pronounce ‘three’ with an Irish accent.

The Scots were happy as they had their first archery weekend for a long time without rain.

The Irish were happy because the craic was good and the food, tea and burgers great!

Valley Bowen were happy it went off well after so much planning and that the dreaded rain passed off overnight.

 Nations composite

The site itself is a mixture of coniferous and deciduous woodland spread over the top of a hill. This gives a variety of flora and fauna (wild geraniums, multiple species of fungi, cinnebar larvae, dragonflies, hawks etc) to appreciate and some good slopes for up and downhill shots.

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The shale bedrock adds a free-draining soil that is going to stand the course in good stead as despite the heaviness of the overnight rain it left little impression on the course.

The competition was held over three 14 target courses. Compound archers did one of the courses twice each day while all others shot the other two courses. All paths were well prepared both in terms of undergrowth control for ease and comfort of traverse and signage was excellent.

walkup

Targets were placed to take full advantage of the circumstances with long sloping down-hills, up-hills and a mixture of shooting in and out of darkness.

control area

The catering tent was hard to pass with the aroma of hot dogs and beef-burgers in air after a trek through the woods. The way the courses were set out meant that everyone had a chance to take a short break around the middle of the day and sit down to get a quick lunch. It is a pleasant feature and hopefully brought in a little more revenue for the organisers. Toilet facilities were well spread out and the hospitality was available cheaply and with good cheer. Top marks to the caterers, especially for their choice of coffee brand.

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The weatherforecast which had been alternating between a good Saturday/showery Sunday and showery Saturday/good Sunday came good with overnight rain leaving the first day a very nice shooting day in terms of temperatures and dryness, if a little windy at some of the shots (the 80 yard walk-up being one) and the second day a warmer, brighter, calm day.

I could try to say that ‘joking aside everyone had a good time’ but that would be wrong because you couldn’t put aside the joking.

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Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and you could keep track of the groups around you by the laughing and leg-pulling. Even Cyril John left 6″ taller till the next time he’s out in the Welsh rain.

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It was great to sit and bask in the sunshine after two days of activity while the scores were collated. Organisation was thoroughly competent and the competition ran without hitch. The second day went off well and all were in early to facilitate those which needed to catch a ferry.

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Valley Bowmen are a relatively new club, having been established in 2013 by Elaine Foran, Andy Vagg, Allanah Vagg and Matt Coxall. It is very impressive that a club that still has only a few members was able to organise and run a two day international competition on a new site to such a high standard, developing it as they went. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Valley Bowmen

Here’s to next year and an English UKIFAC, in Bury St Edmonds, in early July 2016, hosted by the King’s Forest Bowmen.

 

 

 

 

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