armed police


Remember back at the beginning of lockdown … AGB, the SAA and even your humble editor were warning archers of the perils of backyard archery? Well this poor archer learned the hard way that people can be a bit stupid, panicky or just plain vindictive.

Archer and instructor Rob Frontier had been rough shooting in a sunken glade in some woods when he was surrounded by armed police. He had been reported as “intoxicated” and in possession of a bow and arrows.

He had had people watching him shoot who enjoyed what he was doing but someone felt the need to report him. Now while this tale had a happy ending for our hero since the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 154 is quite clear in there has to be “intent to cause alarm or distress” which he had not. And its is a very valid defense for you to prove that your conduct was reasonable which he could… however it could all have ended very messily indeed.

So now we have GA back open again … the best place for archery is down at Craigholme (or your own club if you aren’t a Glasgow Archer) where any visit from the police is purely one of interest or routine. If your own club’s registered venue isn’t open yet and you are in central scotland … you can always come shoot with us!

Original story found in the Swindon Advertiser: Archery instructor says he was left traumatised after armed police swooped

Breakfast of Archers

Had these been normal times, we would have been well into the outdoor competitive season by now. While talking about the impact that lockdown was having on archery, it dawned on me there is something archers might not have seen since last year. An archery treasure we should not let slide from memory. A shoot tradition that must not be allowed to fade. The Breakfast of Archers AKA the much loved Roll and Lorne Sausage.
If you are not Scottish (Scots know of this repast at a genetic level) and have never heard of this culinary delight … let me paint you a picture:

<Beware, the following was written by an unhealthy carnivore. There is no vegan, vegetarian or healthy eating option.>


artwork optional … but appropriate

Situation: Field party duty can be at times a little thankless. For archers doing field party duties setting up the field, its an early start. Its probably raining. There’s a lot of physical humphing of heavy items and the place is littered with endlessly whynging, competitive archers. However, by 9am the field is ready, the judges take control and the field party retire for the highlight of the day … Breakfast.

As you approach the pavilion, a glorious smell will lift you from tired and fed up to a state approaching nirvana. Get closer and an angelic sizzle will assail your ears. Entering the kitchen you lay eyes on the components of natures most perfect food … morning rolls and the lorne sausage! Your heart sings with joy (if muted slightly by clogged arteries). Grabbing roll and lorne sausage .. you shuffle one into the other then smother in either ketchup or brown sauce. The resultant ‘sandwich’ is shoved into gob with about the same finesse as would be expected from a starving rugby league team in an “all you can eat in 30 minutes” buffet. Instantly the world is a better place and a day of searching for lost arrows and moving bosses for ungrateful archers no longer looks so bad. If only it worked on my life the way it works at the field! :o(

Background: The lorne, square or sliced sausage is traditional scottish fare (and therefore deeply unhealthy). Its basis is a mixture of pork and beef. They are minced with rusk and spices, packed into a rectangular tin about about 9-10 centimeters (4 in) square-ish, and then cut into slices up to 1 centimeter (0.4 in) thick. When cooking you fry or (the slightly healthier option) grill them. Expect the sausage to shrink considerably during cooking as the thing is laden with fat which will messily escape when cooked. Ideal fare to fortify a people who live in a cold, wet climate. Under no circumstances look at the packaging for ingredients unless horror movies are your favourite cinematic treat. Its said they are a good source of potassium, protein, calcium, essential vitamins and form an ideal base for a healthy breakfast. (Honestly, got no idea who would say that at least not without falling over while laughing!) However the taste is as ambrosia from the (archery) gods which will sustain and nurture you throughout a long soggy day and an archer on field party duty can ask no more than that.

References: If you are interested in the history of this uniquely scottish dish, this is a rather good article from the Scotsman. And if you want to read of the incident where the humble lorne sausage was at the centre of allegations of cultural appropriation which included appeals to the scottish government to “dae somfin”, check out the above link.

Note for furriners: In scotland, while this syntax may be completely at odds with your understanding of the english language …. a roll and sausage is not the same as a sausage roll. Be warned.

Dishing it out Korean Style

Koreans are arguably the best archers in the world. Its been said that to shoot like a Korean, you need to be like a Korean …

… so tonight I think I’ll have Bulgogi (Korean Fire Meat) for dinner. That’s being Korean! Lets get started as there’s a little preparation:

Ingredients (for two):


  • 1/2 pear, peeled and grated roughly
  • 80-90ml soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Gochujang (a Korean red pepper paste available in Morrisons foreign food section. Its in a red tub)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Other stuff you need:

  • 300-400g (depending on appetite) of boneless steak. I used Denver steak from Morrisons
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Rice

What you do:

  1. Stick the steak in a zip bag and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make slicing easier. Cut across the grain into 6mm or 1/4-inch (in old money) thick strips.
  2. Mix the pear, soy, sesame oil, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and gochujang paste in a bowl. Place the mixture and the steak in another zip bag into the fridge for at least 3 hours (for best results, overnight). Turn occasionally.
  3. Dinnertime – get the rice on … you know how long to cook it.
  4. Heat wok or frying pan to a medium high heat. Fry the steak in a single layer in the sunflower oil for about 2-3 mins a side turning once. It should be well done.
  5. For the last minute or two, stir the marinade from the bag into the beef and heat til its hot and bubbling. (this will reduce it slightly which is good)
  6. Serve NOW including scraping out any caramelized marinade (the best bit) and garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds. (in restaurants Bulgogi arrives at your table like fajitas – so hot you have a wait a minute til it calms down).

So …. anything else you need to know?  If too much of the marinade is lost in cooking, its a little dry. First time I tried this, I quickly fried a few mushrooms which helped. You dont always need to use the marinade as a marinade, you can use it as a sauce on a stir fry. Just stir fry the beef and stir in the sauce at the end.

So, how was it? Awesome! Think slightly (or more dependent on how much paste you added) spicy BBQ. Did I shoot better? Oddly I did. So there might be something to “eat like a Korean, shoot like a Korean!”  ;o)


10 on the left … 10,10,9,9,9,9 on the right

GA welcomes visitors once more

statue of liberty

Give me your unrequited toxophilites, your stircrazy compounders, your huddled under umbrella masses yearning to shoot free, the wretched recurvers of your teeming shore. Send these, the tentless, tempest-tost to me as I lift my lamp beside the shooting line!

As of  Monday 13th July, Glasgow Archers welcomed the archery deprived and the currently club-less of central Scotland. Now that we are allowed more than 2 targets active at a time, guests are once more welcome. It helps we now have everything up and running (mostly) smoothly. There are sessions running on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well as Sunday mornings. Guests must be members of Archery GB & Scottish Archery and obviously have their own kit.

Numbers are extremely limited due to how few targets we can set up with social distancing restrictions in place and obviously our own members want to shoot as well so don’t delay if interested.

To express an interest in coming along please contact us at the following address:
Please note that you must pre-book a session 2 days in advance to be allowed to shoot. This is to allow an audit trail for track and trace.

Just be aware, we are having to jump through hoops right now to get things up and running. This isn’t a return to normal so there will be requirements and stipulations that we all have have to conform to. Please remember this is a global pandemic, what was once easy and cheap is now difficult and expensive and that we at GA are making an effort to get archery available for as many archers as we can. So be tolerant and understanding when things dont go as efficiently as normal.

First Night Back

Dateline: 1st July Pollock, Glasgow … Roving band of bow armed ruffians take control of park … film at 11.

backwards strung

Something not right here but cant figure it out!

Archery returned to Craigholme last night for the first time in over 3 months. Probably the longest break in the clubs history since it moved to Craigholme in 1962.

It was chilly with grey skies, breezy and a spit of rain in the air. Typical scottish weather for July but after 100+ days of lockdown there was going to be archery no matter what. To be honest, even a monsoon wouldnt have stopped us! (not that it would have been the first time either!)

Getting set up took forever. The containers needed reorganized. Bosses needed to be wrapped in plastic (to aid in cleaning). Guy rope pins are missing as were the outdoor target pins so workarounds were found. Shooting lanes needed to be created and then the real hard work began … how does my bow go together again?

Arrows were shot. Archery grief was experienced. There was complaining/whynging/moaning about the wind/rain/form/strength/grass/bosses/weight/alcohol consumption/other archers … (you know, archers at their happiest ;o). It was great to be back even if we were all knackered by 7pm but had the option to shot on til 9pm.

Next session is Sunday, I’m booked in and most importantly, I’ve got my complains and excuses all ready.

There’s Archery in them there fields!

safe to shoot

2020 Proverbs: Many directives make protection MAX

Finally some club news and its good. All being well, Glasgow Archers will be reopening its containers and hauling the bosses back onto the field in the next few days.

We are looking to start getting the club up and working from the Wednesday 1st July but it cant (right now) be the way things were in the past. You will need to book a slot on an evening. You just cant turn up and shoot. We have a comprehensive risk assessment we have presented to Craigholme. We have the SAA, AGB and the scottish govt all giving us guidelines and as you can imagine .. it gets pretty involved and complicated REALLY fast.

bow phone

I’m told there’s one for beer as well!

Hand sanitizer is now de rigueur all the time. (Compounders will no doubt get a mounting on their bows to hold a pack ;o). We have to take temperatures with a thermometer before you can shoot (dont panic, its the forehead kind! :o). You need to wear gloves and a mask when in the containers. The bosses are covered in clingfilm to make cleaning easier. We cant use the pavilion except in emergencies. One person/family unit a boss. We need to keep records of attendees for track and trace. Everything has to be cleaned before and after shooting. There’s no sharing of anything outside family units.  Honestly, there are more hoops to jump through to get on the line than a performing lion would be comfortable with … but its archery and I’m willing to put up with a lot to get my bow strung and shot!  I hope you feel that way as well.

Unfortunately, until we get a little more leeway in the rules we have to operate under, GA club nights will be for full members only (EDIT: This has now changed to guests welcome – see later posts for details). Pay as you Go guests we hope to add back into the mix soon when we get our processes efficient and can get permission to squeeze more targets on the field. We’re limited to few bosses due to field size and the huge separation required between bosses.

Details of all the processes, the risk assessment your committee signed off/presented to Craigholme and the Phase 2 guidelines can be found below. Any questions either drop by the Facebook site or use the message function on this website and we’ll try to answer your questions.

See you on the line!

Phase 2 – Archery v1.8
Glasgow Archers – Risk Assessment v1-2
Members update for club re-opening … details on how to book a session plus all info you need.

Instant Legolas

joergIf you’ve read this blog before, you may have seen reference to Joerg Sprave of the Slingshot Channel (pictured right) who is a German gentleman who loves to tinker with bows and crossbows (and has a ridiculously awesome laugh). Well Joerg has gone further than anyone has with innovation to archery in the last 50 years by creating an integrated release aid, 5 arrow magazine and sight that literally turns a compound bow into a pump action, semiautomatic capable of shooting 5 arrows accurately in as many seconds. Its been called the “Instant Legolas” after the insanely skilled Elven archer from Lord of the Rings and is effectively a completely new ‘class’ of archery.

automatic-bow-instant-legolasIts gone through some major iterations all of them made in wood like the one shown to the left to get to where it is now. So where is it now?  In collaboration with SteamBow from Austria, Joerg has produced a completely CNC machined version. This puppy is no longer an experiment or flight of fancy, its now commercially available. At 1000 euros just for the magazine/release aid, its not cheap but the first 100 sold out in 90 minutes and the second run of 400 sold out in 2 days. Archery … there’s a new thing in town!

inst legolas

“Let me show you its features”

I’ll let the man himself showcase his ‘finished’ creation to you in the video below. Its called the Fenris and seeing what this thing can do is quite extraordinary. You can watch the reveal video here. Explanation, demonstration and Joerg laughing.

But is it archery? …… Sort of but its a similar ‘into the darkness’ leap in archery innovation to the one that took us from the standard takedown Recurve to the Compound. I’m not sure anyone can predict if this is a significant innovation or will be just a curiosity. I doubt anyone predicted just how big the compound would become.
Honestly, I think this will be for hunters and hunting only … I can’t ever see this in traditional target competition or even Field/3D but then again I suspect that’s what they said about the compound. Still … its an incredible achievement to make such a huge advancement on an invention that’s been around for 50k years!

tod medieval legolasWhile Tod of Tod’s Workshop (a fantastically skilled “medieval” craftsman shown on left) has proven this device could easily have been made during the medieval period for a longbow had anyone thought about it. There has been some good natured discussion on just who would have used this militarily (peasants or trained troops) and in what tactical situation (open field, siege, close range assault) and the reasons it wouldnt have been used … with Tod’s views found here.
What sparked furious debate was when the discussion turned to adding a draw assist mechanism which the Instant Legolas had originally. Toning down a war bows 180-200lbs draw weight with something that provides a letdown like effect would have made longbows far more accessible especially to other nations. Tod tried and came up short because his theoretical “medieval” design for a draw assist mechanism proved unstable. Here is his attempt at making a medieval draw assist mechanism for an instant legolas. However the discussions on the draw assist went on with a lot of people thinking hard about how to make a medieval assist work and they may have cracked a light, viable medieval draw assist methodology. Tod discusses many of the attempts briefly before getting to the successful design in his opinion.

(Pictures taken from screenshots of Tods Workshop and The Slingshot Channel youtube videos for the purpose of reporting.)

New Target Face for Indoors?

lockdown target faceThe LockDown Knockdown International archery competition has been nothing but innovation since it was premiered a month ago. Now in its second outing, the recurvers got to strut their stuff this time but were thrown a bit of a curve ball when they got to experience the new indoor face being trialed. In the main, its a normal 40cm triple Vegas face but with one significant modification, one of the triples has a small white circle worth 12 points and its not in the centre!

The 12 point dot sits at the six oclock position on the line separating the 7 and 8 rings. Its just 15mm across (and you thought the 20mm X ring was small!). As can be seen from the above triple face, the dot is only on one of the faces. In addition you have to announce you are shooting for the 12 ring so no happy accidents just because you got sloppy and dropped your bow arm!

ASA scoringObviously this is a complete departure from our usual put the arrow in the middle of a series of concentric circles and borrows a little from the kill zones on 3D targets. The diagram to the left shows ASA (Archery Shooters Association) scoring zones for 3D models with the 14 ring being well away from the much larger 10/12 point scoring areas. You have to take a risk to shoot for 14 points with significant loss of points if you fail. This new 12 point white dot seems to be following the same philosophy. Shoot for 9/10 with less risk OR go for 12 forcing your opponent to have to risk the 12pt dot to keep up if you succeed with the penalty of only scoring a 7/8 if you fail. Also if you consider the way the faces are shot in head to head, being first or second and order of targets shot could bring in mind games and tactics never seen before in archery. I suspect the white dot face would ALWAYS be shot last in case you needed to go for that hail mary to win or tie the end.

new target in use

you’re scoring your arrows 12, 10, 9 is that right?…….  JUDGE!

One thing does worry me a little about this new target. Just how visible is that dot? Could this be construed as discrimination against slightly myopic archers? Competitions are there to test archery skill, not eyesight. Take Korean archer Im Dong Hyun. His eyesight is terrible yet he was at one time the No 1 male recurve archer in the world. Could he deal with this 12 point dot? There may need to be quite a bit of work done on this before it is rolled out beyond the top echelons.

So having thought about this a little over a nice malt last night, I suspect this white dot scoring zone will be the preserve of compounders, international competitors and recurve archers of A ranking. If it is implemented into regular competition for mere mortals, its going to be insanely hard to hit and may be a bad idea to attempt unless its a desperate attempt to catch up. I dont think it will ever be a pre-emptive thing i.e. going for the lead in arrow 1 or 2. The risk of gifting the advantage to your opponent is too great if you fail. Admittedly if you hit that shot … the ramifications might be a lot more than just scoring 12 points. It could shake up your opponents mental game completely. So if implemented this is going to significantly alter the already tense indoor head to head competition format. Mind games will be very much to the fore and shooting second has never had so much potential advantage. This could make 4D chess look tame in comparison given that shooting a perfect 30 may no longer be a winning end as Mr Ellison found out (see below).

Here is the first 12 point ever in WA target archery shot by Steve Wijler to steal the end from Brady Ellison with a 31 – 30 score!!!!  (Bit unfair though! When I claimed I shot a 31 point, 3 arrow end I got shouted at! ;o)

Current competition videos can be found in this World Archery’s YouTube playlist starting at video 46 for the recurve competition with the new face AND watch this video from WA explaining the new face.

Editors note: I mocked up a 40cm inner with 15mm dot added and looked at it down my bow sight (iris valve gehmann sight pin) at 18m. Trying to stay steady on that dot is murder. Without the concentric circles to give you reference, the dot (which is so very small) floats around in your sight pin like a demented bumblebee with a sugar rush. My respect for the shot noted above just went ballistic!

Academic focus on Archery finds


Archer not involved shock

Its not often archery is at the heart of a contentious issue. We are a conservative sport where outside of some petty bitching and occasional personal drama, we just get on with what we do. Our suppliers gently evolve their products, our governing bodies never have to deal with drug scandals, compounders find new engineered ways to avoid fundamental archery issues and we never read about international archers driving sports cars into swimming pools.

So it is a little surprising that archery is popping up in the middle of an academic spatette regarding the origins of human innovation and the “fact” they are typically sought in Africa or Europe and no where else.

200612125204-bone-tools-restricted-exlarge-169Whats it all about? Well, evidence of archery has been discovered in a Sri Lankan cave dated roughly to 48,000 years ago making it the oldest evidence of archery to be found in that part of the world. This places the Sri Lankan find towards the earliest discovered use of archery typically thought to have originated anything up to 50,000 years ago with outlier finds dated possibly as long ago as 60,000 years ago in africa.

There is also some contention over whither they are actually archery related items which muddies the waters still further. Obviously, these are arguments for academics but as archers we can still enjoy the find and the possible addition of more information on our archery forebears.

The Gizmodo article can be found here which brings up the spat and a more general article from CNN can be found here. The actual scientific paper was published in Science Advances and the research paper can be found, read online and downloaded in pdf here.


With Covid on the wane (at least for the moment), phase 2 of our escape from lockdown beckons. Hopefully this will herald a return to some normality and most importantly (absolutely no bias here ;o) the reopening of our archery clubs.

ME_452_ExpectationsHowever when you return to the line its going to be vitally important to remember just when you shot last.

Why? Because although muscle memory is a fantastic thing, you are going to be rusty. Your form will need to be watched for sloppy execution. Static releases, dropping that bow arm and inconsistent hand positions are going to creep in. So dont be down heartened if your usual scores aren’t there …

… because its not just club level archers that are suffering. Even the internationalists are feeling it. In the latest World Archery Lockdown Knockdown (the archery competition where social distance is by continent), you could see some of the archers such as Yasemin Anogoz (fantastic Turkish archer) struggling a little with her form shooting 7’s and 8’s at 18m.

So when you return to the line, keep this in mind. Review your shot cycle. Close your eyes and imagine the shot. Write it down if you have to. Remember to have good form at all times. If the shot isn’t there, reset and start again. Watch for fatigue affecting your form and work up gradually to your usual arrow count … we’re not at home to Mr Injury!

Lockdown Knockdown 2: 2 minute summary of Yasemin’s round can be found here and here’s the playlist for the current competition where they have just shot the qualifying scores. Start at video 37 for this competition.