It is said that all good things come to those who wait and so it was this year when the UK and Ireland of Ireland Field Archery Championships (UKIFAC) returned to quite possibly one of the most pristine field courses in the world; Kings Forrest Bowmen, located just outside the picturesque town of Bury St. Edmunds in the south-east of England.
UKIFAC is an annual two-day competition rotated between the member nations of England, Ireland (Republic of) Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The Championships comprises of the IFAA Field and Hunter rounds which are shot over the course of a weekend on three 14 x 2 or two full 28 target courses, depending on the host venues range layout, with four arrows shot at each target. Shooting 112 arrows each day not only test an archers’ physical ability, being ‘bow fit’ is a key component of shooting ‘field’ proficiently. It also tests mental strength, maintaining concentration for each arrow of equal importance.
Kings Forrest Bowmen is one of the most established clubs in the EFAA with over 120 members. They have access to a huge parcel of woodland and the section they have their 3×14 Field/Hunter ranges laid-out on comprises of a beautiful mix of mature deciduous woodland, fir and light coppice. The variety provides for not only the experience of shooting within the natural beauty of prime woodland it also gives each course its own special and distinctive flavour. The light and shade variance between the ranges makes for interesting shooting, especially for those with scopes and sights!
A total of eight members travelled to England to compete at UKIFAC. Numbers were a little down on previous years due to the clash of events between UKIFAC and EBHC. In IFAF, we have a high level of cross-participation between Animal and Roundel rounds which is unfortunate when clashes in scheduling like this occur… That being said, everyone who was able to attend had a fantastic time at Kings Forrest Bowmen. The welcome from the host club was warm, friendly and completely genuine as was the friendship and camaraderie amongst the archers, some of whom had travelled especially to shoot alongside friends in their bow-style.As illustrated, the weekend provided great enjoyment, with smiles all round, and was a real test of ability resulting in trophies, medals and records aplenty!
In 2017 UKIFAC heads to Northern Ireland. It is the Northern Ireland Field Archery Association’s (NIFAA) first time hosting the competition. It is already a much anticipated event and one which everyone should put in their diaries!
UKIFAC 2016 Results available on the IFAF website.
UKIFAC Records for FIELD and HUNTER available on the IFAF website.
Lynn Ellingworth, IFAF PRO (July 2016)
Photos provided by Lynn Ellingworth