Friday 26th August. The sat nav said we’d arrived, but could we trust it after the previous day’s detour? Had the car, parked in front of the UKIFAC sign, not been there we’d have known where we were! However, we decided to continue along the road just to check. We spotted that some of the footpaths had been closed due to archery, so we knew we were close. Having discovered no other signs, we turned into the Tintern Abbey approach road and, after a short picturesque ride, spotted target butts and a busy work party, preparing for the event – hooray! The sat nav was right!
We were immediately given a warm welcome by our hosts from Dunbrody Archers and were directed to the Abbey Tea Rooms, where we met up with many friends and familiar faces. After some refreshment, we were invited to walk the courses. We tackled the field course first since we were told this was the more tricky to negotiate. There were quite a few steep sections and plenty of mud, but Sue made it safely back - if she could do it most others would be able to do so too! After another visit to the tea rooms, we walked the hunter course.
Tintern Abbey was a most wonderful setting for the event. Being publicly owned, it had been necessary to gain permission from Coillte, the forestry company, and the Office of Public Works, to construct the courses. What an excellent job the planners and work party achieved! There were lots of interesting and challenging shots over a variety of terrains – up, down and across wooded hillsides, beside the river, inside a walled garden with its 200-year old pear tree (DON’T TOUCH!) and some deceptively simple looking shots on the grass beside the abbey walls. Since this was a virgin course, overshoots were punished in a variety of ways – impenetrable undergrowth, the river, crop fields and stone walls to name a few. The marshals did a terrific job of finding and retrieving lost arrows. Throughout the weekend, there was a great spirit of friendliness and fun. Irrespective of their scores, the competitors had a good time. It was pleasing to see many younger competitors taking part and enjoying the sport. For some reason, many of the junior and cub pegs on the field course were in deep mud. However, they didn’t seem to mind this, but their mums might not have been too pleased!
Overall, this was an excellent event in a superb setting which provided challenging courses that could be negotiated safely. Our hosts were brilliant and the weather good. If only our scores had matched these! Jackie, Barrie and ourselves had a wonderful time and are looking forward to a return visit.
Sue & Alan Crowe
White Mark Bowmen
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