This was our first trip of the season to Belhus Woods Country Park at Aveley, home ground for West Essex Bowmen. As our first outdoor target shoot of the year we were really looking forward to the event after the restrictions of the indoor season.
This was a new event for WEB and for many of the entrants. We were to shoot a Double FITA 70metre round and the tournament was a Charity event in aid of the Essex Air Ambulance organisation, a very worthwhile cause.
When we set off from Basildon, snow was steadily descending, but not settling, very much in line with the previous night’s forecast of possible snow showers for our region. However, when we reached Belhus Park the scene was not so comforting. The car park was already muddy and full of puddles, but quite a large number of vehicles were parked. The scene on the shooting field was less reassuring, a couple of inches of snow had settled over all and the work party had been busy sweeping the shooting line and had prepared an orange spray to make it identifiable.
The hardy archers had started putting up tents and shelters, so we joined them in anticipation of the snow moving on and shooting taking place. The refreshment tent soon filled up with archers and officials tucking into hot bacon and sausage rolls and cups of tea and coffee.
Discussions were going on as archers worked out how they thought they would be able to shoot under these conditions, if at all, as the snow was now driving quite hard down the shooting range. It was also obvious that the organisers and judges were thinking much the same, as the time for practice and assembly was now close.
The skies remained leaden and so about a quarter of an hour after practice was due to start, Chief Graham Sibley called us all together. Then organiser Paul Tolson announced that the event was to be cancelled for the day as the conditions made it unsafe to run a tournament. Hopefully the shoot will be re-scheduled for later in the year, with expectations that the weather will be more suitable.
We therefore, took down our tents and paddled across the car park to our cars, to take off the wet gear, turn the heater on to maximum and make our way home.
We are very sorry for the Organisers and Work Party for all the effort they had put into preparing for the event. Also for the Charity who will not now receive the level of donation they might have received. However, we look forward to the event being re-scheduled during a period of finer weather.
The pictures below do perhaps, illustrate our day:
Mitch Vaughan (Mayflower Archers)
The Tent Line
The Think Tank