For some time now my best enemy Chris Bushell and his erstwhile band of brigands have endeavoured to cajole members of Noak Hill Archers to attend one of the Five Nation field shoots. This year four of us agreed that we were not total wimps and we accepted the challenge to shoot at Vertus in the champagne region of France. If you think you are a good archer, that you are fit and can consume an inordinately excessive amount of excellent champagne then this is the place to go for a real challenge.
The shoot is set on a scenic mountain with panoramic views over vineyards and surrounding countryside. There are two courses of twenty four targets and you shoot both courses over the two days. I can only remember two targets (probably because of the champagne consumed) that were shot on flat ground and the remainder were up or down hill at varying angles and some of those were very extreme. Just to make it more interesting the targets were set at angles and the peg positions on sloping ground. The Noak Hill contingent comprised Geri, Andy, Richard and myself with Chris (Frenchy) Bushell, Terry (The man in black) and Ian ( Should I calculate this angle using the sine or cosine) Miller representing Malgrave Archers. The Malgrave brigands have shot on the continent for many years and they were able to give the NHA group advice and tips on what to do – none of which was correct but what should we expect from the brigands.
The organization of the shoot was first class, with superb food and a range of liquid refreshments including wine and champagne which I have never seen on an UK shoot. Mind you some may say that I never see much at all, the original Mr Magoo that’s me.
Don’t ever worry about shooting abroad the mainland Europeans were friendly and helpful and the mix of nations added to the enjoyment of the whole weekend.
On a personal note any stories you may hear about Richard Green and myself are totally untrue. Yes Andy Reeves did book us in a room together with a double bed but after due consideration we gratefully declined because amongst other things we thought the bathroom was too small for both of us - thanks a bunch Andy.
I would like to thank the Malgrave brigands for enticing us away from our homeland because if you do like archery and at the same time have some fun then you will thoroughly enjoy Vertus.
Dennis (Magoo) Oates
Noak Hill Archers