Taking a stroll through the wooded countryside is often seen as the perfect remedy after the demands of a hectic week. For the members of the West Lothian Field Archers, however, the experience is further enhanced with a bow and arrow in hand.
The club has 48 members competing at their base near Beecraigs Country Park and has been making an impact at home and international level.
Two of those international success stories are Lesley Logue who returned from County Wexford recently as the UK and Ireland Champion under the women’s freestyle re-curve classification, and her son Cahal, who was also the champion in his class. Logue’s success is even more remarkable considering she only had her first lesson in 2006.
She said: “You always have a hope at the back of your mind that you might have a chance of winning it. But I really enjoyed the event and it’s good to meet so many new people from across the country.
“My partner bought me a ‘come-and-try’ session for my birthday about five years ago. That was my first introduction to the sport. I really enjoyed it and took to it quite well. West Lothian Archers has become one of the biggest clubs in Scotland with really good coaching available and I think that’s why our club are pretty good at bringing back medals.”
Field archery can be traced back over 70 years to the North American continent and displays similarities to its sister target archery. The youngest variation of archery, targets for competitors are set out across a challenging and often hilly terrain with fixed measurements ranging between a distance of 15 and 80 yards.
The Scottish Field Archery Association (SFAA) is just one of the 37 international official institutes across the world. It has more than 200 members and has been going since 1966. There are 12 field archery clubs across Scotland stretching from the Borders to the Highlands including Drum Field Archers in Edinburgh and the Wolfstar club in East Lothian.
Jim Greig, 74, coaching director for the SFAA and secretary for the West Lothian Archers club, has been engrossed with archery since the age of seven. He said: “It seems as if there is now a real interest. At West Lothian Archers, we have both ladies and gents’ categories but there are a lot of keen youngsters too so we also have the juniors and the ‘cubs’ who are 12 and under.
“There are also variations in the classifications to compete because different bows can be used when out on the course, but we’re not strict on the clothing aspect where target archery is. We’ve got one of the best courses in the country where it’s really well maintained. It’s a great little club to be a part of. Everyone’s really friendly. We’ve got a lot of really good archers who are making real impressions at competition level.”
Greig remains hopeful the club can increase its membership for the beginning of next season in March. “There is a real passion around the place as it’s a chance for people to come up here, shoot some targets but also just enjoy the relaxation of a woodland environment.”