Gary Chilling­worth takes us to a cou­ple of his favourite HFT haunts

Gary Chilling­worth de­scribes two of his favourite HFT venues

Air Gunner - - Contents -

It would be fair to say that as I am get­ting older and fast ap­proach­ing my 50th year, my mem­ory is not what it used to be. Last month, I wrote about rounds 4 and 5 of the UKAHFT se­ries, but I should have been writ­ing about rounds 2 and 3. Apolo­gies to Rivi and Em­ley, and can we put it down to a semi- se­nior mo­ment?

OK, with the grov­el­ling out of the way, it’s time to talk about Riv­ing­ton. Every time I go to this great club it chews me up and spits me out. ‘Rivi’ is set on the side of a moun­tain just out­side Bolton, and due to its el­e­va­tion, there is al­ways a gale blow­ing, so when you com­bine this con­stant wind to the dips and twists in the ground, it will send your pel­lets in all direc­tions.

Now, I know that some­times to tell a story and give you a taste of what the day is like, a cer­tain amount of po­etic licence is al­lowed, but when I tell you this, I am be­ing 100% truth­ful. I ap­proached a peg and looked at the tar­get – a 25mm kill zone at about 35 yards. I threw leaves in the air and they blew left to right; I held the string up and it bowed left to right; I looked at the grass and it was bending left to right, and when I shot the tar­get … the pel­let went left! I hate Rivi!

To the right of the tar­get is a large bank and the wind hits this and re­bounds. There is no doubt in my mind, though, that this small club breeds top shoot­ers. The likes of Dave Benyon, Dave Ramshead and Daz and Dar­ren Tay­lor all came from this club – it cer­tainly helps if your Chris­tian name starts with a D – and shoot­ing in this sort of wind will train you to be­come a top shot.

There are some Rivi spe­cial­ists, and I am very happy to say that my mate, Alex Larkin, took top spot in the Open class for his maiden win, with a stun­ning 55. In the Re­coil­ing, I man­aged to hang on to first place af­ter nearly be­ing taken out by Nigel Wood in a shoot- off; in the .22,

“There is no doubt in my mind, though, that this small club breeds top shoot­ers”

Ja­son Locket took top hon­ours, and the Vet­er­ans went to Mike Burgess. The Ladies was awarded to Sarah Pantling and the Ju­niors 9-14 to Ethan Pantling; the Ju­niors 9-13 was once again taken by Myla Par­son­Smith, and the team event went to Mal­don. Round 2 was spon­sored by Jack Pyke and the main prize was won by Nigel Wood – he re­ceived a stun­ning £ 400 voucher.


Riv­ing­ton was an as­sault to the senses and was a huge amount of fun to shoot, but Em­ley was both serene and tran­quil. With very lit­tle wind, plenty of sun­shine, lush green fo­liage and the sounds of birds in the trees, it was a won­der­ful place to shoot.

I make jokes about hat­ing Rivi, but that’s be­cause I am bad at shoot­ing there, but I love shoot­ing at Em­ley – even though but I’m quite bad a shoot­ing there, as well. Over the years, I have shot at Em­ley many times and they have put on some won­der­ful tech­ni­cal cour­ses. Their use of el­e­va­tion to mess with your rangefind­ing, and a gorge- type area over the back are tricky, to say the least.

The main prob­lem with the gorge area is when you stand at the peg, be­cause there is noth­ing be­tween you and the tar­get, if you are shoot­ing across the gorge. The ground drops away from you, and I of­ten could not work out if the tar­get was 30 or 40 yards away. This, cou­pled with some tar­gets be­low you at the bot­tom, takes a real toll on shoot­ers’ scores.

It was clear that both Rivi and Em­ley had put a huge amount of work into the cour­ses and there is no doubt that by set­ting a shoot to this level of dif­fi­culty, shoot­ers of the UKAHFT are hav­ing to im­prove, year on year. What I do love – and this is some­thing that Em­ley does very well – are tar­gets that are just fun to look at. One that I re­mem­ber is a tar­get high in a tree and as I lay there look­ing up, it was just a great thing to look at. It was a mon­key sit­ting on a branch and it cer­tainly took a bit of time to find be­cause it was well­hid­den in the branches, but as you fol­lowed the string, sud­denly it came into view and you were pre­sented with a real shoot­ing chal­lenge. This tar­get must have taken a long time to set and it was very much ap­pre­ci­ated.

With the lack of wind for round 3 there were some high scores, and Chris Cundy took top place in the Open. I man­aged to do the dou­ble with a win in the Re­coil­ing; Jim Cav­agnah took the .22; Ethan and Myla again took the Ju­niors; Ken Pother­cary took the Vets, and Karen O’Mara took the Ladies. The team event went to Mis­fits and the Sol­ware Man­u­fac­tur­ers tro­phy was taken by Steyer for both days. Round 3 was spon­sored by MTC, and Rex Ben­net and Emily Palmers won a pair of bril­liant EVX scopes.

RIGHT: Me and Nige Wood had a epic shoot off: I’ll leave you to guess who won

ABOVE RIGHT: Bullpups are be­com­ing more and more pop­u­lar

BE­LOW: Nigel with his £400 gift card from Jack Pyke

ABOVE LEFT: Em­ley Moor is lush and green

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