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