Competition

We have a very full calendar of open events in Scotland which cater to all levels of ability, from the complete beginner all the way up to international archers.  Many of these events have a record status but there is also the opportunity to shoot at more relaxed, non-record status events. 

There are a number of archery disciplines available to choose from which can be shot competitively.  If an event has a record status level then there may be Scottish, UK and even World rankings up for grabs! 

Scottish Archery also compiles a national ranking for target archery and from which you can collect scores to gain a UK ranking too.  As if this wasn't enough, there is a plentiful selection of badges you can claim when you attain the necessary scores. 

In the following sections we describe a little bit about the various archery disciplines and the opportunities that are available for competition.

Archer marking arrows during a competition
archer pulling arrows from a target

Target Archery

In target archery, the shooting line is fixed and the targets are set out at known distances on a flat field.  There are a variety of rounds that may be shot with each round consisting of a set number of dozen arrows at up to four distances.

field archers at a target scoring their arrows

Field Archery

In field archery, 24 targets are set out at varying distances around a course.  The course is usually in a woodland setting with a few hills or slopes and some uneven terrain.  The target faces are black with a gold centre. 

A clout flag in archery

Clout Archery

A very popular form of archery if you have a large enough field as archers shoot at a flag set in the ground at distances of up to 180 yards if shooting Archery GB clout distances and up to 185 metres if shooting under World Archery rules.

Shooting the flight discipline

Flight Archery

Flight archery is sometimes called the Formula 1 of archery.  It is at the same time the simplest – to shoot an arrow as far as possible – and the most complicated in that there is a category for specialist flight bows.

More About Target Archery

In target archery, the shooting line is fixed and the targets are set out at known distances on a flat field.  There are a variety of rounds that may be shot with each round consisting of a set number of dozen arrows at up to four distances.

Distances range from 20yds/18m indoors up to 100yds/90m for men and 80yds/70m for women outdoors.

The dozens are shot and then scored in “ends” of 3 or 6 arrows and after the finish of each distance the targets are moved to the next distance and so on until the round has been completed.  A round may also see different target face sizes being used according to the distance being shot.

All age groups and gender categories can shoot together on the same field as there are several different distance versions of most rounds to accommodate each category, though each only competes against others in the same category.  There are two major systems of rounds used in the UK:

UK IMPERIAL ROUNDS

In 1844 the first Grand National Meeting was held at York.  The round shot then was called the York round.  Likewise, the rounds that were formalised when the Grand National Archery Society (GNAS) was formed in 1861 are named after the clubs or counties where they were developed.  Archery GB is the trading name of the GNAS and it maintains the rules for all the UK rounds.

The majority of these rounds are shot at imperial distances and scored using the 5 zone scoring system.  Its use comes from a round where from 1792 George, Prince of Wales prescribed the rules.  The shooting was at 100, 80, and 60 yards, known as the Prince's Lengths, on 4ft., 3 ft., and 2ft. targets.  Three arrows were shot at each end with the double ends of 6 arrows being known as "rounds" and the scoring 9, 7, 5, 3, 1 called the "Prince's Reckoning".

WORLD ARCHERY METRIC ROUNDS

In 1931 the International Archery Federation (Fédération Internationale de Tir à l'Arc or FITA) was founded to harmonise the rounds shot around the world as in the early days of archery at the Olympics, often the host country won as a local round and rules were used.

When the UK joined up in 1932 the FITA rounds were added to the British repertoire and the metric rounds for the junior age groups were developed.

FITA changed its name to World Archery (WA) in 2011 and from September 2013 the FITA rounds changed their name to the highest score that could be acquired for each round.  For example, the “FITA” round that consists of 36 arrows at each of the 4 distances with a maximum score of 10 for each arrow is now called a WA1440 round.

SCORING

If you have read this far then you’ll have gathered that there are two scoring systems in use in target archery in the UK – the 5 zone scoring for the Archery GB Imperial Rounds (with the exception of the indoor ones that are 10 zone scored) and the 10 zone scoring for the World Archery rounds and the Archery GB junior equivalent metric rounds.

For 5 zone the coloured rings of the target are worth 9, 7 5, 3 and 1 going out from gold to white.  In the metric system the rings are halved and so there are 10 scoring zones but we will leave the details of the inner 10 and X counts for you to discover at a later date!  So the red ring that is worth 7 on an imperial round has an inner ring worth 8 and an outer ring worth 7 on a metric round.

After each scoring end has been shot archers simply walk or wheel – or you can have an assistant to go and score and collect your arrows for you – up to the target where the scores are called and checked and recorded, mostly on a paper scoring sheet for each archer but at some shoots now there is a means of recording the score electronically on a tablet.

RECORDS

Scottish Archery and Archery GB keep records for all the recognised rounds.  You can claim a record for a round belonging to your gender/age group and up, but not for shorter ones, and for the recognised bows for target archery – longbow, recurve, recurve barebow and compound (unlimited).  If the event has World Record Status (WRS) then it is possible to claim a World Record.

DOMESTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Each of the Scottish Areas hosts an Area Championship - both Indoors and Outdoors.

The Senior Scottish Championships are held in August each year and hosted by a volunteer club under the auspices of Scottish Archery.

The UK Championships are the weekend after and are held at the Archery GB headquarters in Lilleshall and organised by the volunteer Archery GB National Tournament committee.  A 720 & Head to Head match is shot on day one with a WA1440 round the next.

There are separate Junior Championships held by Scottish Archery and by Archery GB.  Scottish Archery’s incorporate the Novice and U21 Championships too.

There are also separate Scottish Archery Disability Championships, though there is no bar to those with disabilities taking part in the other Scottish Championship events – they are open to all as is the disability event – though you can't claim a disability award if you are not entitled to it.

AWARDS

There are many score achievement badge awards available.  For the metric rounds, Scottish Archery has Thistle Awards and Archery GB runs the awards system for the World Archery badges.

For the imperial rounds there are Rose Awards for the York/Hereford/Bristol rounds for adults and for juniors in events with UK Record Status (UKRS).

Read More about Achievement Badges

More About Field Archery

In field archery, the targets are set out at varying distances on uneven terrain usually in a woodland setting and with at least a few hills and slopes.  The distances shot are laid out around a course of 24 targets.

The varying terrain underfoot requires an archer to adapt their shooting position as they aim up and down slopes.  A full competition includes one day of shooting the course where the distances are unmarked and one day where the distance to the target is marked.  Archers have to estimate the distance before they shoot their arrows on the unmarked course.  

All ages and genders can compete on the same course, the only difference being the use of marker pegs at shorter distances for juniors.

The target faces are black with a gold centre.  You score 6 for the middle of the gold and 5 for the remainder of the gold.  The scoring then decreases as you move out of the target. 

Archery GB has its own Field Archery website - www.gnasfield.co.uk

Scottish Archery currently only has one Field Course in Argyll.  The Scottish Field Championships are held here each year in April.

More About Clout Archery

A very popular form of archery if you have a large enough field as archers shoot at a flag set in the ground at distances of up to 180 yards if shooting Archery GB clout distances and up to 185 metres if shooting under World Archery rules.

UK clout competitions can be of two types:  

  • One-way, where the archer always shoots from the same end
  • Two-way, where the archer starts from one end, shoots their 6 arrows and then carries their bow to the other end and shoots back

This practice was once used for target archery as well but has now completely died out except for clout.

DISTANCES

The distances for both sets of rules can be found in Chapter 7 of the Archery GB Rule Book.

Under either clout rules, juniors shoot at shorter distances depending on their age group and in World Archery there are longer distances for compound bows.

TRAJECTORIES

In a clout competition, there are two possible trajectories at which an arrow can be shot so as to land on the target – one high and one low.  Only archers shooting longbows may shoot the higher trajectory with all other bow types shooting the lower trajectory for safety reasons.

It is also a condition of entry to all competitions that every archer must have received instruction for clout shooting prior to the competition.  The dangers of overshooting, especially with a powerful compound bow are self-evident.

COMPETITION

A clout consists of 6 ends of 6 arrows.

Six sighting arrows are shot in each direction when shooting two ways.  In windy conditions it can make for a very tricky competition but in some ways that is the appeal of two-way clout.

SCORING

Scoring is done by measuring the distance the arrow is from the flag.  Under Archery GB rules an arrow within 18 inches of the flag scores 5 points (also called a clout), within 3 feet scores 4 points, within 6 feet scores 3 points, within 9 feet scores 2 points and within 12 feet scores 1 point.

In a World Archery clout the target is much larger with arrows scoring 5 points if within 1.5 metres of the flag, 4 points if within 3 metres and so on.

One archer rotates a coloured cord or tape looped around the flag and assistants collect all the arrows which are in a particular 'colour'.  The arrows are then placed in distinct groups on the appropriate section of the scoring cord and the competitors call their scores, picking up their arrows as they do so.

RECORDS

Scottish Archery and Archery GB keep records for both one-way and two-way clout and double clout.

Ladies are also allowed to shoot the gentlemen's distances.  There are also records maintained for junior gentlemen and ladies under 18, under 16 and for junior gentlemen under 14 and under 12 whilst junior ladies have only the under 13 age group.

Records are kept for longbow, recurve, recurve barebow, compound limited and compound unlimited.  The recurve barebow has only been introduced recently and is starting to be very popular.

We both also keep records for the World Archery clout however there are no World Records since it has proved impossible to standardise the scoring systems and course layout amongst all the member countries of World Archery.  For example, Australia and New Zealand use a 10 point scoring system.

CHAMPIONSHIPS

The UK National Clout Championships are held at Harrogate during October and can attract several hundred archers from all over the country.

AWARDS

Recurve and compound archers can claim a Six Clout Badge and longbow archers can claim a Three Clout Badge through Archery GB.  Also available to claim are Tassel Badges from the Northern Counties Award Scheme for clout.  Claim forms for either will be available at the events with the appropriate status.

More About Flight Archery

Flight archery is sometimes called the Formula 1 of archery.  It is at the same time the simplest – to shoot an arrow as far as possible – and the most complicated in that there is a category for specialist flight bows.  Flight bows are short and powerful, shooting slender lightweight arrows of special design.  These flight bows are almost always made by the archer and there are a great many unique designs.

This is just an overview – all the rules and categories can be found in Chapter 6 of the Archery GB Rule Book.

CLASSES & CATEGORIES

In competitions under Archery GB rules there are 6 types of bow: English longbow, target recurve, target compound, crossbow, and in addition, the specialised flight recurve and flight compound bows.

World Archery also include the American longbow (American Flatbow) and primitive bows in their flight competitions.

There are different sets of weight categories for some of the bow types.  Weighing the bows forms an important preliminary to the competition and can also take place between each round.

Target recurve and target compound must be standard target bows shooting standard target arrows however flight recurve and flight compound bows are usually very small with very thin strings shooting very small arrows.  Since these bows are at the limit of the strength of the materials used, it is not unusual to see archers wearing a hard hat, safety goggles and very thick leather gauntlets.  The noise made by a bow or string breaking can be quite spectacular.

AIMING

Arrows are shot at about 45 degrees to the horizontal and each competitor may have an assistant to help with getting this angle right.  Archers shoot along a line and distances are measured perpendicular to this line so there is an incentive to be on this line.  The rules state that the actual line can be chosen to gain any advantage from the prevailing wind however in Britain we cannot gain this advantage since this direction is also determined by the available space.

COMPETITION

As can be expected, wind conditions and weather play a critical part in any flight competition; rain is especially damaging to distance as is a cross wind.  In the latter case the arrow shaft is not in line with its flight and this increases the drag substantially.  The ideal conditions are flat calm or with a slight following wind where it is the hope of the archer that they can get their arrow to float through the air and substantially increase the distance.

A flight archery competition consists of 4 rounds of 6 arrows and an archer can shoot in up to four classes.  Although this doesn't sound much, by the time everyone has walked up to find their arrows and marked the furthest arrow, the competition can result in a very long day.  For the longbow archer typical distances will be around 300 yards however for a compound flight bow this might well be just short of 1000 yards.  Finding the arrows can be a problem since they don't always fly straight and are not very big – sometimes only 14 inches long which when you have a large airfield to look for it, can take some time.

SCORING

Archery GB (and the Americans) use imperial measures whilst World Archery uses metric and there is no direct one-to-one correspondence between them.  The weight categories also differ between ladies and gentlemen.

RECORDS

Scottish Archery keeps records for all the bow/weight categories as does Archery GB.

CHAMPIONSHIPS

In the UK there is one World Record Status competition and one UK Record Status competition, both held at RAF Church Fenton in Yorkshire.

Unfortunately the Scottish Flight Competition at Castle Fraser near Aberdeen can no longer be held as archers were beginning to exceed the distance available.  The main problem is in finding sites where there is sufficient room as there are remarkably few places where one can guarantee over 1000 yards free of other people.

CLASSIFICATIONS AWARDS

Under Archery GB rules, archers can qualify as Master Flight Shot or 1st Class Flight Shot at any flight shoot organised within Archery GB, by a region/home nation or county/area.  Archers can qualify for Grand Master Flight Shot at any of the above except that the county/area event must be the county/area Championships.

 Read More about The Badges

Events Calendar

Scotland has a full calendar of events including Indoor, Outdoor, Field and Target, Area and Scottish Championships held each year.

Scottish Events Calendars

Scottish Archery Target Rankings

Scottish Target Rankings

Scottish Archery keep target archery rankings for all its members who compete in open competitions.

Read More

Some Archery Award Badges including Thistles

Achievement Badges

There is a great variety of score achievement and other awards badges that competition archers can earn at all levels.

Read More

Gareth with one of his many record certificates

Scottish Records

Scottish Archery keep records of the highest scores claimed in all the disciplines by gender, bow-type and age categories.

How to Claim

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AGB Tournament Diary

For all Target, Field, Flight and Clout events with WRS or UKRS status including "National" events and the National Series.

AGB Tournament Diary

field archery image for link to GNAS Field website

AGB Field Events

Archery GB Field has it's own website until field gets incorporated into a new AGB website.  Events, Results and Maps.

"GNAS" Field website

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