Most People seem to agree that we cannot and do not want to go back to the past, but the reason given is often wrong; that time has moved on and what was can never be again. The truth is that we cannot go back to what we never left. Our home is the earth, our time the Pleistocene Ice Ages. The past is the formula for our being.
(Paul Shepard)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Samara 2012

 I spent a fun weekend throwing spears at one of the "European championships of archery and spearthrowing". This is a year long round of competitions which are held at various sites across much of continental Europe. Samara is in the Somme valley and was a pretty easy trek over by the car tunnel. I have been to some events a few years ago and was glad to finally get back. Samara is a very impressive museum and visitor centre which hosts a great collection of artifacts from the acheulian to the roman periods. It played a role in Caesers' conquest of Gaul and is set in some pretty countryside. The staff of the centre did a fantastic job hosting the event and the food provided (18 Euros for the competition dinner and breakfast) was of a good standard. It has been a while since I have eaten any bread so having a breakfast of...bread was a little odd, fortunately the French aren't rude enough to insult people with margarine and I was able to slather it in butter.
 The competitions are held over two days with the first day being for archery and the second for spearthrowing. The rules about kit are a bit stricter than most and no plastic nocks or metal points are allowed. Given the lightness of most primitive materials this provides a good challenge for making ballistically sound arrows and darts. Not being particularly fussed about the archery Steve and I just attended the spearthrowing Sunday
 The course is based on 10 targets at ranges from 8-26 metres the course is shot three times  for a total of thirty shots. For archery the scores a quite high as the course is not amazingly taxing however some of the throws are more than challenging for a spearthrower.
I'm not refusing to kiss I just "forgot" it is the custom in France
 The course was split into two with the higher part of the park being set at various levels and it involved shots both up and down hill which took some getting used to. We shot the upper section three times and shot the lower section after a break.  The lower section was set in a very handsome park, the targets were more level though there was the obligatory water feature.
 Like many atlatl events, what seems easy on paper turns out to be deceptively hard. I felt like I really didn't throw very well particularly on the upper sections where I contrived to miss the furthest and closest targets every time. I pulled myself together for the lower section where we all started to throw better.
 In great weather we joined a very welcoming group of throwers who I think had come just for the spear section as we had or perhaps they had not camped. There is a great sense of community at these events and it is apparent that their is a great deal of real friendship among the participants which manages at the same time not to be exclusive. Events are pretty short in comparison to the UK and I wonder whether the chatting time and meals contribute to this.
 Being gentlemen Steve and I elected not to show bad form and win and contented ourselves with 2nd and 19th place, which we were both happy with.
 Thanks to all at Samara and to the friendly and welcoming throwers of the championship I very much hope that we will be able to attend more or the events. Thanks also to Steve for the driving and for the questionable French take on McDonalds at the tunnel terminal.
 In the UK we will be throwing the last ISAC of the season this October on the 7th. We are also going to try to put up a few target round the wood, tuition and equipment will be happily provided please contact me for more details.
(I will upload more photos soon)


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