Well after many requests I have put pen to paper or finger tip to keyboard and put a report together for GP4.. well my ramblings which tell you how I found the day... soggy would be one word to use... but I have put together many more for your reading pleasure...... Well I hope you like it, Rob read it and told me I had to post it on here (its on the SBFTC face book page too.....)
GP 4 – Wet & Windy Wendover…….
Sunday 12th June…. Summertime…. Or not as the case may be….
The forecast was for rain and rain it did…. We set off at 9am to travel the 2.5 hours to Wendover’s ground and for once the weathermen got it bang on…. It was pouring down. I was more than a little smug having spent hours the previous day trawling round various shops for suitable wet gear….. Needless to say I was kitted out…. Water proof (and wind, mud and ketchup proof as it turned out) trousers, waterproof jacket (which folds down into a cute little bag when not being used – a girly point I know but I am a girl so can get away with it!!!) plus the usual layers and CSFTA cap which sports (with pride
) my two duck badges attained at the NEFTA Classic…..
We were shooting in the afternoon and arrived at the Wendover ground around 11.30 – plenty of time to have a scout round at the course, grab a bacon burger (mine had four yes four bits of bacon in it …. Yum yum – here was where I found my trousers to be ketchup proof!!!) and relax after the journey before getting the toy out to see if it still worked…..
In case anybody at the shoot didn’t know (and if you didn’t you were in a minority) Rob managed to spill petrol in the back of the car Friday morning so we were a little “high” on fumes when we first arrived…. Needless to say that many a comment about lighting matches near the car, the smell of petrol following me around, and such statements as “you should not leave him on his own”, “he put what in the washing machine” and “ha ha ha ha” were jokingly mentioned only several hundred times….. As a note it is now Wednesday (10 days... yes 10 days after the GP) and the car still has a petrol type whiff about it…..
Back to the shoot….. After donning all the wet gear I was more than happy to wander around the line, noting that it trailed around one section of woodland (well there were trees but in sections it looked more like mangrove swamps as the puddles were joining up to form lakes) then into a wide open section lovingly referred to by most simply as “the field” but by all as “bloody hard”, then back into the woods. This was a damn fine course, calling on many skills and due to its layout, you were shooting in all different directions so maintaining where the wind was actually coming from was tricky….. Well I say tricky, there were points when I knew exactly which way the wind was blowing as the rain was coming down so hard and at a 45 degree angle you could see the wind…. At that point just seeing the target through the rain was a challenge… oh and stopping the raindrops falling onto and into the scope was near on impossible….. Many a lane I had what can only be described as one of those children’s kaleidoscopes to look through…. Very pretty but as for getting a sharp image of a target my chances were slim…..
Thinking ahead Rob knew I would get water on the lens so gave me a soft cloth and permission to wipe the lens…. I normally get told off for doing this as I now know that doing that can scratch the lens, but having been given full permission I happily wiped away….
One thing about GP’s is that you never know who you will be shooting with and me being a new bod on the scene it means a new person to get to know…. Wendover introduced me to John Costello and he proved excellent company
. The good conversation and lots of laughter ensured that both of us managed to really enjoy the shoot despite all of mother natures best efforts to dampen our spirits (excuse the pun).
We started on the second woodland section of the course and all was going well so I was most pleased when I managed to flatten both targets in my first standing lane….. They were down hill and I can only thank my home ground (the Buccaneers) for my ability to shoot down hill standers. Our club has a great woodland setting including downhill slopes great for practising low placed standers…. Small cheer from me (my first of many as I made my way around the course) and smiles from onlookers as my pride in my shot was noted…
There were a good number of reduced size kills and I am pleased to say I got most, and those I missed were down to me not being brave enough with the wind…. Or the wind reading my mind and stopping as soon as I released the shot causing it to fly straight!!!! My range finding was good though as shots where I missed my horizontal was good being 9O’Clock or 3O’Clock of the kill. Always find the silver lining in a result… it is there… some times it takes a second look to find it but it is always there!!! That’s what I tell myself and it keeps me going anyway….
After the first section of woods (where we were fairly sheltered from the rain) we had to walk back through the woods, via the field and over to the next stretch of woods starting with the chrono…. Reading all ok, onto more targets. It was starting to rain harder now so I was relieved to find out that my waterproofs were in fact completely waterproof. I found this out when I sat on my bean bag and the puddle that had formed on the top of it….. No dampness seeped though to the underwear… thankfully!!!
Another cheer as a target went down…. Torrential rain… no problem… I was fully prepared…
We moved through the woods and the rain got even heavier… everything was wet, I had never shot in such testing conditions it was really hard work. Range finding was difficult as my scope kept attracting water droplets. That coupled with my smears from attempts to clear the droplets, then the lens steaming up when I put my head to it made it difficult to see the target let alone begin to range find….. I managed to find what I can only describe as the least fuzzy picture and went with whatever range the scope said
. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn’t…. I was still smiling tho as despite the weather and problems with the scope I was having such a great time. I was amazed how many people were smiling and laughing all along the line, everyone was in such high spirits (possibly laughing was the only option above crying!!!) and it made me think…. Everyone is under the same conditions and still smiling so don’t worry about it.
Every target was a mixture of hard work, rain drops, sheer determination, and outright pleasure (especially if it fell). This was even more so as we moved into “the field”. Now we had rain, wind, puddles, mud and now no shelter from the onslaught…. I was still smiling tho… I knew that this section had been deemed the toughest and many a tip top shooter had fallen at this section I shall mention no names (Berty ) so I put all that to the back of my mind and somehow managed to hit half of them, including my last target which was a long one out in the open…. One I was not upset at missing was near the top of a tree, a good distance out, and a reduced kill oh and you had to wait for the wind to blow the branch out of the way before you could see it!!!! John hit him and I was so excited to see him fall, but as the wind was really gusting and it was more than a little tricky he did not fall at my attempt…. I did hit plate tho which in the circumstances I was quite pleased with!!!
We came off the course with water running down our faces, guns and bags soaking but beaming smiles. I really enjoyed the course…. John and all the Wendover gang…. thank you very much.
I have learnt a lot with every shoot I have done this year and am putting what I have learnt into practice. I have learnt from GP1 at Harriers to ALWAYS check my gun on the plinking range
, so I always spend what time I need to ensure the gun is working as it should. At GP 2, Tawd Vale I learnt that I can hit the targets, but as soon as I get tired my ability to hit them decreases dramatically and I start to get tired after 5-10 lanes. Solution at GP 3 Newbury I took around a chocolate bar and bottle of water with me… here at GP4 Wendover, I now have a funky wee rucksack
in which I have lucozade, fruit & oat bars and my cocktail of pain killers (my waterproofs will go in there too… but not today!!). Not only am I now able to complete a GP course without being in excruciating pain (having food with my tablets which I have to take half way through means they work much better and do not make me feel so ill) but I am not as tired, or at least I can survive until the end before I feel the cloud of exhaustion. This has meant that I am much more able to enjoy my shooting and it means that I am surviving longer so am able to range find to a better degree throughout and my concentration levels can be maintained for longer…. Hopefully this will continue to improve so I can become “competition fit” and in theory that will enable me to increase the targets I can hit simply by maintaining my ability to concentrate….. We shall find out over the remaining GP’s if my theory pans out….
What did I learn from GP 4 (besides that my rucksack full of goodies works rather well)….. Another very good lesson…. When I miss I now mark on my score card where I aimed and where the shot landed. A little tip my partner for the day John Costello shared with me…. and it did prove incredibly valuable. It highlighted my consistent misses… they were all at longer distances where I did not give enough wind….. Not only a good guide to where I am going wrong, but I found it reassuring too in that my misses were consistent and readable therefore the problem was surmountable…. Great tip John…. thanks… I will be using that in future
I was pleased to see fellow buccaneers Mick Winstanley, Geoff Ames and Steve Privett (winner of the Springer trophy at Newbury GP – Damn fine shooting Steve). Since I have been shooting my little waterproof socks off this year and going not only to the GP’s but to SWEFTA shoots I have not seen much of these chaps and am beginning to forget what my home club grounds look like…. The problem being trying to find a spare Sunday in the shooting diary….. Yay Sunday 3rd July… no other shoots… It’s a date I will be able to shoot at my own club!!!! Good job too as I did not get much of a chance to catch up with my comrades today. I do know however that I beat my old adversary Mr Winstanley… only by one target tho…. Mick got 29, while I managed a 30 (should mention that Mick whipped my backside at Newbury getting a whopping 39 while I managed my best GP score yet of 31. My aim for this GP season was to get 30 (goal achieved…. On to the next…)). Geoff got a respectable 17 as this was his first GP and knowing how tough I found my first GP, having to do your first in the torrential rain is no mean feat… don’t be disappointed Geoff…. We are not and I guarantee that your scores will improve as you do more…. Last but certainly not least Mr Privett… Another fantastic victory for Steve in the Piston Class… not only did he win with 39 but he left the rest splashing in the puddles… the closest (and still a good score) was Nick Murphy who had to concede (again) to Steve with 32. Time to consider hanging up the PCP Steve and stick with the Springer…… Hmmm…. Well done lads, we are all flying the Buccaneers flag high this year.
I hope to see you all at GP5 in Wales….. And I shall update you all on the next instalment in my training programme…….. Until then this Helen England, the owner of water proof water proofs hanging up the keyboard until next time….