Green Hollow Bowmen is a longbow-only archery club with membership open to all who have an interest in keeping alive the use of the traditional British longbow. The club is always happy to welcome new members, though we usually ask people who have little or no experience of archery to take part in a beginners' course run by the club before letting them loose at club meetings (one of the things we take seriously in Green Hollow Bowmen is safety).
Our beginners' courses are suitable for adults and children from age fourteen. We keep a range of equipment suitable for use by beginners and novices, and regular coaching sessions by our handsome coaches and their lovely assistants are available for all standards of incompetency.
Some Green Hollow members at a club meeting in our Craigend field
l. to r. Patrick, Suz, Paul, Mairi and May (with Ned and Johnny lurking in the background)
The club is affiliated to The British Longbow Society (BLBS) and shoots to the BLBS’s Rules of Shooting. To shoot with us, either as a member or as a guest, archers must therefore be members of the BLBS, the only exceptions to this rule being for beginners taking part in lessons or members of the public taking part in have-a-go sessions.
Membership of the BLBS is not expensive, however – only £4 a year for adults and £2 for juniors (i.e. under 16s), plus an initial £2 joining fee. Membership of Green Hollow Bowmen is £20 a year for adults and £10 for juniors and that’s it - no “green fees” unless you’re borrowing club equipment for which there’s an additional charge of £1 a day. There are also half-price membership rates for "country members", i.e. those who live more than fifty miles away from our two shooting grounds.
The club meets outdoors all year round – weekly on Sundays at Mugdock Country Park, and monthly on a Saturday at Fenwick. We also have sessions on Thursday evenings at Fenwick during the summer. As a BL-BS club, we concentrate on traditional target and clout rounds shot in the old two-way style - convivial, fun, and at times a challenge when the wind's up.
As well as ordinary club practice sessions, we hold several competitions throughout the year ranging from the small and very informal to larger meetings hosted on behalf of the BLBS (these also tend to turn out pretty informal – we don’t really do “formal” as such in Green Hollow Bowmen).
Green Hollow Bowmen's club banner on display at Culzean Castle Country Park
On the “things-to-make-and-do” side of things, we have occasional workshop sessions where you can learn useful things like how to make your own equipment. Most of our members at least make their own arrows, and several make longbows too.
And that’s what we do. So what don’t we do? Well, we don’t use traditional bows other than longbows as defined in the BLBS Rules of Shooting – in other words, that old American longbow lurking up in your loft just won’t hack it. We don’t do historical re-enactment despite the fact that we have been known to dress up for demonstrations. We don’t do field archery, i.e. simulated hunting at inanimate targets set up in woodland (fun, but not covered by our Rules). We don’t do real bow-hunting either because it’s not only unkind to our furry and feathered friends but also illegal in Britain. We don’t shoot metric FITA rounds as we feel longbows only work properly at distances made up of yards, preferably reckoned in scores. We don't do roving marks, Hoyles or flight and we don't play with heavy "warbows". And last but not least, we don’t believe there’s any such thing as the wrong shade of green.