I’m aiming my arrow on the target 100 meters away from me. My fingers are barely touching the string of the bow before I shoot and my arrow hovers in the air towards its goal. Bullseye! This is how I pictured when I signed up for the archery lessons. Unfortunately with numerous arrows that hardly even hit the target, only 10 meters away, I seem to be less talented than I thought.
We are situated at Nottinghamshire, at the edge of Sherwood Forest. Most travelers skip this part of the country and head straight to the Peak District National Park, a little bit up north. However with a notorious outlaw having lived in these woods nearly 900 years ago, I decided to travel to the land of Robin Hood first. Nottingham is by no means an unique city, but the legend of an outlaw stealing from the rich and giving to the poor has become a tale everyone’s familiar with. If Robin Hood really did existed is uncertain up to this day but people around here claim otherwise.
The Major Oak tree
The main attraction of Nottinghamshire is to be found in Sherwood Forest: the Major Oak Tree. It is said that the tree was the meeting location of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. The oak tree is over 1100 years old and for this reason many of its limbs are being scaffolded. The Major Oak was voted as one of Britain’s Natural Wonders and is the only remainder the tale of Robin Hood has left.
I decided that making the hike through Sherwood Forest towards the Major Oak was not enough. While I was in the land of one of greatest bowmen that has ever lived, why not take archery lessons? Here and now. If I ever was as talented as Robin Hood himself there was only way to figure out. I drove to the edge of Sherwood Forest where a Archery and Gun club was located. This was the place where I was about to meet my tutor.
Unfortunately, despite his great efforts of showing me how to shoot, I fail miserably. Five arrows. All of them missing the target that is only ten meters away. While I’m giving it another try, my shooting starts to improve. I even hit bullseye once.
The round targets are being switched by small animals (not real ones of course!) and again it’s harder than I thought. Rabbits, pheasants, ducks… they all survive. There is no doubt I’ll have to forfeit my ambitions of becoming the next Robin Hood, but I got the experience of doing some archery in the land of Robin Hood himself.