Most of us know all about target archery, and field archery, of course – but what about ‘Clout archery’?
Clout archery is a rarely practiced discipline and is believed to be the oldest form of archery competition, dating way back to the Middle Ages. It was originally introduced to make archery training far more fun, and the first recorded competition took place in 1676.
So how does clout archery work?
Arrows are fired at a target (a flag some 15 metres in diameter known as “the Clout”) from a relatively long distance – 180 yards for men, with slightly lesser distances for ladies and juniors.
An arrow embedded in the flagpole is counted as being in the highest scoring zone, while an arrow lying on the ground is considered to be in the scoring zone in which its point lies. The innermost circle is worth 5 points, decreasing to 1 point for the outermost circle. Anything 8 feet away or more counts as a miss.
Clout competitions still take place today
Competitions still take place today, and come in two forms – one way or two way. In the former, the archer shoots only from the same end, while two-way clout competitions mean the archer shoots their six arrows from one end, before carrying their bow to the other end and shooting back the other way. This can make it very difficult in blustery conditions, but therein lies much of the appeal.
Current National UK champion is Helen Woodcock, treasurer at Huddersfield-based club Pennine Archers. Helen is also county champion in both Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as holding the Northern Counties Regional title.
Clout archery has grown exponentially in recent times, due in part to the introduction of the Clout ranking system, and the testing nature of this form of archery appeal to many target and field archers.
If you’ve yet to try Clout archery before, please try to support your county’s Clout shoot and get involved.
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