Archery Archive: Fair Day 2011

Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
 Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Hub author strolling past Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Hub author strolling past Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
This shot shows part of the Whistle Arrow conversation taking place in the background. Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
This shot shows part of the Whistle Arrow conversation taking place in the background. Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
My favourite youth contestants, Annet and Bas. These two will be champions one day. Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
My favourite youth contestants, Annet and Bas. These two will be champions one day. Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Hub Author in action. Look at him run.  Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Hub Author in action. Look at him run. Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
The Kitchen of Yore Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen
The Kitchen of Yore Picture by Michiel Turkenburg and Geert van Roosmalen

By Nils Visser


Last Saturday evening found me in the ruined bailey of Teylingen Castle, near the city of Leiden in the Netherlands. It was the end of Fair Day, an annual archery fest filled with outlandish targets and ten times a dozen traditional archers, bowyers, fletchers, blacksmiths and a few other oddish folk.


Fair Day is an event organised for archers by archers and over the years it has gained a fair reputation as the annual Low Countries event not to miss. It’s followed on Sunday by the Fair Flight, a large clout shoot and an official flight shoot where the war bow (read heavy heavy monster bows, usually self-bows of Yew wood ranging from 100 to 150lbs) guys and gals compete in the English War Bow Society’s Standard, Livery and Quarterpounder classes, as well as the Dutch Warbow Society’s Crécy and Poitiers classes. Usually there is an actual flight shoot (distance) involved as well, but the available distance (300 meters) was deemed insufficiently safe, due to the presence of candidates with prime Asian composite bows. Both days are fortified by the awesome cooking skills of Cindy & Co in the "Kitchen of Yore", if you've never tried Cindy's soups in between bouts of intense physical activity, then that alone is worth visiting Fair Day for.


Much of that evening’s chatter in Teylingen’s imposing ruins concerned boasts about expected results in the clout and flight the next day, and an evaluation of the 29 spectacular and interesting targets we had sharpened or shattered arrows on that day. There were clear favourites. Most of the targets set around the castle itself were among these, shooting traditional bows in an actual castle lends a very nice flavour to your archery, and to this one can add the tension of knowing that your arrow is almost certain to shatter if you miss the target and the arrow impacts the castle walls.


Another included the organizer’s (Fairbow) interpretation of the so called King’s Shoot, or Bird Shoot. This is an ancient tradition of the town militia archers, which most Dutch and Belgian towns in the Middle Ages would have had, and which still exist in many places in the south and east of the Netherlands, most notably the provinces of Brabant and Limburg, as well as Flanders in Belgium. In this case the King’s Shoot consisted of a rubber chicken dangling from a wooden construction at a height of twelve-and-a-half meters. For safety’s sake the arrows we shot had flu-flu fletching to ensure that they wouldn’t fly very far and rubber blunts on the tips, after all, the last thing we wanted to do was to bring down one of the passenger planes making their descending run towards Schiphol Airport. Not inconceivable if you ask war bow archers like Magén Klomp, Kevin Janssen, Ruben den Riet or Bjorn Peeters to loose their quarterpounder-bodkin-tipped-small-tree-trunks-with-half-a-bird-on-the-back arrows at an almost vertical angle with their 120lbs+ Yew bows ( ;-D ).


More popular targets included the Nerd’s Corner, which boasted a spectacular amount of old laptops, dvd and cd players, old speakers and the like (I did particularly well here, a chance to get some revenge for all those ill-timed electronic malfunctions and meltdowns) and the caravan. Most archers deliberately missed the targets stuck on the caravan as it was much more fun to try and demolish the caravan itself, though this cost a few archers valuable competition points. As for my score? Well I was beaten fairly and squarely by my sister Anne on her second outing as an archer, it simply wasn’t my day (but I'm very very proud of her).


The Fair Day isn’t a re-enactment, there was no public, costumes varied from the contemporary casual, the symbiotic mixture of 13th and 21st century gear and full medieval costume. Oh, and Hans of course, in his own fusion of Conquistador, Highland Warrior and Medieval Archer. Anyone else would be denounced as the ultimate Farby*, but Hans is one of those few priceless characters who can pull it off. Even better, at events with public attendance I thoroughly enjoy the sight of fuming and hyperventilating Panty Pedantics** whose painstakingly gathered valid gear is ignored by the public in favour of Hans’s widely varied and historically outrageous outfit, which the public presumably recognize as authentically enthusiastic, and therefore real enough for them. When I grow up, I want to be just like Hans.


Hans illustrates the sort of eccentricity one can encounter at an event like Fair Day, definitely one of those aspects that makes the day especially fun. Hans, at any rate, revels in the controversy he causes, and apart from the few Panty Pedantics who had to be led off the field for immediate internment in the nearest sanatorium , most appreciate the good humour with which our Scottish Conquistador, armed with English war bow, challenges etiquette, just like they can raise a smile for the archer who pointedly hangs a replica light sabre on his medieval belt on account of “never having found anything in any medieval documents that suggests medieval archers did not have light sabres”.


Anyhow, there I was, on Saturday evening, a warm summer’s eve in October (oh, the times we do live in), with fires casting a warm glow on the bricks of the inner curtain wall and the towering edifice of the keep of Teylingen Castle. Two pigs were being roasted on a spit, bottles of mead and ale were opened and a small folk band called the Teetotallers were enthusiastically launching into one familiar folk tune after another. I stood near one of the fires, engaged in an earnest debate with an authentically dressed Manchu archer, an accurately dressed fifteenth century Free Company archer, a Farby archer in sturdy garden work boots and myself, wearing Doc Martens, jeans and a t-shirt depicting an orc dexterously emptying a nostril with the tip of its tongue***. Most of the folks who attend these dos will probably be surprised to note my attempts to describe the scene, being utterly used to this type of location and historically cross-dressed crowd, but I’d like to assure them that there are people who may well be somewhat surprised to find out how some members of humanity spend their Saturday nights.


The inevitable subject of our conversation was archery, and once the Fair Day targets had been exhausted, our attention was drawn to so-called whistle arrows and whistling arrows, partially inspired by the presence of Peter Dekker, the Dutch specialist in Manchu archery, who had brought along some fine specimens of these arrows which he was kind enough to demonstrate in the Clout shoot which took place the next day, another spectacularly sunny day which saw a succesful Clout as well as a highly interesting Flight Shoot.


Can't wait for the 2012 edition of Fairday, the five year anniversary promises to be something special.


Registration for Fairday 2012 is now opened, see www.fairbow.nl


*"Far Be it for me to question/criticise” or "Fast And Researchless Buying”, originally an American Re-enactor’s definition of anyone considered to be a lesser Re-enactor due to ignorance or lack of interest in historical accuracy.


** A term of my own invention, used to describe those who would get their panties in a twist over perceived historical inaccuracies if they were actually wearing them, seeing that panties are decidedly historically inaccurate. Be wary of these people, they’re capable of very tedious and tiresome monologues about the smallest obscure details gleaned from mysterious sources which must not be named, probably because it would invoke the curse of some headless Templar Knight charged with the eternal duty of safeguarding the secrets of inner-seam sewing patterns.


***The logo of the Orc’s Nest games shop in central London.


Fairday 2012

I have already booked my tickets for Fairday 2012

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Comments 34 comments

Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Great pictures Joeri, thanks for letting me use them.


Joeri 5 years ago

hey, leuk dat je mn fotos gebruikt hebt, ik zal ze zo snel mogenlijk ook gewoon op mn website gooien dan zijn ze ook eraf te halen op een wat grotere resolutie.

greetz Joeri


marcel 5 years ago

Nicely depicted(described) by Nils Visser...... only the best writer I ever met!!

nice job man...... nice job indeed!

marcel.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Thanks Marcel!


Frank of the Spoon 5 years ago

You're not just an excellent writer, but apparently a dare-devil as well. Respect for both the articel as well as the experiment.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Erm, Marcel, how many writers have you met?


joyce keyzer 5 years ago

mijn complimenten!

dank je voor dit verhaal!!!


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Glad you enjoyed it Joyce, and you Frank.


Inge 5 years ago

Wederom een mooi en interessant stuk om te lezen


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Thanks Inge


Gerrit 5 years ago

Geweldig verhaal!

Ik wacht met spanning op je volgende uiteenzetting omtrent de pure kwaadaardigheid van het plakken van flu-flu's... >;oD


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Gerrit, I will devote a whole book to the evils of making fluflu arrows.


mark van bakkum 5 years ago

Weer een mooi artikel en weer zeer herkenbaar ik heb om mijn phone nog de opname met een beetje geluid van de fluitpijlen

Ik zal ze je wel sturen of ergens posten

Ben benieuwd naar het volgend artikel


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Cheers Mark, would appreciate that data. What kind of archery subjects would you like to read more about, by the way?


Douggie 5 years ago

Excellent work as usual mate !! keep it up


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Woof!


bob the warbow 5 years ago

Hmmm. that caravan looks promissing. Wanna shoot Fairday 2012 as well. Cya next year Nils.


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Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

It'd sure be nice.


klompy 5 years ago

great story, nice pictures. sorry could not do much shooting myself, glad you liked the party(-weekend)


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Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Thanks Magen, and thanks again for doing all that work. You sure know how to throw a party.


Michael 5 years ago

Hallo allemaal, Ik wil volgend jaar deelnemen. Ik kom uit Amsterdam maar ik woon in Spanje. Groeten!

Michael "Middeleeuwen tot de kern"


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Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Hi Michael,

Registration for next year is already possible at www.fairbow.nl

Keep in mind that there are only 125 tickets available and they tend to sell out fast, many people have already booked for next year.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

The photos are beautiful! Would love to try archery someday.

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! To view and read this week's Hubnuggets, this way please: http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/h...


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Hi Ripplemaker,

Be warned, it's very addictive! Best approach would be to google "archery" and your local town/county/region/. Most clubs or groups are more than happy to let you borrow the required gear and let you try it a couple of times, with friendly advice and/or lessons thrown in. That way you don't have to dig in your pockets for spare cash before you even know whether or not the bug will get you. If, on the other hand, photography is your thing, google the same things. Archery is incredibly photodynamic, there's something about drawing a bow that really works well with photography, capturing the dynamics of movement/action etc.


alice-the-bus-owner 5 years ago

Excellent as ever!! Keep on trucking - and lose those clogs lolz


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Thank you old friend.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. This was an awesome hub. I especially liked your many pictures.

Namaste.


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Thank you, unfortunately the pictures aren't mine (barring one or two)! But I'll let the three photographers know, they'll be pleased I'm sure.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

This looks like brilliant fun. Well written, and the photos are excellent. Thanks for posting.


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

fascinating information and absolutely great pix-- thanks for a real adventure.I loved it.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK

I definitely want to try archery one day. And don't the women look very sexy firing arrows too?


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

Robie: Thanks, glad you experienced it as an adventure.

Chris: I knew those pictures would do the trick. ;-) And for trying it out: anytime. I think 2012 would be a nice year to get together for a pint.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK

Maybe I should write about next year's fair day?


Nils Visser profile image

Nils Visser 5 years ago from The Low Countries Author

You'd be more than welcome, would it be about archery or about our wimmens? In that case, you might need the British contingent for protection ;-)

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