When the wind blows . . .
A diary from the
NSRA Scottish Meeting in Caithness 2011
was bathed in sunshine for most of the week, a week when the rest of Scotland
was bathed in floodwaters. That left the competitors free to concentrate on
defeating the wind – an almighty conundrum that came in two sizes, either sneaky
gust or full-on gale.
I spent the week there, learning to read the wind, anticipate the wind, wait for
the wind. I quite enjoyed it when I got better at it, there must be something
wrong with me.
Not everyone got as much of a kick out of it. There were people grasping their
rifles as if for grim life as the wind threatened to blow them off course,
altering their positions as if to dig in to the firing positions, using an
abacus to work out how many clicks to turn their sights for windage. I was
fortunate in that I was given a steer before my first 100 yard card and was
therefore not totally surprised when the first shots really did go so far left
of the target they were in danger of missing the card completely. Still, we got
the hang of it eventually which is more than could be said for the NSRA's trial
run of new range instructions. It was remarkable to see just how many people
could not get used to the idea of standing at the rear of the firing point while
their rifles were checked for safety before targets were changed, no matter how
many times the inimitable George Wilson told them, then told them again, then
made fun of them, then berated them.
Did the conditions make the competitions a lottery? One competitor thought so
during the SSRA Freuchie, staged at lunchtime. “Will we just toss a coin to see
who wins,” he remarked through the gale, no doubt still musing where all the rum
had gone from the previous evening's socialising. I thought it was funny until
the mat belonging to the guy next to me blew away and hit me in the kisser.
The real winners were Watten WRI who delivered an amazing array of brilliant
food that meant that many a prepared packed lunch got left behind in a car
instead. They should be invited to join X Class without delay.
The technology that allowed me to abandon a laptop in a sunny field in Lauder
last year and still publish pictures and words onto the SSRA site while shooters
wandered round it wondering what fool had left it there didn't quite pan out
this year as patchy mobile phone signals left me wandering around near the
toilet blocks instead with a laptop balanced on one hand and a selection of
curses. It was the only place I could get a signal, honest.
All joking apart, I enjoyed
my trip to Caithness and I would implore people to return, not least for the
yearly Caithness SBRC Open meeting that follows the Scottish as well as the SSRA
Grand Prix. As a novice outdoor shooter, I learned a lot and improved a lot. I
also learned not to: turn my sights the wrong way at 50m and start doing
sighters that were effectively aimed at the moon; not to put a 100 yard card on
a 50m target; not to lay my mat down the wrong way
round, and not to leave Tunnock's teacakes in a hot car.
That's more than enough from me. Change targets...
Colin Watson, SSRA webmaster
Pictures tell a thousand words:
From left, Seoc Malone demonstrates his skills as a masseur on Maria Bexley;
Jim McIntosh sold a bundle of new SSRA hats when the temperatures dropped and he
wasn't afraid to model one himself and rumours that Colonel Gadaafi was hiding
in a tent on the range were denied by his stunt double Ian Henderson.