Scottish War Blinded members participate in inaugural archery session at Linburn's Centenary Hall

Posted: 28/07/2016 | Scottish War Blinded

It was a historic day at Linburn’s Centenary Hall this morning where the first arrows were flown by Scottish War Blinded members.

Scottish War Blinded members Derek MacDonald (pictured left) and Jocky Elliot (pictured right) participated in today’s inaugural session who are preparing for an archery tournament against fellow visually impaired veterans in Brighton later this month.

Both members agreed that the opportunity to now participate in regular sessions at Linburn’s Centenary Hall will prove hugely beneficial.

Jocky said:

“Derek and I are very looking forward to the competition down in Brighton. We will be competing against visually impaired veterans from across the country. We normally would practice once a month, so it’s nice to get consistent practice at Linburn once or twice a week especially when competitions are coming up.”

Derek said:

“It’s great to get started at Linburn, where we can now enjoy regular sessions and prepare properly for tournaments. Olympic archers fire 600 arrows a day and, although I won’t fire as many, I’m delighted to have the opportunity of extra practice.”

Visually impaired archery utilises the same target used by sighted archers where scores are registered by landing arrows in various coloured ringed sectors from yellow in the centre, to red, blue, black and white. In visually impaired archery, an archer gains feedback from a sighted caller who indicates where the arrow has landed. This is achieved by stating the coloured ring and a location based on a clock system, for example ‘Red at 3 O’Clock’.  

As both members proceeded through their practice session, it became evident that both Derek and Jocky utilised contrasting aiming strategies as a result of their respective visual impairments.

Jocky describes:

“I would describe my visual impairment as having tunnel vision. I don’t require a sight or scope but the target can appear a lot further away as a result, but not having your peripheral vision assists greatly in sustaining concentration.”

Derek describes:

“As a result of Macular Degeneration, the target is just a fuzzy blur in the distance. I use a simple sight with no magnification like a rifle. It’s simply looking through a little loop and hoping I hit the target.”

Both Derek and Jocky invited Linburn Centre Officer Tim Searles (Pictured centred) to fly the first arrow before today’s session commenced in recognition of his hard work and dedication in establishing archery as a regular activity at Linburn’s Centenary Hall.

Did you know that Scottish War Blinded supports veterans of the Armed Forces who have sustained life changing visual impairments whilst in service or in subsequent later life? Find out more about Scottish War Blinded membership