Thursday is a relaxed day, the calm before the storm. Run as a regular 100 target DTL event with no tricks, it is an opportunity to blow some cobwebs out with the added edge of prize money for the competitive.
I have to admit to being somewhat grumpy at the beginning of the first day and on the drive down I generally manage to work myself up into a fair old mood. This is, to me at least, the natural thought process of work waiting back in the office that will now have to wait until next week and the general inconvenience of having to break ones normal routine. I cannot blame it on worries about the shoot or even the weather because we have run this event for long enough to know that all will work out as it always does and everyone will have a good time no matter what the weather may throw at us.
The drive down to Caersws is 50 miles from home and takes typically an hour. Today it took an hour and 25 minutes, which really helped my mood! I hate being late and we had arranged to meet at 8:00.
When I got to the ground, Erwin had already arrived, unpacked and set up. Clearly he allowed enough time for the traffic. Peter, Ralf and Helmut, who travelled over from the Krieghoff factory in Germany yesterday, were already at our tent. Peter Brass is joint Managing Director of H. Kriehgoff GmbH, whilst Helmut Span is the head of the K-80 department and Ralf Sommer their very talented stock maker. It is great to see them in Wales again.
We made a few changes to the size and postion of the tent this year and I liked it much better. Erwin and David had been on the ground on Tuesday, setting out the banners and flags and I had noticed that all looked smart on arrival. A good black mug of tea thrust into my hand by Erwin and the day already started to look better.
The highlight of the shoot for me is always the shooters. They travel from all over the UK and Ireland and it is humbling that they do so with good cheer putting my grumbles about a comparitively short drive into perspective One of the first faces I saw was Colin Knape who had travelled down from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, which illustrates my point perfectly. More and more familiar faces started to arrive and soon the tent was humming with activity.
Ralf’s first appointment was with Emma Holden who was having a custom stock made. Emma’s coach, David Ball was along to assist with the particular dimensions he had identified to enable Emma to shoot to her best ability. David is a long time friend and very successful competitor who now concentrates on coaching others. Other shooters arrived bringing their previously booked jobs for the attention of Erwin and Helmut. Many shooters take advantage of the shoot to get their guns serviced. I think I am right in saying that Helmut has attended almost all our DTL shoots at Mid Wales, I must ask him tomorrow. The shoot would definitely not be the same without him.
The day flew by and it was most enjoyable to meet up again with old friends. There was good interest in the demo guns we had taken down for try out and it is always interesting to hear the feedback. By mid afternoon Ralf had fnished the stock to the point were Emma could take it out for a few rounds on the practice trap and I believe the result was 40 straight. She will try it again tomorrow to check if any final tweaks are needed. There is another custom stock booked with Ralf tomorrow and a third on Saturday. It is quite amazing that he can turn out three stocks, individually made with nothing more than hand tools, in three days, working out of a tent!
Home now, fed and watered, and looking forward to tomorrow.
There were 179 entries today and those interested can find the results on the Krieghoff UK website