Archers unveil their new ‘howf’

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Ettrick Forest Archers unveiled what must be one of the smartest ‘howfs’ in the Borders on Saturday at Thirladean, near Selkirk.

Billed as a storeroom/shed, the brand new facility will double as a shelter for members and guests in inclement weather, as well as providing much-needed secure storage for club equipment.

The club, which now boasts 70 members after eight years of existence, host regular shoots for the British Longbow Society (BLBS) and send members to several other shoots across the country – and win more than their fair share of trophies.

Up to now, their equipment has been stored in a pair of horseboxes next to the shooting field.

The project for the new facility was made possible thanks to £12,044 funding from the Scottish Government and sportscotland’s legacy fund.

The rest of the cash came from clubsport Ettrick and Lauderdale, Selkirk Common Good Fund, Borders Regional Council’s community grant scheme and club funds.

Club chairman Doug Anderson thanked all members who had carried out preparartory work on the foundations, as well as helping to put the finishing touches to the building and surrounding area, picking out one of them, Jim Craig, as going above and beyond duty, putting in 30 hours a week when the foundations were being laid.

He added: “The cabin will allow the current incarnation of Ettrick Forest Archers to grow and continue to introduce people to longbow archery, while preserving and promoting the traditions of the archers of Ettrick Forest, which go back to before the time of Bruce and Wallace.”

Introducing the club’s landlord – Sir Michael Strag Steel – who cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the cabin, Doug said: “There is one man who has been fundamental in the success of this club, without whose backing and patronage we would have found it hard to survive.”

Aileen Campbell MSP, minister for public health and sport, who was also at the opening, said: “It is a beautiful facility, a great opportunity for this club to grow and grow, and we are pleased to have been able to help through some of the legacy funding available after the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“I’ve just been given a bit of a shot, and I can understand why you would want to come back and try this again and again. Whether you are young or old or in between, it’s a great way to get outdoors, and the members here should be commended for making their howf a reality.”