Updated: Nov 24
Kathryn Morton is a barebow archery of, to put it mildly, above-average talent. Recently she has moved into the senior shooting category, coming up against some fierce competition in the womans barebow category - a category that is one of the most competitive up here. However, Kathryn has hit the ground, or field course, running and continued exemplifying the artistry and skills of an elite archer.
What follows is an account written by Kathryn Morton on her experiences during the European 3D Championships in Italy.
I had the honour of representing Team GB at the World 3D Championships held in Terni, Italy, earlier this year. I had previously represented GB internationally a number of times as a Junior barebow archer (U21), but chose to shoot up an age category for the first time internationally and enter as a Senior (as there isn’t a Junior category in 3D yet) and it was a brilliant experience.
Recently, 3D archery has increased in popularity which meant there were numerous 3D shoots held in NI throughout the year, allowing me to qualify for the Team. I had not previously shot many 3D competitions so went to Terni with the goal of gaining knowledge and experience which would help me in future years.
Our hotel was in Terni, a beautiful city bordered by scenic mountains – which we soon learned we would be getting much closer to. On the morning of Official Practice, we boarded the bus to the shooting venue with little knowledge of exactly where we would end up. It was an overcast, drizzly morning in the city and this theme continued as we drove higher and higher through the fog on twisty roads cut into the mountainside. When we arrived at the venue, the organisers had crafted an athlete village next to the practice targets – a massive tent with numerous archery vendors, shops and a coffee shop (plus shelter from the drizzle). After the opening ceremony, it was time for practice – and by now the sun was shining down, warming us after such a cold morning.
Qualification days were picturesque, and we shot 48 very different shots over the two days. The courses were long, steep and challenging, with awkward footing in places. The awkward shooting angles, mixed with walking up and down hills to get to the next target, and the baking heat, made for a challenging experience. The courses reminded me of Tollymore (a Field archery course in the Mourne Mountains my club shot a few years ago). It was a true test of fieldcraft – requiring knowledge on distance-judging as expected, but also on how to shoot up and down hills with correct posture, and knowing how your arrows would be affected by doing so, plus of course having enough confidence to shoot a high quality shot each time as there were only two arrows per target and very little room for error. I qualified 23rd with 651 - a little lower than I had hoped but I knew it wouldn’t be a straightforward competition, especially after shooting in a group with Cinzia Noziglia on the first day and seeing such a high standard of shooting – Cinzia went on to take gold in the barebow ladies division. As one of the youngest archers there, I learnt a lot during those 2 qualification days which I was then able to translate into my own shooting back at club.
The remainder of the week was filled with observing some really close individual, team and mixed team head-to-head matches, however this wasn’t without an unexpected rainstorm and flash flood at the venue during the final few matches which lead to a prompt venue change for the team finals the following day. I enjoyed watching the matches, especially as there was such a narrow margin for error – only 4 arrows would decide the top 4 World Championship places. I found 3D to be very different from Field, and I enjoyed how course setters had made full use of the ground, placing animals anywhere up to 30m, unlike field where there are prescribed distances and archers could use a process of elimination to work out the distance. Shooting unmarked targets all week definitely helped my Field shooting, especially as each animal on the course is differently shaped, unlike the uniform circular targets one normally associates with archery.
We were also given the opportunity to see multiple local tourist attractions in the evenings including Maramore Falls, a beautiful 150m waterfall. Finals day was held at Carsulae, an ancient Roman settlement full of stunning architecture, but the standout moment of the week was the final banquet held in Stroncone that night. Each course of the banquet was found by walking through a maze of narrow cobbled streets. The locals had dressed up for the occasion and were displaying traditional occupations, plus there was a marching band parading through the town providing a wonderful energetic soundtrack. The opportunity to experience local food and culture while wandering through dim candle-lit streets was a once in a lifetime experience. Terni is probably the most enjoyable and unique venue I have been to for a Championship as there was such a wide variety of activities made available to us by the organisers. During the week after a long day of shooting, archers could go to the pool, explore the town, go for ice cream or meet up with friends.
It was great to meet archers from all across the world and trade pins with them. As well as meeting with friends from previous internationals, it was great to travel and spend time during the week with familiar faces. Two of my clubmates, Romaine Mehaffey and Orla O’Connor were also selected for the World Championships, representing GB and Ireland respectively. I had already met many of the archers representing Ireland at local shoots back home, it made the trip much less intimidating to be surrounded by so many friends. Overall, it was a great learning experience both on and off the field and I’m really looking forward to the next one.
Both photos are from and belong to World Archery.