A bit of Rangemaster training

Early this morning, I set off for a mysterious, unknown location in the middle of a snowy forest, with a bag full of knives and axes…..

Okay, so it sounds like the start of a low-budget slasher movie, but in reality, I was setting out for a couple of sessions of Rangemaster training for a bunch of Scout Leaders.

There were two groups, for a morning session and an afternoon session. The snow was still falling intermittently during the morning, but by the time we started the afternoon session, most of the snow had gone.  Sadly, this also turned the range into a muddy swamp reminiscent of the Eurothrow a couple of years ago. It’s amazing how much difference an hour made!

Morning throwing in the snow
Afternoon throwing in the mud
More morning throwing in the snow
More afternoon throwing in the mud!

Lots of fun was had by all, with some great sticks by some of the Scout Leaders.

Four hawks in one target!
Four hawks in one target!

New tripod!

It’s been a day of target maintenance.

Regulars at SKATTA know that I’ve been promising to replace the two main targets for, oh, years now. I still haven’t done that – although it is on the resolutions for 2018, honest! – but I’ve done some target work today.

First thing was to repair target no. two, since the back-brace support came loose last session, taking the target out of commission. I put that back on this morning, while it was still early. A lovely morning: bright, cold, with misty breath, crunchy frosted grass, and frozen puddles.

This afternoon, I assembled the second tripod. The first tripod, made last summer, uses heavy-duty wooden legs, and should easily stand up to the Norse ‘hawks., but it’s not easily luggable about the place, and I wanted something portable. I have another tripod at home that’s much lighter, but which is only suitable for knives – a Norse ‘hawk would go right through the uprights on that one! So something in between was needed.

Tripod components
Ready to get started

First thing was to get the uprights cut to the correct size:

Tripod uprights being cut
Uprights being cut

With my first tripod, I’ve got a single, M10 bolt that runs through all three legs, creating a single hinge. It’s a simple design, but it’s a pain to build and assemble, because that’s a big hole to drill through all three legs (I don’t have a drill long enough), and if it’s not straight, then it won’t work. Also, it’s awkward to assemble and dismantle, because it’s difficult to get all three pieces correctly aligned. And it means sawing through a 10mm threaded steel bar…

With this mark II tripod, I’ve stolen some of Gordon’s design, in that I’ve used angle-brackets to connect the three uprights. I’m hoping that they’ll take the impact of hawks – we’ll see. It goes together and comes apart more easily, anyway, and the legs are much lighter, so in total there’s less to carry. I’ve also added a horizontal bar for the front legs, but I’ll re-position that once I have the log round in place, and once I get some longer bolts – my M10 bolts are 80mm long, and they really need to be 100mm.

The finished item, seen from behind:

Completed mark II tripod
Tripod mark II, ready for action.

Autumn throwing dates

Hi all,

Apologies for the delay, but I now have the dates for the last three months of the year. You can find them on the Upcoming Dates page.

(I’ve been nailing down various work commitments, which is why it’s taken so long to figure out when I’m going to be available.)



Change of date!

The date of the next throwing session has changed!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the next throwing session will on Saturday 23rd September, at 2-4pm, instead of the previously-announced date of Sunday 24th September.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

KATTA UK National Championships 2017

Knives at the first UK National Championships

About fifty throwers descended on Woodend Farm Complex between Sheffield and Nottingham last week, for the first-ever UK National Championships. I was there, representing SKATTA. A great time was had by all.

There were the usual events:

  • Knives, at 3m, 5m and 7m. Seven lots of three throws, scoring 0-5 per knife, for a maximum total of 3 x 5 x 7 = 105 points.
  • Hawks at 4m, 5m and 7m. Again, 3 x 7 throws, for 105 points max.
  • Long distance knife, throwing from the 4-7m range, and then moving back 3m at a time, until all three throws at that distance fail to stick in the 1m-diametre target.
  • Long distance hawk, with the same rules and distances.
  • Speed throw: sticking the most knives from 3m in a 20-secon period.
  • Duel: knock-out rounds, where two throwers try to stick a knife at 3m before the other.

There were also:

  • Snife, KATTA’s throwing variant on snooker, throwing at a target with red, yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black, with higher points and a smaller target, according to the difficulty.
  • Silhou-axe, a variant on the usual silhouette game, where you aim at a sequence of small circles, while avoiding hitting the central larger circle.
  • Double-bit, throwing a two-headed axe at a target from 6.1m.
  • No-spin, throwing 3m, 4m, 5m and 6m.

The weather was glorious on Friday evening for registration and practice, but there was steady, insistent low-level rain all through Saturday morning, which turned all the target/throwing line positions into muddy marshes, which no-doubt affected everyone’s knife scores, as everyone struggled to keep their knives clean and dry. The rest of the weekend was overcast, but muggily warm, and the ground recovered.

“Double bit”, the two-headed axe competition.

I had lots of fun, and did surprisingly well, coming 22nd. I was surprising successful at the 5m hawks, where I usually fail to stick much at all, so I think that helped quite a bit. I didn’t take part in the no-spin competition, having neither the right knives nor any skill in that area yet. I was grateful for those who’d brought some spare two-headed axes, which allowed those of us without them to give it a go (I was terrible, sticking only 6 out of 15 throws).

No-spin’s definitely on the rise, with a number of throwers taking part in the competition, and several attempting the long-distance knife with no-spin, too. Must get some knives and figure that out, soon!

Next competition is hosted by the Essex Backyard Throwers, 23-34 September!

KATTA UK Knife, Axe and Tomahawk Throwing Competition 2017

Dan “the Man” Mosley has hosted a “Spring Fling” at the Huthwaite site for a few years now, but this year, it’s a bigger event: a UK national championship competition. It’s also moved slightly later in the year, from May to June.

So, this year, June 9-11, I plan to be representing SKATTA and Scotland, throwing against the best of the UK throwers, and getting thoroughly trounced in the process. But in a highly enjoyable way.

It’s an international event, in that non-UK throwers are also welcome to compete, though the UK championship rankings will be based only on UK throwers’ scores, in keeping with how other national championship competitions are run.

Details are on Facebook, on the main KATTA page, should you feel inclined to take part.

This year, my main goal – apart from sticking the blades – will be to not get so much sunburn than it takes more than a year to fade, as happened at the World Championships, last time I was at Huthwaite…

— steve