Archers aiming to keep playing fields

Julie Ryan and Muriel Kirkwood Archery GB Directors with Alan Wood, Mearns Archers Founder and Coach
Julie Ryan and Muriel Kirkwood Archery GB Directors with Alan Wood, Mearns Archers Founder and Coach

A local archery club have provided Aberdeenshire Council with the strongest argument yet for retaining the old Mearns Academy playing field.

Laurencekirk club Mearns Archers welcomed a two day national archery tournament to the old Mearns Academy playing fields earlier this month.

Organisers have said that the new school pitch isn’t suitable to host touranments like the old playing fields can.

The future of the old Mearns Academy playing fields is in the balance as councillors decide whether to let the fields go or not as part of wider discussions about the old school site.

Mearns Archers Coach and Club Founder Alan Wood has competed, coached and organised events at the highest level in the sport.

He said: “This event gave Mearns an amazing opportunity as a young club to make their name in national archery and show off some of our homegrown talent.

“It wouldn’t have been possible to host a tournament of this size on the new school pitch so it is vital that this resource is retained for the benefit of archers in the north east of Scotland and beyond. We have a real opportunity to make Mearns Community Campus a centre for excellence in archery and councillors must not close that door by letting the old academy pitch go.”

Several significant figures in Scottish & British Archery attended the weekend shoot and added their voices calling for the playing fields to be saved for the community.

Paul MacGregor President of Scottish Archery Association Northern Area said “The sport is growing in popularity and we’ve moved the SAA Northern Area Outdoor Championships from Banchory to Mearns this year as the Mearns pitch has greater capacity. We are considering making Mearns the permanent county tournament venue as the site here is superb.”

Worryingly for the Mearns Club, this will not be an option for the new academy pitch as it is not large enough to accommodate serious tournaments.

James Laing who represented Scotland in the 2010 Commonwealth Games regularly attends sessions at the club and helps coach local talent. He said “The community campus is a brilliant venue for archery.

“The indoor facilities are superb and the old academy pitch is perfect for the outdoor season; it’s large enough to host major tournaments and is totally enclosed for security as well as sheltered by the treeline.

“It’s the perfect facility to train the next generation of world class archers and it would be criminal to let it go.”