Scottish Archery
Get to grips with Scotland's ancient sports.

Archery is part of the fabric of Scottish history and the one great passion of heroine Merida in Disney•Pixar’s Brave. Now an Olympic sport, take part alongside future Scottish Olympians as you try your hand at this great tradition.


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You’ll see it in startlingly detailed animation in Disney•Pixar’s Brave, but now it’s time to become an archer and pit your talent against Merida. Bows and arrows were, for centuries, the weapon of choice on the battlefield. Skilled and deadly, archers were an asset in the great armies of antiquity and the Middle Ages. Away from the hardships of war, it was the preserve of medieval Kings and a common sight at their castles and palaces.

A young girl learns to emulate Merida as she aims her bow and arrow at a targetAs Queen Elinor is keen to point out to her young daughter, it was traditionally more of a sport for men than ladies, but Merida certainly proves herself to a naturally gifted archer and takes great pleasure from taking up a bow and arrow. It also proves invaluable on her quest to break an ancient curse threatening her kingdom.

Nowadays, archery is a very inclusive sport for people of all ages, genders and abilities. In Scotland, there are 70 senior clubs and 36 junior clubs with the Scottish Archery Association ensuring high safety standards for children and adults. There are even archery clubs at seven Scottish universities, including two of the oldest St Andrews (founded in 1413) and Aberdeen (founded in 1495).

With so many different forms to try, you’ll soon discover that archery is more than just shooting arrows at a target. The oldest style, Clout archery, was used in the Middle Ages to make training for war more enjoyable.  You may prefer Field archery where you shoot at targets on uneven woodland and hilly terrain or even Papingo archery, a unique form practiced in Kilwinning whereby you shoot arrows vertically to knock a wooden bird off its perch.

Targets lined up ready for practice

Now it’s your chance to try your hand at archery at one of Scotland’s fantastic venues. From castles such as Dalhousie and Dundas, to the East Neuk Outdoors near Anstruther, Fife, you too can become a skilled archer like Merida.

A young boy practices archery on an indoor target board

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