Collecting your cards is one of the delights of the Imperial Meeting. Opening your A4 envelope of joy and pasting the stickers on to your cards is a little ritual that I'm hoping many other TR shooters find as pleasurable as I do. That said, probably the first thing I do is skim through the timings of the shoots, paying particular reference to the timings of the long range shoots. So it was with some delight that I saw I had bagged an 08:30 detail in the Lovell 1000 yards match and it was with visions of impeccable 50s that I trotted out to the range this morning; however I was again to be confronted with a difficult wind, shifting in strength but also angle. I had just about kept up for the first half of the shoot, dropping only a single point, but it couldn't last and 4, 4, 3 for shots 7 through 9 left me facing the thick end of a 45.4 even if I did manage a central V for my final shot. Bugger!
The trend of difficult winds continued throughout the day, with a lot of quality shooters getting hammered in the Lovell (1000x) and the Daily Telegraph (500x), and dropping more than normal in the Donegall (300x). Personally, I needed an extra sighter in the Donegall to finish my morning's shooting with a 49.7, which I found faintly disappointing even despite the taxing winds.
As I wasn't going to be back on the range until 17:00, I made the most of the break and spent some time with the kids, and had lunch round at a friend's van. A 20 minute power nap also seemed like a good idea, to try and break the last of the jetlag (I flew in from a work project Montana, rather than directly from Auckland so it has not actually been too bad.)
The final shoot of the day was the Daily Telegraph. Two sighters and fifteen shots to count at 500 yards in apparently blustery and variable winds. There had already been horror stories from one or two eminently skilled shots; however there's no point worrying about the conditions. Fire good shots and make the best decisions you can about the wind. The wind bracket I had been quoted ran from about 2 to 5 left but it was noted that when the wind squared up and the flags started to run it could be higher and would probably be not a good time to let one go. Armed with a bit of knowledge I was rather pleased to find that aside from a couple of squirrely bits at the start and finish, the wind was more constant than I had feared. Not firing at the extremes probably saved me a point or two. In any event, I fired good shots and did just enough on the wind to keep them all in the bullseye for a 75.7 and 4th in the competition. An excellent start to this year's Grand Aggregate campaign.