Here’s why urban axe throwing isn’t just for the lads
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Axe throwing – sounds a bit Canadian lumberjack, right?
You hear ‘axe throwing’ and you imagine a load of lads trying to out-man each other with their brute strength, raw masculinity and hulking warrior-like spirit. It’s all just a bit much, isn’t it?
But that’s where we’re wrong. See, axe throwing isn’t (and definitely shouldn’t) just be for men – and Hatchet Harry’s are here to prove it. Bringing an activity that, admittedly, did originate among competing lumberjacks in the rolling woodland of Canada some years ago into the 21st century, Hatchet Harry’s look at the sport for exactly what it is: a sport.
A sport which, quite simply, involves throwing axes at a target with three scoring rings, very like archery. The closer you get to the central ring, or bullseye, the more points you score. In other words, a sport that keeps you active, that’ll conjure up a healthy dose of competitive spirit, and a sport where men and women can compete on a level pegging. Best of all, it’s a sport that involves chucking sharp objects into a hunk of wood – which, if that doesn’t sound super-satisfying to you, probably means we should get some of our anger issues checked out.
As with any activities that involve throwing sharp objects around, safety is obviously going to be a concern. We’ve tried axe throwing at Hatchet Harry’s ourselves here at HLN, so we can personally vouch for the stringent health and safety measures they uphold. Turns out, it’s almost impossible to hurt yourself here, (however off-target your aim!), and not a single patron of Hatchet Harry’s has ever left any of their venues injured to date.
Ok, we hear you argue, but there’s still a reason sports like this attract guys – isn’t this going to be like shot put but with axes? What if we’ve got the upper-arm strength of a kitten?! Relax, we say: turns out axe throwing is all about technique. It’s kinda like golf – most people think you pick up a club and whack the ball as hard as you can, whereas it’s actually all in the swing. The hatchets at Harry’s come in loads of different sizes – even 8-year-olds are doing it!
Newcastle’s first ever urban axe throwing facility (with outposts in Glasgow and Liverpool now too), at Hatchet Harry’s you can book your own private lane or simply head along to one of their group sessions and indulge in a little therapeutic axe-chucking. Who knows, you may even come away with a few new friends too, (hurling hatchets proves quite the ice breaker).
And whether you’re looking for a hen do with a difference, a night out with the girls that doesn’t involve cocktails, a new sport to dominate week-in, week-out, or you’re simply wanting to spice up date night, (nothing brings out romance better than a little aggressive competition), urban axe throwing is unique, super fun and actually pretty addictive. Plus, there’s a champion announced at the end of each session, so you’re always just a few good throws away from eternal fame and glory.
We caught up with Jack Beadle, Co-Managing Director (and half of the brains behind the whole Hatchet Harry’s operation) to find out a little more…
What’s Hatchet Harry’s all about?
Hatchet Harrys is about bringing the sport of axe throwing to the masses in a fun way. Many axe throwing providers in the UK go down the Viking/Medieval connections to axe throwing, whereas we approach it purely from a sporting point of view.
For us, Hatchet Harrys is all about bringing the sport into the 21st century and helping people see it as an exciting hobby that you can enjoy with friends, family and workmates, as well as a competitive sport.
How much strength do you need to go axe throwing?
As long as you can lift your arm above your head pain-free, you’re pretty much good to go! Certainly, axe throwing at Hatchet Harrys doesn’t require a whole load of strength. We tell our customers this daily: axe throwing is all about technique. We have children as young as 8 throwing with us!
Different sized and weighted hatchets come into play, and we have the best instructors around who’ll coach you so that you can utilise the technique – rather than rely on brute strength – to hit the bullseye every time.
What’s the likelihood of getting injured?!
There’s very little likelihood of getting injured at all. We’ve had literally thousands of people through the doors of our venues across the UK, and we’ve had no injuries whatsoever – to any of our customers. Nevertheless, we take health and safety incredibly seriously. Our customers are given a health and safety briefing upon arrival, then are guided on how to throw each technique they learn with an in-person demonstration by our instructors. All of our instructors are fully-qualified and remain on-hand to coach throughout the session as customers advance through the different throwing techniques we show them.
Our floors are covered with rubber mats that stop any slide-back of the axes, and the axes and the walls behind the targets are wooden instead of rubber to prevent bounce-back. We really couldn’t do any more to ensure the health and safety of our everyone at Hatchet Harrys, and our customers’ feedback (as well as their lack of injuries), reflect this.
You’re reopening on 17th May. Can we expect any changes to the Hatchet Harry’s we know and love?
No, other than the standard measures that the government have had us put in place to ensure our customers are safe from COVID: face masks being worn at all times, social distancing measures, no sharing of axes, cleaning down of all equipment between sessions and a reduction of numbers in groups. Other than that, you can expect the same amount of fun and excitement from our sessions as usual!
Can you book the whole of Hatchet Harry’s for a party?
You can indeed! We can reserve a number of lanes for a stag or hen do, for instance. Or, you can rent the full venue for a private function, such as a birthday party or a work event. We would ask anyone wanting to book the whole venue out simply to email us at Support@hatchetharrys.co.uk
Is the axe throwing league still going ahead?
Yes, the axe throwing league is something that’s coming soon. We were gearing up towards launching it before the first lockdown in March, 2020. We realised we had to put it on the backburner until we return to normal – but as soon as that happens, we want to introduce the league alongside our Hatchet Harry’s Memberships. The league will be free to enter for members, with a charge for non-members. So yes, it’s definitely a side to the sport which we’re really hoping to develop in the coming months.
What’s the consensus on mixing alcohol with axe throwing?!
Our policy here at Hatchet Harrys is that axe throwing and alcohol simply don’t mix. As much as the thought of it sounds great, the inherent risks that come along with mixing the two simply put our customers at risk a little more than we’d like. If we can figure out a way to combine the two safely then we’re happy to consider a change of policy, but until then we save the beers until afterwards! And trust us – after a throwing session at Hatchet Harry’s, an ice-cold pint will go down better than ever!
What does the future look like for Hatchet Harry’s?
Incredibly bright, as far as we’re concerned. During the pandemic, we managed to bring another venue into the fold, which performed very well whilst open and able to trade. So we’re certainly optimistic about our future. There are plans in the pipeline to move one of our venues to a much larger premises, as well as plans to open venues in more locations across the UK. Those developments, coupled with our membership option, throwing league and maybe even something truly special that we can’t reveal yet, will cement axe throwing as a sport in the UK once and for all!
We can’t wait to find out what it is! If, like us, you want to be the first to know about any and every development where Hatchet Harry’s are concerned, visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram
Or, from Monday 17th May, drop in and give axe throwing a go: Hatchet Harry’s, 18 Forth Banks, Newcastle NE1 3PG