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We Went to Hatchet Harry's and Became Axe-Throwing Gods... Sort Of

30 December 21 words: LeftLion

We're going to have to axe that you check this out for yourself... 

Ash (Editor): I’m built like a bear, I have a beard, 12% Norwegian DNA and I’ve seen every episode of Vikings. Surely, I thought as I walked through the doors of the recently opened Hatchet Harry’s, that was enough to qualify as an expert axe thrower. My hubris was shattered, however, when the loud thud of metal hitting wood that immediately greeted us as we arrived made me jump in a way that can only be described as humiliating. Axe throwing, it turns out, is as challenging as it is fun…

Lizzy (Editorial Assistant): Call it lack of self-confidence, call it a realistic life outlook, but I was never under any illusion that I’d be good at axe throwing. Memories of PE cause painful flashbacks and more than once I’ve considered testing for dyspraxia, so why, I wonder to myself, have I agreed to spend two hours throwing a pointy mental object? Our instructor walks us through the different throws, and I can actually feel the palms of my hands start to sweat. I walk up for my first attempt and look back anxiously…

George (Assistant Editor): As I sink my first throw right into the centre of the target, I feel a glimmer of hope, a belief that I may actually be good at chucking axes. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” asks the instructor, impressed at my precision and power. “No,” I reply, as he gives me a look of suspicion. Any uncertainty over whether I was telling the truth or not quickly evaporates, though, as my second throw goes way off target. Just like that, I’ve gone from hero to zero. A potential expert to just another pretender. Shame consumes my body and mind. But damn, even in moments of humiliating failure, this stuff is good fun… 

Ash: Good fun is quite right. A shaky start is remedied by the simple but effective advice of our instructor, whose friendly guidance helps turn my initial wayward efforts into a steady stream of solid hits. Until we turn to the double-axe throw which, as the name suggests, involves throwing two axes at the same time. Excited, I let loose with both handles and then the world stands still. Both axes have sunk into the tiny ‘kill shot’ targets - a couple of two-inch circles above the main target for when you feel like really testing yourself. I wasn’t aiming for them, but I’m a sucker for adulation and our instructor goes berserk, jumping and shouting that he’s never seen that happen before. For that fleeting, glorious moment, I was a god - every sporting failure from my 33 years melted away, and I was Ragnar Lothbrok himself.

But, with cheers still ringing in my ears, I walk forward to collect my axes only to realise that, much like Icarus, I had flown too close to the sun, and both of my axes had actually missed their mark. Yet the fact that they were even close showed just how much we’d all improved in such a short space of time. Well, almost all of us.

The axe is in the wood, I start jumping up and down, actually screaming with excitement. The crowd behind me all clap, and I might cry

Lizzy: I throw, and miss. I throw, and miss again. Much like the movie Groundhog Day, I’m stuck in a never-ending loop of throwing and missing, each one slightly more embarrassing than the last. “You’re not going to leave here without hitting the board at least once,” the instructor says, a sentiment intended to be encouraging. I wonder if my friends and family will miss me as I’m held captive in Hatchet Harry’s. Maybe by the time I’m out, Broadmarsh Centre will be a beautiful green space. “The next one is THE one,” Ash says. I believe him. George starts taking a video, I stride up confidently, and miss again. By the time we’ve moved onto the trick throws, I’m still on zero hits. “Forget about taking turns, you stay up until you score,” the instructor says. Miss, miss, miss, then suddenly, I score. The axe is in the wood, I start jumping up and down, actually screaming with excitement. The crowd behind me all clap, and I might cry.

George: Like Lizzy, I miss and miss again. But unlike Lizzy, I have the good fortune of fluking more than one screamer throughout the night (sorry Lizzy). That said, the beans to success ratio is far from impressive - yet every hit does make you feel like a warrior, making all the struggles worthwhile. The staff have the patience of saints and don’t make you feel like a mug for your lack of skill, and even after ninety minutes of non-stop action, I’m left wanting more. Want a night where you experience the sweet highs of glory and the humbling lows of failure, all in a fun and friendly environment? Hatchet Harry’s is for you.

Check out Hatchet Harry's for yourself by visiting their website

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