Cabot Trail archery business sets aim at would-be Robin Hoods

A new adventure-tourism business on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton is hoping to appeal to tourists who want to try something new. Highland Bow and Arrow will teach new archers and provide a place for enthusiasts to shoot.

Highland Bow and Arrow, on the Cabot Trail, is launching into the adventure tourism market

Archery enthusiasts try the new target range at Highland Bow and Arrow. (Highland Bow and Arrow)

A new business on the Cabot Trail is providing a chance to let out your inner Robin Hood.

Highland Bow and Arrow just opened in the tiny Cape Breton community of Skir Dhu.

"When you're doing archery, it's almost a primal feeling," said owner Jay Rawding.

She moved to Cape Breton three years ago from Dartmouth to manage the Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort. Rawding said she saw an opportunity in her area for unique, outdoor adventure tourism.

Archers test their aim at Highland Bow and Arrow. (Highland Bow and Arrow)

In addition to visitors to the island, Rawding — the daughter of a hunting guide — said she hopes to appeal to locals who hunt as a lifestyle. 

"I don't know why, but I never really liked firearms," she said. "I prefer a more ... traditional way of approaching it."

Rawding will teach new archers about the equipment and the proper stance for shooting. They'll be able to test their skills on a course with a variety of targets made from recyclable materials and activities like shooting at paint balloons.

The Highland Bow and Arrow target range in Skir Dhu overlooks the Cape Breton Highlands. (Highland Bow and Arrow)

"It appeals to a broad range," she said. "I've shot with people under six years old and I've shot with an 89-year-old."

As for safety, Rawding said archery is safer than golf.

"When you are on an archery range, the risk goes way down."

Over the next two months, Rawding plans to expand Highland Bow and Arrow with a field archery component that will include a path through the woods with up to 22 new targets.