With Covid now disappearing and only a nuclear war in eastern Europe to worry about these days, it’s time to hit the road again and get some experience of different sites across the UK. This weekend, I travelled to Humber Airsoft near Hull with teammates John, Alex, Aaron and Dave and also linking up with GSG and her dog Brocko for a skirmish day. To help with travel, and to add in that all important social element, we decided to travel on the Saturday afternoon and were very kindly permitted to camp on site. Despite the cold, it was a pretty good night, and always nice to be able to catch up with people and talk about all things airsoft. I had a couple of new bits of camp kit for colder weather to try out which I’ll talk about in a separate blog for those interested.
But about the site…
As a sniper, and an airsofter in general, I can’t do these plywood indoor sites. They’re far too small and after spending a week indoors at home and at work, it’s nice to get some fresh air. I like big, interesting sites and Humber Airsoft has been on the radar for some time. It’s a disused quarry with an impressive Firebase as a centrepiece.
The arrival is impressive, as the road meanders around the top of the quarry first, and you see the land drop away into an almost Middle Eastern type terrain of chalky ground, thick brush and hesco constructs. Arriving into the safezone, although powered off and locked up for the night, the area is immaculately tidy and has a nice indoor area with picnic benches and even sofas to get ready on (ideal for us campers to get out of the wind). There are toilets, a well stocked shop and catering facilities offering plenty of refrigerated drinks, hot drinks, and food from burgers to chilli, and desserts. I’d struggle to name another site I’ve been to with such a choice for lunch and it’s a shame I’m on a diet.
Thankfully, after ditching the diet, we started the day with a nice hot breakfast bap, which is a huge improvement on the morning McDonald’s, and started preparing kit for the day ahead. The sunny weather always brings good numbers of players and the marshals do a good job as parking attendants to fit everyone in. With everything open and running, I went to have a good look around at how the site worked.
For us travelling players, this was very useful and not something you see at a lot of sites. A map, and a rough idea as to what to expect during the course of your day, although as with most sites the games don’t mean much until you get playing and understand how the objectives work with the terrain. For the locals, it’ll make more sense and helps with what kit to bring along at what time, assuming you’re one of those who has a loadout for every game type (yes Bubba…).
It’s the first time I’ve seen dirty AK’s used as rental guns at a site (I’m more of a nato guy myself, sorry), and rental players get coveralls and a chest rig as a minimum, which really adds to the experience as opposed to seeing rentals running around in brightly coloured tracksuits. What interested me more is that when renting, you can pay for different packages with lots of added extras. I mean, unlimited drink…
Chrono is measured in joules, and every single player at site is dealt with as opposed to just the usual suspects (snipers, DMR, HPA abusers). Watching a couple of HPA m4’s being dialled down correctly and locked was nice and reassuring; I came in bang on 2.3j on 0.48, which is usually 440 on 0.20 and this is why when people ask me why I don’t “bump another 60fps in” that I have to explain joule creep. Especially with weighted pistons in both my rifles. VSR was shooting smooth and straight and everything was looking good.
I was also very pleased to meet Daniel Toone, someone I’ve spoken to many times online and is a regular on the Live shows, who is also making his first appearance at the site. Although he brought an HPA VSR, which was definitely the low point of the day, we had some good play on the same team. The teams upon being split at the start of the day did seem to feature all the ghillie snipers on the same side, but that meant I didn’t have to worry about being alert to moving branches, so no complaints. I did like the marshalling style at Humber, finding the staff not particularly chatty but firm and authoritative, happy to throw players out for talking during the brief and this meant we got all the information we needed. It continued throughout the day, and kept everyone in line, whereas some sites I’ve been to (thankfully only once) descend into a lot of overly friendly banter, laughing, joking, maybe a few “allowances” for friendly players to run slightly hot weapons or unethical play. Humber keeps it professional and marshals position themselves well in games to be available when needed.
First game up is Capture the Captain, an interesting VIP capture of the opposing team’s captain (marshal, but armed). Unfamiliar with the site, Daniel, GSG and I end up on a far ridgeline unable to properly engage the main force. It’s a good game idea though, and once back in the safe zone we are given a clear 5 minutes to reload and get back out. During this, a member of staff comes round asking what I’d like for lunch. It’s a beautiful combination of airsoft and restaurant, though I opt only for a one course meal on this occasion. Although waiting for the wine menu, it’s soon onto the next game.
Second, Conquest. There are waist high (to me, not GSG) tapered concrete pillars dotted around the site and have a red and yellow armband on the base of each. The game, simply, is to reach these markers and attach your team colour to the top. If you manage to take an enemy position, their band is switched to yours. Most bands wins after a certain time frame. The pillars also serve as respawns, though frustratingly the enemy team camp the pillar and simply touch it to come straight back in. Pushing further ahead, I found a spot behind a tree on a steep hillside overlooking a firefight between two pillars, supported by two other snipers as the teams slug it out below. With three particular positions zeroed in at around the 70m mark that the enemy players kept pushing to, it becomes a turkey shoot in front of the marshals, burning through three 55rd VSR mags and hitting on half of them. Nobody looks up, nobody realises that they’re getting shot in the same position every time and they keep running forward. I’m not normally one for just racking up kills, but it’s a good bit of practice.
Its then lunch time, the sun is high in the sky and with a hefty queue for food, it’s time to take on water in the form of energy drinks and get constantly clattered by Brocko the dog for absolutely no reason at all.
Game three is the one we’ve been waiting for – an assault on the Firebase. Our team defends first. 4 lives (medic or respawn flag), quickest team wins. It’s a very well laid out and obviously solid fort on top of a hill, constructed from bags of stones if you’re not familiar with hesco. A lot of sites have these “centrepiece” locations and some do tend to revolve the entire game day around one small part of the site, but I’m pleased we only have the one game allowing us to explore the rest of the site too. There are some great positions inside the base to shoot out from, and a “sniper tower” (I know, tactics guide, I wouldn’t usually but it looked interesting). It really doesn’t take long before the enemy are at the gates and the sniper tower falls last, being absolutely battered with fire from all angles to a grenade kill up the stairs, killing the four of us left in there. We switch sides to have a go attacking. With most of the other snipers, I pick a spot to sit and post bb’s through window slots and attempt to clear the gate on the left of this picture to allow my teammates to push in.
Unfortunately, the enemy team instead of walking away once dead, start to mass in a line across the gate to block any incoming fire on their teammates, and as John discovers (we hear him shouting across the quarry), the dead are on radios calling out the attackers positions to help delay and frustrate our assault. There’s also a few that casually stroll around with weapons up, appearing dead and out of play but very much alive when it suits. There are conversations involving marshals but I’m too far away to hear. It’s not a site problem, just some of the players on the day, and John later feeds it back to the marshalling team for future games but it does dampen our spirits a bit.
The final game is a Village game, set in a nicely constructed wooden village in some more familiar deciduous woodland at the other end of the site. 4 lives again, in turns defending and attacking. On the second part, our team is attacking and I take a hit, making it around 7-8 deaths for the day and I use the excuse that I have a lot of kit to pack away to avoid reaching double figures.
It’s been a really good day, a fascinating site with a lot of variation (think a smaller version of UCAP The Sandpit for older UK players), and one I think we’d definitely be back to in the future. Its central location geographically makes it very accessible for players, and I leave contemplating the prospect of a (sniper only…) private day on a Saturday into Sunday skirmish as a potential weekender. Maybe…