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Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)

November 2005

Editors: Jenny and John Collyer, email



ChairmanMartin Sellens01206-766560
Vice Chairmanvacant
SecretaryNancy Powell Davies01376-562657
TreasurerHilary Sellens01206-766560
Fixtures SecretaryJack Isbester01621-815501
Membership SecretaryGeraldine Russell
Club CaptainJenny Collyer01787-370947
Newsletter EditorsJohn and Jenny Collyer01787-370947
Social Secretaryvacant
Schools Liaison OfficerJulie Laver01206-571503
Publicity OfficerLyn West01206-322905
Mapping Co-ordinatorKevin Machin01245-224947
East Anglian RepresentativeKevin Machin01245-224947
Equipment OfficerJulia Robertson01206-242283
WebmasterAndrew Cordle01787-473823

Editorial - Jenny and John Collyer

There are a number of references in this edition about members who help the club in a wide variety of capacities.  We have several individuals who can be regarded as the backbone of the club, putting in the largest share of the effort needed to keep the club moving forward; many who can be relied on to help out with the major tasks involved in setting up events; and finally the majority who will happily help in running an event.

The new committee is in place but there are two positions, which it was not possible to fill, namely Social Secretary and Vice-Chairman.  The former has been filled by Julia Robertson, who, for several years, has provided sterling service in organising our socials.  Anyone interested in the post could have a word with Julia.

The major event officials are the responsibility of our Fixture secretary, Jack Isbester. Some officials need a  particular BOF qualification, but anyone who is interested in moving in this direction, can always shadow a major official who will be glad to have help with some of the essential tasks. Have a word with Jack if you feel you could help out.

Three important club dates are:

  1. December 11th - Club Championships, High Woods, Colchester.
  2. New Year's Day - Novelty Score, Fordham Hall Estate.
  3. Sunday February 26th - Tree planting, Fordham Hall Estate.

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

Highlights of the AGM

Some would argue that there is an internal contradiction in this subtitle.  Some may even know the longish word I am searching for that embodies, in an economy of syllables, the sense of internal contradiction.  But I am growing old, and the thesaurus on my hard drive needs defragmenting, so internal contradiction will have to do. The nature of AGMs is to comprise officers' reports, things financial, and things transparently democratic. The chairman's report  will appear on the web site when I can recover the file from a sick laptop. You're not missing anything by not being able to read it here. The treasurer reported that the club is solvent and the assembled throng accepted his recommendation to leave entry fees unchanged for the forthcoming year.  We confirmed the principle that helpers should have free runs at all Straggler's events and agreed that Development Committee should develop a mechanism to provide juniors who have family membership with free runs. It was hoped that promotion of such a scheme might encourage families to join the club and parents to participate in the sport. 

Club subscriptions will remain unchanged for BOF members but will rise for Club Only Members to encourage BOF membership.  For new rates from January 2006 see 'Membership Secretary' in this newsletter.  As one who has just baulked at paying £60 for family membership of an athletics club, I think this represents exceptional value.

The full minutes of the AGM are available from the Members Resources page on the SOS Website.

As if that wasn't enough, there was also a meeting of the new (albeit mainly old) committee a mere two weeks later.  Sadly, my copy of the minutes is on another computer so I am unable to report upon the proceedings.  Suffice it to say there was much discussion, maps will be drawn, officials coerced and events will happen.  We hope you will continue to enjoy your orienteering blissfully unaware of the heroic efforts of the few in support of the weekend activity of the many. Next year a number of key committee positions will come available as stalwarts with aeons of service between them have finally had enough.  Please consider joining us.

See you in the forest.

Captain's Corner - Jenny Collyer

I hope everyone enjoyed their visit to Clowbridge for the Compass Sport Final in October.  It certainly gave us all an opportunity to run on some very unfamiliar terrain - no trees, no brambles, plenty of contours and all at 1000 ft. above sea level.  We finished a very creditable 6th out of 10 clubs and not many points adrift of 3rd place.

Let's think of next year now - to get to the Compass Sport Final again we first need to qualify in our regional round which is in the Thetford area on the 9th April. To do this we need everyone to give it a go.  Don't say 'there's no point me going as I won't score'. With the scoring system now anyone of you could count so please reserve this date.

Its difficult thinking of events after Christmas at the moment, but in April we have the British Relays (Sussex) and the JK Relays (Yorkshire) and I will need to start putting teams together. There are some changes in 2006. Course lengths are being shortened by 20%. The number of senior classes at the British Relays has been reduced to just five - M40, M50, W40, W50 and M/W60. If you know now that you will be going to either of these and want a relay run please let me know.

Another event where we would like a good representation from SOS is on the 5th February at the Regional event at High Lodge Warren.  The Icenian Trophy is a team award which Stragglers have won several times in the past - so let's see a good turn out from SOS and try to bring this trophy back to Essex (It will be good training for the Compass Sport round as well!)

Membership Secretary -Geraldine Russell

Renewal for 2006 membership

BOF & CLUB MEMBERS will be receiving their renewal forms directly from BOF . Please send BOF your money and SOS gets reimbursed for our club subs. You will notice that this is unchanged for 2006.

FOR CLUB ONLY MEMBERS your subscription is now :-
Individuals £9
Juniors and Groups  free - but please let me know if you want to renew your membership.

Family (2 adults and children under 21) £14

Over 65's £4.

Cheques for club only members should be sent to me:- G.Russell, Brookfield , Workhouse Hill, Boxted, Colchester CO4 5TT asap please.

It appears that my records of addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses is badly out of date. PLEASE could you email your current details to me:- so that I can check I have everyone's correct details.

SOS Notice Board


Congratulations to the following SOS East Anglian Champions:-
Rhiannon Ware, Sarah Park,  Emma Johnson, Jo West, James Park, James Lyne, Richard Bonnett, Jack Isbester and Jenny Collyer.

'At Home' at Fordham

Following the SOS New Year's Day Event at Fordham Hall Estate SOS members are invited to the Robertson's (9 Moatfields) from 12.00 onwards for soup, rolls and mulled wine.

Free runs for juniors!

At the AGM it was agreed that from start of 2006 all juniors of Family members of SOS would receive free runs at SOS District/Colour coded events. All Families (whether BOF or Club only) who renew their membership by 31st January 2006 will receive vouchers in the name of each junior member - one for each event in 2006. These can be collected from Enquiries at Chalkney on February 19th (the first SOS District event). The junior then enters the events in the normal way, using the voucher for payment. Renew your membership NOW so as not to miss out!

Need help to improve your orienteering?

The club has long recognized the need to help members young and old develop their orienteering skills and improve their performance. We now have several qualified coaches and the development subcommittee has been looking at ways to use their expertise. Specific coaching sessions have not proved popular so we have decided to build on the informal car park debriefing sessions that take place at most events - the gaggle of orienteers clustered around a map debating route choice, attack points etc. Starting at our next event at Highwoods on December 11th and running throughout 2006 we are going to trial a central debriefing point to facilitate this process. Much can be learnt by discussing your run with someone else on your course. The coaches and some more experienced club members will be on hand to go through your course with you, learn what went right and hear of your problems. Hopefully they will be able to give you some tips to help with your next run. We also hope, depending on the area, to set out some simple exercises so that you can try out some of the techniques discussed. To start with the exercises will be few and basic but we will try to expand these to meet members' needs. There will also be some games/exercises for the younger members. So, after your run, meet at the Debriefing Tent underneath the club banner. All welcome - the more the merrier!

SOS Club Championship

This will takeplace at High Woods Country Park on the 11th Dec. This will take the form of a handicap score event where you will have 45 mins to visit as many controls as possible. Each control visited scores a point and the older you are (or in the case of juniors the younger you are) the more "extra" points you score. Beware of being late back, though - one point is deducted for each minute late back.  This event is suitable for all ages and levels of ability so come along and give it a go.

Pauline Stevens

Pauline Stevens was an active and well loved member of SOS from 1973 until her death earlier this year.   Members of the club have contributed £180 in memory of Pauline and your committee has matched that with £180 from SOS funds.

This £360 has beengiven to the Woodland Trust to enlarge "Stragglers' Copse" our name for the patch of woodland within Fordham Hall Estate which has been financed by collections in memory of former members of SOS.

Free Runs for helpers

SOS members helping at any SOS event will be entitled to a free run at that event.

Buying a dibber

EAOA are no longer providing dibbers for sale. These can be obtained on line from or from Sleagill Head Farm, Sleagill, Penrith CA10 3HD  tel. 08707 661792.

Social Secretary

After years of sterling service Julia Robertson has stood down from this position and the Committee is looking for a replacement. If you are interested please speak to Julia or Martin.

Next SOS Committee Meeting

Monday 16th January at the West's, Grove Hill House, Dedham at 7.30 for 7.45 pm.

Fixtures Secretary - Jack Isbester

Too Late?..or maybe not

This is the time of year when the more dozy members of SOS start thinking "Why don't I do something glamorous in 2006, like plan or organise a Stragglers' orienteering event?"

Well, dozy Stragglers, you're too late for the popular Chalkney in February (snowdrops and crisp winter sunshine) and for Hylands in June (the lazy hum of bees and the scent of mown grass).   You're even too late for Hockley in September (luscious blackberries) and Layer Wood in November (sweet chestnuts) but there is still some hope for you.

I still have slots for a Planner for Hatfield (colour coded ESSOL event on 19th March), one of our more rewarding areas and for Organisers for Hatfield and for Roman Valley on April 23rd (colour coded EAGAL). I also need officials for the Stragglers' Relays at the Broaks on 2nd July.

If you don't have the experience or confidence to tackle one of these tasks unaided most of our Planners and Organisers would welcome an understudy who would learn the task alongside the appointed official. That ought to be an agreeable experience for both parties so if the idea tempts you, give it a try.

The programme is:
01.01.06FordhamA CordleA Cordle
19.02.06ChalkneyJ CollyerM Pugh
23.04.06Roman Valley?????M Sellens
11.06.06HylandsParkNancyPowell-DaviesK Machin
02.07.06The Broaks??????????
24.09.06HockleyH SellensG Pye
19.11.06Layer WoodM LyneC Tant

If you can fill one of these slots give me a ring (01621 815501) or send me an email ( I look forward to hearing from you.

Risk Assessments Jack Isbester explains why the Fixtures Secretary needs them soonest

One of the biggest changes to have taken place in the duties of the Fixtures Secretary during the last three years is the increased emphasis on risk assessment for proposed events.

When I started doing the job most landowners would tell me yes, we could use the venue on the proposed date or, occasionally, no we could not.   Now things have changed.  The Forestry Commission, The Woodland Trust, The National Trust, Colchester BC, Chelmsford BC, Tendring DC, Landmarc (The Army) and several other landowners all insist on receipt of a risk assessment before giving permission for the event to take place.   In all cases they require to receive the risk assessment at least a month, and in some cases much more than a month, before the event.

The Forestry Commission now state that they want to consider applications as early as possible but cannot consider them until an application, supported by a risk assessment, an insurance certificate and a map of the area is provided.   Three of those requirements give me no problems but the risk assessment has become a nightmare because some of my clubmates seem unable to grasp the requirement for early completion.

The risk assessment for an event is the responsibility of the organiser who will be wise to consult the planner to identify any unusual problems in the forest.   It should be straightforward enough.   The organiser visits the site or relies on past knowledge and completes a draft of the risk assessment using a form provided by the landowner or from the BOF website. He or she discusses it by phone or email with the planner who provides additions and amendments. The organiser completes the risk assessment and sends a copy to the Fixtures Sec. asap and preferably soon after appointment and months before the date of the event.

In some recent cases it hasn't happened like that despite reminders from landowners which I have passed to organisers - all extra work for me and an irritation for landowners whom we do not want to alienate.  

The last thing that I want is extra work. The job is already quite big enough - "I'll have to remember never to volunteer for that" was Andy Malley 's reaction when I described the Fixtures Secretary's job to him - but in the end it would probably be less trouble for me to do the risk assessments myself than to keep pleading with clubmates by phone or email to complete the task.   Why that is wrong, of course, is that organisers needs to think about the risks and to make contingency plans and that is less likely to happen if I do their thinking for them.

I hope it does not take the cancellation of an event, or the collapse of a Fixtures Sec. to get home the message:


SOS Juniors


Report on the EA Junior Squad weekend in the Lake District on 28th - 30th October, 2005 by Emma Johnson (SOS)

Twelve juniors and six coaches/helpers set off for the Lake District on Friday morning, as it was half term, allowing us to not arrive late at night as usual. After we picked up the last of the squaddies at Cambridge we continued our journey northwards. We diverted through Nottingham to pick up Eleanor, one of our coaches, and eventually arrived at Coniston Holly How youth hostel at six o'clock after a lot of traffic problems.

Holly How youth hostel is a large house with group rooms, a games room and giant jenga which the juniors took great advantage of. In the evening after a filling meal Eleanor set us some games to help everyone to get to know each other better. For the first game the name of a famous person was stuck on our backs and we had to work out who it was by asking the others questions to which the responses could only be yes or no. For the second game we all sat in a circle and took it in turns to roll a dice. When a 6 was rolled the player needed to put on gloves, a hat and a scarf before attempting to eat chocolate with a knife and fork. I am sad to say that I only got to put on the gloves before someone else rolled a six and so I didn't get to eat any chocolate. Sophie however did extremely well and must have eaten nearly half the bar!

The Saturday training was very close to the youth hostel - only a ten minute drive. The map was covered in contours and runable woodland, which is very different from Essex . The only problem, however, was that, due to a severe storm, many trees had fallen over, thus causing it to become a scramble at several points of the training.

We walked to the start about 1.5km away to meet the Yorkshire squad who, knowing the area, had planned the exercises. The map itself was 1:10 000 but they blew it up to 1; 5000 to enable us to read the contours more easily. For the younger juniors this helped a lot. I also found this helped as in the morning session we were working on a relatively small part of the map and it allowed me to break down the legs into easier chunks.

The morning exercises that had been planned were long legs and a control pick. The younger juniors chose the control pick. This involves every control being the attack point for the next control. The long leg exercise, mainly for the older and more experienced members of the squad left us to individually choose and plan the route. I broke down each leg, simplifying it. However, as I began the leg, I changed my route due to the amount of fallen tree slowing down my progress. I chose the long leg exercise to help me practise simplifying legs I find on courses so that they don't seem as complicated as they really are.

Before moving on to the afternoon exercises we replenished our energy sources by eating our packed lunches. The afternoon session was in the south part of the map on the other side of the deep quarry by the car park. Again the Yorkshire squad had planned two different exercises - a bearing exercise and a short course. The bearing exercise helped the younger juniors to practise taking a bearing, looking for a prominent point in the distance, running to it and then repeating the procedure if necessary. The short course was used to practise newly learned techniques or to practise any other techniques we wanted to try. I chose the bearing exercise as I have become a little concerned about my bearings accuracy.

Back at the youth hostel we had a nice hot shower, and were filled once more with deliciously cooked food. Many of the juniors played jenga or cards in the evening before getting what seems an extremely early night, due to putting our clocks back, before we went to bed.

On Sunday we left the youth hostel early, for the Regional event at Lingmoor, because of the long walk to the start.  Anyone over the age of 15 had a 50 minute walk to the start, while the younger juniors only had a 25 minute walk. It was a terribly steep walk to the start with the heavy rain not helping at all.

The terrain was open moor land located on one huge hill with very close contours, crags and runable woodland in the lower slopes. My course was 5.3km with 295m of climb started three quarters of the way up the hill and took me towards the summit within the first 4 controls.  As I got there I was in the clouds. It was amazing although extremely strange as visibility had become even poorer and the wind was so harsh I got blown over several times. The poor visibility led me to take fewer chances and to use catching features. Half way through my course we were led back over the top of the hill and it was downhill from there to the finish (placed on a large knoll).

Although physically challenging, due to the terrain and weather, I felt a great sense of achievement when I finished and I hope every junior felt it.

The success of the whole weekend owes thanks to all the adults who cooked, drove and looked after us. Thank you very much to them as without them the juniors would not be able to have these chances to train, improve their orienteering ability and have fun.

I understand that we squaddies need to keep the 10 and the 11th of December free for Eleanor's training in Nottingham followed by the Blackamoor Regional event. This will be my very last training with the squad as I'm getting old, and may I say I have thoroughly enjoyed my time within the squad.

Schools League Co-ordinator - Julie Laver

As I have taken on the role of ESSOL co-ordinator this year I thought a few words of introduction might be appropriate.

Firstly my thanks go to Dave Birkett for the great job he has done in this role over the last few years and for arranging this year's fixtures.

I must say I took over the League with some apprehension as I realise the Juniors involved would be disheartened if I made a mess of it but things seem to be ticking over well at the moment - still there are 6 fixtures left, plenty of time for confusion!

For those who don't know ESSOL is the Essex and Suffolk Schools Orienteering League. Any juniors from these areas who run in the designated events are eligible to be included. Even if you only run in one event your name will be included in the tables - check out the Schools or ESSOL links on the web site.

Events are run jointly by SOS and SUFFOC with the scores of the best 5 events counting towards the final total.

There are individual awards for the best juniors in each class and a school/group team award. Participation Certificates are also awarded to any junior scoring 100 or more points.

Our next event is at High Woods on the 11th December and I hope to see as many juniors taking part as possible.

The current leaders of each class are as follows;
Y5/6 Boys - Bryn Wilkinson
Y5/6 Girls - Elizabeth Merceron
Y7/8 Boys - Robert Barker
Y7/8 Girls - Helen Vidler
Y9/10 Boys - Conor Weed
Y9/10 Girls - Ellen Sanderson
Y11/12/13 Boys - James Lyne
Y11/12/13 Girls - Emma Johnson
Well done to all the above.

Colour Awards - Lyn West

Have you ever pondered on the significance of par time in colour-coded event results? Well here follows a bit of explanation. Par time or the Colour Coded Standard for courses other than White is calculated using whichever of the following two methods gives the larger numbers of qualifiers:

A competitor qualifies for a colour award (other than White) by attaining the Colour Coded Standard for that course on three separate occasions. A White Award can be made to anyone who completes three White courses. Pairs can qualify for colour awards on White, Yellow and Orange courses.

When I first started orienteering, badges were available through SOS to those who qualified for Colour Awards. Over recent years the scheme has fallen into disuse, probably because the club ran out of badges! The Development subcommittee feels that this should be reinstated and I have persuaded EAOA to purchase a stock of white, yellow and orange badges. I will be monitoring the results of East Anglian clubs and awarding white, yellow and orange badges to Juniors achieving three Colour Standards. Please note that juniors do not qualify for a Colour Standard if they are shadowed. The Explorer Challenge badges are an appropriate goal for less confident youngsters.

Adults wishing to claim a badge may do so but need to contact me with details of the events where the Colour Standards were obtained. I have access to a small stock of light green, green, blue and brown badges. Similarly if I miss the successes of a junior, the badge can be claimed from me. I may miss an event outside East Anglia but Colour Coded Standards achieved in such an event can be counted.

So now you know!

SOS National Ranking Positions

This list is complete for events up to the  6th November.  The competitor's position reflects the best 6 scores over the previous 12 months.  We have only included members scoring in 3 or more events. 

M21L  30th Chris Sellens       M50S  71st Richard Barker
      91st Jeff Powell Davies  M60L 114th John Russell
     207th Nick Thorpe (4)     M60S  13th John Collyer
M35S   3rd Robert Hammond      M70L  48th Jack Isbester
M40L  64th Bert Park           W20L   4th Hazel Tant
M40S  55th David Sanderson           10th Katie Sellens (3)
M45L 112th Mark Lyne           W21L  38th Eleanor West 
     151st Kevin Machin              60th Nicola Robertson
M45S   9th Andrew Malley            105th Suzie Robertson (3)
M50L  47th Martin Sellens      W35L   3rd Ann Roller
      87th SteveRobertson      W45S  50th Wendy Welham (5)
      96th Clive Tant          W50L  55th Lyn West
     121st Nick Pugh           W50S  36th Julia Robertson
     139th Colin West          W60L   3rd Jenny Collyer
     161st Geoff Pye (5)             34th Geraldine Russell

Training - from an inexpert! - Steve Cartwright

Trying to go through the BOF Level 3 coaching course to help others a little, yet also a member of a running club I have found it essential recently to do some sort of planning so that I know where I am. Roughly, it is of course also traditionally the time to plan for the running season and next year.

As an inexpert (yet one who has been around for a little while) basic training recommendations are obviously important. Things like not being involved in structured training until into the teens and respecting bodily growth by not doing too much or going too far don't really affect me, but I do have to be careful of 'beware muscle pulls once you get to say 50' - you're getting older!

Set goals:I have set my goals as my Brown colour (now 2 out of 3), good runs in the JK and to do well in the Lakes 5 days next year.

Plan:The normal recommendation is to consider a couple of months specific training before those events and prior to that to work on basic skills and fitness building mileage over the winter. Competition need not always be serious.

Training could be say 3 nights a week with competition at the weekend, but it does of course need to be tailored to the individual and some would say guided by a coach. Often people go for a 2 or 3 week cycle of easy, hard weeks or easy, medium, hard weeks, where easy etc can be thought of in terms of how hard you try or the distance covered. Obviously it's best not to overdo it, to have easier sessions in hard weeks and never to have 3 hard sessions on the trot. An easy week before a major race, when things are difficult or if on holiday is a good idea. Starting on the date of your goal you can work the weeks back say Easy, Hard, Medium, etc writing them in as you go and planning your year. Just do the best you can.

Be flexible: My trouble has been colds and injuries. So often I can't seem to do what I've planned but have to do the best I can. Not overtraining hopefully- just life - but I'm trying!

PS. I've created a computer spreadsheet as a yearly planner for myself, and a training log to record and look back at what I have actually done. I understand the gods - Start squad athletes - use the Ultrasport Training Diary (TD001) @ £3.95.

A warning from Dartmoor

In need of the normal summer break my cousin and myself booked in for a couple of nights in a Youth Hostel on the edge of Dartmoor and then the remainder of the week down on the South Coast.

While I fancied a walk on the first day, he fancied a wander round Exmouth. As he was struggling with sore ankle I decided to keep the peace and off we went.

Being such a lovely place though, it did seem a shame not to enjoy more of the scenery before we moved on, so I decided on a 5 mile or so jog in the evening. I togged up, prepared myself with a good look at the map and took off up the wooded path.

Some time later I was worried that things didn't seem quite as I remembered but decided to keep going rather than turn back as the light didn't seem too bad and there was of course the odd crag to investigate with its wonderful views.

I'd been silly. It was getting darker, my loop course didn't seem to be helping and signposts seemed few and far between. With only a damp light top on obviously the worries of a cold night without food and drink, and even injury and death entered my mind. Keep going Steve - I jogged on. A signed path was so dark that I had to walk and even then couldn't see where I was putting my feet, but eventually I came to a road and continued on my loop. I found signposts and back to the hostel some 2 hours after leaving it - worried, but still jogging.

It reminded me again of my hill walking and fell running reading: If possible don't go out alone; leave a message where you're going; leave plenty of daylight; prepare a little for emergencies; etc etc.

Trouble is of course - I like my jogging!

PS. I'd missed a left turn.

Event Reports

White Rose 2005 - Andy Malley

This event marked the start of our new adventure in Yorkshire. We had no excuse this time, now only living three miles from Helmsley and so this was the shortest distance we have ever had to travel to an orienteering event. Thankfully the bank holiday weather whilst at times cool was generally very pleasant, and even the moorland flies were not too invasive this year.

SOS members were thin on the ground, with Collyers, Malleys and Pughs in attendance, but judging by the results the majority seem to have had reasonable runs.

Both days 1 & 2 used the same assembly area, with courses on Collis and Heater Rigg. The terrain on both days was rough underfoot, with typical thick Yorkshire forest and brashings making running particularly difficult at times.

Megan celebrated her 12th Birthday on day two, and attributes her much improved score to the fact that she had received a new Orange trimex O top the day before which she said made her go faster !( if only this could work for the rest of us!) Dad on the other hand couldn't participate on day two due to a persistent Achilles problem, which meant that Mum lost her excuse as family support member, and had to run a colour coded course.( Watch out W40`s !!)

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of SOS for their friendship over the years. We have thoroughly enjoyed being part of theclub, and look forward to seeing many of you at future events,perhaps the JK next year. We intend to see out this year before joining one of the Yorkshire clubs, by which time we may be used to the Northern weather( which has been good) and the local dialect.

Best wishes

Andy, Alison, Rachael and Megan Malley

Dales Trophy Weekend (Wharfedale) - John Collyer

Two open moor events (National, followed by Regional) on the limestone massif to the west of the Wharfe were a tantalising draw.  We had competed on the areas a number of times in the past and enjoyed the mix of grassland and limestone pavement. The effects of Foot and Mouth were still evident, particularly at Kilsney, where lack of grazing has lead to longer, coarser grass cover.  The limestone pavement clint and gryke features, are always interesting (and treacherous when wet), whilst the open nature of the moorland makes direct running possible, as long as you know where you are going!

With low misty, cloud threatening to turn into the torrential downpours of Leeds and Sheffield earlier on the Saturday, many competitors began the long climb up from the car park in the old quarries wondering if their clothing was adequate for exposed, open moor.  The rain held off though, and most people seemed to enjoy their runs, although as often happens with open land, crocodiles of runners led the way round, except for the trickier partly wooded, limestone pavement sections.

Sunday was a better day as far as the weather was concerned , hot and sunny. The competition area between Malham Tarn and Cove had a similar mix of terrain as Kilnsey. Another feature of both areas, was the presence of high stone walls, for which the organisers produced a large number of specially made wooden steps to increase the number of crossing points, and improve on the limiting of route choice caused by the small number of stiles and gates.

Compass Sport Trophy - Martin Sellens

The compass sport trophy was held on a small area of moorland near Burnley in Lancashire, and Jenny Collyer managed to persuade a large group of Stragglers to turn out for this interclub competition.  Lyn organised accommodation in Howarth YH for most of the team and the social aspect of the weekend was almost as important as the competition. Despite a great turn out and some excellent performances, we didn't quite make it onto the podium, though 6th small club in the country is still a remarkable achievement for lowlanders struggling though the heather and tussock of the frozen north.  Actually, and fortunately, given the exposed nature of the venue and the lack of a club tent at the scene, it was a lovely sunny October day.  Thanks to Jenny for organising this.

Karrimor Mountain Marathon - Martin Sellens

There was a smaller contingent of Stragglers than usual at this year's premiere mountain marathon, held in the Eastern Lakes and based on the shores of Ullswater.  Next year the KIMM will become the OMM, reflecting the disassociation of the outdoor equipment manufacturer from the event and its well founded claim to be the Original Mountain Marathon. The weather was more benign than the forecasts had suggested, with only intermittent gale force winds and rain that was not up to hurricane Rita standards.  It was also relatively warm compared to some previous years.  Nevertheless the long courses and steep terrain took their toll and few made it to the overnight campsite in daylight on the Elite and A courses.  Chris Sellens, partnered by fellow SHUOC orienteer Rob Little, annihilated the field to win the B class by over an hour.  Kevin and Alex Machin determinedly completed the C (136/183 finishers) despite Kevin's back problems and Alex's knees, and Bert Park partnered by SUFFOC's Goff Hill did well in the (very) Long Score (130/219 finishers).  Russell Ladkin and Jeff Powell Davies weren't so lucky and had to pull out of the A class.  Meanwhile I was pulled round the A course by Steve Jones of ERYRI and managed to hold on to an overnight 6th position despite grinding virtually to a halt towards the end of the second day.  As compensation for being so old (105 between us) we were allowed to win the veteran's handicap.  Rumour has it that the OMM is heading North for next year.  I hope to see more Stragglers out there on the hills then, upholding the fine tradition of  Straggling.

November Classic - Martin Sellens

It was wet.  Katie and I did rather badly, but at least we managed to get the car out of the quagmire that passed for a car park.  The map title was "The Reptile House", but no self respecting reptile would have ventured outside on such a foul day.  Despite this the New Forest was a wondrous and wet place to run through and we enjoyed ourselves as only orienteers can do in such unpromising circumstances, gaining incomprehensible pleasure from locating those elusive markers and running free with the ponies, steaming cattle and fellow travellers.

An alternative to the Scottish 6-Day - Jeff Powell Davies

Having recently discovered Adventure Racing, the news that the inaugural Wilderness Adventure Racing Championship (WARC) was to be held in Scotland at the end of August provoked a rush of emails to Russ Ladkin (WAOC, ex SOS) and around the internet to find another male and female to make up the necessary mixed team of 4.  Unlike the 1 and 2 day events we'd been doing earlier in the year, this was to be an 'expedition' race - 5 days non-stop kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, canoeing and rope work.

Sitting in open-topped kayaks at the edge Loch Linnhe, waiting to start the race, it felt as though the hard part was over.  The problems of finding a team, getting the team and gear to Fort William and deciding what to pack in each of our 4 transition boxes (we would be able to access these at certain points throughout the race to swap equipment and clothes, and to get more food) had been tackled.

And we're off, paddling with the tide along with 30 other teams, with salt spray stinging our eyes.  Two hours in and a left turn into Loch Leven.  No more salt spray but the tide is against us and we see teams who aren't hugging the shore going backwards.  After a quick swim across the loch it's a walk up to Sgorr nam Fiannaidh at 967m and a scramble along Aonach Eagach.  In the warm afternoon sun the views north and south are spectacular, with our short-term goal, Glen Coe, 750m below.  

Down in the valley we change into our wetsuits and harness to abseil over a grassy ledge down a hidden 35m rock face into the River Coe.  We spend the next hour scrambling up the river - at times swimming and at others having to pull ourselves up waterfalls with ropes.  Finally, out at the other end where we can change back to warmer clothes.  But no, can't get changed yet.  We're ushered over to a Viking of a man (a giant sporting a platted fiery beard) who grabs the shoulders of our buoyancy aids, picks us up so that we are dangling over a hole - think the size of a small single bed with water 4 metres below - and lets go.  Excellent fun, just imagine what its going to be like for the later teams, doing this in the dark!

Once dry we jumar up a couple of ropes, go over mountains, into valleys and then back up into the mountains.  A really nice walk taking us over Bidean nam Bain and Buachaille Etive Mor, made a little tricky by the rain and high wind that started at midnight and continued well into the day.  We at last get down to the next transition at 10am, having not stopped properly since starting the kayaking at 9am the previous day.   It's still raining.  An unexpected cup of hot orange somewhat brightens our spirits and reduces the violent shivering to common-or-garden shivering.  On to the bikes.  Up a steep track (walking, pushing the bikes) and then down a steep track (walking, pushing the bikes).  Bam - one of our team wants to finish, isn't going to continue - there is nothing we can do to persuade otherwise.  So that's it, the end of our race after 28 hours, with probably 6 hours to go to the next transition were we could get dry clothes, extra food and a couple of hours sleep.  Aiy well.

The organisers come and take us back to the event centre for a wash, food and sleep.  Uninterrupted sleep for 13 hours does the world of good and I set out the next morning with 3 other competitors whose teams had also given up (at least half the 30 teams had given up by this point, a lot had done so much earlier than we had).  We are transported a little way further along the route and managed to finish the rest of the course in two and a bit days.  As we are non competitive we don't bother killing ourselves, looking at the views, learning from each other, and sleeping - in a bothy with electricity and a fire the first night, and a lighthouse the second.  The course takes us walking into the middle of the mountains towards the Knoydart and cycling out to Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point on the British Isles (and the light house full of whale watchers), with a bit of kayaking thrown in.

It was one of the most amazing weeks I've ever had with physical and mental boundaries being pushed and experimented with.  Sadly, there was little route choice due to safety concerns, but navigation did play a major role in getting around the course.  Hopefully I'll be back again next year - maybe even finish it!

There are Adventure Races that last from a couple of hours upwards and if anyone wants to give the sport a go have a look at the following web sites: (1 and 2 day races around the country as well as organising the WARC) and (both organise 1 day events in Southern England) of information on Adventure Racing in the UK)

Any questions, feel free to email me at

Fordham Hall Estate - Jack Isbester

Items taken from the Woodland Trust's Fordham Newsletter No.2

Fordham is the first new woodland where an open access policy for horseriders and cyclists on all the footpaths is being tried.   In one or two muddy areas gates will be installed to discourage horseriders without actually prohibiting them.   Geoff Sinclair the Senior Woodland Officer and author of the newsletter ( will welcome any comments on how successful this experiment is.

The community tree planting day at Fordham this winter will be on Sunday 26th February.   Fortunately this clashes with no orienteering in East Anglia so if you are not going to High Wycombe for the Chiltern Challenge make sure you spend the day at Fordham.   If you are going to the Chiltern Challenge get a 10.30 start and you can be back in Fordham by 14.00.  The plan this winter is to plant 86,123 trees, occupying 47 ha (116 acres) in total.   All but 5% of the trees planted two winters ago have survived but 17% of the trees planted last winter perished.   All dead trees are to be replaced over the coming months.   Some of the alder and ash trees are already almost six feet high.

Colne Valley Path

The River Colne Countryside Project has recently waymarked a new 22.5 mile walking trail.   The path runs from Great Yeldham to Colchester and passes through Fordham Hall Estate running alongside the River Colne.   The new path will be launched in the New Year when a map and booklet will be available.   Contact Simon Armstutz, Project Officer, River Colne Countryside Project, Tel 07702 918980 for details.   It sounds just right for John and Jenny who will be able to jog to committee meetings at the Robertsons.

Heard in the carpark

Orienteering husband.   "This is the first time we've used our new car and now we can't unlock it".
Orienteering wife.   "Now you see what I have to put up with from him!   We'll have to call the RAC."

When the real owner of the car appeared it emerged that the orienteering couple's identical new car was actually at the other end of the carpark - what we orienteers call a 180º error.

Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions

The information provided below normally consists of Event Date, Region (eg EA = East Anglia), Event Grade and Type (Grade 1 is highest grade, Grade 5 is lowest.   Type C is a conventional Cross Country event in which controls must be visited in the sequence listed on the description sheet).   Event & Location Names and map reference.   Organiser's contact details.   Contact details, costs, closing date etc. for Pre-entry when provided.   Whether Entry on the Day (EOD) is possible and the surcharge payable.   The range of courses offered.   The address of a website from which additional information can be obtained.   Additional information in plain language.

At Essex Stragglers' events registration normally opens at 1000hrs, starts are from 1030hrs until 1230hrs and courses close at 1430hrs.

December 2005



SN Limited District Event & AMS Ltd Junior League. Bagshot, Bagshot. SU/902618.



Paul Keeble, 01483 489868. £4.00/£1.50. EPS-SI. Y, O, LG & G only. Dogs allowed on lead in car park only. Starts 1000-1130.



HAVOC District Event inc Snail Trail Trophy and EAGAL. Epping SW, Chingford. TQ/394949.



Chris Shaw, 01375 677377. £4.50/£1.50. EPS-SI. String course.



SOS Limited Colour Coded ESSOL Event & SOS Club Championships. High Woods, Colchester . TL/998271.



Colin West , 01206 322905. £5.00/£2.00. White to Lt Green + Score. http//



LEI Christmas Novelty Event. The Outwoods, Loughborough. GR/510145.



Simon Ford, 01162 598277. £4.00/£1.50. Starts 10.45. Post event Christmas Buffet.



NOR District & NOR Club Championship. Holt Country Park + Edgefield Wood, Holt.



Paul & Karen Goldsworthy, 01603 411540. £3.00/£1.00 + £ 1 for non club members. EPS-SI. Dogs on lead.



DFOK District Event. Joydens Wood, Near Dartford . TQ/500715.



Sean Cronin, 07974 267425. £4.50/£2.00. EPS-SI. SE Orienteering Answerphone: 020 8948 6056.



LOK Boxing Day Score event. Trent Park, North London , London . TQ/289969.



John Hardy, 020 8368 7182. £4.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. Entry Fee includes mulled wine. SI hire 75p. Car Park - Snakes Lane (opposite Oakwood Tube).



SO Xmas Score Event. >Sheffield Forest , Nutley . TQ/429269.



Mike Baron, 01273 472824. £5.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. Parking £1.00. SO 24-hr Ansaphone - recorded event information 01903-239186.



January 2006



SOS New Year's Day Novelty Event. Fordham Hall Estate, Colchester . TL/928286.



Andrew Cordle , 07968 567529. £5.00/£2.00. EPS-SI.



SN Limited District Event & AMS Ltd Junior League. Long Valley South, Aldershot . SU/830510.



Paul Keeble, 01483 489868. £4.00/£1.50. EPS-SI. Y, O, LG & G. Dogs on leads in car park only. Starts 1000-1130.



SAX Regional Event. Eridge, Tunbridge Wells. GR/370360.



Organiser: Sarah Howes & Anita Kingdon, 01892 723327.



Entries: Ian Wilson, 16 Haig Avenue, Rochester , Kent , ME1 2RZ , 01634 406876. CD: 19/12/05 . £8.00/£4.00. Lim EOD +£1.00. Chq:Saxons OC. EPS-SI. Lim CC courses. Saxons 24 hour infoline on 01303 813344.



SUFFOC District Event. Knettishall Heath, Thetford. TL/956806.



Andrew Elliott, 01359 230221. £4.00/£1.50. EPS-SI.



NOR District Event & NSL. Felbrigg, Cromer. TG/196394.



Alan W Bedder, 01603 424589. TBA + £ 1 for non club members. EPS-SI. Dogs must be on lead ~ Livestock.



WAOC District Event. Mildenhall North, Mildenhall. TL/735753.



Mike Capper, 01733 235202. £4.00/£1.50 + £1.00/0.50 independent. EPS-SI. Dogs on leads.

February 2006



CUOC Regional Event, EAGAL & Icenian Trophy. Highlodge Warren, Brandon . TL/800836.



Organiser: Edmund Ward, 07779 023912.



Entries: TBA. CD: 20/01/06 . Fees TBA. Lim EOD. EPS-SI. String course. Dogs on leads. A nearby night event will be run by WAOC on the preceding evening, see



Full registration pending



SOS District Event & ESSOL. Chalkney Wood, Earl's Colne.



John Collyer 01787  370947. £5.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. White to Blue.



Fordham Hall Estate.   Community tree planting day in the area opposite Fordham school.   More details from the Woodland Trust will follow.