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Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)

January 2004

Editors: Jenny and John Collyer, email


Stop Press

Owing to a very senior moment on my part, the wrong date was given for the social in February. The correct details follow. Please let me know if you will be coming and what food you will bring so we donít end up with lots of cheese but no cake!!

Julia Robertson

Friday February 13th 2004
7.30 for 7.45
Fordham Village Hall
A Beetle Drive (probably!)
Costs: Adults £3.50 Juniors £1.50
Bring your own drinks and a contribution to the food Ė Julia Robertson (01206 242283) will co-ordinate this


Many of our Stragglers areas are small remnants of ancient woodland or more recent afforested areas. We often bemoan the lack of suitable woodland so the development of the new wood at Fordham provides us with the opportunity to help future generations enjoy a freshly created wood. Jack Isbester has been negotiating with the Woodland Trust about how Stragglers can play a part in this exciting project. Please carefully read Jackís article regarding planting on the 8th February.

Will Stragglers Copse turn out to bramble free? Ė weíll have to wait and see!

Chairmanís Chat

I spent hours crashing through the undergrowth on orienteering afternoons. We would all drive out somewhere and Mum, Dad and my older sibling would spend the next few hours tearing round the woods, leaving me in the car with my younger sibling. As I got older I was press-ganged into taking part myself. Mum fantastically enthusiastic and gung-ho as always would race on ahead and I would wander round the kidís course without a clue where I was or what I should be doing. Usually I would end up getting lost or stuck in the bushes. It was an unusual way to spend your weekends, but then my folks and my mum in particular, were slightly eccentric. Finally I put my foot down and refused to go any more.

No, this is not the thoughts of my son although he would dearly love to follow in the footsteps of the writer. It is actually an extract from the autobiography of Martin Johnson, World Cup winning England rugby captain. He also says that he thinks he would enjoy Orienteering now. Perhaps we should invite him to try?! But for how many children of orienteering families does this reflect their views. It is food for thought on how we expose Juniors to orienteering although I would like to think that we have improved since Martinís childhood.

Fortunately SOS has an enthusiastic junior section. I was well impressed with the splendid turnout at the Yvette Baker Trophy Final. 22 SOS Juniors started which was excellent. We were one of only four clubs to complete a second team. The team finished 7th overall which was a good effort. The sun shone and I shouted myself hoarse cheering our runners in. I think this is a fantastic competition. Our team reflected many of the other club teams with a British Junior Development Squad member down to primary age children running their first yellow course. In how many other sports can you get that cross section competing together in the same team?

That was in early December and now we have a fresh year with a busy time stretching ahead of us. Our own Badge or should I say Regional Event is coming up rather too fast for me as organiser. Julia tells me that the entries are flooding in. No doubt Iíll be twisting a few arms in the near future. As many SOS members as possible will be needed to help if everyone is to get a run. Let me know if you are available and I will allocate you to a team. SOS members should send their entry to Julia but she and I will synchronise start times & jobs!

Midland Night Championships, Regional round of CompassSport, East Anglian Championships and British Championships follow in quick succession. Then there is Easter and the JK. Colin still has a few spare beds in the hostel. Plenty to keep us out of mischief and the dreaded DIY!!

Finally a big thank you to Stephen Cartwright who responded to my appeal in the last newsletter and has agreed to take on the role of Publicity Officer.

Captainís Log - Martin Sellens

It has been a quiet few weeks for orienteering since the November issue of the Newsletter, at least for the Sellens household. For the life of me I can't remember anything except the November Classic (but only because we always venture south to Henry VIII'th's New Forest), Hockley Woods (which is such a pleasure to run through but needs to grow a few acres) and Andrew Cordle's excellent New Years day event in the ever glutinous and scratchy Chalkney. The latter was marred only by my managing to lose an SI box during the ritual collecting in of controls, effectively wiping out the profits from any number of local events. My sincere apologies to the club. The equivalent of wearing a penitent hair shirt has been many hours spent in the Roman Valley area (and at the keyboard) re-surveying and re-drawing the map in preparation for planning the Leap Year event there on 29th Feb (well it would be, wouldn't it). Many thanks to Kevin Machin for assisting in this task and herewith a plea to you all to turn out in numbers to experience the joys of orienteering on this varied and constantly mutating area. Thanks also to the army for remodelling the vegetation and the path network yet again.

The main role of this eponymous column is to muster the troops for inter-club competitions and big-event relays. This is a bit repetititive if your memory is good enough to remember previous editions, but I'm assuming that, like me, your cerebral hemisphere's are alcohol ravaged and deranged by senescence. Only the former applies to the Sheffield branch, but don't be complacent guys, you too will be M/W50+ before you know it. Trust me on this one. Anyway, I figure I can get away with a bit of self-plagiarism and do a bit of cut and pasting here. Thankyou Microsoft.

Firstly, the Compass sport Cup and Trophy qualifying round will be at Lynford, near Thetford, on March 14th and the final at Caistor (Lincs) on May 9th. I will be trawling through the membership list to contact the usual suspects but please, all of you, feel free to contact me first to volunteer your services. The entry procedure involves me providing the organiser with a start list so it isn't as simple as just turning up on the day. Newer members only need to know at this point that the competition is low key and designed for "club orienteers", using colour coded courses. We particularly need full representation in male and female classes across the age range. We stand a real chance of winning the Trophy this year, after a series of near misses, so start training now!

The other imminent high spots are the JK and the British Championships. Anyone nurturing an enthusiasm for the sport should try to get to the JK at Easter as it represents the interface between the orientering footsoldier and the international elite. It also features fabulous terrain (Greythwaite, by Windermere, in the Lake District) and an opportunity to get to know club mates (Colin West might still have YHA accommodation available) with many staying on to make a week of it. The cheapest entries close imminently, and fees are extortionate by Straggler's standards, but it is well worth the investment for the opportunity to get lost on brilliant maps with lots of squiggly brown lines on. I will be entering relay teams in the next few weeks, so if you are going to be there please let me know. Further information on

The British Orienteering Relay Championships on 20th March have been postponed. Let me know if you are available once we know the new date and venue.

Well, consultation of the Compass Sport Cup web site during the writing of this Log revealed that I hadn't yet entered the club and the "closing date" was last year. Sorted by the miracle of email. Happy New Year to one and all.


2004 Membership fee is due. £11.50 family £7 Senior for SOS only members. Juniors (under 18 as at 1/1/04) are free but please notify me if you wish to continue being a member and receiving the newsletter. Cheques made payable to SOS and sent to G.Russell, Brookfield, Workhouse Hill, Boxted. CO4 5TT. Members of BOF will have had a reminder from them and payments should be sent direct to BOF.

Schoolsí League Co-ordinator - Dave Birkett

Schools League update

Three events so far this season High Woods, Hockley and Tunstall. No surprises in year groups 5 and 6 with pupils from Barnardiston Preparatory School providing all the running. Barnardiston also dominate year group 7 and 8 with Joshua Harris and Alex Bibby leading the boys. Year groups 9 and 10, competing on Orange courses, have a mix of schools involved including Coppleston High, St Peterís, St Maryís and St Annís School , Chelmsford. Katie Sellens, Colchester Sixth Form College, leads the 11, 12 &13 year group as does James Lyne, KEGS, in the boyís event. Donít forget that although the league is the ĎEssex and Suffolk Schools Leagueí it is open to non school groups like the Scouts, Dof E groups or other youth organisations. Another little reminder. Please state on your registration slips when entering an event the name of the group you represent and your school year group. This all helps when analysing results. Looking at these, some competitors have run a more difficult course than the one for their particular year group. No problem but no extra points for this. You still get points depending on where you finished. The same rule applies, 100 points for first place, 99 for second and so on. Fifth place on a Blue course would therefore give you 96 points. The current league tables are shown below and include the top two from each year grouping. The full tables are with our web master ready for publishing. Keep checking the SOS site for more details. If you see a question mark in the tables then this means I need to confirm the information. This relates particularly to year groups.

I am currently designing new ESSOL certificates. These are to be presented, at the end of the season, to all competitors who win their age classes at any ESSOL event and those who have 100 points from their best 5 results. The over all winners, boys and girls, for each year grouping will receive a trophy as will the most successful school.

We have just taken the difficult decision not to award certificates and trophies for last season. Apologies to those who were expecting something.

If there are any budding designers out there or teachers who want an idea for a class project, then I am open to suggestions for this seasonís certificate. The closing date is 31st March with entries being judged at this years JK event. Please e-mail your suggestions to

Year 5&6 Boys (including any younger competitors)
Bradley Kershaw - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 286 points
Liam Cocks - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 281

Year 5&6 Girls (including any younger competitors)

Sarah Bibby - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 276
Rebecca Wastell - Cherry Tree School - 251

Year 7&8 Boys
Joshua Harris - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 294
Alex Bibby - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 290

Year 7&8 Girls

Leondra Selby - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 185
Alycia Gunderson - Barnardiston Preparatory School - 185

Year 9&10 Boys

Steven McGregor - Ind. - 98
James Park - Coppleston High - 98

Year 9&10 Girls
Nicola Barker - SOS - 196
Sarah Park - Coppleston High - 194

Year 11, 12, &13 Boys

James Lyne - KEGS - 188
Philip Hardingham - KEGS - 92

Year 11,12 & 13 Girls

Katie Sellens - Colchester Sixth Form College - 179
Emma Johnson - Chelmer Valley High - 99

Good luck to all for the rest of the season.

SOS Notice Board

Points East

All SOS club members are also members of East Anglian Orienteering Association. EAOA produces a quarterly newsletter, Points East that is published on their web site. To view the latest edition of the newsletter, published just before Christmas, visit the web site at If you do not have web access and would like to receive a paper copy, let Lyn West (01206 322905) know. For future editions, we will put a notice out on SOS Groups to let members know it is available or join EAOA Groups to receive notification of publication and other EAOA matters.

Fordham Wood - The Woodland Trust's new wood in the heart of Essex Straggler Countryside - A note from Jack Isbester

Help wanted with planting

Our club and its members have in the last couple of years contributed more than £1,000 towards the cost of creating and maintaining a great new native wood at Fordham, close to the west of Colchester. Most of the money has been raised in memory of former members of SOS and we intend to continue the tradition when appropriate.

Meanwhile there is work to be done. The Woodland Trust have invited volunteers to plant trees at Fordham on Saturday 7th February between 11 30 am and 3 30 pm and have offered SOS members the opportunity to plant trees in the particular area which, as a result of our fund raising, is to be permanently linked to SOS and those we want to remember.

The Woodland Trust invite the public:
Help us to plant the south east's biggest new native wood!

Woodland Trust helpers will be on hand to show you how to plant your trees and hot refreshments will be available. There will be plenty of mud, so be sure to wear Wellingtons or stout footwear and warm, waterproof clothing. Bring a spade too if you have one. Children under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

The Woodland Trust add that parking, signposted from Fordham village, will be limited and ask us to share transport where possible. SOS members Steve and Julia Robertson and their family live in Fordham and have offered their large courtyard for SOS parking so if you want to join the SOS group of planters I invite you to meet me at the Robertsons' at 11 15 am from where we can walk to the planting site. The location of their home, 9 Moatfields, Fordham, CO6 3PG, is at the northern limit of the village just off the east side of the road which runs north/south through the village and can be identified on internet sites such as and

If you plan to attend please let me know asap by,
tel: 01621 815501, or
mobile:07968 373590.

If the Woodland Trust start talking about a specific number of trees for the SOS site I would like to have some idea of whether we can muster the people to plant them all ourselves or whether we will require help from other volunteers.

We also have an ambition to create an orienteering feature in Stragglers' Copse. You know how as orienteers we all love pits and depressions Ė yes, that's what we want in our Copse. That will be a second possibility for our day's work if we can obtain the necessary permission.

The Woodland Trust think that as many as two hundred volunteers from various local organisations may attend which leads to two final suggestions. I intend to adopt our Chair's proposal and wear a SOS bobble cap. I hope my clubmates will do the same. I also intend to mark clearly with my name any equipment which I bring with me.

Woodland Trust Winter Raffle Ė Report from Jack Isbester

Four people living in Essex were amongst the winners of the Woodland Trust's Winter Raffle but none appears on my list of members of SOS. Let's hope that they were best friends of members of SOS!

Open Letter to Martin Sellens

Dear Martin,

I may have destroyed your reputation as an orienteer over swathes of East Anglia.

Just before Christmas I found myself responsible for my grandson and three of his 10 year old mates. Audrey instructed me to take them out from under her feet for several hours so I took them to Marks Hall, produced an orienteering map, prepared earlier with the magic word "holly" written in a remote corner, and told them that my friend Martin Sellens had told me that holly with berries was to be found there.

I added that taking quantities would be thieving, but that we wanted a sprig to put in the plum pudding and I would pay £2 to the first person who found any holly. We navigated the length of the map with one sharp eyed youngster winning the £2 en route by virtue of finding a sprig of holly with two berries on it!

When we reached the point which I claimed that you, Martin, had marked there was no sign of any holly berries nor any sign of holly bushes. The only explanation I could offer the lads was that Martin must have been lost when he saw the holly - and, I added, it wouldn't have been for the first time.

Thanks for your help, Martin, in giving the Isbester household a peaceful pre-Christmas day. Don't hesitate to let me know if I can do the same for you some time.

Kindest regards,

Jack Isbester

SOS National Ranking Positions

This list is complete for events up to the end of 2003. The competitorís position reflects the best 6 scores over the previous 12 months. We have only included members scoring in 3 or more events.
M18A29thDavid West (5)W18A8thHazel Tant
M20L6thChris Sellens15thKatie Sellens
M20S1stStephan PughW20L4thSuzy Robertson
M40L53rd Andrew Malley16thEleanor West
M45L95thClive Tant17thNicola Robertson
136thGeoff PyeW21L26thAnn Roller
137thMark Lyne63rdChloe Russell (3)
138thColin WestW21S52ndMiriam Pugh
M50L14thMartin SellensW40S52ndWendy Welham (4)
77thSteve RobertsonW45L35thHilary Sellens
80thNicholas Pugh65thLyn West
W50S29thJulia Robertson
M65L76thJack IsbesterW55L76thGeraldine Russell

Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions

For up-to-date fixtures information, see the following websites -
Link to SOS Essex stragglers fixtures
Link to EAOA East Anglian Orienteering Association fixtures
Link to BOF British Orienteering Federation fixtures

The information provided 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.