Link to Essex Stragglers Home page

Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)

November 2004

Editors: Jenny and John Collyer, email


Editorial - Jenny and John Collyer

A piece of information that for a variety of reasons, may have passed by some members, is that the last four issues of the Club Newsletter have been available on the Stragglers' website. We are compiling a list of members who are happy to rely on just the electronic copy, and have put out several comments to see if we can reduce the number of paper copies which are assembled and posted. We do not, in the least, mind doing this, and in no way would we wish to attempt to go fully electronic with the danger of depriving some members of their personal copies.

Hence this plea to members who have not already done so, to tell us that they would be happy to rely on just the web copy (which you can, of course, print out); there is no compulsion as we take a no response to mean that you would like your usual posting.

Please also note in this issue a plea from Membership Secretary Geraldine Russell to let her have copies of your current e-mail address; we still get some club information directed to an old one which no longer passes them on to us, and doesn't generate a 'failed mail posting' message.

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

As night follows day, so it appears does becoming Chairman follow that myopic moment of altruistic fervour when one accepts the undemanding position of Vice Chair. Be warned. Missing the AGM is also a bad move as it greatly increases your chance of being "volunteered" even if you have previously resisted the siren song of persuasive incumbent committee members. Anyway, here I am, Captain turned Chair, though few of you will have voted me in. That's democracy for you. Lyn West will be a hard act to follow and I hope nobody thinks she has set a precedent by holding the office for 7 years. Many thanks to Lyn for her hard work on our account during a "golden age" for the Stragglers. The club has enjoyed a profile that belies our small size partly by virtue of having a group of exceptional juniors. Inevitably they are fast becoming adults and moving off into the wide world, otherwise known as Sheffield. Clearly, a priority over the next few years will be to hold on to the Straggler's diaspora (at least for the Compass Sport Trophy!), to nurture the juniors we still have, and to attract new members of all ages. But particularly super-fit families with whippet-like offspring.

I wasn't elected on any particular ticket, and a manifesto was never manifest. However, here are a couple of hostages to fortune. First, I hope we can sustain our membership at levels that make us as big a small club as possible. In order to do this, we need once again to attempt to develop a full programme of local activities, not necessarily traditional orienteering events, to keep newcomers interested and provide training and coaching opportunities for all levels of experience and expertise. I also hope we can involve more members as event officials so that the stalwart few do not suffer from premature burn out. None of these is a new idea, but if you can think of novel ways of pursuing them, please email me on, call 01206 766560, or come along to a committee meeting.

It's not been the most successful week on the orienteering front. At Rowney Warren, the juniors very narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Yvette Baker Trophy finals. We have had a great record in this inter-club junior competition, but the team this year was weakened by the absence of, amongst others, Chris Sellens (coaching in the Lakes), Joanne West (on coaching camp) and Suzy Robertson (also coaching juniors'). Despite being unable to take part, Jo West had mustered as strong a team as possible and there were some excellent performances. Meanwhile, on the Brown course, I missed a control (but still thoroughly enjoyed my run). Earlier, I had set the scene by leading a small convoy of Straggler vehicles in the wrong direction when within 5 miles of the event. I learned several lessons.

Also on the debit side of my happiness account is the fact that, instead of sitting here on a lovely autumn afternoon pecking out these few words, I should be leaping, gazelle like, up the sunlit hills of the Brecon Beacons in the Karrimor Mountain Marathon. An unfriendly virus put paid to that. However, I am hoping to enjoy the event vicariously through the reports of such intrepid Stragglers as Clive Tant, Chris Sellens and Jeff P-D. I hope they at least made it to the start. I don't think Andy Malley or the Machins did.

To end on a more up-beat note, on the weekend of October 8-10, Lyn organized an extremely successful Junior European Cup. Suzy Robertson and Chris Sellens were in the British Team and Chris had a particularly good weekend, missing a bronze in the individual Classic event by just 9 sec and leading off the M20 relay team to a gold medal. Chris finished the first leg in the leading group, about a minute off the pace due to a map-reading error. Mark Nixon (SOC and Edinburgh University) pulled up to second place, then Graham Gristwood (OD and Warwick University) dragged victory from the jaws of defeat in a fantastic sprint finish, pipping the Russians by 1 sec. Who said Orienteering isn't a spectator sport? Admittedly there weren't many. Their loss! Congratulations to Lyn and her helpers on a splendid event, and to the British team for their successes.

I wish you all a successful autumn of orienteering in the sun-dappled forests of this overcrowded land.

Membership Secretary - Geraldine Russell

2005 Subscriptions are due on 1st January. A membership renewal form is available here. Existing BOF members will receive reminders directly from BOF and will need to pay them directly.

A lot of the e-mail addresses I have on the records are out of date. If you have changed your e-mail address since joining the club could you please let me know on

If you are happy to receive your newsletter in future via the website (thus saving time and money) please e-mail me or if you are "club only" members indicate on the renewal form when you send it back to me with your cheque. If you subscribe to "sosmembers" you will be notified when the newsletter is posted on the website. To subscribe to "sosmembers" go to the sos website and click on 'Members Resources'.

SOS Juniors - Jo West

Peter Palmer Relays

Two teams of six SOS Juniors headed to Sutton Park at the beginning of September for the revived PP relays. This is the mad event that starts around 5 am with the first leg run in the dark! The majority had enjoyed a training session and BBQ at the Sellens the previous weekend so we were all geared up. The opposition was tough but SOSpeedy with Jonathan Pye, Hazel Tant, Katie Sellens, Emma Johnson, James Park and James Lyne finished a creditable 11th. James L had a good run on the last leg just failing to catch SYO and PFO but we beat WAOC! Aire won ending the domination of NOC. We will gloss over the performance of the second team who continued a SOS tradition in this event and mispunched. No names mentioned! Thanks to Geoff Pye for driving the minibus.

Yvette Baker Trophy

Well done to all SOS Juniors who made it to Rowney Warren last Sunday and thanks to the parents who got them there. I was away in Scotland on the Start Programme weekend but looking at the green course results, I don't think you missed me! It looks like we had a good turnout but we weren't strong enough. I think the younger juniors need some coaching. The results were close but Octavian Droobers won with 894 points with WAOC second on 884 and SOS third with 879. Below are the SOS scores.

Hazel Tant       Green     W18  99  
Nina Tant        Lt Green  W16  99  
James Lyne       Green     M16  98  
Katie Sellens    Green     W18  98  
Alex Machin      Lt Green  M18  97  
James Park       Orange    M14  97  
Nicola Robertson Green     W20  97  
Emma Johnson     Lt Green  W18  97  
Sarah Park       Orange    W16  97  
Jonathan Pye     Green     M18  95  
Sarah Lyne       Lt Green  W14  95  
Thomas Robertson Orange    M12  94  
Ellen Sanderson  Orange    W14  94  
Alex Ware        Yellow    M12  95  
Michael Park     Yellow    M12  94  
Grace Sanderson  Yellow    W10  94  
Calum Machin     Yellow    M10  92  

SOS Notice Board

SOS Winners of Snail trail Trophy

Many Stragglers were at Thorndon Park, Brentwood on Sunday October 31st. We won the Snail Trail Trophy beating CHIG (2nd) and WAOC (3rd). Scoring members of SOS were Jenny Collyer, Richard Bonnett, Phil Stuart, Ann Roller, Geraldine Russell, Jo West, Steve Robertson and Jack Isbester.

Woodland Trust Tree planting at Fordham

Saturday 20th November, 1100 to 1500.

This event is similar to that attended by a number of Stragglers early in the year. The site will be signed from Fordham Village, West of Colchester TL 928286 and the Woodland Trust hope to plant at least 3,000 trees.

Details at or from Jack Isbester (01621 815501) before 17th November as he will, unfortunately, be in Paris on the appointed day.

The East Anglian Galoppen (EAGAL)

Jack Isbester asks if the Stragglers are struggling

There are surprisingly few Stragglers listed on the East Anglian website in the results of this season's first three EAGAL events. Could it be that Stragglers are only interested in glamorous events in far away parts, or is it that SOS members stay at home these days and dig their gardens when there is an event in Norfolk, in Cambridge or in Leicestershire? Perhaps it is more likely that newer members don't know what the EAGAL involves.

The East Anglian Galoppen is the regional league in which East Anglian clubs compete for individual and for club honours. Over the years the Stragglers have produced a number of individual EAGAL champions, but so have our rivals in the other clubs. It is in the inter-club competition that things get really interesting. Every point scored by every club member in every EAGAL event of the season is totalled and the grand total is then divided by the number of membership units in the club.

A novice of nine, an idler of eighteen, a fatty of fifty and a staggering septuagenarian can each score points for the club and the more events you enter the more points you will score - they are all totted up and included in the club's total. The scheme is designed to encourage East Anglian orienteers to compete in East Anglian events.

To maximise the SOS score we need as many members and as few membership units as possible. The more alert readers will be way ahead of me here. Yes, we need lots of married members with large families. If you are a single Straggler you know what is expected of you and married members still have more to do. A real effort is needed to do better that Barnardiston School - one SUFFOC unit with what seems like hundreds of members! First increase your family unit and then get them out into the woods.

Specific colour coded courses are stipulated for particular age groups. If you can "run up" in a higher class on a longer course your points will count but competing against faster opponents you will only score maximum points if you are exceptionally good. "Running down" a class earns you only 50% of the points you would earn for the same run in the correct class. GALOPPENS are events where it really pays to run in your own class. There are only six or seven GALOPPEN events each year, so leave running out of class to the rest of the orienteering calendar.

The last nominated EAGAL of the year, HAVOC's Snail Trail, will be over before you read this. There may be a SMOC event still to come but it has not yet been announced. You can catch up on the rules, the events and the EAGAL scores at http:/

Keep this in mind, and let's see if we can make 2005 a Stragglers' Star Year in the EAGAL.

BOF Items

BOF Membership Proposal

At its Council meeting on 25th September, the British Orienteering Federation (BOF) discussed a proposal that, if approved at next year's AGM, will make all club members automatically BOF members. This proposal will be finalised at a meeting of BOF's Management Committee early in December, for approval at the January meeting of Council.

I am one of two BOF Councillors who sit on Management Committee; I should like to receive any comments on this proposal by the end of November. Comments should be sent by email, if possible, to or to me at Mornington, Walnut Hill, Surlingham, Norwich, NR14 7DQ. If anyone wants to discuss the proposal with me they should ring 07771 998 554. If they leave a phone number, I'll ring them back.

Here is the gist of what is proposed:

The aim of the proposal is that all UK orienteers should take equal financial responsibility for, and share ownership of, the sport by becoming members of the Federation, the sport's governing body.

BOF's membership is declining. It is estimated that only 65% of club members are now BOF members and there is an increasing number of orienteers who are not members of any club. It is suggested that all orienteers benefit from BOF insurance cover, but only BOF members pay for that cover and for all the other services that BOF provides.

The proposal is that all active orienteers should be club members and that all club members should automatically be members of BOF. Current BOF membership fees would be reduced, probably by about a third, though the BOF event levy, which is paid by everyone as part of their entry fees, would have to be increased by perhaps 50%.

BOF office would maintain membership records for each club and issue club membership cards to each club member. Regular participants who could not produce a card at registration would be surcharged, probably £3, this sum to be retained by clubs.

Clubs could opt to pay capitation fees to BOF on behalf of their members, thereby enabling clubs to raise this money by increasing entry fees, rather than by charging local members to pay a much higher club membership fee.

Dick Towler - BOF Councillor

SOS National Ranking Positions

This list is complete for events up to the 10th October 2004. The competitorís position reflects the best 6 scores over the previous 12 months. We have only included members scoring in 3 or more events.

M21L  83rd  Jeff Powell Davies  M60L  121st   John Russell  
     184th  Peter Finch	        M70L   26th   Jack Isbester            
M35S  70th  Robert Hammond      W20L    3rd   Suzy Robertson
M45L  32nd  Andrew Malley              13th   Nicola Robertson	
      83rd  Clive Tant	        W21L   59th   Eleanor West             
     112th  Colin West          W21S   31st   Miriam Pugh        
     115th  Mark Lyne           W45L   41st   Hilary Sellens	
     141st  Geoff Pye           W45    18th   Wendy Welham
M50L  25th  Martin Sellens      W50L   44th   Lyn West
      51st  Steve Robertson            85th   N.Powell Davies(5)
      59th  Nick Pugh           W50S   30th   Julia Robertson         
M50S  82nd  Richard Barker(5)   W55L   16th   Jenny Collyer
M55S  33rd  John Collye         W60L   26th   Geraldine Russell

Junior European Cup October 7th-11th - Lyn West

I have been a little preoccupied with this event in recent months - how on earth did I get involved? I?ve wondered that many times! About two years ago, EAOA was approached to host this event formerly known as the Six Nations (although I haven?t established the original six!). ?A low key event for 100-150 consisting of individual and relay and you need to provide accommodation? was the brief. ?Normally SEOA host it but they are too tied up with the 2005 World Cup to stage it and it needs to be in the south so it is easily accessible?. ?Oh and how about using Epping?? Well, and I?m sure HAVOC won?t mind me saying so, only the grotty bits of Epping are in EAOA! However, an initial approach to CHIG indicated enthusiastic support for the project and an offer of Epping East for the individual with John Pearce to plan and Tim Pribul as the Controller. Hatfield Forest seemed to lend itself to the relays and was ideally located under the flight path for Stansted to facilitate return journeys on no-frills airlines. Neil Humphries agreed to plan. The YHA were about to open a new 112 bed hostel at Lea Valley. It seemed plain sailing and after my experience with JIRC, a larger event, it didn?t seem too big a task, so I agreed to co-ordinate JEC. If only I?d known?

Keith Marsden sounded a few notes of caution with some horror stories. For his sins he has co-ordinated 3 JECs and no, I?m not going to try and beat it! And the throw away line ? I think you need to be a bit more sophisticated with the social these days! What Social?!! Then it was mentioned that some sort of training/warm up event on the Friday would be well received. Nothing formal of course?!

I was a little taken aback by the price of the hostel at Lea Valley. Keith had mentioned using army accommodation so I decided to explore this option but a little expedition to Iraq stalled these plans! Bert Park was set on the trail on his return. Meanwhile, I got invited to travel with the British team to JEC 2003 in Germany. On the drive to our accommodation from the airport, Jason Inman asked if we would be staging a Sprint Race on Friday. Er, well I hadn?t thought of doing so but apparently this was the style of warm-up event currently in favour with teams. Any small area will do?!

I really enjoyed the trip to Germany. Eleanor and David had grown up in orienteering with most of the Juniors in the GB team so I knew them all fairly well. It enabled me to discuss what they thought about the event and how they would like the event run. There were a lot of things they and I didn?t like about the event. Many of these stemmed from the fact that the Germans had chosen to run the German Championships alongside JEC. This took the focus off the Juniors which I didn?t feel was right. One example was the Prizegiving on Saturday night. We had to travel into town from our accommodation. When we arrived, the Prizegiving for the German championships was still in progress and so JEC Prizegiving already scheduled for a fairly late hour, started even later. By the time it was over, many of the athletes, especially as it was an early start next day, wanted to turn in. The Disco didn?t really happen. I decided at this point that there would be no other event held with JEC and I really couldn?t have coped with any additional workload. Andy Munro, traveling as team doctor, was critical of the commentary ?.well, Andy, you do better next year then - and so he agreed to act as commentator for JEC 2004. And excellent he was too but then I?m not sure how good it would have been if he?d been speaking German! The Germans gave the commentary in English.

On my return, I felt I had a much better idea of what I was trying to achieve. And it wasn?t really a low key style event. These elite athletes deserved better. Bert got frustrated with the army and came up with a load of Scout locations. One message that I got was that the teams really would like to stay together as much as possible rather than be in several different sites. I revisited the idea of Lea Valley and booked Epping Forest Youth Hostel and several Scout locations as overflow. John Ward, the EAOA treasurer got a bit worried about the amount of money I was spending and whether we would get it back. I had a few sleepless nights over it too! Lea Valley turned out to be a good decision. The hostel staff could not have been more helpful. As we had booked the whole hostel, we could do pretty much as we wanted. The standard of accommodation was high and well received by the teams. In the end I had teams staying at Epping and a Scout Hut as well. Lea Valley provided the evening meal and packed lunches for all. The disco and prizegiving were staged in their TV lounge. The hostel ran a bar (soft drinks only). CHIG came up trumps again with helping with a suitable area for the Sprint and Mark Collis agreed to plan it.

I emailed team managers and Andrew Cordle launched a website. I went off to the Welsh 6-days in August expecting to return to a mailbox crammed with entries. Not so. The closing date came and went with entries trickling in. Sleepless nights about losing money! We didn?t have enough entries to fill Lea Valley. I cancelled the scout accommodation and wrote a letter canceling Epping, but, before I posted it, the Russians sent an entry for 24, and could I arrange transport for them? I was so keen for the entry I agreed. This proved to be the greatest source of hassle. More entries arrived. The French sent an entry less than 3 weeks before the event. I needed the scout accommodation! Of course the best was lost to rebooking, but enough was still available. In the end there were 141 competitors and 24 coaches from 11 nations. The teams started arriving on the Thursday. John Pearce put out some controls on Epping South East for training on Friday morning and the Sprint Race started at 4 pm on Harlow Town Park. Mark Collis was silly enough to start paid employment the week before and wasn?t able to view the results of his planning labours. It was an exciting format, with runners appearing from all directions. Andy?s commentary added to the atmosphere. The Swiss made it a double, winning both Mens and Womens races but GB?s Scott Fraser was second. Winning times were 11:24 for 2.8 km Men and 12:28 for2.5 km Women. CHIG have suggested that they may stage the courses as an Open Event at some stage. I would thoroughly recommend giving them a go. (SMOC are to stage the 2006 British Sprint Champs and those will be worth going to watch).

Saturday was the Individual Classic Event on Epping East. Again the courses were planned with a spectator control and Andy?s commentary set the scene. The competitors found the courses tricky and mistakes resulted. The Swiss weren?t used to being able to run that fast, there being no Alps in Epping, and some of their runners suffered as a result. The Brits took M20 by storm. Mark Nixon & Graham Gristwood took Gold and Silver with SOS?s own Chris Sellens beaten by a Russian by 9 seconds to miss out on a clean sweep of the medals. November 14th sees a colour-coded event on Epping East. It is as good a technical area as you will get close to home, so do go and try it out.

The relays in Hatfield saw our two SOS members of the GB team on first leg. Chris teamed up Graham & Mark to win Gold in the Men?s relay. Graham approached the final control in the lead with two Russians hard on his heels. He managed to hold them off in an exciting sprint finish. Suzy Robertson ran first leg for Women?s GB1 with the team finishing 10th. The performance of the women was rather upset by an organisational foul up by GB team managers and the closure of M25 that left a runner stranded at Lea Valley.

JEC was an amazing event. It was incredibly hard work over a long period of time. I underestimated the complexities of the International element of the event, so this involved more time than I anticipated. The technology that went in to providing the professional commentary was mind boggling. I could not have achieved such a successful event without the help and commitment of a large number of people both from within the region and from outside. I would like to take this opportunity to thank warmly all the members of SOS who helped in various ways. For full results and pictures of the events, check out the website >

Oh, and I did actually get to enjoy some of the weekend too!

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.

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