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Newsletter
Volume 20 Number 14
July 2009

Editors: Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle - editors@stragglers.info
Contributions to the next Newsletter should be sent by email before 3rd September.


Contents

Photographs by Hannah Newton, Rachel Archer, and Jack Isbester.



Pond, Pod's Wood. Our first event there will be in two years time.

Editorial - Geraldine Russell

You will see there are some new training initiatives later in the newsletter that our coaches are planning which will be of benefit to most of our members.

This should place the club in good stead for the COMPASS SPORT TROPHY FINAL on 18TH OCTOBER at Stamford. Please keep this date free!

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

After the frenetic activity reported in the last newsletter, things on the Orienteering front have gone relatively quiet, though admittedly that might be a largely Sellens perspective as we seem to do less and less as we work up through the age groups. However, we did make it to Springtime in Shropshire for the May bank holiday and I can thoroughly recommend this low key three days of regional level Orienteering for its beautiful locations and laid back organisation. A great introduction to multiday orienteering for anyone who might be intimidated by the JK or the O-Ringen. It helped that the weather was good and the areas open moorland and pasture rather than some of the impenetrable woods that have been used occasionally in the past. The highlight for us though was the wonderful view over classical English (and Welsh) countryside from the top of the Long Mynd after a breathless ascent by mountain bike.

A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of an earlier Chairman's chat when I concluded that it was a good idea to start planning an event well before its scheduled date as it always takes longer than you think, even for a small colour coded event like the one Chris and I recently planned and controlled (respectively) at Wivenhoe. Even though the map had been updated less than a year ago, contemporary expectations of map quality meant another update, taking several hours, was necessary. Even then a new fence appeared that affected the brown course between taping the controls and putting them out a week later. Then the control boxes only arrived at 4.00 pm the day before the event after being used by HAVOC and there was a bit of a panic that there were only just enough boxes and stakes for the 58 or so controls we were putting out at 6.00 am the following morning. Then, just as the last control was placed at 9.00 am, with plenty of time to spare, we lost the car key in long grass with the event computer and start boxes locked inside. Amazing how tough window glass is. Shortly after breaking in, the key was located by a further finger-tip search among the foliage. I wouldn't want to put anyone off the valuable and rewarding experience of either planning or controlling, but I strongly recommend reading the BOF planning guidelines on time line, and then compromising between that and your natural tendency to leave it 'till the last minute. Or is that just me? A supply of valium, a resident counsellor and an unflappable personality would also help. Sadly I was blessed with none of these. No-one complained, so presumably the tissue of figurative tape holding the whole creaking edifice together wasn't too obvious. It helps to have a brilliant organising team, this time with Geraldine Russell at the helm, at the front line.

I'd just like briefly to indulge in a little paternal pride and report that Chris Sellens recently completed the iconic Three Peaks (Snowdon, Scafell, Ben Nevis) Yacht Race, running with partner Alan Smalls and winning the accolade of King of the Mountains for the fastest aggregate time for all three running legs. In fact they won all three in (as far as I can ascertain) record times. Over 12 hours running and more than 12000 ft of climb, plus a fair spell of rowing a 40 ft yacht because there was almost no wind throughout the event. Mad, but brilliant and British.

Antepenultimally, you might have seen on the website and in the local press that the High Woods permanent course was officially opened by local MP Bob Russell at the East Anglian Schools Championships on 17th May. Well done to John Collyer for driving this forward. Penultimately, Julie Laver and the coaching team ran a successful series of 'Club Mark' events at Maldon and Julie is making progress with the organisation for the British Schools Score Championships that will be held at Hylands Park on 10th October. Helpers will be required for this event and the Roman Valley event on 13th September, so if you are keen to cut your teeth as a member of the helpers' team, please contact Julie (Hylands) or Jenny Collyer (Roman Valley). And finally, the AGM will be held on 14th October (details in the next newsletter and online in the next few weeks) and vacancies, not least for the position of Chair, will be available on the committee. Search your hearts over the summer. Your club needs you!
 

Bob Russell MP presents the club with the cheque for lottery funding for the permanent courses.

Schools League Update - Julie Laver

The final results for this season's (08-09) league are as follows -
 
Up to Y6 BoysUp to Y6 Girls
Thomas Birkett Bronwen Mansel
Kit PhillipsElspeth Harrison
Jack GilbeyEmma Clarke
 
Y7/8 Boys Y7/8 Girls
Nicolas Harrison Rhiannon Ware
Bryn Wilkinson Rachael Harrison
Roderick ManselMatilda Selby
 
Y9/10 Boys Y9/10 Girls
Alex Ware Isobel Chandler
Michael Park Bethany Heybrock
Will Hooton
 
Y11/12/13 BoysY11/12/13 Girls
James Park Hannah Newton
Ben ArmitageEllen Sanderson
Jonathan CronkJacqueline Heybrock
 
The top three schools are
Barnardiston Preparatory
Beyton Middle
Copleston High

Congratulations to all the winners - trophies were presented to all the first place participants at the last event at Wivenhoe Park and medals to the second and third places. Barnardiston Hall Preparatory again retained the School Trophy so a BIG well done to all those runners who regularly turn out for their school.

All who have taken part in this season's league will receive a certificate if they scored over 100 points during this season and any who earnt a trophy or medal and were not around to collect them will be able to do so at a future event, or I will post it to you if you send me your contact details.

For the full list of competitors please visit the ESSOL pages of our website http://www.cordle.net/essol. If I have missed your details please contact me and I will amend them.

Next year's provisional dates are as follows so put them in your diary NOW. Do not forget any person up to Year 13 can enter the League by just turning up to the designated events and entering your school details on the registration form.

ESSOL Fixtures 09-10

2009
17th September - Roman Valley - SOS
11th October - Hatfield Forest - SOS
8th Movember - Ickworth - SUFFOC
29th November - The Broaks - SOS

2010
7th February - Chalkney - SOS
25th April - Ickworth - SUFFOC
9th May - Danbury - SOS
20th June - Wivenhoe SOS

Please note these are preliminary fixtures and participants are advised to check Club websites before travelling -
http://stragglers.info
http://pdl.demon.co.uk/suffoc.

Stragglers' League - Andrew Cordle

Top ten positions are (position at time of last newsletter in brackets) -
 
PosnPrev PosnNameBest 6Runs
1(1)Richard Bonnett60014
2(2)Jenny Collyer58912
3(10)John Collyer57812
4(3)Martin Sellens5716
5(4)Hannah Newton56813
6(6)Geraldine Russell55911
7(7)Tracey Apperley55713
8(7)Chris Childs54116
9(5)Claire Harrison53915
10(9)Duncan Harrison52416

Congratulations to John Collyer on rocketing up the table, and to those of you have made less spectacular progress.

your next chances to progress are -
26 Jul 2009 HAVOC Epping SW
12 Sep 2009 SLOW London (City)
13 Sep 2009 SOS Roman Valley
11 Oct 2009 SOS Hatfield Forest
17 Oct 2009 CUOC Cambridge (City)
18 Oct 2009 LEI Fineshade (CompassSport Trophy)
25 Oct 2009 WOAC Mildenhall
8 Nov 2009 SUFFOC Ickworth
Check the website http://www.stragglers.info/league for latest information and scores.

SOS Notice board

Annual General Meeting

The club's AGM will be held on Friday 16th October, venue to be confirmed in the September Newsletter. The agenda will include -
Reports of Officers
Statement of Accounts
Subscription Rates for Ensuing Years
Any Proposals for Amendment of the Society's Constitution
Election of Officers for the Ensuing Year.

Put the date in your diary now!

Dave Birkett and Stragglers Copse at Fordham

For a number of years we have had a tradition of making a donation to the Woodland Trust in memory of members who die. Often individual members have added to the club's donation as they wish to mark the passing of a friend. This has gradually built up until we have now sponsored quite a copse in the woodland being planted at Fordham and hope, in time to have an area marked on the map as 'Stragglers Copse'. I shall be sending a donation from the club in memory of Dave Birkett at the end of July. If anybody would like to add a personal donation to this would they please send their contribution to me before that date. Thank you to those who have already sent their contributions to me - Nancy Powell Davies.

Coaching/Training

Two of our coaches, Richard Barker and Steve Cartwright, have written some very useful training ideas to improve anybody's technical orienteering skills based around permanent courses in our area. This will enable members to practice a variety of techniques on specially printed maps whenever they want.

Notley, Hylands and High Woods are the three areas designated so far, with hopefully more to follow.

These packs containing the maps and training notes will be available soon by emailing Geraldine Russell - geraldine@russell2.fsnet.co.uk or tel - 01206 272761 and they will be sent by post.

The coaches will also be very willing to hold armchair workshops when members can talk through their courses and discuss how best to avoid those dreaded errors. Please inform Geraldine Russell if you think you might like to do this and she will collaborate with the coaches to find a venue, date and time suitable for everyone.

The monthly Saturday Club Activity Sessions are starting again on Sept 5th 10.30 - 12.30 with an optional drink in pub/café afterwards. Venues to be confirmed - see website for further details nearer the time.

The sessions are open to ALL club members. All ages and abilities welcome. Come and meet your fellow club members and learn new skills or help to pass your own skills on to others.

Coaching Course

The club are to be hosting a level 1 coaching course in the autumn - dates to be confirmed. Any club members who would like to become involved in coaching can apply for a place. CRB checks will have to be made and funding may be available if a minimum number of coaching hours are committed to in the first year of obtaining the qualification.

If you are interested please contact Richard Barker barkersuff@aol.com - Head Coach or Julie Laver julie.laver@virgin.net - Development Officer.

Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions

The information provided below normally consists of Event Date, Region (eg EA = East Anglia), Event Grade , 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.

July

8th

EAOA
SUFFOC
Local

SUFFOC Summer Series Event 4, Martlesham Heath Woodbridge, TM244454
Organiser: Simon Peck, simon589@btinternet.com, 01473 461395   Entry On Day:Senior £1.00, Junior £0.00, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On Leads Start Times: 6:30 - 7:15 PM 

11th

EAOA
WAOC
Local

WAOC Wandlebury Country Park Smile: , Wandlebury Country Park Cambridge, TL492533
Organiser: Frances Cooper, aouq61@dsl.pipex.com, 01223 210046   Entry On Day: Senior £3.00, Junior £1.00, Student £1.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: Dogs allowed if on a lead. Start Times: 10.30 to 12.00 www.waoc.org.uk

12th

EAOA
NOR
Local

NOR Summer Series Score Event  followed by EAOA AGM (at 12:15), Taverham Hall School Norwich, TG151138
Organiser: Alan Bedder, alan.bedder@virgin.net, 01603 424589   Entry On Day:Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: Score Event: Mass Start at 11.00 Orange Course:Starts from: 10.30 to 11.00 www.norfolkoc.co.uk

19th

EAOA
SMOC
Local

SMOC Summer Event, Marston Vale Country Park Stewartby, TL005419
Organiser: Keith Downing, keith@keith-o.demon.co.uk, 01234 270018   Entry On Day: Senior £3.00, Junior £2.00, Student £2.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs:On leads Start Times: 10.30 to 12.00 www.smoc.info

22nd

EAOA
SUFFOC
Local

SUFFOC Summer Series Event 5, Holywells & Landseer Park Ipswich, TM177433
Organiser: Simon Peck, simon589@btinternet.com, 01473 461395   Entry On Day: Senior £1.00, Junior £0.00, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On leads Start Times: 6:30 - 7:15 PM 

23rd

SEOA
SAX
Local

SAX West Kent Series - evening, Knole Park Sevenoaks, TQ544540
Organiser: Peter Martin, p.martin349@btinternet.com   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: 19.00 

25th

SEOA
SO
Local

SO - Sussex Sprint Series 2009 - Horsham Park, Horsham Park Horsham, TQ175310
Organiser: Ian Curtis   Entry On Day: Senior £3.00, Junior £1.00, Student £1.00. , Punch Type: SI,  Dogs: Please keep under control. Start Times:10.00-11.00am www.southdowns-orienteers.org.uk/index/events

26th

EAOA
HAVOC
Local

HAVOC  FROLIC , Epping South West Chingford, TQ394949
Organiser: Chris Shaw, fixtures@orienteering-havoc.co.uk, 01375  677377   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI, Dogs: On lead  

August

12th

SEOA
DFOK
Local

DFOK Evening Event, Shooters Hill Woodlands Eltham, TQ438762
Organiser: Philip Basford, philb@ntrg.u-net.com   Entry On Day: Senior £4.00, Junior £0.00, Student £0.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On leads only. Start Times: 6 pm to 7:15 pm www.dfok.co.uk

16th

SEOA
SAX
Local

SAX West Kent Series , Tunbridge Wells Common Tunbridge Wells
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: 10.00-11.30 

19th

SEOA
DFOK
Local

DFOK Evening Event, Bostall Woods/Heath Abbey Wood, TQ480785
Organiser: Philip Basford, philb@ntrg.u-net.com   Entry On Day: Senior £4.00, Junior £0.00, Student £0.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On leads only Start Times: 6pm to 7:15pm www.dfok.co.uk

20th

SEOA
SAX
Local

SAX West Kent Series - evening Street O, Tonbridge Tonbridge
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: 19.00 

26th

SEOA
DFOK
Local

DFOK Evening Event, Lesnes Abbey Woods Abbey Wood, TQ480785
Organiser: Philip Basford, philb@ntrg.u-net.com   Entry On Day: Senior £4.00, Junior £0.00, Student £0.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On leads only Start Times: 6pm to 7:15pm www.dfok.co.uk

September

2nd

SEOA
DFOK
Local

DFOK Evening Event, Shooters Hill Woodlands Eltham, TQ438762
Organiser: Philip Basford, philb@ntrg.u-net.com   Entry On Day: Senior £4.00, Junior £0.00, Student £0.00. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: On leads only Start Times: 6pm to 7:15pm www.dfok.co.uk

5th

SEOA
SAX
Local

SE Sprint Champs Kent Uni., Kent University Canterbury
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed.  

6th

SEOA
SAX
Local

SE Middle Distance Champs  Blean: , Blean Faversham, TR075604
Organiser: Sarah Howes, sarahmhowes@hotmail.co.uk, 01892 723327   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed.  

12th

SEOA
SLOW
Regional

The Second London City Race, The City of London London, TQ327811
Organiser: Vince Roper Postal Entry: Mike Garvin, 30 Belvedere Place London, SW2 5TD, 020 7738 6570, mikegarvin1@googlemail.com. Cheques payable to Mike Garvin Online entry through fabian4 Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  Dogs: must be on lead at all times  www.sloweb.org.uk

12th

SEOA
CHIG
Local

Hainault CATI, Hainault Forest Country Park Romford, TQ475933
Organiser: Ray Weekes, RayWeekes@BTIntenet.com, 020 8530 3011   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed. www.chig.org.uk

13th

EAOA
SOS
Local

SOS Colour Code Event . EA League & Essex & Suffolk SchoolsLeague (ESSOL), Roman Valley Colchester, TL985209
Organiser: John Collyer, johncollyer@live.co.uk, 01787 370947   Entry On Day:Senior £7.00, Junior £2.00, Student £2.00. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  www.stragglers.info

19th

EAOA
WAOC
Local

WAOC Come And Try It Event, Wimpole Hall Cambridge, TL343511
Organiser: Peter Heybrock, peter.heybrock@ntlworld.com   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: 10:30 to 12:30 www.waoc.org.uk

20th

EAOA
NOR
Local

NOR  Try-O Event & Score Event: , U.E.A   Norwich, TG196078
Organiser: Alan Bedder, alan.bedder@virgin.net, 01603 424589   Entry On Day:Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  Dogs: Dogs on Lead Start Times: Registration:10.00 to 12.00Starts from: 10.30 to 12.30 Courses Close at 14.00 www.norfolkoc.co.uk

20th

EAOA
HAVOC
Local

HAVOC Score Event, Bedfords Park Romford
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed.  

26th

SEOA
DFOK
Local

KOL Local Event, Downe Activity Centre Biggin Hill, TQ419631
Organiser: Philip Basford, philb@ntrg.u-net.com   Entry On Day: Senior £6.00, Junior £1.00, Student £1.00. , Punch Type: SI,  Dogs: On leads only and only in the car park Start Times: 11 am to 12:30 pm http://www.dfok.co.uk/

26th

SEOA
HH
Local

HH Local, Stanborough tbc
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None, No dogs allowed.  

27th

SEOA
LOK
Local

Local Event, Hampstead Heath Hampstead
Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None, No dogs allowed.  

27th

SCOA
BKO
Local

BKO Colour coded event, Hawley & Hornley Camberley
Organiser: Andrew Graham, drumble55@hotmail.com, 0118 9433029   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: EMIT,  Dogs: Under control - dog walking area Start Times: Registration: 9.30am - 12.00pmStarts: 10.00am - 12.30pmCourses close: 14.30pmEMIT charge - Seniors only www.dfok.co.uk

October

1st

SEOA
DFOK
Local

DFOK Kent Night Cup, Jeskyns tbc, TQ663693
Organiser: David Cave-Ayland, dave.cave@tesco.net   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: None,  No dogs allowed. www.dfok.co.uk

3rd

EAOA
WAOC
Local

WAOC Come And Try It (CATI) Event: , Therfield Heath Royston, TL348406
Organiser: Ian Lawson, ianh.lawson@ntlworld.com   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  Dogs: Dogs allowed on a lead. Start Times: 10.30 to 12.30 www.waoc.org.uk

4th

EAOA
SMOC
Local

SMOC Colour Code Event & EA League, Stockgrove & Rammamere Heath Leighton Buzzard, SP917294
Organiser: Keith Downing, keith@keith-o.demon.co.uk, 01234 270018   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  www.smoc.info

10th

EAOA
SOS
Regional

British Schools Score Championships: , Hylands Park Chelmsford, TL680048
Organiser: Julie Laver, julie.laver@virgin.net, 01206 826152   No Entry On Day. Entries Close: TBC, Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  www.stragglers.info

11th

EAOA
SOS
Local

SOS Colour Code Event & Essex & Suffolk Schools League (ESSOL), Hatfield Forest Bishops Stortford, TL547203
Organiser: Jack Isbester, IsbesterJ@aol.com, 01621 815501   Entry On Day: Senior £7.00, Junior £2.00, Student £2.00. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  www.stragglers.info

17th

EAOA
CUOC
Regional

CUOC Cambridge City Race & Icenian Trophy, Cambridge City Cambridge, TL453592
Organiser: Clare Sutherland, cs492@cam.ac.uk, 07789871376  Online entry through www.fabian4.co.uk No Entry On Day. Entries Close: TBC, Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  http://www.cuoc.org.uk

18th

EMOA
LEI
National

Compass Sport Cup Final, Fineshade Corby, SP990985
Organiser: Chris Phillips, onecphillips@lineone.net, 0116 255 0330   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC. , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed. Start Times: 10.30 to 13.30 www.leioc.org.uk

25th

EAOA
WAOC
Local

WAOC Colour Code  Event & Yvette Baker Trophy Regional Qualification Round, Mildenhall Woods Thetford, TL728750
Organiser: Ian Lawson, ianh.lawson@ntlworld.com   Entry On Day: Senior £TBC, Junior £TBC, Student £TBC.  , Punch Type: SI,  No dogs allowed.  

Informal Score Eventing for D I Y Training - Derek Keeble

The map is your local Ordnance Survey sheet. The controls are church symbols on that map. The clippers are people within those churches waiting to greet your with a smile, a signature and sometimes a drink if you have time to swallow it. The date is Saturday 12th September 2009. The Organisers are Friends of Essex Churches Trust. Their motive is to raise funds from sponsored visitors visiting as many churches as they can that day. The Event is called Ride and Stride.

I think it should be Ride or Stride; thus making rural score events for equestrians, runners and cyclists, and urban score events more suited to slower pedestrians like me. The cost to you is how much you are prepared to sponsor yourself. The method is to gain entry via a local church. Decide how much of the Saturday your can spare and then give yourself a reasonable target to achieve within that time. You know the score!

In 2008 I knew I could walk hard without stick-aid for two hours so I selected a target of 13 churches within Colchester to visit within 120 minutes. The going rate imposed by me on myself was £2 a church visited with 2 hours, going on £4 for any I failed to reach in time. I beat me and duly handed over my money to St Leonard's Lexden, which is my local church. It receives a 50% return of my input to the Friends of Essex Churches Trust.

It was enjoyable. The sweat was familiar. Map-reading, even in my home town, was necessary; neither bramble nor bracken impeded me.

Similar events occur simulataneously in many other parts of England.

Keep happy feet

East Anglian Junior Squad Training in South Wales - Nicholas Harrison

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th of May the EAJS went to Broughton Burrows on the Gower Peninsular and Merthyr-mawr Warren near Bridgend both of which are mainly sand dunes.

For Saturday's training Eleanor and Jo West had prepared a variety of exercises for us which included relocation, simplification and line exercises. The maps we used were different to anything that we use in East Anglia because of the 2.5 metre contour detail and the lack of any other features other than sand dunes on them!

After training, because the weather was so hot, we decided to cool down by going to the beach where we splashed around in the sea and slid down some massive sand dunes. Then we went to our overnight accommodation at the West Glamorgan Guides Activity Centre at Parkmill and unpacked our stuff. We played a couple of card games, had some delicious pasta and then had a few more games of cards before bed.

On Sunday we went to Merthyr-mawr Warren and started with some relocation exercises followed by a small course and then a relay to finish off. Then everyone headed back home to East Anglia, apart from me and my Mum and my Dad because we decided to stay in Wales an extra day and visit some more of the area.

The whole weekend was really good fun, it helped me improve my orienteering skills and I would recommend it to anyone.
 


East Anglian Junior Squad Training in the Lake District - Hannah Newton

On the evening of Friday 17th April the EAJS and EAJPS squads made their way up to the Lake District for a weekend of orienteering training and competition. We were staying at the Cartmel Scout Hut, which is known to the junior squad and confidently holds the title of 'The Coldest Scout Hut' I have stayed in! Nevertheless, we all awoke on Saturday morning feeling prepared for a day of orienteering. Our destination was the BOF Training Day at Dockney Parrock and, after a period of confusion in which we almost drove up a very steep 'road' (which actually turned out to be the path to the start), the organisers turned up and informed us that we were in the right place and they just hadn't put up any signs yet. We got our o-kit on and made the short but steep walk to our first base of the day. The courses were divided into a 'North' and a 'South' area, and within these there were several starting places, with a set of courses planned for each. The weather was beautiful, and we were in good spirits as the sun shone and the marshes were reduced to mere puddles, saving the inevitable fight over radiator positions for drying shoes and gaiters in the evening.

After our traditional warm up (an unplanned running loop usually led by a group of M16/M18s trying to outrun one another), we started our first exercise of the day. We were pleasantly surprised by an unusual relocation exercise, in which a part of the map had been removed and we were told to run into this mystery area until we felt thoroughly lost before relocating and navigating our way to a given control nearby. After this we ran a few loops, having to cross the area several times between controls, making us rely on our bearings for parts of the legs. Having exhausted the 'North' area of the map, we had a light lunch and then made the slightly longer walk to a different start in the 'South' area. Here we ran courses using compass bearings and a control pick using distinctive contour and rock features.

Later in the afternoon we did a route choice exercise in pairs, where each person in a pair chose a different route to the next control, and once we both reached the control we decided whose route was the more effective before planning the next leg. As always our competitive sides shone through here - without admitting it, everyone races to try and arrive at the next control before their partner and then appear indifferent when beaten. The afternoon finished with a race, all of juniors ran the same course and set off at minute intervals. The M18s were very unimpressed to be beaten by an M14, but with the rules simply being 'you must touch the control kite' there were no SI print-outs to lend weight to the suggestion that there was some cheating going on amongst male squad members (cough, cough).

The next day the Graythwaite Regional event loomed and we were confidently told that it was one of the most challenging and detailed areas in the country, and we were not disappointed. For some of our younger squad members the 2.8km climb to the start was longer than the course itself, and for me the morning was made worse by the discovery that I had been entered for the W18E course. Afterwards I decided that the 'E' could have meant anything from 'Extremely long' to 'Excessively painful' and my experience of the course was somewhere in between! Despite this, I found it a very good experience and I now find the gentle incline of East Anglia a welcome relief after the trauma of 300 metres climb. After we had finished our runs, we enjoyed remedial Wilf's in the sun, with some people even cooling off by taking a paddle in the stream beside the car park.

It was a tiring but fun weekend, which was a brilliant reminder of the enjoyment and challenge of the Lake District, and a fantastic opportunity for the younger members to really get stuck into some difficult terrain and push themselves outside their comfort zone. On behalf of the whole squad, I would like to thank Richard and Graham for organising the weekend and coaching us, and all the parents who drove us there and supported our training, as well as cooking some delicious food in the evenings!
 

 


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