Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)


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Volume 20 Number 5
September 2007

Editors: Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle


Editorial - Andrew Cordle

Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the Newsletter. As seems to be usual, a week ago I thought this was going to be a very slim document, but lots of stuff arrived after the cutoff date. Please remember that typing, collating, formatting, checking, printing and publishing are all labour intensive activities, and that early submission would allow the editor to both earn a living and have a social life in the week before publication.

The limerick sent to us by Keith Marshall reminds me of previous literary and musical achievements of the club. Some of you will recall winning a prize at a JK in Yorkshire sometime in the 90s, following our live broadcast rendition of the Club Song written, lead and accompanied by Clint Mann. Today, Tom Birkett uses a motivational song to the tune of Pussy Cat Dolls "Don't Ya?" -
Don’t you wish that you could orienteer like me, don’t ya, don’t ya?
Don’t you wish that you could navigate like me, don’t ya, don’t ya?
Don’t you wish that you could have a run like me, don’t ya, don’t ya?
Don’t you wish that you could win a race like me, don’t ya, don’t ya?
Don’t you wish that you could beat Thierry Gueorgiou, don’t ya, don’t ya?
Don’t you wish that you could thrash our own G.G.*, don’t ya, don’t ya?
* Graham Gristwood, prominent member of the GB squad

Perhaps we should have a Limerick Competition. Why Not? The Prize will be a year's free subscription to the Newsletter (wow!) for the best limerick with an orienteering or Essex theme.

Holiday events offer the opportunity for cultural activities, such as learning to play the cirkelsöthorn

Editorial - Geraldine Russell

John and I were staying in a hotel in Pickering while taking part in the White Rose event when a fellow hotel guest from Saxons noticed my SOS shirt at breakfast. Immediately he congratulated us on achieving the Clubmark award and posed various questions like “How did you do such and such?” and “How long did it take?” etc. I am ashamed to say we could not answer any of his questions but told him that SOS has an excellent Development Committee who worked tirelessly.

The Development Committee namely Julie Laver, Dave Birkett, Andrew Cordle, Steve Cartwright, Richard Barker and Lyn West deserve recognition for their hard work on behalf of the club for Clubmark award.

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

So, how was your summer then? As promised in the last edition of the newsletter, the Sellenses have been taking a break from Orienteering activity, but I am hoping that, elsewhere in this newsletter, there is ample evidence of the orienteering adventures of others and I am looking forward to reading it. And if, like me, you have missed the deadline for this edition, but, unlike me, you have not persuaded the long-suffering editors to hold the printing presses, the please feel free, in the forthcoming long autumn evenings with nothing better to do, to pen your reflections on whatever exciting navigational perambulations have occupied you during this climatically challenged summer. But don’t feel you have to follow my example by starting all your sentences with disorientated conjunctives and extending them into illiterate comma-picking black courses.

Relatively important stuff

  • Another reminder that the AGM will be held on Friday 12th October at Geraldine and John’s place. ( Brookfield, Workhouse Hill, Boxted, Colchester CO4 5TT; Tel 10206 272761; e.mail geraldine@russell2.fsnet.co.uk). There will be a pot luck supper afterwards and all members are cordially invited to attend. Ring or email Geraldine to let her know if you are coming and to co-ordinate food.
  • Speaking of the AGM, a number of officers are hoping to step down so there are vacancies for the following positions:- Vice-Chair, Equipment Officer, East Anglian Rep and Junior Club Captain. Check out the SOS website for job descriptions or get further information from me (or from Lyn West in the case of the Junior Captain).
  • Don’t forget the Compass-Sport trophy final near Mansfield on 14th October. This is open to all club members and the more we have on the team, the better we are likely to do, as even non-counters can effectively score points by pushing the opposition further down the finishing order. Volunteer by calling Jenny Collyer on 01787 370947 or e.mail jcollyer48@btinternet.com. Elsewhere in the newsletter you will see that Lyn West has booked a coach so you can contact her to book your seats. This will be a sociable part of the proceedings so I encourage you to join the magic bus heading North at the crack of dawn on 14th.

    Note that full time students living away from Colchester can claim their reasonable travel expenses to this event back from the club.

  • I’d like to add my condolences here to Derek Keeble on the death of his wife Jessie; both were founding members of the club and well known to ramblers across Essex. Although they have been seen only rarely at Orienteering events in recent years, both were ever present at Straggler’s events throughout the 70’s and 80’s and made a come-back at the inaugural event in Layer Woods, Tiptree, last year. It was standing room only at Jessie’s funeral as her many friends turned out to pay their last respects. The club has made a donation to the Woodland Trust in Jessie’s memory to contribute to the further planting of trees at the virtual “Straggler’s Spinney” in Fordham Heath.

Finally, I hope to see you all at the compass-sport Trophy final and events throughout the length and breadth of the country (or at least county) in the forthcoming season. If you have not yet been fully integrated into the happy Straggler’s family, then please come to introduce yourself to the regulars at the club tent and/or banner. Free advice and post-event analysis only if you want it!

Captain's Corner - Jenny Collyer

The Compass Sport Trophy Final is fast approaching and I am hoping that loads of Stragglers will be there. Everyone counts in this competition even if just pushing other clubs’ runners down a place or two.

It will take place on the 14th October at Blidworth, near Mansfield (Notts). The club is taking a coach (£15 adults, £5 juniors with a maximum of £30 per family). It is provisionally planned to leave Tollgate, Colchester at 7.00 am with perhaps some other pick up points depending on the route. The entry fees are £8 seniors and £3 for juniors, students and M/W 65+ (SI hire is 50p).

You will run on a colour coded course according to your age class – with orange being the shortest course. Please let me know by 29th September if you will be running and if you will use the coach (if you haven’t already done so). Tel 01787 370947 or email jcollyer48@btinternet.com Could you also send fees (coach and entry) to me please at 48 Meadow View Road, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 7NY (cheques payable to SOS). Please let me know if you have a preferred start time.

There will also be White and Yellow EOD non-trophy courses.

The club tent preparing to sail to Blidworth

Junior Captain's Report - James Lyne

After one year in the role as SOS junior captain and with university and the prospect of hilly and technical orienteering ahead of me for the next few years up in Scotland, I shall be stepping down as junior captain. Since I have held this role, there have been many impressive achievements by club juniors over the last year.

Despite having lower counts of SOS juniors in the last year than previously, the last year can be seen as successful for the junior contingent of the club, starting with the CompassSport Cup Final in November last year. Our few runners were able to help SOS to a respectable overall position. Notable performances included Katie Sellens – 23rd on the Green, and on the Light Green – James Lyne, Jo West and James Park, 9th, 30th and 33rd respectively all out of large fields of runners.

Unfortunately that year we were unable to field a team in the Peter Palmer relays – a competition in which we have solidly competed over the last few years. In addition we were unfortunate not to qualify for the Yvette Baker final, however, with the increase in junior participation in early 2007 at major events and an increase in coaching days, perhaps this could be our year!

The beginning of this year also saw success with many SOS juniors being named East Anglian champions including, Sarah Park, James Lyne and James Park. This success was carried forward through several other events including the JK and British championships. Particular congratulations go to Thomas Birkett who came 2nd at the JK over two fast and furious days of orienteering, beating 3rd place by only 13 seconds. Look out for this potential star in the future! In the British Championships, Jo West and myself also managed to finish 3rd each on the W/M20E class on a hot and physically tough day.

These achievements as well as the participation and success of SOS juniors in the ESSOL show that our club’s juniors are improving and growing in numbers – this will hopefully carry forward to this coming season and we can look forward to continuing our success! Despite the fact that I won’t be around at local SOS events next season, I look forward to seeing all you SOS juniors out there at main events!

Jessie Keeble

From Jack Isbester -

Jessie Keeble, who died on 24th August 2007 aged 74, was a member of SOS almost continuously from the reconstitution of the club in 1973 to the present date.

Heart problems prevented her from running whilst orienteering but for many years she demonstrated that careful and accurate navigation at walking pace will beat the high speed 'headless chicken' techniques practiced by many of her clubmates.

It was only with Jessie's support that Derek was able to devote to SOS the many years which he spent in organising, mapping and planning orienteering events in north-east Essex and SOS owes a great debt to both of them.

They both loved the countryside and when a few years ago husband Derek decided to concentrate on rambling rather than orienteering Jessie continued to accompany him in that activity too. They walked extensively in the UK and also took walking and orienteering holidays overseas, and when they were not walking or orienteering they were country dancing!

Longer serving Stragglers were delighted that Derek and Jessie came to our Layer Wood event in November 2006, where Jessie completed the Light Green course in a time only six minutes slower than a W20!

Our condolences go to Derek and to their son Andrew and his family for their sad loss.

SOS is making a contribution to the Woodland Trust - specifically for Stragglers' Copse at Fordham - in memory of Jessie Keeble.

- and from Derek Keeble -

October 2006 found Jessie and Derek celebrating 40 years worth of walking with Colchester Group R.A. and next October finds Derek-sans-Jessie recalling another fortieth anniversary, this time of their first lead for Colchester Group.

Jessie deceased on 24th August 2007 just four day after her seventy-fourth birthday. Obviously she was thirty-three when the founding event took place. She hd known for some time that rambling was to be her forte; it suited both her health and her temperament, and she had married a guy who seemed to understand maps.

When her husband Derek took to Orienteering in 1967, she adroitly adapted his Sport to suit her needs. Wayfinding courses in wonderful terrains, often not available to ordinary rambling folk, more than satisfied her wanderlust. None more so than when she went to the 1978 Swiss Six-day as S.O.S team manager: a team of two, Andrew and Derek, both clan Keeble.

Her social group walking caused her to lead from Great Yarmouth to Weston-super-Mare, from Beachy Head to Hunstanton direct and back to Lympne via East Anglia's seaboard pathways, and numerous other holiday excursions on published Long Distance pathways.

More important to Jessie were family walks. Her first twosome was Tiptree to Goldhanger for lunch, then to Heybridge Street for a bus back to Tiptree in March 1957. By March 1961 she had ventured into Suffolk and experienced the whispering sands of Easton Bavents near Southwold. She named our first home "Bavents", and all such private walks are recorded as "Baventures". The last was at Layer Marney November 2006 at an Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society event. All three hundred and forty-six Baventures were very special.

Derek will be remembering many of these when on Sunday October 14th he shuffles across Little Baddow's Wedlock Green imitating the strides he used in 1967 along the same path.

Meek, mild and highly-companionable Jessie gathered many friends. She had not much small-talk; she concentrated upon the flora by her feet, about which she knew much, and the greater landscape in current view. She will be sadly missed in many fields of activity around Colchester.

Keep happy feet

Stragglers' Notice Board

Notice of Annual General Meeting

2007 Annual General Meeting of Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society

To be held on Friday 12th October at 7.30 pm at Brookfield, Workhouse Hill, Boxted, Nr. Colchester CO4 5TT ( OS map ref:994319) followed by an informal supper and social.

Please come along as this is also the time you can express your opinions about how the club is working (or not) for you and an opportunity to influence club activities for the next year and beyond. It is also an excellent time to socialize with other SOS members.

There will be jacket potatoes and vegetarian chili on offer. If you would like to contribute some food to this ‘pot-luck’ supper such as an alternative filling, puds or nibbles please just turn up with it.

Agenda -

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes of the 2006 AGM
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Chairman’s Report
  5. Treasurer’s Report
  6. Subscription rates for the coming year
  7. Election of Chairman
  8. Election of Other Office Holders
  9. Any Other Business
  10. Presentation of Awards

Office holders elected at the 2006 AGM were -
ChairmanMartin Sellens
Vice Chairman(Vacant)
SecretaryClive Tant
TreasurerHilary Sellens
Club CaptainJenny Collyer
Newsletter EditorsGeraldine Russell/Andrew Cordle
Schools Liaison Officer and ESSOLJulie Laver
Fixtures SecretaryJack Isbester
Publicity OfficerLyn West
East Anglian Rep(Vacant)
Equipment OfficerJulia Robertson
Membership SecretaryGeraldine Russell
Map OfficerKevin Machin
Web MasterAndrew Cordle
Head CoachStephen Cartwright
Junior Club CaptainJames Lyne
AuditorJohn Russell

The future SOS committee discussing the 2025 Development Plan

First Aid Courses - Andrew Cordle

Sportessex co-ordinate a number of First Aid courses throughout the Stragglers' area. "Emergency First Aid and Basic Injury Management" evening workshops are being held in –
Maldon17th September
Harlow1st October
Chelmsford17th October
Tiptree30th October
Clacton13th November
Chelmsford12th December
Braintree14th January

This is not a full First Aid Course - the aim of this workshop is to give participants sufficient information to be able to control an incident until more qualified help, which may be a qualified First Aider or the Emergency Services, arrive. Details are available on the web at http://www.sportessex.com/docs/notices/1st_response_syllabus_sportessex-1.doc (if this link doesn't work, go to www.sportessex.com, Noticeboard, Category "Courses") and the syllabus at http://www.sportessex.com/docs/notices/fa_flyer-3.doc, or contact Ingrid Carter at Sportessex on 01245 702459.

The course costs £20. Because it is in everybody's interest for as many event helpers as possible to have this level of training, Essex Stragglers will reimburse the fee and reasonable travel expenses for those members who are prepared to use the skills obtained at SOS events. Contact the Treasurer Hilary Sellens hilary.sellens@essexebp.org.uk 01206-766560.

Vacancy - Junior Captain - Lyn West

James Lyne has fled the country and taken up residence north of the border at Edinburgh Uni. I am sure we all wish him good luck in his new life as a student and look forward to seeing him at events no doubt in the colours of EUOC. But that leaves a vacancy for a junior captain.

The role is an important link between the club committee made up of those considerably over the age of 21 and the junior members. How else do we find out what you think and want? It involves getting to know new junior members and introducing them to the others, helping to put teams together for junior events and representing the views of juniors to the main committee (attendance at committee meetings welcome but not compulsory – an email report will do). As Development Officer, I provide support so you are not on your own.

So if you think you could take on this role or you know somebody that you think would be good at it, please contact me on 01206 322905 or lyn@stragglers.info.

PS It looks good on your uni application!

Explorer Challenge - Julie Laver

I have been asked to say a few words in the newsletter to try to recruit some new participants so here goes.

What is it?
A four stage incentive scheme to encourage young people to take part and maintain an interest in orienteering.
Who can take part?
Any junior can participate but the scheme will particularly benefit those who are just starting out.
What do you do?
The participants are issued with a logbook which they take to events with them. A point is earned for every control they find even if the course is not completed so if the course has 12 controls to find and only 10 are punched then 10 points are awarded. The participant must present the logbook to be signed by an official-there are usually plenty lurking about!- at the end of their run after download.
What then?
For every 25 points earned a certificate and a cloth badge are awarded to the participant. There are 4 awards available.
Do I have to run solo?
No, not at first. The idea of the scheme is to build confidence and provide an incentive to improve performance. The first points may be earned by a junior being shadowed and it is to be hoped that as their ability and experience increase they will be able to run as pairs then solo by the end. This will however depend on the age and ability of the individual.
How much will it cost?
Nothing-free-nil-zero-nought-no pence etc! extra. Just pay the normal entry fee for the event.
How do I get involved?
Collect a logbook from the enquiries point at any S.O.S. event and start collecting those control points. The event does not have to be run by S.O.S. to count towards your total.

My children have participated in the scheme and I found the promise of earning a badge counted a lot towards them turning out with enthusiasm on a rotten winter morning when the appeal of Sunday morning kids T.V. seemed a better alternative to them.

Calling all Juniors! - Lyn West

The Regional Round of the Yvette Baker Trophy will be held on Mildenhall North on October 21st. SOS needs all juniors to turn up and run (as long as you can run yellow or above). All entrants score points with 9 counting to the team total. But even if you don’t count in the team total, your run may mean that runners from other clubs score less points so helping the SOS team to victory and the National Final.

Please let me know if you are intending to run so that I can check we have a good spread across the courses.

Essex and Suffolk Schools League - Julie Laver

This is a Youth league administered by SOS and SUFFOC using events organised by both clubs to encourage young people to compete against others of their own School year. Trophies and medals are awarded to the top 3 individual winners in each class. There is also a Team Trophy awarded to the School or Youth Organisation topping the League at the end of the season.

To ensure your name is included in this years League please ensure your registration form is filled out correctly and in full. If you need assistance see JULIE LAVER or ask at enquiries. Your School or Group does not have to enter as these points are worked out from the individual registration forms.

FIXTURES – 2007/08
23rd SeptHatfield ForestSOS
1st Nov The Naze, WaltonSOS
25th NovTanghamSUFFOC
6th JanKnettishall HeathSUFFOC
3rd FebChalkneySOS
16th MarHockleySOS
10th MaCastle ParkSOS
15th JuneWivenhoe ParkSOS

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

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.

September 2007



SOS Local Event & CATI. Hanningfield Reservoir Nature Reserve, Chelmsford. TQ737977.



Dave Birkett, 07785236601. david.birkett@blueyonder.co.uk £2.00/£1.00. EPS-SI. White, Yellow, Orange. www.stragglers.info



LOK District Event. Alexandra Park, London. TQ295896.



Neil Brooks, 01494 872578. neilbrooks@msn.com £7.50/£2.00 Car Park. EPS-SI. String course. www.londonorienteering.co.uk

October 2007



GO British Schools Score Championships. Petworth Park, Petworth.






NOR District Event. Holt Country Park & Holt Lowes, Holt. TG084368.



Mike George, 01603 408269. £5.50/£1.00, Family Units & Groups £6.50. Dogs on Leads. www.noroc.co.uk



NOC Compass Sport Cup Final. Blidworth, Mansfield. SK583522.



Mick Lucking, 0115 922 5578. mick@lucking.co.uk Fees TBA. EPS-SI. www.noc-uk.org



WAOC District Event & Yvette Baker Trophy Round. Mildenhall North, Mildenhall. TL735752.



Dil Wetherill, 01462 712735. £6.00/£1.50. EPS-SI. Dogs on leads. www.waoc.org.uk



SMOC Regional Event & Midland Championships and Interland 2007 selection races. Salcey Forest, Northampton. SP794518.



Organiser: Keith Downing, 01234 270018. keith@keith-o.demon.co.uk



Entries: Helen Nisbet, 2 Hopkins Close, Milton Keynes Village, Milton Keynes, MK10 9AS. entries@smoc.info CD: 14/10/07. £10.00/£3.00 CC £6/£3 Late entry plus £2. Lim EOD + £2.00/£2.00. Colour coded £6 seniors £3 juniors + £2 EOD. Chq: South Midlands Orienteering Club. EPS-SI. CC courses - White, yellow, orange, light green, green, String course. Dogs allowed on lead in the car park only. Online entries at www.fabian4.co.uk. Colour coded online entry available. www.smoc.info



BADO District & SCOA League. Blackwood. SU532433.



Mike Broderick, 01256 351624. wbroderick@lineone.net £7.00/£2.00. EPS-Emit. String course. No dogs. There will be a punching start. www.bado.org.uk



DFOK District Event. Joydens Wood, Near Dartford. TQ500715.



Carys Morgan, 07980 650955. carys_morgan53@hotmail.com £7.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. www.dfok.co.uk

November 2007



SOC Regional Event, November Classic. Highland Water (North), New Forest. SU268097.



Organiser: Di Smith, 02380 845787. di@ntrees.co.uk



Entries: Terry Smith, Heath Cottage, North Road, Dibden Purlieu, Southampton, SO45 4RE, 02380 845787. terrysmith@compuserve.com CD: 14/10/07. £10.00/£4.00 + £1.00 Emit hire (Juns free). No EOD. Chq: SOC. EPS-Emit. String course. Entry limited to 1200. Online entries: www.ntrees.co.uk. Late entries online only by 28/10/07 - £12.00/£4.50. Forest Walks available from Assembly. www.southampton-orienteers.org.uk



SOS Local Event & ESSOL. The Naze, Walton on the Naze. TM263234.



Jack Isbester, 01621 815501. IsbesterJ@aol.com £4.00/£2.00.



Full registration pending



CHIG The "MITRE" Regional Event. Epping NW, Epping. TL416010.



John Duffield, 020 8281 0676. john.duffield1@ntlworld.com Fees TBA. EPS-SI. String course. Parking £1.00. Dogs on Leads. Entry limited to 750.



Full registration pending



WAOC District Event. Maulden Wood, Bedford. TL074392.



Bruce Marshall, 01223 246280. bmarshall@theit.org £6.00/£1.50. EPS-SI. Dogs on leads. www.waoc.org.uk



SUFFOC District Event & EAGAL & ESSOL. Rendlesham Forest, Woodbridge. TM353484.



Chris Davies, 01473 259396. chrisgdavies@btinternet.com £7.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. Dogs on Leads. www.pdl.demon.co.uk/suffoc

Recruiting Volunteers and Mentoring - Steve Cartwright

Over the summer I was privileged to attend a couple of workshops on Recruiting and Managing Volunteers, and Mentoring Sports Coaches. Both very interesting with lots of information. As a club obviously at times we do lack the help we would like, and I tend to think that most people do not mind a little low key mentoring of various kinds occasionally.

In terms of Volunteering the recommendation was to advertise the club widely and to use the Volunteering agencies. It was considered appropriate to move from a concept of ‘members’ to ‘members plus volunteers’ where the volunteers offer help in almost any role (and apparently they do) simply being paid expenses. Role descriptions and interviews coupled with normal good management sense would help ensure nothing too silly occurred. In terms of retaining the help it was thought motivation and recognition were extremely important - to consider what the individual is going to get out of it and to be able to tap into their real interests are key. I guess slavery is only for those who want to be slaves !

Apparently Mentoring is not telling people what they should do but helping them to fulfil their roles, and is considered best to be fairly low key where people are qualified. Its ok to have more than one mentor although of course there may be a primary contact if one is studying or has asked someone for help in a particular way. Good mentors are often reflective in their outlook rather than those who like to rush in.

Coaching like First Aid can seem strange at times with lots of reading and studying yet little real use of all that information. A new Club and Coach scheme is currently being considered in various regions that would require weekly coaching or event sessions of 20+ weeks per year (including personal coaching) over a period of several years. The aim is to increase participation in the sport for the 16+ age range and to develop those who would like the help. If it is to get off the ground in terms of the current proposals we will need a lot more help in terms of the coaching particularly. Training will be available where necessary.

Nordic Walking - John and Jenny Collyer

This activity is very popular in the Nordic countries where it is used not just as an excellent form of walking with less pressure on the joints, but also as practice for X-C skiing.

We were particularly impressed last summer in Kiruna when running round the skiing area on a permanent ‘O’ course, to find people “walking” very quickly along the tracks using their poles. We bought some poles earlier this year and tried to do some walking with them at the British in Wales, soon realising that we knew little about the techniques required. This prompted a search on the web for information of how to walk properly with poles, and although there were some details, we felt that we needed to have some introductory lessons to ensure we were developing the right techniques. At one point we even located someone in Ipswich offering lessons!

Help however, came in the form of a two-hour session on the Scottish “rest day” when Fran Loots was offering lessons. We happily joined up and the Wednesday morning saw ten of us back at Inshriach, poles in hand, ready to go. The main points we found out were:

  1. Nordic poles are different to ordinary walking poles, particularly with the strappings, which attach the hand to the pole.
  2. The strapping passes under the hand, between thumb and forefinger.
  3. The poles are kept behind the body providing forward thrust.
  4. The force of the arm movements is transmitted through the strapping, whilst the hands are loosely holding the pole handles.
  5. As the arm moves backwards, just like X-C skiing, the hands move past the hips and the grip loosens on the handles.
  6. As speed builds, the effort of the arms increases and the breathing rate goes up. Later the arms can feel very stiff!
  7. It is also possible to run, with the poles tending to go further forward, but dropping their rate from parity with that of the legs, to half.

Since then we have been on a number of trial walks in the Sudbury area, hoping to improve our style. As you might expect, we have attracted a number of looks and comments, but being used to running and cycling around here for over 20 years, we are pretty much immune to peoples’ reactions.

On a more serious note, we have found Nordic walking interesting, more demanding than you might expect, and we shall certainly be using it to get ready for X-C skiing at Christmas.
As well as developing techniques for using poles, it is important to keep your thumbs at optimum fitness

The History of SOS - Before the Reformation - Keith Marshall

We interrupt our review of early Straggling as recorded in Points East, to go back to before the advent of the East Anglian Orienteering Association, to a period in the history of an earlier incarnation of the Society.

The following notes might be of interest just to get a "feel" of a very early period in the Club's history (1969-71) when it was desperately struggling to survive. Despite this, we did manage the distinction of:

  1. One of our members hitting the headlines of the World Championship stage and whose performance in the Relays stunned the World Elite and merited (if not achieved) a Bronze Medal position for the Great Britain team.
  2. Organising and running a SOS Event outside of our Essex/Suffolk territory (there cannot he too many of these!).
  3. The sad story of how an event we tried to organise on "virgin" Orienteering land in Essex had to be aborted at almost the last minute.

The Club member who went on to great things was Mike Down. Mike was a very promising Junior in those days living to the west of London and he and his Father, having met our Club Secretary Ron Russell at several Events, heard of SOS's plight and decided to join us. To show how promising Mike was, he had just finished second in the Senior Men's course at a major event in Kent, with International Tony Walker being the only man to beat him! Later he reached his prime by recording positions of 42nd and 29th respectively in the World Champ Classic Men's Events of 1974 and 1976 and finally crashed into the top 20 hierarchy by achieving 19th position in 1978 at Konigsberg in Norway. But what was really awesome was his stunning time of 63.28 minutes in his leg of the Relay that year which, had it been replicated by his teammates, would have resulted in a Bronze medal for the GB team. Using the same formula, Mike's time of 65.52, would have achieved the same outcome in the 1976 World Champs at Aviemore.
OK- so I would be very surprised if he was still a Club member when he was performing his W.C. heroics but - come on - what did you expect!!

The Event held outside our area was a Club Score Event at Richmond Park in Surrey and was instigated by our "West London" wing. It was principally organised by SOS member Des Entwistle, who was an authoritative contributor to promoting Orienteering in the Region. It took place on 19t" September 1971 and many of the "Essex" Stragglers went over to help with manning the Start and Finish positions. It was a great success and a considerable number of participants competed. I still have a copy of the map used and pre-event correspondence with Des and, yes, I am rather a sad Hoarder! Rules for restricting Club Events to certain areas were obviously not quite as strict as today. For example with CHIG and HAVOC seemingly having Epping Forest to themselves these days, SOS and Happy Herts have organised their own events there in the past.

The SOS Event that never happened was planned for the woods around Blackmore and Mill Green. Living locally at Blackmore, I spent long hours in these woods, doctoring an OS 2.5 miles to the inch map last revised in 1926 (the only reasonable document available at the time) with Tipex and adding paths, reentrants etc as best I could by step-counting from known points. Primitive now but that is how it was in those days (I didn't have my own private plane). The proposed Course was due to take in the Woods of Stoneymore, Deerslade, High, Ellis, Barrow, College, Birch Spring, Parsons Spring and Mill Green Common and involved 2 sets of Master Maps. In a rather featureless area of Birch Spring, I even had to resort to making a long-abandoned car one of my checkpoints, not of course acceptable today but permissible then. I quickly got permission to use College Wood (owned by Wadham College, Oxford) and got into correspondence with Lord Petre of Ingatestone regarding other parts of the course. Things did not move very quickly although seemed to be going well enough but the date for the Event was approaching fast and we still had not got a firm written approval to use the land. Everything else was in place, the course, the maps, the helpers and Ron Russell would be the Controller. Eventually about 3 weeks before the proposed date a letter arrived from Lord Petre granting limited permission. I had catered for the fact that Ellis and High Woods might be excluded as I knew there was often sounds of gunfire from that area at certain times of the year and that the Landowner probably had issued Shooting rights. What I was totally unprepared for, however, was the exclusion of Stoneymore and Deerslade Woods at the back of the Viper Pub and fringing on the Common. Of all the woods there, this was the area most commonly used by the public for walking, exercising the dag etc and unfortunately was completely central to the Course. With so little time left, the decision had to be made to cancel the Event. Looking back, I suppose we could have arranged a smaller "come & try it" event but in those days people travelling expected a decent sized course and my dream of perhaps enticing one of the leading competitors of the day, Geoff Peck, John Disley or Chris Brasher to visit this unused Orienteering area in leafy Essex was shattered! Some years ago whilst visiting one of HAVOC's evening Training Events and speaking to the Organiser about my experience, he said his Club regularly contact the current Lord Petre every two years or so and was quite optimistic about eventually getting approval. So who knows? Since then, however, the Private - Keep out notices have been erected and access is only allowed legally on the public footpaths and bridleways crossing the area.

Finally, a little gem from an old (1971) SEOA newsletter:
As a wife am I queer in the head
To have said from the day we were wed,
"I don't mind the dirt,
Or the holes in your shirt,
It's the maps that you bring up to bed"


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