Essex Stragglers Orienteering Society (SOS)


Well done to all who have taken part so far. Don't forget to check the web page (www.cordle.net/essol) for the full list of participants.

It is becoming easier to collect the results as more of you are making sure your details are filled in fully on the registration slips. This helps also with getting certificates to you at the end of the season. If I have mistaken or missing details please contact me - details also on web page.

As may be noted we need some more Y9/10 girls so if you know anyone who might be interested bring them along.

Unfortunately the Castle Park event is no longer to be an ESSOL fixture however I am looking into providing a replacement - watch this space!

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Volume 20 Number 6
November 2007

Editors: Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle - editors@stragglers.info


Editorial - Andrew Cordle

Thanks to all the contributors for the quantity, quality and timeliness of their articles. Material from first-time contributors is always welcome - see the notes on the webssite for guidance on how to present your opus.

There's so much material this time that there's no room for a History of SOS article, but as it's 30-odd years old news anyway, you should be able to wait another couple of months for this.

A Merry Christmas to all our readers. Have a Happy New Year, but don't celebrate too late, as you will want to be at Broaks Wood the next morning, for a fun event, Stragglers League points, refreshments and sunshine.

Editorial - Geraldine Russell

Orienteering, by it's nature, is not particularly a social sport with us all going to events at different times and getting parked in different places. Sometimes when I look at the results on the web I see other SOS members names on the list who I had no idea had attended the event. It is therefore enjoyable at our own events or when there is a club competition namely the CompassSport Trophy to socialise with other members. Being a helper at our own events is a very good way to get to know your fellow members and you have a free run as a bonus!

Hopefully we will have a big turnout for the CST heat on January 13th and whatever you do, don't think "I'm not good enough to take part" because if you get round the course you will count as that displaces one of our competitors. Think of it as an outing with friends.

Another social activity is at the New Year's Day Novelty Event that Andrew Cordle is organising when there will be soup, rolls, tea coffee and cakes after the event in the school when we can discuss the highs and lows of our runs and try to analyse Andrew's twisted mind in thinking up a peculiar variation to the rules each year.

Chairman's Chat - Martin Sellens

Well, the AGM and the compass sport trophy came and went. Mainly the same old faces populate the committee, but it has to be said they are wearing remarkably well, considering. The have been a couple of notable changes though, and I’d like to welcome the youthful Dave Skinner, taking over from the inimitable Jack Isbester as Fixtures Secretary and Julie Laver into the warm Chair of the Development Committee previously occupied by Lyn West. Being female, Julie can multitask and is retaining her job of making sense of the ESSOL (schools league) results. Dave has already taken his role by the scruff of the neck and has events planned until most of us will be M/W 95. However, they all need planners, organisers and event officials with various skill sets, including merely breathing, so you might expect the gentle touch of a Skinner hand on your metaphorical collar in the future. Julie is planning to organise an event official’s workshop at an event near you to blood those who are willing but lacking in confidence. Personally I’m hoping there are unsung heroes out there who are fluent in SI so that Hilary and I might be spared the stress of cajoling an event out of the EAOA computers as the first competitors bear down with misplaced zeal on the download tent. I must also welcome Sarah Park as Junior Captain. Sarah is taking over from James Lyne as whipper-in for the younger end. If you have a younger end then Sarah will be in charge of getting it moving at events such as the Yvette Baker trophy, and the JK and National Relays.

I must say a few words about the outgoing Fix Sec Jack Isbester. When eulogising outgoing stalwarts it makes it sound as if they’re dead, but you will see Jack powering down the home straight like a bulk carrier (though he’s carrying remarkably little) at most of the events you get to. Jack’s most recent role has been as super-efficient fixtures secretary, but he has filled most committee shoes over the years. In recognition of this he was this year’s recipient of the prestigious Mike Powell Davies award for services to the club and it is difficult to think of a more worthy winner. So congratulations and many thanks to Jack on behalf of you all. Of course, he’s only taking a sabbatical to finish his book and, on recent evidence, he will still be attending committee meetings to keep us on task. Congratulations also to James Lyne, now in Edinburgh becoming super-fit, who received the Mark Johnson award for most outstanding Junior. James was Junior Captain, won Bronze in M20E at the British Orienteering Championships and recently, with Simon Gardner from WAOC, won the C class at the OMM (ex-KIMM, the Original Mountain Marathon).

Incidentally, does anyone live close to the A12, between Chelmsford and Colchester and have an unused garage that can accommodate the Straggler’s Kit? We urgently seek a well organised person with quartermaster’s tendencies to be equipment officer. Applications to me in the first instance. Remuneration commensurate with being a volunteer.

Meanwhile, back to the Compass Sport Trophy. I am hoping that there is a report elsewhere in this newsletter from Jenny Collyer, who did a brilliant job getting the troops to Mansfield where we didn’t win. 2008 might be the year though, and we shall soon be recruiting for the regional heats that will be held at Brandon (Suffolk) on 13th January. Put it in your diaries now.

I hope you have a full programme of Orienteering planned for the run up (sic) to Christmas so that you can build up a useful calorie deficit to refill over the festive season. My recent past and foreseeable future has been occupied by re-mapping Donyland Heath for the up-coming Army Championships on 8th and 9th December. Come along and enter on the night/day to experience a new area in your head torch (Middlewick Ranges; mapped by Chris Sellens. Mind the pits). See fixtures for details.

Captain's Corner - Jenny Collyer

We all had a good day at Blidworth, near Mansfield, for the Compass Sport Trophy Final. There was a great club spirit with 38 members taking part most of whom had travelled by coach. A special thanks also to our far flung students who made their way from Durham, Bristol and Norwich. I was very disappointed not to be able to run myself due to a knee injury and the non arrival of the expected catering van was a disappointment to many others. Ten teams took part in the Trophy (small clubs) final and although we finished 8th we should be proud of our performance and the points we achieved. Everyone’s score will have helped the club and the 13 counting scores were very creditable. Our top scorers were Chris Sellens (96), Hazel Tant (94), Geraldine Russell (92), Martin Sellens (92) and Jonathan Creek (92). The other scorers were Bert Park, Duncan Harrison, Hilary Sellens, Richard Bonnett, Alex Machin, Mark Lyne, Nick Pugh and John Collyer.

The Qualifying Round for 2008 is fast upon us at the beginning of next year on January 13th. Hopefully it will be at Brandon but I will not know for certain until the beginning of December. I also do not know fees or the closing date for entries yet. I will be in Sweden for 3 of the 4 weeks prior to this event so am handing over the reins of Club Captain for this event to Chris Sellens. As usual we hope to win this round but need lots of members to take part – remember “everyone counts”. If you are able to go to this event please let Chris know now before you get too busy with Christmas arrangements. His email is christopher.sellens@genzyme.com and phone no.01206 766560

Claire Harrison on the run-in at Blidworth

Schools League Report - Julie Laver

The new season of Schools League events is off to a good start and after two fixtures the top three places for each class are as follows -
Up to Year 6Up to Year 6
Thomas BirkettRachael Harrison
Bryn Wilkinson Isabella Coutts
Nicolas HarrisonMaddy Gardiner
Rory CouttsEmma Vidler
Thomas HemingwayRhiannon Ware
Samuel BolamFlora Mol
Will Hooton=Sarah Rach
James Haynes=India Haynes
Jonathan Cronk
James ParkSarah Park
Dean MillerEllen Sanderson
William BenfoldHannah Newton
Team Positions
1st Barnardiston Preparatory
2nd Meadgate Primary
3rd Chesterton Community

25th NovTanghamSUFFOC
3rd FebChalkney SOS
6th JanKnettishall HeathSUFFOC
16th MarHockleySOS
10th MayCastle ParkNO LONGER ESSOL
15th JunWivenhoe ParkSOS

Stragglers' League

Too old for the Schools League? Don't do enough Regional Events to worry about your National Ranking Points? Too long between East Anglian League events, and besides, you don't know many people in your age group? What you need is a Stragglers League.

Points will be allocated to all Stragglers running by themselves on technically hard courses at Stragglers and nearby events. Your 6 best scores in the last year will determine your position in the table. The Points Table will be published after each event at www.stragglers.info/league.

For cross-country events, points will be calculated as follows - for all TD4 (Light Green) and above courses, calculate every Straggler's corrected time per km as follows - time from results divided by the corrected course length (=length + (10*climb)) multiplied by an age class speed factor. The fastest corrected time per km will be awarded 100 points, everyone else scores points in proportion.
If we include relays, the calculation will be similar, with the total time taken by the team being multiplied by the sum of the age class speed factors.
For score events, corrected points will be calculated by dividing the score points scored (before handicap) by the age class speed factor. The highest points score will be awarded 100 points, everyone else scores points in proportion.

The current rules will always be on the SOS website, as will a Q&A section to explain why the rules are the way they are. I expect the rules to evolve over the next year or so as people let us know what they think.

Any local event with a fair sprinkling of Stragglers expected will be considered for inclusion. Normally these will be announced in advance on the website and in the newsletter, but to get some points on the board, some events which have already taken place will be included. Most Stragglers events and larger events from neighbouring clubs will be included, but the JK, British Championships and Scottish/Welsh/Lakes/White Rose holiday events won't be (it's a local league). CompassSport Trophy heats and finals will be included. So the first events are -
23 Sep SOS Hatfield
14 Oct NOC Blidworth (CompassSport Trophy final)
11 Nov SOS The Naze (Score)
18 Nov CHIG Epping
25 Nov SUFFOC Tangham
2 Dec HAVOC Weald Park
1 Jan SOS Broaks (Score)
6 Jan SUFFOC Knettishall
13 Jan EAOA Brandon (CompassSport Trophy heat)
27 Jan CUOC Broomhill
3 Feb SOS Chalkney
10 Feb HAVOC Langdon Hills
16 Feb NOR Hockham
17 Feb SUFFOC Kings Forest
24 Feb WAOC Croxton Heath
16 Mar SOS Hockley

Other events will be added - see stragglers.info/league. I know that it's not fair to count events that have already taken place, but all complaints such as "I would have gone to that event", "I would have done the Score course", "I would have tried harder but used the event for technique training" will be speedily and comprehensively ignored.

So how are you doing? the scores so far are -
Geraldine Russell1008388703414
Bert Park9582622393
John Collyer8673702293
Jack Isbester8076632193
Nancy Powell Davies7164802153
Geoff Pye8669602153
Clive Tant7777582123
Duncan Harrison7474552033
Jenny Collyer1001002002
James Park8663471963
Hannah Newton8165481943
Perry Mole7657601933
Martin Sellens100771772
John Russell9618601743
Claire Harrison5355551633
Ellen Sanderson87691562
Mark Lyne71771482
Dave Skinner4654461463
Dave Birkett83571402
Emma Johnson71681392
David Sanderson76631392
Colin West73661392
Wendy Welham72651372
Lyn West73561292
Sarah Park60661262
Steve Cartwright65561212
Richard Newton67531202
Michael Park4950992
Chris Sellens93931
Richard Bonnett92921
Hilary Sellens91911
Sue Carton90901
Hazel Tant90901
Andrew Murphy88881
Eddie Banks87871
Jonathan Creak86861
Alex Ware5035852
Nick Pugh81811
Richard Barker79791
Alex Machin73731
Jo West70701
Daniela Brohm68681
Steve Robertson67671
Rachel Simpson62621
Derek Adams61611
Andrew Cordle57571
Derek Keeble56561
Katie Sellens54541
Chris Childs54541
Robert Hammond45451
Julie Laver41411

While we haven't had enough events yet to have meaningful places in the table, some interesting trends are emerging -
- Geraldine is the only person to have run in all four events, and with consistently good results deservedly takes top spot
- Colin and Lyn shared family honours at Blidworth, both scoring 73 points!
- Now that Jenny Collyer is fit again she is hard to beat. In the complex terrain of Epping, no-one else scored more than 70 points!
- Competition is likely to be as hot amongst those scoring in the 50s, 60s, and 70s as amongst those in the 80s and 90s

AGM Reports

Papers resented at this year's AGM, in case you missed it

Chair's Annual Report - Martin Sellens

Once again activities over the last year have been impressive for a small club such as ours, and this is a tribute to the hard work of the committee(s) and willing club members. I calculate that we have put on 13 events since the last AGM. One more than in the previous year. These have included the regional event at Baddow Ridge, 4 district (colour coded) events (1 EAGAL), the East Anglian Schools Championships, three informal summer "family fun" events, and four special events including the inaugural event at Hanningfield Reservoir, the relays, the annual Cordle New Year Novelty event and another successful Schools day at Wivenhoe Park.

This schedule represents an enormous amount of work behind the scenes from mappers, event officials and from Jack Isbester who has had the unenviable and increasingly difficult task of recruiting event officials for several years now. He is retiring from this position in order to update his international bestseller, “ the secret life of the bulk carrier”. The club owes him a debt of gratitude and I thank him on behalf of all Stragglers. Hopefully he will return to committee duties in due course as he clearly enjoys it so much. We will miss his AOBs and attention to detail. Many thanks also to mappers Chris Sellens (Layer Woods) Dave Birkett (Hanningfield) and Kevin Machin (Baddow Ridge) whose efforts added another three areas (OK, strictly Baddow was more of a rebirth) to our precious stock. Kevin continues to do a magnificent job as editor and printer of the maps that are our life blood. Thanks also to the myriads of officials and helpers who have enabled these events to take place.

The development Committee, under the leadership of Lyn West, has done a sterling job in the areas of promotion, recruitment and coaching. We have a vibrant and well established coaching programme under head coach Stephen Cartwright, with Julie Laver, Dave Birkett and Richard Barker all holding coaching certificates at various levels and providing both formal and informal coaching at most of our events. Richard continues to do sterling work as Coach for East Anglian Juniors. Under the leadership of Andrew Cordle, the Development Committee successfully applied, on our behalf, for ClubMark status this year and is one of the first Orienteering Clubs to achieve this distinction. Lyn West and her team once again did a brilliant job on putting together the summer series.

Jenny Collyer, in her role as Club Captain has ensured that Stragglers are represented in major event relays and that we perform at a high level in the CompassSport Trophy. Once again we are the representatives of East Anglia in the Trophy final the weekend following the AGM and it is difficult to remember a year in which we did not reach this final hurdle. Perhaps this will be the year we regain our crown. A few members will have shared in the glory of that achievement about 15 years ago. Forgive my lack of precision. I am no historian.

Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle picked up the baton as Newsletter editors after a brief holding operation by your Chair and Secretary and following the retirement from the editors chair (2 seater settee) of John and Jenny last year. They have maintained the excellent quality of this organ and introduced colour photography recently that, along with pithy editorial and captions, has made it an even more entertaining read.

Finally thanks to all committee members for their hard work during the year and my apologies to those who I have not mentioned. In particular, thanks for years of service to those who are not standing for re-election, notably Jack as Fixtures Secretary and James Lyne as Junior Captain. Best of luck to James in his studies at Edinburgh University. At present I am hoping the other aspiring retires will be persuaded to continue! Thanks to you all.

2006/07 Accounts - Hilary Sellens

Final Accounts for the year ended 21st August 2007
Profit and Loss
Full YearFull Yearthan 2006/07
Membership Total£663£425£238
Interest Income£32£83-£51
Other Net Expenses
Junior Sponsorship£0£54-£54
BOF memb & EAOA Cap-£390-£230-£160
Competition Entries/Accommodation-£151£175-£326
General Admin.-£191-£413£222
Social Events£0£0£0
Total Profit/Loss£206£2381-£2175
Cash BalancesBetter/Worse
2006/072005/06than 2006/07
Current Account£2146£4971-£2825
Deposit Account£4640£1608£3032
Total Cash£6786£6579£207

Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions

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

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

 December 2007



HAVOC District Event. Weald Park, Brentwood. TQ571946.



Chris Shaw, 01375 677377. fixtures@orienteering-havoc.co.uk £6.50/£1.50. EPS-SI. String course. Parking £2.00. www.orienteering-havoc.co.uk



CHIG Local Event & Herts & Essex Schools League. Harlow Town Park, Harlow. TL451109.



Ray Curtis, 01279 418699. curtis.rosemount@sky.com £3.50/£1.50. EPS-SI. W/y/o/lg/b. Dogs allowed under control. www.chig.org.uk

British Army Championships open to civilians near Colchester
8th Dec Night Event- Green, Blue and Red Courses EOD Registration 1730 - 2030 hrs. Middlewick Ranges, Range control (off Mersea Rd just south of the Crematorium and Abbott's Rd Junchtion)
9th Dec Green, Blue and Red Courses. EOD Registration 0900 - 1030hrs.Friday Wood Farm, Bounsted Rd.
Final details will be available on www.baoc.org.uk



NOR District Event & NOR Club Championships. NT Felbrigg, Cromer. TG196394.



Alan & Pat Bedder, 01603 424589. alan.bedder@virgin.net £5.50/£1.00, Family units / Groups £6.50. EPS-SI. Dogs on Lead - Livestock area. String course. www.noroc.co.uk



SAX District Event. Hemsted, Biddenden. TQ820350.



Jean Fitzgerald, 01622 686779. jean.fitzgerald@emr.ac.uk £6.50/Free. EPS-SI. www.saxons-oc.org



TVOC District Event & SCOA League Event. Wendover Woods, Wendover. SP891100.



Ali Kempson, 01235 767 144. ali@broadmarsh.f9.co.uk £7.00/£2.00 +£1.00 Emit hire. EPS-Emit. String course. Registration 10.00 to 12.00, Start times 10.30 to 12.30. www.tvoc.org.uk



BAOC "Around Aldershot" Area MTBO, Long O & Ltd Colour Coded. Longmoor/Woolmer/Bordon, Bordon. SU797312.



Organiser: John Owens, 01793 784889. johnpcowens@aol.co.uk



Entries: Jerry Newcombe, 8 Croft Road, Oakley, Basingstoke,Hants, RG23 7LA, 01256 780990. jerry@baoc.org.uk CD: 10/12/07. £10.00/£4.00 CC £6.00/£3.00. Lim EOD + £2.00/£1.00. Chq: BAOC. EPS-Emit. O, LG, R, G, Black. No dogs. On-line entries preferred at www.Ntrees.co.uk. www.baoc.org.uk



LOK Boxing Day Score Event. Trent Park, London. TQ281969.



Neil Brooks, 01494 872578.neilbrooks@msn.com Fees TBA. EPS-SI. www.londonorienteering.co.uk



SN Regional Event & SN Trophy. Ash Ranges, Aldershot. SU896527.



Organiser and entries: Paul Wallace-Stock, 43 Manor Road, Farnborough, Hants, GU14 7HJ, 01252 519355. paul@wallace-stock.datanet.co.uk CD: 20/12/07. £9.00/£5.00. Lim EOD +£1.00. Chq: Southern Navigators. EPS-SI. String course. CC courses - W,Y,O,LG,R - £5.00/£2.50. Parking £1.00. Dogs on lead in car park only. On-line entries preferred at www.Ntrees.co.uk. www.SouthernNavigators.com

 January 2008



SOS New Year's Day Novelty Local Score Event. The Broaks, Halstead. TL790306.



Andrew Cordle, 07968 567529.  andrew@cordle.net  £5.00/£2.00 SI card hire £0.50. EPS-SI. www.stragglers.info



SUFFOC District Event & ESSOL. Knettishall Heath, Thetford. TL952806.



Clive Wilkinson, 01473 219059.clive.sally@btinternet.com £6.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. www.pdl.demon.co.uk/suffoc



EAOA Compass Sport Cup 1st Round. Brandon, Thetford. TL785853.



Organiser: Caroline Louth, 01223 246145. CSCorganiser@waoc.org.uk



Entries: T.B.A. CD: unknown. Fees TBA. EPS-SI. Dogs on leads in assembly area only. Closed event for CS Cup/Trophy entries plus members of non-entering EA Clubs in the EA Region. CS courses plus white/yellow.



Full registration pending



NOR District Event. Shouldham Warren, Downham Market. TF680104.



Julia Paul, 01485 541031. juliacpaul@aol.com £5.50/£1.00 Family Units & Groups £6.50. EPS-SI. String course. Dogs on lead please. www.norfolkoc.co.uk



SAX District Event. Knole, Sevenoaks. TQ535546.



Jean Fitzgerald, 01622 686779. jean.fitzgerald@emr.ac.uk £6.50/Free. EPS-SI. www.saxons-oc.org



BKO Regional Event, Concorde Chase. Burghfield Common, Nr Mortimer.



Eric Harper, 0118 948 2934. Fees TBA. EPS-Emit. String course. Emit hire £1.00/free.



Full registration pending

February 2008



SOS District Event & Essex & Suffolk Schools League. Chalkney Wood, Earl's Colne.



Geraldine Russell, 01206 272761.geraldine@russell2.fsnet.co.uk £7.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. White to Blue, String course. www.stragglers.info



DFOK Local Event. Downe Activity Centre, Biggin Hill. TQ419631.



Philip Craven, 0208 697 7008. pcraven@mynow.co.uk £6.00/Free. EPS-SI. Parking £1.00. Dogs allowed on leads. www.dfok.co.uk



HAVOC District Event. Langdon Hills Country Park, Basildon. TQ696861.



Chris Shaw, 01375 677377.fixtures@orienteering-havoc.co.uk £6.50/£1.50. EPS-SI. String course. Parking £1.00. Starts 10.30-12.30. www.orienteering-havoc.co.uk



Full registration pending



Regional Event



16th - Single Norfolk Dumpling Regional Event. Hockham, Thetford. TL937919.



Organiser: Alan W Bedder, 01603 424589.alan.bedder@virgin.net



Entries: Pam Jermy, 84 Bush Road, Hellesdon, Norwich, Norfolk, NR6 6UD, 01603. CD: unknown. Fees TBA. Lim EOD + £1.50/50p. EPS-SI. String course. Dogs allowed assembly area only. www.norfolkoc.co.uk



SUFFOC PUNCH Regional Event - Day 2 Double Dumpling/Punch weekend. The Kings Forest, Thetford. TL815714.



Organiser: Andrew Elliott, 01359 230221. andrew_yyy@tiscali.co.uk



Entries: TBA. CD: unknown. Fees TBA. EOD. EPS-SI. Dogs on lead. Day 2 Double Dumpling/Punch weekend. Pre-entry preferred. Entry Form will be available in autumn 2007 from SUFFOC/NOR web sites . Limited EOD subject to map availability. www.pdl.demon.co.uk/suffoc



Full registration pending



WAOC District & EA League. Croxton Heath, Thetford. TL877894.



Ursula Oxborough, 01223-357199. uoxb00@esc.cam.ac.uk £7.00/£2.00. EPS-SI. String course. Dogs allowed in car park on lead. www.waoc.org.uk

Letters to the Editor ...

... emails to the Webmaster ... bits of paper found in the bottom of an O-kit bag ...

Found in the Organiser's email In-box two weeks after Hatfield - Jack Isbester


Thanks for telling me that you've found my dibber. I hadn't realised I'd lost it. I wonder where my compass is?

xxx xxxxx of Happy Herts

Stragglers Relays - Derek Keeble

I note from your Straggler web site listings, a continuing interest in Straggler Relays. The following could be a case for another new bottom line.

The earliest Straggler Relays I recall were promoted in Hylands Park, Writtle on a humid Saturday afternoon 26th July 1980. It was a well-supported event gently stretching our limited resources.

Included was the introduction of Derek Ladkin's innovative "O-men", which converted the beetle-drive idea into a wide-outdoor-game indicator. His O-men were assembled graphically in view of the penned competitors, so that team-mates' and rivals' rates of progress could be more easily assessed by all.

The excitement engendered, linked us we understand, to Moscow where that very afternoon a couple of Brits, Messrs Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, fore-and-aft respectively, escorted a German Jurgen to his silver medal position in the Olympic 800 metres final.

Keep happy feet

Fixtures - Derek Ladkin

Russ ( back in Antarctica) e-mailed the address below and I wondered if you had seen this site and think it is worth a link on SOS site or circulating on SOS Members?

The page is also linked from the British Orienteering Fixtures page at www.britishorienteering.org.uk/event/findevent.php and shows the location of and number of weeks to orienteering events near your postcode. It's a great tool for planning your weekends ahead. I hope to do a Nerds Corner on mapping software in a later edition - Ed.

Oh, and click on the Maps tag and put in your postcode and SOS to find all our mapped areas. If only we could get the grid reference right on the Map Registration form!

Stragglers' Copse - Jack Isbester

In September a letter was written to the Woodland Trust reminding them of our recent SOS tradition of making donations in memory of former members of our society and dedicating those donations to a plot in Fordham Hall Estate, the woodland which is being created west of Colchester, bang smack in the middle of Straggler territory.

In memory of our clubmate Jessie Keeble a £50 cheque from SOS was enclosed and we enquired whether some sort of physical symbol, for example a bench with a plaque, could be placed, at our expense, in or near the bit of growing woodland with which SOS has been linked.

Alternatively, we asked, could our area be named 'Stragglers Copse' on Woodland Trust maps? We would then carry this over to our own orienteering maps. A book or document could be maintained, we suggested, having inscribed in it the names of those remembered by Essex Stragglers and containing a statement on the lines of:

"Stragglers Copse has been created and maintained in part by donations from, and voluntary work done by the Essex Stragglers' Orienteering Society in memory of the former members named below. They loved the countryside."

Mark Johnson
Katerina Pugh
Pauline Stevens
Jessie Keeble
and more….

We explained that we had a distant vision of such a book or document eventually being displayed within a case in the Fordham Hall Estate Visitors' Centre, so it would be useful to have The Woodland Trust's advice as to what that would cost.

Our letter ended with a mention of the fact that, in addition to donations, the local Woodland Trust ranger, Geoff Sinclair, has always been able to rely upon volunteers from SOS for tree planting, hare expelling and such activities.

In reply Liz McLelland of the Woodland Trust told us that our donations now total £1,580, a "wonderful contribution". She could not offer us a site for a bench but our acre has been increased to two acres and is now named "Stragglers' Copse" on the Woodland Trust maps.

She liked the idea of a Visitors Centre at Fordham but that isn't going to happen until someone gives the Woodland Trust a lot of money - there are currently more urgent priorities.

Any SOS members who are not yet members of the Woodland Trust and are interested in joining can find them at www.woodland-trust.org.uk.

Orienteering Standards - Steve Cartwright

One of the ladies in the club asked me on Sunday whether I thought the time for her course was reasonable so I have tried to make a bit of a study of it based on Running Club standards for the 5K. Obviously Orienteering differs in that the terrain and course play a great part, yet where the area is runnable below must have a bearing. I have used the womens 35-40 category in a general way for Senior women.
Running Club 5K Standards

Although the acceptable speed reduction per age period gets greater as someone gets older roughly it can be thought of as 5% per age period for the men and slightly more for the women. A basic standard for a man of 50 would be under 5 mins/km and for a woman under 6 mins/km.

A standard of 10 mins/km at a particular colour (probably inc hills) has been quoted as a good guide before trying to move up to the next colour in the colour coded scheme. For our actual average speed we could measure the distance adding 0.1km for each 10m climb or say add 10% to the quoted distance and then work it out. However, we are not all as fit as one another so perhaps a better guide is to look at personal bests. If I could do say 7 mins/km at 21 I would be expected to do 8 mins/km at 50 to maintain the same standard.

In terms of walking its frightening:-
3 mph (walk) = 4.83 km/hr = 12.42 mins/km
4 mph (fast walk) = 6.5 km/hr = 9.3 mins/km

Coaching and training have 3 core elements - a technical part, a fitness part, and a competition part (ignoring warm ups and cool downs) with each part essential where an individual wants to succeed. Fitness work may be essential in coaching sessions depending on what people are doing during the week, yet taking care not to overdo it.

SOS Needs You - Dave Skinner

The call from the Fixtures Secretary came out of the blue...."Our Organiser for the Hatfield Forest event has for unavoidable reasons withdrawn....no one else available....I will take it on as long as I have an assistant - can you help?" Gulp! Since taking up Orienteering and joining SOS just two years ago I have regularly helped at events to gain insights into what makes events tick and, importantly, to develop relationships with other club members and perhaps draw on their experience (not much evidence yet that that has had a major impact on my running performance!). But was I ready to accept the responsibility of Assistant Organiser? Well there may have been a little subtle arm-twisting but I fairly readily agreed.

During the weeks leading up to the event my tasks were varied and included: assisting with the finalisation of car parking arrangements; completion of a Risk Assessment for the event (many thanks to John Collyer for his input); ordering Portaloos; reviewing equipment checklists; collecting SI equipment and delivering to the event Planner; and no doubt others now wiped from memory. I knew of course that I had reached the pinnacle of my orienteering career while sitting in a field on the edge of the forest for several hours awaiting loo delivery (the driver had lost his compass!), but usefully the opportunity was taken to identify a safer route to the Start for competitors (thanks to Dave Birkett for his assistance). On the day of the event up early to erect road signs (well I had to make sure that our Organiser did not get lost!), and rig the download tent (quickly delegated this task, or to be more accurate I was very grateful to those who, recognising my incompetence, stepped in). As the event proceeded I generally filled in on tasks where there was a shortage of helpers and at the end of the day helped with clear-up activities. And what did I get out of it? Well lots of things but in particular it certainly broadened my understanding of how events are organised and the efforts made by Officials to ensure success, and built confidence that I could take on an Organiser role in the future; and from comments made directly to me and overheard it was clear that competitors had enjoyed the event, so a certain amount of personal satisfaction resulted (as did a good night's sleep!).

So "what is the point of this article?" I hear you ask - a couple of main points:

  • Given clear allocation of responsibilities it is practical and valuable to have an Assistant Organiser - spreads the load and potentially enhances the pool of Organisers for the future. I would encourage future Organisers to consider this option and all club members who are not experienced in organising events to consider taking on an Assistant Organiser role (anyone interested can contact me - see Club Contacts on SOS web site).
  • Helpers at events are always required - most tasks are not onerous and can be taken on by newcomers to orienteering and more experienced members alike. The Organiser will always seek to allocate tasks in a way which ensures helpers can complete a run as well; the more helpers there are the easier this can be achieved. So when you get an email or telephone call asking for help then I encourage you to give your support whenever possible. Better still, to ease our Organisers' job in the future, add your name now to the list of those willing to help (again contact me).

I guess I should also mention that having recently assumed the Fixtures Secretary role for our club (more gentle persuasion!) I have a vested interest. Perhaps you may read "A Day in the Life of a SOS Fixtures Secretary" in a future Newsletter!

Venice Street-O - Lyn West

Part of Colin's Park-O map, showing the Rialto Bridge (between 12 and 13) and St Mark's Square (S of 5)

Having heard a great deal about the Venice Street O, Colin and I decided it was time to experience it for ourselves. And it lived up to expectation – amazing! As soon as our daughters heard we had booked flights, they decided we couldn’t be trusted on our own and arranged to join us. The event is BIG - 3163 runners from 32 countries.

Colin, Jo and I flew out on Friday so as to run the “Park-O” event on Saturday afternoon. Actually it was street Sprint O. I had 2.6km on 1:5000 map as opposed to the main event with 4.2km at a scale of 1:7500. It was a good opportunity to get a feel of the event style and to learn from a few mistakes. Picking up my map, the first control appeared straight forward – over the bridge, first turn right and cut into the correct alleyway. Off I ran, dodging round the tables outside the waterfront restaurants to the turning. Directly I was in the alley, I knew I was wrong and had missed the first turn. A quick right and left got me back on track and to the control. It was an early lesson on taking care – subsequent investigation revealed that the alleyway that I missed was very narrow. Leg 2 was one of the longer legs and looked impossible at first glance. The straight line route crossed two canals with no bridges anywhere close. It took me an appreciable time to work a route out and then judging by my split, I didn’t get the optimum. After that I started to get into the map and finished the course without further incident. Eleanor arrived from Frankfurt in time for a superb dinner in a fish restaurant close to our apartment followed by a visit to the gelateria to end an excellent day.

Both the Park O and the main event started and finished on the waterfront overlooking the lagoon. There can be few better locations. Jo, Colin and Eleanor all got to cross the Grand Canal twice, once across the Rialto Bridge. Jo confessed to almost stopping to admire the view. My course was too short but I did get to run alongside the canal with a view of the Rialto. Jo also chose to run through St Mark’s Square – pigeons and tourists instead of brambles!

The different scale on the Sunday magnified the need to concentrate fully at all times. The complexity of the map was mind blowing. I have never thumbed and turned my map as frequently as I did on the course on Sunday but this was vital to keep track of progress through the maze of narrow alleyways that makes up Venice. The legs were longer (I had only one more control than the Park O) and so breaking the leg down was essential. Route choice is key with finding canal crossing points critical (no swimming allowed!). And it was navigating at speed. Straight line routes were generally impossible so the distance covered on the ground was much further than quoted course lengths. We all had one particular 90m leg but by the time you had run round two blocks to get to the bridge over the canal and then another block to get to up the blind alley into the control, the distance was at least double.

All in all it was a wonderful experience which I can thoroughly recommend. We will go again!

Jo and ...

... Colin West in action in Venice

Retro-O in The New Forest - John Collyer

Back to 1968 at The November Classic! The first event was re-run the Saturday prior to this year’s. The original planner now lives in Switzerland, although the organiser was present. We met some people who had run at that first event.

There were four courses, each one an exact copy of the original; we decided to do the shortest at 3.7K, which was nominally green/orange standard. The longest course was 10.4K.

The map was a photocopy of the current OS 1:25,000, it was thought this was fairer than to use a 1968 version.

We were allowed to copy up the map at pre-start and the description sheet used the old convention of adding “The” to a feature which was on the map and ground. This of course meant that a description of just “Depression”, was around an empty circle on the map.

The only real difference was that the original set of ink punches was incomplete, so it was decided to use the still-familiar pin punches.

Fortunately the area was very runnable, open heath and mature forest, so that direct compass lines and pacing generally worked well. In fact I found it a very good training exercise in that respect because with no real vegetation markings, and only big tracks and paths shown, it was usually necessary to ignore most of the information other than contours.

John's map

British Schools Orienteering Championships

Bovington, Dorset Sunday 18th November 2007

Two Gold Medals for For SOS Juniors - Dave Birkett

Stragglers juniors representing Barnardiston Hall Prep School, Meadgate Primary School Chelmsford, Colne Community School Brightlingsea, and Philip Morant Secondary School Colchester were out in force at this years British Schools Champs. Notable top three results came from Tom Birkett, boys year 5 winner from Meadgate. He used his practice day to good effect, exorcising the demons, and then running the 1.5 km white standard course in a consistently fast time of 8 min 25 sec. Barnardiston Hall’s Isabella Coutts did brilliantly to become year 6 champion beating off her rival Rachael Harrison who unfortunately missed one of the controls. In the year 5 girls race Barnardiston dominated with Lucy Holder finishing an excellent second and Kitty Becher and Phoebe Howe, running as a pair, finishing 3rd. The Ware family was also competing with Alex and Rhiannon braving the elements to finish creditably in their respective year groups.

The weather was extremely wet with continuous heavy rain throughout so well done to all those who took part in what were quite difficult conditions. The results at the time of going to press had not been finalised so we are still waiting to see if Barnardiston School retained the Middle-Preparatory School title. Let’s hope so.

Next years event is on Sunday 16th November 2008 in Hampshire. To enter download an entry form from the BSOA web site www.bsoa.org, obtain the Schools Head Teachers agreement and signature, submit the form and then simply get practicising.

Good Luck!

"I was more worried about stopping kids getting hypothermia" - Julie Laver

This years BSOC were held at Wareham Forest, Dorset. Much of the area is used as a military tank practice site and we saw worrying signs such as WARNING-SUDDEN FIRE. However as all good orienteers should, we carried on undaunted.

The practice day went well. Reasonable weather and a variety of courses to choose from so all the kids had two runs out. After four hours in the car this was welcomed. We also met a few familiar faces including the Birketts.

After the practice we decided to do a little sightseeing as the hall we were staying in did not open till much later so we drove on to Lulworth Cove to look at some local geography. I was much taken with the sea arches, stacks and blowholes whilst the kids tried to find precarious cliffs to fall off!

Still we made it to the school hall we were to sleep in without any broken bones and made camp.

The morning dawned wet and windy and went down hill from there. We had sorted layers of clothing to wear to the site but had not realised how spread out all the areas were. The parking was about 1 mile from the assembly field which meant we could not easily go back for spare clothes. The starts were also not very near the assembly so the logistics were challenging in the weather conditions – driving rain and cold.

Still we made it to our start in the nick of time. At least there was no time for last minute nerves and they were off.

It took some special runners to do well in the conditions and all the competitors who made it all the way round deserve a medal but looking at the results today I must especially say WELL DONE to Thomas Birkett who came first in his class.

Once all my charges had made it round I spent my time trying to get them warm and into dry clothes – not easy with no club tent and only the layers I managed to prise off them before the race. Rhiannon and Samuel were so cold I managed to find space for them in a minibus being used to reheat those juniors in danger of hypothermia and I am very grateful for the help of the club providing this service. The bus was quite crowded by the time I retrieved them with still more arriving for treatment.

We decided to leave ASAP and by that time many other teams had the same idea. Unfortunately the prize giving was cancelled as were all the other activities usually available. The site looked like a quagmire – photos available at www.bsoa.org. Still ever optimistic there is always next year and it can't be worse (do you get blizzards in Hampshire in November I wonder……?)

SOS Junior results

Boys Year 5Thomas BirkettMeadgate Primary 1st
Boys Year 5Gregory RobinsonBarnardiston4th
Boys Year 5Kit PhillipsBarnardiston 6th
Boys Year 5Jack Gilbey & Ben BradnamBarnardiston 10th
Boys Year 5Edward JonesBarnardiston 14th
Boys Year 5F Statham & T HarrisonBarnardiston 16th
Boys Year 6Ben North & Dominic Latham Barnardiston12th
Boys Year 6H Seacombe & A Parsonson Barnardiston15th
Boys Year 8Rory Cutts Barnardiston 15th
Boys Year 8Michael Wilkinson Barnardiston 44th
Boys Year 9Alex WarePhilip Morant Secondary31st
Girls Year 5Lucy Holder Barnardiston2nd
Girls Year 5Kitty Becher & Phoebe Howe Barnardiston3rd
Girls Year 5Scarlett Simmons Barnardiston4th
Girls Year 5P Gurney & J Woodgate Barnardiston5th
Girls Year 5E Harrison & Maddy Cardiner Barnardiston15th
Girls Year 5Gabriella Jones & Olivia Jones Barnardiston15th
Girls Year 6Isabella Coutts Barnardiston1st
Girls Year 6F Mills & Martha Beaton Barnardiston11th
Girls Year 6Matilda Selby Barnardiston13th
Girls Year 7Lucinda Wilkinson Barnardiston5th
Girls Year 7Olivia Becher Barnardiston12th
Girls Year 7R de Andres & E Redondo Barnardiston15th
Girls Year 7Rhiannon Ware The Colne Community College26th
Girls Year 8Emma Vilder Barnardiston10th
Girls Year 8Elizabeth Merceron Barnardiston15th
Girls Year 8Flora Hamilton Barnardiston32nd
Girls Year 8Jessica Mole Barnardiston35th
Girls Year 8Flora Mole Barnardiston42nd
Also travelling with Julie were -
Boys Year 7Samuel Bolam26th
Boys Year 7Joshua Jones29th

Rhiannon at the finish

Tom travelling at speed

World Masters Orienteering Championships, Kuusamo Finland, July 2007 - Jenny Collyer

Having used a permanent course on a fantastic area on the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi last summer I was keen to travel to this year’s World Masters Championships close to the Arctic Circle and the Russian border. As soon as Ann and Eric told me they had a spare bed in the log cabin they had rented for this event I was on the web booking flights and filling out the entry form!

I took the wet English summer to Finland with me (up to then Ann, Eric and Miia had been basking in hot sunshine in northern Scandinavia). Before the World Masters Competition was the “Midnight Sun” event with starts from 8.00 to 11.30 in the evening but there was no need for a headlight as it didn’t get dark! I used the ski lift to get to the start at the top of the local hill but didn’t consider how cold I was going to get in just my O suit with a temperature of just 9°, drizzly rain and a freezing wind that hit us when we came out of the shelter. It took me ages to work out the way to go from the start and I still didn’t get the route right – I think because I was so cold. Things got better though and I enjoyed the area including running across the pistes and even through some snow. However, it was rather rocky with some steep climbs despite the Finish being at the bottom.

There were 2 training areas but I think most of the 4,000+ competitors made for the one described as similar to the area being used for the Final. It was a small area and each control was easily spotted (and heard) by the number of orienteers standing and chatting at each control. It was useful to see what the map and terrain would look like though.

The event comprises two Qualifying races and a Final. In my class (W60) there were 191 competitors – 141 of them Scandinavian, mostly Finns, and just five Brits. We were split into 3 qualifying heats and the aim is to finish in the top 27 over the 2 days in order to make the “A” Final.

The first qualifying race was at Isokallio on a very cold wet day. The terrain suited me – not particularly rocky underfoot, just a low ground cover of bilberry. The large open marshes were obvious and useful to navigate by and there were also some open felled areas and numerous low hills. I was very pleased with my run making hardly any mistakes and finished 11th. The Start had been chaotic though with the clock, unknown to competitors, showing real time so there was a mad scramble through and to be honest it was difficult to know when to start as there didn’t seem to be any officials controlling starters. Fortunately they went over the top to get it right the rest of the time.

The second qualifying race was at Suovalampi. The area was described as even better than day 1, but I found it rougher. I made an error in route choice to no.1 and lost 3 mins and a few other errors crept in. Again the marshes, open areas and low contour detail were useful and I still managed 20th place only dropping a couple of places over the two days to 13th easily making the A Final. For the first time since I had arrived 5 days ago, the sun appeared in the afternoon!

After the rest day (spent visiting a bear park amongst other things) came the Final day. Competitors in the A Final start in reverse order with those in 27th position in each of the 3 heats going first. I started halfway down the field in about 39th place. The course was longer than the two qualifying races but with similar terrain. Again the marshes and contour detail were useful. I enjoyed the area and only made a few small errors and moved up a few places to 34th overall. Next year – Portugal!


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