This time an editorial from halfway across Europe… I'm sure many of you are getting ready to disappear off to the Lakes 5 (as I'm writing this of course!). Meanwhile others are probably having a very enjoyable time at training tours in various parts of Britain and Europe, all of which will hopefully be related in the next issue of Junior Jabber.
First of all, though, we can look back at some events that took place before the summer holiday… Clare Woods (W14) and Jamie Taylor (M14) look back on the East Anglian Junior Squad trip to Ireland for the BOC in an article, which didn't quite make it into the last issue of Junior Jabber. Meanwhile, Adam Smith looks back on his participation in the Midsummer on the Gower orienteering event in his article.
One of the biggest junior orienteering events of the year took place at the end of June, attended by a number of WAOC juniors who are members of the East Anglian Junior Squad. The Junior Inter-Regional Championships took place in the North West region, and some great efforts were seen by all EA juniors. We're looking forward to hearing something from the juniors who attended in the next issue of Junior Jabber; meanwhile a short summary from the squad co-ordinator…
Meanwhile, we're looking forward to a future team event, the Peter Palmer team relay, which is to take place on the weekend of 7th/8th September near Groby (Leicestershire).
Clare Woods (W14) and Jamie Taylor (M14) look back on the EAJS weekend in Northern Ireland
It was very early on a Saturday morning when 20 junior squad members boarded a plane to the British Orienteering Championships, in Northern Ireland. We flew to Derry, and then straight to the Youth Hostel, which was well equipped. It even had a lift for disabled people and to save carrying bags upstairs. Having recovered from the early morning shock we went to the training event. There we practised taking bearings in the sand dunes.
The event was situated on the coast, the sand dunes making both running and navigating difficult. The map consisted of the sea, some woodland, and a small band in between containing incredibly intricate 2.5m contour detail.
Starts for the Individual Championships the following day were not until 2:00, so we headed along the coast to the famous 'giant's causeway'. This is a section of coastline which is formed entirely of regular hexagonal rocks, believed by some to have been constructed by giants.
The Individual competition area was adjacent to the training area, on MOD land. Again, sand dunes and squiggly brown lines made it a challenge, but very enjoyable. There were not as many people there as for the JK and other big events. Wilfs was missing but there were others selling food. Jamie had never orienteered on sand dunes and found it quite difficult. There was sharp long grass, which cut your legs.
On Monday were the relays. This time, instead of sand dunes we were running on parkland, with some steep slopes but easily runnable land. This was a great relief for most. However, the steep uphill finish was tough. Jamie, Claire and Ed were in the same relay team which came 4th but it was lots of fun.
Overall the weekend was brilliant and well worth the trip. It took several days to recover and catch up on sleep!
Adam Smith (M14) tells you about his adventurous trip to the Gower weekend event…
"Dad often tells me about an Orienteering trip he and some friends did when they were students, which included a visit to the Midnatsoll Gallopen in northern Norway, when they camped beside a fjord, ran in the evenings and watched the midnight sun. We couldn't repeat that but Dad and I decided to do the Midsummer on Gower event. Much to my surprise Mum and Dad allowed me a day off school, Dad had the day off work, and so the adventure started."
I started Friday by watching England flop out of the World Cup with a poor performance against Brazil. In the early afternoon, Dad and I left for the Gower, down to the M25, and joining the M4, and along the M4, and along the M4, and then some more of the M4!
On the Gower we were planning to stay in our friends' caravan for the weekend. Once we reached the caravan, we got ourselves settled in and waited until it was time to leave for Llanmadoc Hill for a 7:30 (ish) start. We reached the car park (at the bottom of the hill), and collected our maps for the three days. The first map was enormous, and it also soon became evident that we wouldn't see a single tree in three days of Orienteering, which is very strange when you live in our part of the country.
Once I started, I soon ran into difficulty with one of the locals rushing onto the moor in his blue Ford Orion, claiming that he was the owner of the common, and stating that it was illegal to put tents on the common. Once I managed to persuade him that it wasn't me he should be shouting at I continued my progress in a seemingly never-ending upwards direction. Why is it that the saying that 'what goes up must come down' doesn't ever seem to apply to contours? The evening continued without interruption, apart from the mist that was now descending upon the moorland, and the incredibly wet nature of the ground when I had come down the hill to look for a control on a "stream, narrow marsh junction."
Once Dad arrived back at the car, just as wet as me, we shared each other's problems and wet feet, and headed back to the caravan and the gas fire. When we reached the caravan, we lit the fire and found a way of hanging our boots etc in front of it. When our clothes started drying, we turned our thoughts to food and bed.
On Saturday morning, Dad and I prised ourselves from our sleeping bags, to have breakfast and prepare for the day's exercise. We left the caravan in plenty of time to reach 'Cefn Bryn & Park woods.' When we reached the site of our next day of Orienteering, we prepared ourselves and the control descriptions and copied the map corrections etc.
Once I started, I managed to ignore the chill gusts of wind and concentrate on copying my map correctly. I then started my ominous looking route round and over the ridge of this hill, I didn't get significantly lost, but did have trouble finding one of the controls, (as a path was not marked on the map.) Running was painfully slow and difficult on the hard ground. At the download tent, my fears were confirmed when my final time came out of the printer and it turned out to be incredibly slow, albeit better than quite a lot of people (including the 'mp' and the 'dnf' people.)
I didn't have a very long wait in the car before Dad appeared, and we returned to the caravan to dry our boots once more. We then were planning to have an early night, but Dad had the idea of putting a video of Titanic on, so we watched that until about 11:00pm, when we finally said goodnight and fell asleep instantly.
We had a lazy start to Sunday morning with a trip to Broughton Burrows, just 10 minutes drive from the caravan site. This is an area of intricate sand dunes mapped at 1:7500 and everything seemed to happen very quickly. Keeping in contact with the map needed special concentration because of the scale and the number of features.
Dad and I both thought that we had had reasonably good runs, but it turned out that we both had false impressions as the time sheet again disappointed. At least we were satisfied that we had got round our courses in a controlled manner, we need more practise on terrain like this to be able to do it faster.
Once we had returned to the caravan to get ourselves clean, and to empty parts of Broughton Burrows sand dunes out of our boots, we headed for Swansea and our friends' house where we were planning to have lunch For lunch we had Spaghetti Bolognaise, very nice it was too. Once we had spent an extra couple of hours being sociable and reflected on three whole days without seeing a single tree, we headed home. Apparently I was asleep within 10 minutes of leaving Swansea, and didn't wake up until we were home side of Reading.
"We didn't win any prizes, and won't be publicising Swansea Bay's web site address so hopefully the results will remain secret, but we did finish all three days, which was more than a lot of people did, and we had a brilliant time. I wonder if they've started planning next year's yet as we'll need to make sure nothing trivial like a wedding, holiday or anything else is allowed to clash with it!"
21 juniors and keepers travelled to Manchester YH on Friday last. Wonderful spot for a hostel on the canal in central Manchester. And onto Kendal for individual day on Saturday - several good runs, notably top three positions for Chris Sellens, Helen Gardner, Joanne West - and a good result for the Team coming 3rd for the day.
Overnight at Ulverston Victoria High School with barbecue unfortunately inside due to Lakeland weather.
Relays at Helsington Barrows, near Kendal. Some juniors running up an age class, one crocked from Saturday: the team overall finished 2nd in the relays, behind North-west and equal with Scotland.
Weekend total result saw EA third behind NW and Scotland - a great result, consolidating our position of 2000, and achieved in foreign terrain. Well done to all juniors - those who helped the score, and those who now have another year's experience to help next time round in the West Midlands.
The junior Inter-regional competition took place in the lakes this year, with accommodation provided by the infamous Ulverston Victoria High School.
The region performed solidly, never leaving the top 3 whichever way you looked at it (boys/girls relay/individual and overall results). Although lacking the win we had last time everyone came home satisfied. Best result of the championships would have to be Helen Gardner coming 2nd on the W16 individual course. Unfortunately injury prevented me from competing on the individual day but I had a satisfying relay run. I could talk for a long time about insistent Sum 41 fans on the mini-bus; the smell in the sleeping hall which hit you 5 seconds after walking in (once your lungs had emptied); or the disheartened Scottish squad who allowed us to take the 2nd place relay trophy (we came joint 2nd but with 50% of the squad names on the cup reading Scotland they were probably just a little fed up with it)
We went to the Junior Inter-regional on Friday the 28th June. I went to the Gardner's house. We were then picked up by the minibus. We travelled all the way to Manchester only stopping at a service station to eat at MacDonald's. At Manchester, we went to the Youth Hostel, which was big for a youth hostel. We soon went to bed, as it was late after our long journey from Cambridge and beyond. The youth hostel was between two railways, which seemed to run through the night. We were also quite near a quay with a few narrow boats moored up alongside. In the morning, we woke up, packed our things, and set off for Kendal and the first day of orienteering. When we got to the area, we parked in a field where Chris from SOS gave as a quick talk, which mainly consisted of showing us a sign saying don't take it easy (in fact a modified Orange advert - Peter). I was running first so I got ready and went down the road to the start. I started at my correct time at 13.40. I had a pretty good run with one mistake but it was not too bad. The terrain was hilly and rocky with a fair amount of water in the form of streams ( and rain! ). When we had all finished, we got back in the bus and travelled to a nearby school where we and others were staying. We had a BBQ but it was cooked outside and brought in for us. Then served inside. We then had to go to prise giving and sat down in the large school hall. We were 3rd out of all of Britain. What an achievement. Lights out was at 23.30 but in reality, it was a bit later.
Lights came back on at 6.30 so we all were up and went to breakfast. The queue was enormous. Soon after breakfast, we set off for the relays. It poured and we got soaked. I was out second leg running as an M14. In my team there was Jonathon ( M16 ), Me and Peter ( M18 ). I was last but one to go out and came back before two others who and gone out before me. The terrain then was open and very rocky with a few paths making their way across the landscape. There were high stonewalls with crossing points on both days. I lost a bit of time on two legs but finished well. Another Welsh person was following me using me as a bulldozer for the bracken to the finish. Peter then went out. How our team did I, don't yet know but I know we beat one team because they mis-punched (we actually beat 2 teams, the ones who mis-punched and the 4th EAJS boys team including Martin Humphries and Jamie Taylor - Peter). It was a very enjoyable weekend and I am looking forward to next year when I hope to be selected again to go.