The autumn orienteering season will have turned into the winter one by the time you're reading this issue of Junior Jabber and it will probably be almost Christmas too…So let's look back at some brilliant WAOC junior successes of the past two months or so…
At the end of September, quite a few of you travelled to the National event in South Wales, WAOC juniors coming back as winners of M12A (Edward Louth) and W18A (Helen Gardner), Sophie Louth gaining her final Championship time by storming in in 4th place, only 3 minutes behind the winner within the W10A field. Meanwhile both Peter and Simon Gardner finished 5th in both of their classes: M18A and M14A respectively.
Congratulations to both Edward Louth (M12), who has now gained his badge by having three championships standards as an M12, and to Sophie Louth (W10), who has to championships time, allowing her to get a certificate.
The following week, Peter managed to get many of you involved and out into Epping at the Yvette Baker Regional Round. The Yvette Baker Trophy is a junior competition where strength in depth counts, i.e. it was good to see so many of you out there and scoring for the team. Unfortunately, SOS once again were slightly ahead of us in scoring, this time only by 6 points: SOS with 890 points was very very closely followed by WAOC with 884 points, with HAVOC and SUFFOC far behind with 586 and 397 points respectively. However, it was a great day and hopefully you all had a good time running your courses - well done everyone who came.
Meanwhile, during that same weekend, Helen Gardner had been running in the Junior Home International where she had once again been selected to represent England (apologies for this not having been mentioned in the October issue of Junior Jabber, should have known by then!). The races were being run in the Pitlochry area this year, Helen successfully storming in in 2nd place in W16 on the individual day. On the subject of Helen's running, of course, I can't miss mentioning her successful 3rd place on the W21L at the Twin Peaks weekend this October (and that's bearing in mind that Helen still is a W16…)
Meanwhile, perhaps slightly further afield, Neil Northrop (with Helen Palmer from Leeds Uni) was very successful at the Karrimor Mountain Marathon, finishing in 2nd place on the B course (whilst in the meantime the South of England was being overcome by storms).
At the British Schools Championships, which was held at New Beechenhurst Lodge on the 17th November, all of the Gardner and Taylor juniors took part, with some very good result. Helen Gardner won the Year 10 girls class, whilst both Peter and Simon finished in top 10 positions, in 9th (Year 13 boys) and 10th (Year 9 boys) place respectively. Jamie Taylor followed Simon in 20th position out of some 50 Year 9 boys, whilst his younger brother Duncan stormed in 12th out of the Year 5 boys and his sister Katrina 16th out of some 55 Year 7 girls. Well done to all! Having failed to persuade either of her brothers to write an article, Katrina Taylor, reports on the experience of this year's British Schools Championships.
Katrina Taylor (W12), who attended both of these events with her brothers, reports on the British Schools Score Championships (12th October at Lever Park in Bolton) and the British Schools Championships (17th October in the New Forest).
On Saturday the 12th October I took part in the British Schools Score Championships at Lever Park in Bolton. We drove up on Friday night to stay with my grand parents and on Saturday headed from Burnley to Bolton. Myself, Jamie and Duncan were all competing. We started at about 10:30 at which time our 45 minutes started. The aim of the competition was to get to as many of the 23 controls as we could within the time limit. The nearest controls were worth fewer points than the furthest ones.
Jamie was competing in the Year 9 boys, for Mark Rutherford Upper School, Duncan the Year 5 boys for Hazeldene Lower School (even though he is a year below that age) and me the Year 7 girls for Goldington Middle School. All of our overall scores were fairly good and we all achieved a place in the top 20, with Jamie 7th. In the afternoon Jamie and Duncan watched Burnley F.C. beat Walsall.
The next day we joined up with the East Anglia Junior Squad to do a badge event at Ogden Water on the Yorkshire Pennines.
On Sunday the17th November the three of us also took part in the British Schools Championships in the Forest of Dean. This was not a score event and was a lot larger than the Score Champs. We had very late start times and did not start until noon. The courses were very simple and were completed in under 20 minutes for most people. Duncan came 12th from 54 competitors again in Year 5 (older than him) doing 1.8k in 14 mins, Jamie came 20th from 53 (loosing places due to an ambitious off-path route choice) doing 3.1k in 26 mins, and I came 16th from 54 doing 1.9k in 16 mins.
When we had completed the courses we went and had a go at puzzle O. It was a mini course covering a small area. You were required to find controls, which had clues or symbols leading to the next control. They also had a tent where you could get a picture signed by two British squad orienteers, Jenny Whithead and Oli Johnson. Even better, we got the next day off school to cycle through the forest with mum and dad, in the sun.
Overall I really enjoyed the two British schools events and I am looking forward to doing them again next year.
Katrina Taylor (W12)
At the end of November, quite a few WAOC juniors enjoyed a training session after the colour coded event, the training organised by Ursula Oxburgh and run by her with the help of quite a few helpers.
It was all supposed to happen at the original Rowney Warren colour coded event at the end of October, but in the end the excessive storms meant that it wasn't safe to run the event itself, let alone any junior training. Nevertheless, all the work that Ursula had done in trying to contact all the juniors and in arranging the coaches for each of the groups didn't get wasted, because the training was re-scheduled to the event on 24th November. Although it didn't look great in the morning, the weather seemed to decide to be nice and improve itself a bit, which meant that the hour to hour and half session was not interrupted by rain and most of you seemed to enjoy it.
|The juniors who took part were split into four groups, depending on their orienteering skills and on what they thought they wanted to practice. The youngest juniors were doing the pre-white course with Anne Duncumb and myself. First of all, this involved Anne's well-tested 'apple storage boxes-round basin-plastic square-simple map' exercise. Hmm, I think that the name I just made up probably needs a bit more explanation. Basically this exercise involves simple-shaped objects (circles, rectangles and squares) being placed on the ground in the same way as they are drawn on the map. First of all we worked out how to orientate the map properly, which is one of the very important skills for a white course runner. The next part of the exercise, working in pairs, involves placing a token on various parts of the made-up landscape and pointing it out to each other on the made-up map.
|Having done that, the pre-white group took a
white course map and went for a map-walk following the white course of the
day's event in reverse order. The main things that the juniors who took
part learned here were the technique of thumbing (following where you are
on the map when you're going around the course), as well as looking at
what the different colours and symbols on the map look like when you're
out in the wood.
Ursula, meanwhile, took the juniors who had mastered the white course and who were ready to move on to yellow. The main difference between yellow and white is that on yellow you might no longer run along paths only, and you might perhaps have to run along other linear features. So, when we met them returning to the car park, I caught a glimpse of the group scrambling to the top of a small hill, apparently following a vegetation boundary…
In my group there were Thomas Hemingway, Thomas Louth, Duncan Taylor and one of his friends, who ran with him. We started by clipping compasses to the top of the maps so that the juniors would find it easier to set their maps to North at all times. This might have been a good idea but unfortunately the clips were not strong enough to keep the compasses in place. It's actually very easy to keep their maps set with the compasses - we just need a better way of attaching the compasses!
The next exercise was a star exercise, starting with easy controls and going on to harder ones with one and two decision points on the leg. Everyone did really well, sometimes coming back by different routes including compass courses over the rough open - which was actually very rough!
Next we did 2 map walks looking for features like distinctive trees, thickets, rootstocks and earthbanks. We followed a vegetation boundary [maybe that's when I saw them - ed.] and had hoped to follow a fence and a small earthwall but they were too overgrown.
Peter and Sue Woods helped by hanging controls, leading a map walk then re-visiting a tricky leg on the Yellow and working out how to do it. Very many thanks to them. Thomas, Duncan and Thomas did really well. Most important thing they learnt was to keep working on thumbing the map and holding it in front of them when they are running.
Peter Gardner, WAOC's junior captain, used his expertise and ideas for training exercises undoubtedly gained from lots of EA junior squad training sessions as well as summer training tours he has attended in the past. The group he was working with were juniors moving on from yellow to orange courses. The step up from yellow involves beginning to leave the paths to find control sites, as well as being able to make sensible route choices. The training began with counting the paces over 100m - although this was not used later on in any of the day's exercises, it is a very useful thing to know about one's running, especially on courses when you have to leave the path and need to estimate where to do this.
Peter then introduced his group to compass bearings, which was encountered for the first time by many of the juniors - it seemed quite difficult to explain why this actually works, any ideas from some of you? To practice the concept of compass bearing, a small part of a map with 5-6 controls on it was used. While this was happening, Peter set up a loop of 8 SI control units in order to practice different punching methods whilst sprinting round the 8 control loop. In fact, once the memory of the SI cards ran out, the juniors had to do with 'pretend punching' or not punching at all! The last exercise involved running around the control sites that had been previously used for the compass bearing exercise, and although this proved slightly more difficult than the other exercises, it seemed that the juniors were enjoying being challenged by it - they certainly looked very cheerful when we met them back in the car park.
|The most advanced group were the juniors who are now running light green courses and upwards, and who were being coached by Neil Humphries. First of all, whilst waiting for Jamie to arrive from finishing his course, Clare and Ed went through the Light Green and Green courses, comparing them to Neil's own route choices (in preparation for the coaching, Neil had run both Green & Light Green courses beforehand). The rest of the exercises basically involved visualising what is on the map and trying to build up a mental picture of what you'd expect to see on the ground, as well as how vegetation can change and be misinterpreted. Apparently, one of the interesting things of the day was showing how the SE end of the map is mapped incorrectly - for instance contours showing a slope going the wrong way.
Well and for completeness' sake, here are a couple of more detailed words from Clare Woods (W14) about the training the most advanced group did:
The first exercise was marking our routes onto our maps from the courses we did during the main event. We discussed how our route choices affected our time and how we could have improved our courses.
Next we walked to an area with contour features and tried to visualise what the ground would look like using the map. We checked that we had visualised right and spent some time working out exactly which features were shown and their position, and also trying to correct the map where it had become out of date.
We then moved to a different area and looked at how some features were different to how they were marked on the map- either because they had changed or they were marked slightly wrong. Vegetation had changed but some contours were marked incorrectly on the far eastern side of the map.
For the last exercise we looked at an area of forest in which rhododendrons had covered some features, and identified where they would be. We discussed how mappers use map symbols in different ways in different areas, e.g.. in Rowney Warren each distinctive tree is marked whereas on some maps clumps of distinctive trees would be marked as a small area inside a vegetation boundary. We decided that sometimes features can be confused if they are small or indistinct. For example: paths / rides, and sometimes depressions / shallow re-entrants.
Blanka Sengerova (thanks to Ursula, Neil and Peter for providing reports on their own training groups, thanks to my Mum for taking some pictures, and thanks to everyone who helped with the training in any way)
Who are the WAOC juniors?
This time the puzzle is fairly simple - those of you who know the other fellow juniors will have a bit of an advantage. There's a couple of anagrams (some seemed quite amusing…) and all I'm asking for is the name of the WAOC junior that's hidden in each anagram…The words in capital letters are the ones that you want to include in your searching…And just to be nice, I'll say that there's no two juniors from the same family included in the following nine anagrams. And I offer bonus points for people who try to put each anagram into some kind of a sentence - the good ones will be published in the next edition.
1) TILE HUH OOPS
2) OKAY RANT TRAIL
3) PANG DETERRER
4) CLAW RODEOS
5) PANIC CALM BILLET
6) LEILA SHREWD
7) HAMMER IRISH PUNT
8) AMID MATHS
9) VAGRANT KEROSINE