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June 2002

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Yet more fantastic results from Club members.   This time it's from the British Championships held in Northern Ireland - postponed from last year due to the Foot and Mouth débacle.   There is a full report from our roving reporter, Rolf Crook, later on.   But our Juniors especially must be congratulated.   Helen Gardner thrashed the opposition in the highly competitive W16s to become British Champion as did Edward Louth in the M10s who also becomes British Champion.  FANTASTIC!  Neil Northrop, Blanka Sengerova and Simon Gardner must also be congratulated on very good performances.   Blanka won the W20L course.   This is not to belittle all our other juniors competing in NI, nor indeed our seniors, most of whom did WAOC great credit, especially Chris Morley 10th in M60 and your Chairman 13th in M40.

Yet more success;  I haven't been able to glean who all in WAOC have now achieved their 2002 Championship Badge awards, but the following are amongst them from the 5 events thus far; 

        Helen Gardner (4/5)
        Neil Northrop (4/4)
        Lindsey Freeman (3/3)

There are quite a few of you with one or two Champs including in the all-critical JK or BOC events.
There was a very thin Club representation at the Quantocks', Devon and Bigland, Cumbria Nationals.

The sharp-eyed will have noted a change of 'Editorial' font.  A number of members, not least She Who Must be Obeyed (both of them) have suggested they found the previous font, aptly named Cambridge, a little hard to decipher.   I was very surprised at this as I consider my own eyesight to be totally duff, and yet I could read it well enough.   However…….  This is Tahoma.

Another regular feature I would like to initiate is a Letters page.   However, before I can include this I have to have some letters - from YOU out there.   Please feel free to have a go at any subject you like.   It will have a greater chance of inclusion if it is about an orienteering matter though.   It may be you don't know what to have a 'go' at.   Let me seed some thoughts;

1.  I'm thinking that the present breed of orienteer lacks the pioneering spirit of 20-30 odd years ago.   Attempts to put on interesting, thought-provoking styles of O (Norwegian, Brown Only, Line, Map-Memory), which were common long back get few, if any, takers.   We seem obsessed with just the Cross-Country style, and even Score events are few and far between.   These other events were seen as a means of stirring the grey matter, be more challenging, and indeed be a very good form of training for the bigger events.

2.  I fear there is a trend for the 'Sunday only' orienteer, where any other form of running training isn't considered desirable, necessary, or enjoyable, even towards the aim of more fruitful performances when it matters in the big events.   This then polarises our sport into the athletes and ex athletes, a diminishing breed, and the Sunday recreational casuals.  In turn this leads to a demand for less challenging courses, so the athlete has to look elsewhere for his/her enjoyment.   And so in turn we get this cry from the grass roots questioning why our top performers get so much money provided in their efforts to represent (Y)OUR sport in the name of Great Britain.   I would suggest that without heroes to worship a lot of our younger potential champions will just not be interested.

3.  Currently I think we are seeing pretty good participation from Club members in the running of events.   As usual we would like to see more of you involved in the Mapping, Planning and Organisation of events.  A load shared is a load halved, or some such quote.   And it's always good to have a depth of experience to carry the Club through any future leans times of experience.   However, we have been through much leaner times when it was difficult to get members enough to do the chores.   Those of us in the Committee felt it was always us being called upon to do all the work.   It was my feeling at the time that all too many people were fearful of the extra bureaucracy being loaded on the sport at all levels.   And beyond that some orienteers, often those who do little or none of the work, were (and still are) all too ready to criticise anyone other than themselves for their poor performances.   We all know them, don't we?  Does excessive bureaucracy put YOU off?   Do you need a helping hand to get YOU started on any of the more skilled tasks?

Well now, get your thoughts into that lot and let me, and the rest of the Club, know what YOU think.   I'll correct your spelling for you if you're worried about that.   Emails are perfectly acceptable;   Hally40@aol.com 

Hally Hardie 


The British Orienteering Championship can take you to the far reaches of Britain, and this year it was in the NW corner of Northern Ireland.  The journey may have been long to get there but the Individual and Relay events were certainly worthy of being British Championships, even the weather played its part with a few red faces caused by exposure to sun (most people probably did not bother to pack sunblock) rather than effort!

The Individual event provided WAOC with some of the best results they have had at a British Championship, but I'll let you read the reports later in JabberWaoc to find out who (but well done to the winners!).  The relays provided an unusual spectator control, which was located about x00m across the other side of a valley with a long run down to it.  It was interesting to study the different styles of running and trying to pick out WAOC runners from all the others.

The only disappointment, from what was an excellent event, was the low numbers attending when compared to previous BOCs.  I suppose that the distance and expense did not help, but I do not think this should deter Northern Ireland from wishing to hold the event again if future years.

National Orienteering Week (NOW), 8 - 16 June, is nearly upon us.  This is an opportunity for orienteering clubs all over the country to put on events for beginners to show them what our sport is all about and the fun and achievement that can be received when completing the courses.  WAOC are putting on 4 events at various locations throughout the week, further details of them can be found later in JabberWaoc.  So if you have friend or relations who could be interested in finding out more about orienteering, then why not invite them to one of the events.


From Your Membership Secretary

New Club Members

We extend a warm welcome to:

Tim Huxtable and his Dad, Richard, from Clifton, Beds.
Simon Pollock and Jane Earley from Cambridge.
David and Clare Taylor and family (Sophie W9 and Ben M4) from Impington.
Also, we welcome back John Waterston from Great Shelford, who was a member
for several years in the 1990's.

We hope that you will all enjoy orienteering with us.

Look for the Club's website at;  www.waoc.org.uk  for more, and up-to-date information, on the Club's activities. 

Club Captain's Confab

JK Weekend Report

The Jan Kjellstrom (JK) is one of the UK's biggest races of the year. This year it was a rerun of the Foot & Mouth postponed events in the Forest of Dean. So, it was fast continental-style hills & valleys mixed in with some brambles and the mining intricacies typical of the area. I only managed to get over for the Relays, at The Scowles, Lydney, where Day 1 was also held. A lovely area for a relay.

At the time of going to press only the relay results seem to be on the web so I'll concentrate on those. WAOC had a record 13 teams entered. There were over 45 people at the club dinner on the previous Sunday, so the club is really blossoming at the moment. As far as the results went, well there were some good performances:

JK Trophy: 20th (from about 40), a top 20 finish (just), well done lads solid runs all round.
M Short:   N/C I'm afraid but I think Neil enjoyed running with the young Czech women.

W Short:    9th only 15 mins down on the winners - well done girls
M120+:     38th
W120+:      8th (from 40), a top performance from Lindsey, Noreen and Julia
M165+:     39th from 52
W165+:     17th
M40-:      10th from 30, well done team, that's a really solid result
M/W12-:     7th from 20, well done youngsters.

In the individual, I'm afraid my web access seems to have crashed so I've only got the results I can find in Compass Sport. Congratulations to:

Sophie Louth,  W10A - 2nd
Helen Gardner, W16A - 2nd
Leonie Brown,  W20L - 2nd
Mary Palmer,   W65S - 1st

Well done also to Neil Northrop, who has a Championship badge after only National Event 1 and the JK (must have been 3 out of 3).

Upcoming team events

SOS Relays

Our neighbours SOS run a handicap relay every summer and this year its scheduled for 7th July at Hylands Park, Chelmsford.  Teams of four run four yellow, three orange, and two light green courses.   Beat the handicapper! Great fun!   Last year I think we had two teams, both of which seemed to have a great time.  Would be great to have a couple this year too.

Harvester 2002

The Harvester is a 7-person overnight relay this year taking place on the 31st August at Dipton, Hexham.   So a bit of a drive for us, but it's a great competition so it would be good to send a couple of teams.  Details are not available yet, but I assume there will be the usual two competitions: one for 7, with four night legs, one dawn and two in the early morning; the second course for 5, with a later start, so perhaps only the first two legs at night. A range of course lengths are typical for each competition. We will probably head up from Cambridge area in a few cars, leaving (say) Saturday lunchtime, returning wild-eyed and exhausted on Sunday.

If you're interested in either the SOS relays or the Harvester then please contact the club captain Ian Renfrew i.renfrew@bas.ac.uk or 01842 - 810776). I'll try and co-ordinate teams and entries.

PERSONALITY PROFILES - Neil Humphries (Current Chairman)

1. Current and immediate past careers and occupations.

For the past 22 years I have been working in the IT industry in many different areas (operating, systems & application programming, networking and PC support) in a variety of industries (education, engineering, air freight, BT and local government).  I am currently providing 3rd line PC support for the worldwide offices of Lloyd's Register of Shipping although this has recently been outsourced to Cap Gemini.

2. Family members? 

I met Pauline whilst we were both working at Middlesex Polytechnic and we moved to Ickleford (our current home) 17 years ago where we now have 2 children, Martin (14) and Philip (12).  Pauline has never been competitive orienteer but has enjoyed walking around lots of the areas that are used.  Before we started orienteering we used to be members of the Long Distance Walkers Association and did several of their events.
Martin has enjoyed limited success winning the EA champs for the last 2 years and the WAOC junior championship last year.  Philip has won the EA championships and the WAOC junior championship as well but appears to enjoy other sports (when we can get him out of his bed)!

3. A brief Orienteering history with notable successes and failures, both in competition and organisation, e.g. badge status, best ever status, best/worst events, etc.

The first orienteering event I can remember attending was in about 1970 when, as a cub scout, I took part in an event at Wintry Wood just north of Epping and then another one a few years later at Bedford Park in Romford.  I did not do much pure orienteering from then but as a scout took part in many other running and sailing events.  This included the 3 Peaks Yacht race which involves 5 people sailing from Barmouth to Caernarfon, 2 people then run/walk up Snowdon and back.  Then sail to Ravenglass, 2 people up Scafell and back and then finally Fort William where 2 people go up Ben Nevis with the finish line being back by the boat: I went back to work for a rest!  I also did the KIMM in 1982 on Dartmoor but from then I took a break………..

I restarted orienteering by taking Martin to a CATI in Stevenage in 1993.  Since then I got hooked on the 'O' bug and started going to lots more events.  I started doing Red and found that I was quickly into the swing of things.  The next course I tried was Blue and within a few events I was easily getting the par time.  I then thought I could just move easily onto Brown courses but I was in for a shock because I struggled to get into the bottom 25%!  This was obviously where the fast runners were and if I was to compete against them I would need to do some training.
Since then I have got faster with a reasonable amount of success having won the WAOC senior and veteran trophies and the EA M40 championship for the past 3 years.  I consider my best year to be 2000 where I achieved 3 M40 Championship standards at National events.  My worst event was probably day 4 at the 1999 Scottish 6 days where I was having a complete nightmare, missing controls by over 200m and then to cap it all I went off the map, not by just a little bit but by several hundred metres.  I still cannot work out why I had such a bad day but Martin enjoys not letting me forget it!

I have planned several colour coded events, a badge event and the Junior Inter-regional relays at Brandon.  I am also a Grade 3 controller but have not put into full use yet.
I have been JabberWaoc editor for 3 years and I am currently WAOC's EAOA representative and more recently the Chairman.

Personal aspirations for, and in, the sport, and in life in general.

My aspiration is to try and win.  That is my ultimate aspiration but realistically I would just like to keep improving, especially at the National events.  I would also like to see both Martin and Philip enjoy the sport and to be successful.
At work I would like to be able to work a bit more locally rather than commuting into London all the time.  This would allow me to spend more time at home with the family, except when I am out running of course.

A 'ramble' section

Orienteering is a sport that I find addictive and have a need to get a regular fix.  It gives the opportunity to explore parts of the countryside that otherwise would go unnoticed as we rush by in our cars.  But in order to do this I need the support of my family, especially Pauline.  Without her support it would not be possible to enter so many events around the country so to her I would say a very big Thank-you!

From Rolf our Roving Reporter

BOC 2002 - Northern Ireland - 5/6 May.  This year's British Orienteering Championship (BOC) was held in Northern Ireland.  On Saturday there was a short race for elite competitors, or a training event for the rest of us. I can't comment on these as I went caving instead; through a freezing water-filled cave under a prison. On Sunday the individual event was held on Magilligan Strand near Lough Foyle on the north coast.  The Monday relays were at Baronscourt near Newtonstewart, which isn't far from Omagh. While East Anglia endured inclement weather, BOC was bathed in sunshine all weekend.  The 1:10,000 Magilligan (mug-ill-ugun) map was enormous and required considerable folding.  Most of the courses spent most of their time in a 500m wide strip of complex sand dunes next to the sandy coastline.  Off-path running was physically tough, being thick tussocky grass with little relief.  And small hawthorn trees were waiting to snare anyone daft enough to venture into the 'undergrowth/slow run'.  Comparing splits afterwards it was clear that the fastest route was often along the paths, even if this involved a significant detour. Sand dunes have a reputation for posing near impossible navigation. However, I didn't hear of any big mistakes and several WAOC members said that the navigation wasn't as hard as they had been expecting.  Of the senior WAOC competitors, superb runs were logged by Neil Northrop 8th M20E after coming 3rd on Saturday, Neil Humphries 13th M40L, Chris Morley 10th M60L, and Blanka Sengerova won W20L who will have to run elite next time. Creditable runs were recorded by myself, 11th M21L, Nicola Gardner, 31st W45L, Mark Collis 19th M21L, Colin Curtis 17th M65L, David Peregrine, 27th M60L, and Satu Peregrine 12th W60L.  Although the WAOC juniors have their own BOC report (See Junior Jabber), I must mention some absolutely fantastic results. Once again, they showed us how to really orienteer. Edward Louth won M12A by sprinting round at 8 mins/km;  Helen Gardner won W16A by over 2 minutes;  Simon Gardner 9th M14A;  Clare Woods 14th W14A;  Jamie Taylor 16th M14A;  Martin Humphries 25th M16A;  and Peter Gardner, who was recovering from injury, 8th M18A.   Baronscourt is half open parkland and half runnable woodland, not so dissimilar to some East Anglian areas like Highwoods Country Park (SOS). The area is a valley providing views of distant competitors part way through their course.  Large lakes define the valley floor.  With the exception of a few indistinct clearings, navigation was straightforward and fast with plenty of linear catching features.  Chris Morley put in a superb first leg, finishing first in the M/W60 relay. Colin Curtis kept WAOC 1st and in contention, but the team was non-competitive without a third leg runner. Our Men's Premier team was somewhat outclassed, at least that's how I felt waiting in the start box ready for the first leg. Neil Humphries and Mark Collis ran the second and third legs, and we didn't use the mini-mass-starts, which allowed only 1 hour for 7.8 km.  Our Women's Short team fared much better, finishing 7th overall in a competitive class. Blanka Sengerova ran the first leg, Nicola Gardner the second, then Helen Gardner who came 3rd on her leg. Simon Gardner started our M18- team, followed by Peter Gardner, who was still recovering from injury, then Martin Humphries. Our last minute Junior Ad Hoc team 
called Jabber Juniors did rather well finishing 4th overall. Jamie Taylor started them off, followed by Clare Woods, then Edward Louth. BOC report by Rolf Crook.

Chris Morley, M60, at speed and in First place in the M60 Relays.

Full BOC results can be seen on the BOF Results Webpage;  www.cs.man.ac.uk/arch/watson/orient/results/wdir/results.html  
Or via the BOF website;  www.cix.co.uk/~bof/index.html


The remaining dates chosen for the WAOC Mid-Week Summer Galloppen are:
As at 24th May 2002

Wednesday    5th June        Hinchingbrooke Park        Bob Hill
            12th June        Therfield NOW              Julia Wotton
Friday      14th June        Milton Park                Tim Mulcahy
Wednesday   19th June        Coe Fen                    Alistair Hindle
             3rd July        Rowney Warren              Ian Lawson
    "       17th July        Portholme, Godmanchester   Hally Hardie
    "       31st July        Priory Park, Bedford       Chris Bell
    "       15th August      TBD
    "       29th August      TBD
    "       11th September   TBD

There are other events on most days within the National Orienteering Week, but not counting for Galoppen points.

Start times will be from approx.1800 hrs to 1930 hrs, unless the organiser has determined otherwise, but the later start time should still apply.

All events will be £1.50 per adult and £1.00 per Junior.

All events should have at least two courses, one at the roughly Orange level, and one at roughly the Green level.   However, organisers are being encouraged to be innovative whilst at the same time recognising that some Club members can't cope with the unusual.   It is an opportunity to run training style events such as Windows, Line Orienteering, Brown Only maps, Norwegian etc.   These forms of orienteering used to be encountered regularly 20 years ago, but rarely are they seen now.   However, they are ways of enhancing skills.   And they ARE fun.


These events should be seen as TRAINING and FUN events - NOT AS mini normal style 'O'.   Organisers can be planners as well.   Controllers will not be appointed.   Events are VERY LOW KEY.   300 Galloppen points will be awarded to each major organiser/planner, 100 to minor players.   Competitors will have to earn their points.   Normally on a mins per km basis if this can be identified.   Consider this to be an effort league - you can get 100 points just for turning up - and competing.   Juniors and Veterans can enhance their points score by running UP, whilst seniors will lose points by running DOWN.   Small trophies for winners are doled out at the Club AGM - maybe Cream Eggs!


The Results for this league, and the points awarded, can be found in detail on the Club website;  www.waoc.org.uk    Space prohibits the points appearing in this issue of Jabberwaoc.


An automatic weather station in Coats Land, Antarctica.  In the background you can see a pyramid tent (and Ian with his Marmite® sandwiches - Ed).   These are made of tough, hardwearing cotton (no, not the sandwiches), and erected with four 2-inch thick wooden poles.   They can, and do, stand up to tremendous winds, but weigh a tonne.   This is not the sort of thing to take on the KIMM!

This is the final episode of messages sent back by Ian Renfrew, Club Captain, during his brief expedition to Antarctica.   Believe it or not he gets paid for his lifetime experiences.

Halley Relief 2001/2002

It's all going a bit pear-shaped here at Halley. Just to remind you, the ship did not get in on first call in December. She was unable to break through the ice for 3 weeks and ended up having to head north to refuel. She is now due for the second (and only) call, still with the full year's cargo  - they have a year spare of fuel here, but not of food, or beer!  It's all quite dramatic. To give you a flavour, this was yesterday: things going ok here, the ship is only about 60 miles away, but there is heavy ice around.  We are hoping there is some action soon.  Russ (Ladkin - also WAOC) and I have been given 'floating jobs' during cargo relief, so we should be able to do the science fieldwork ok. The news today; the ship is moving away again, the last 50 miles of ice is too thick and is being blown on shore. Hence plan B has been torn up, and we are onto plan C.  They are trying to get into a summer-only base at Novskaya (ex Russian) 200 miles away, and to fly in personnel for 'handovers', get them acclimatised and start some work on base.  Then they will move in some essential cargo.  Meantime we hope for easterly winds to blow the sea ice out and allow the ship into N9 (this is the low shelf area 50 miles from base - 3-6 hours in the Snocat). We're weather dependent as to what we get done.  But whatever happens we have a lot of contingency plans.  I'm feeling pretty good, but worried about the ship and my project. I do feel quite at home here, but not relaxed. The tension here is high and the jollity levels lowered. People are not sad, but everyone is nervous. Few people here have experienced N9 relief actions - they are basically hell and take 3-4 weeks, and we have only 3!  But the next contingency is worse - basically if we go to relief by a/c then there will be no major cargo in, no fuel, and no luxuries. Of course they will do everything they can for the winterers and not compromise the base, but it will be a pioneering winter. There has not been a year since '57 that the ship has not got in. 

Today's instalment: The ship reached Drescher, pulled up to some sea ice in a creek, and transferred some personnel onto aircraft later on in the morning. The aircraft had to land on the sea ice - not the favoured option, but what they do is drag skis first - i.e. 'land' with the engines on full for a touchdown overshoot if there are slots or cracks, then go round again to try to land safely. The planes have to take off towards the ship (down the re-entrant), so the ship has to move every time a plane wants to leave!  The 3 Twin Otters have transferred a dozen people off the ship, including the winterers and some tech services, and all their kit. I think the essential cargo will be transferred from there over the next few days while we wait for the sea ice to move. It would only take a day of strong winds in the right direction. It's been great to see the new winterers; they are so enthusiastic and excited to be here at last. Things are moving forward at last.  People are pretty damn excited today.  Lots of new faces, gear everywhere, cargo moving around base. It's an exciting time. Fingers crossed for our kit to make it off.

Dear all, 

OK, a final instalment folks. To keep you posted, I'm on the ship now on passage to the Falklands and to be honest - wishing I were already there. Here's what's been happening; Halley fieldwork 2002, I've realised there has been a bit of a gap in the stories from the south.  So to try and catch up, this is what has happened over the last few weeks.  We managed to get our equipment off the ship pretty quickly - some colleagues scrambled through the cargo holds looking for our two boxes amongst mountains, managed to pull them out, and they made it to Halley by the end of the second day of aircraft cargo relief. So we started unpacking for a few days of testing. This was a pretty nerve racking business as one set of software had been upgraded without leaving enough time for testing back in the UK. And so, at first, the communication between the Halley Simpson Platform (where the meteorological science is based) and the instrument was poor. They seemed to be talking in different languages.  However Russ (Ladkin, also WAOC) made a few crucial changes in his communications software, and tried again. And after about two days we finally had a system that was OK and we were ready for the off.   In the meantime the Halley Airlift relief by Twin Otter was in full flow, and we were doing a bit of unloading cargo and bringing it up to the Platform.  In the end something like 35 rotations (each a 3-hour round trip) were flown to bring personnel, personal belongings, food, beer and other essential cargo up to the base. It was a hectic period. A few days with all three planes flying, and then it was all over. Of course, many things were simply too large, too expensive, or too heavy for the aircraft to transport, which has meant the base is using its year's spare fuel supply this year.  No steelwork, no vehicles &amp, and no new buildings have made it in. The consequences are going to hit Halley and BAS over the next few years. There has been hardly any major base work done this year - none of the platforms jacked or anything - so there will be twice as much to do next year. And still the problem of getting it all there, with a bigger team to do the extra work. 

Back to our science work: my main goal for this season's fieldwork was the installation of a Doppler sodar wind profiling system at the Clamp 2 site on Coats Land, about 50 km inland from Halley. This is one of 4 sites where we have had automatic weather stations (AWS) for the last 5 years or so.  The advantage of the Doppler sodar is it will give us a wind profile up to around 500 m in height. It works by sending sequences of sound pulses up into the atmosphere and listening for their echoes. By shooting the pulses in different directions it can record the Doppler shifts (the differences in timing caused by the reflector moving) and so calculate the winds. We bought a commercial instrument to do this, and I tested it two years ago around Halley. However, to run it off-site at Clamp 2 Russ has built a mini-power station consisting of ten batteries, which are recharged by ten solar panels and ten wind generators. There is also an AWS and radio communications built into the system, so that we can monitor the meteorological conditions at the remote site and use that information to decide whether to start sounding. We don't have enough power to sound all the time, so the communications has been devised so that we can control everything over the radio link back to Halley. Pretty cool eh?! Well after a few days testing, we managed to get a flight out to Clamp 2, arriving in blue skies and calm conditions in a convoy of two planes, one for us and field kit, the second for the 800 kg of science equipment. Making the most of the great weather we set up camp, and got going on the Doppler sodar erection. We had five fridge-sized battery boxes to get dug into the snow, along with the masts for the solar panels and wind generators, plus the AWS, all with wire guys to hold them in place. It was a long day, with breaks every 2-3 hours to eat and warm our hands.  By around 10 pm we had almost everything erected and bolted together. We finished off the assembly the next day under grey skies and a cold wind. The test now was to switch it on via the radio link from Halley. Only 50 km away and in line of sight we could talk to the base via VHF radio (as the sodar system would). It worked! We hear the bleeps echoing out into the nothingness; the weeks of journeying and work seemed to have paid off! The next two days we spent mainly pinned into the tent with a 35-knot wind raging outside, covering our tent in snow - it proved a good test for the quality of our guy-work. We then had one afternoon to do some tethersonde profiling contemporary with D-sodar profiling.  This was less time than planned, but considering the season, was not bad. Back to Halley after four days out - and just starting to tire of Marmite biscuits, brown every lunchtime. Tea and medals all round for a science success out of Halley this year. I'm on my way back to the UK now via the RRS Ernest Shackleton - similar passage to my trip two years ago. The last few days at Halley flew by as I finished the instruction manual for operating the Doppler sodar, saved data, started writing my report, and so on. Then there were delays getting to the ship for a week as we were buffeted by high winds, which stopped all flights. This left all 6 personnel flights for one weekend, the ship finally leaving on Monday 18th February. First call was Signy Island, in the South Orkneys - penguin paradise, next up South Georgia - more penguins, and rusting whaling stations. Anyway, hope to see you all soon.

For those of you sharp enough to notice Ian got back to the UK in time to put in a star performance at the CompassSport Cup in Brandon.   You now know the secret of such success - Marmite® sandwiches every day.

ACE Racing in Thetford

Three brave souls from WAOC (Ian Renfrew, Ali Robertson and Julia Wotton) put themselves forward for the WAOC team at the A.C.E. (Adventure, Challenge, Endurance) Race at Thetford Forest on 11th May. This race was a one day event involving running, mountain biking, orienteering and team challenges. We didn't know how far we would be running or biking and had no idea what the team challenges would be. The details just said you need to be able to run for an hour, you would get wet, and that the expected winning time would be 3 hours with other teams taking up to 5 hours. Also just before the day we were told to bring a puncture repair kit - they weren't going to puncture our tyres surely?!!!!!

Julia says "I have only ever been mountain biking once before and that was about 10 years ago. I had arranged to borrow Ian's girlfriend Jenni's bike, so on the Wednesday before, I went to their house to try out the bike. Ian and I went for a good bike ride round Brandon Forest. I'm very glad I did this as it allowed me to familiarise myself with changing gear and to get a feel for riding over bumpy ground before the day of the race. On the day my biggest worries were that I wouldn't be able to keep up particularly on the biking section and I was also quite apprehensive about the team challenges. I expected us to come about half way up the results at most. I wasn't in it for doing well, but just to enjoy myself".

There were about 70 teams taking part including some very professional ones from North Face and High Five. Runners World put in 2 teams with Ranulph Fiennes being a member of one of them. CUOC also put in a very fit team.

It started off a pretty soggy morning with a 3 mile mystery run following markers through the forest (actually we were just following the people in front) to where we picked up a 1:25000 map showing the foot orienteering and bike orienteering courses and the location of the team challenges.

Julia says "Ali and Ian did all the navigating - I put all my energy into just keeping up. I have never run so far for so long before."

The orienteering was all on path junctions with not a great deal of route choice. If it had been a bit more challenging we would probably have come higher up the results. At the end someone said the total running distance was 10 miles.

After the foot orienteering we had to do 2 team challenges before starting the biking - a chance for a rest! We had to take a tyre off a bike, get the inner tube out and all jump through it before putting it back on and pumping up the tyre. We also had to tie pieces of string together until they were long enough to be tied between 2 trees and then suspend a weight from it. The knots had to be strong enough to hold the weight but not so tight that we couldn't get them undone again.

Early on in the biking section there was a very sandy track. Julia says "I found this very tough particularly as at that point my calf muscles kept cramping up". 

There seemed to be bikes going in all directions at this stage of the race. At the end of the biking section there were 5 more challenges to do. One was to fit nuts and bolts of various sizes through a board with holes of various sizes. We were told we did this very quickly. Luckily it was fairly warm, in winter we could not have done it so fast. Another challenge was to all stand with our left foot on one plank and our right foot on another plank. They were like giant skis, we looked like It's a Knockout extras. Holding on to ropes attached to the planks we had to walk together round a square shape. It was hard getting going but was not so bad once we were in a rhythm as long as we didn't lose our balance. Another challenge was a 100 piece jigsaw (a beautiful painting of Dinosaurs). We were not held up at any of the team challenges but teams behind us had to wait for a station to come free. Apparently later teams only had to complete the outside edges of the jigsaw as the whole lot was taking too long and the queues were building up. Then we had a set of padlocks which were locked together and a set of keys. We had to unlock each padlock and get all the keys back on the key ring. 

The final challenge was to cross the river which was about 2.5 feet deep. Ali must have wanted to get wet as he almost fell over in it by trying to run through it. "I saw the cameraman across the other side, all I wanted to do was make an impression" said Ali trying to justify it. Surprisingly he didn't get the prize for making the biggest splash! Though he did scare a few slower competitors by ringing his shirt out on the walk back from the finish.

We took a total of 3.25 hours and came in 11th place. Ranulph Fiennes team came 10th and the CUOC team came 3rd. The winning team took about 2.5 hours. After the race we had a much deserved free Wilf's meal. We saw some very tired looking people coming in after about 4.5 hours. We were very pleased with our result.

Ian says "its interesting and challenging for us solo orienteers to take part in a team competition. You have to think of others, as well as yourself, for a change! The challenge is to go as fast as possible while keeping everyone on board, and I think we managed this pretty well, we never got more than a few metres apart, and this was probably one of the reasons we did better than we had expected." 

It was quite expensive to enter but we got a free T-shirt and drink bottle and a free Wilf's meal as well as having a lot of fun. It seems that Adventure racing is quite expensive compared to orienteering.

Ali says "If anyone else is interested in trying the ACE Races, or other types of Adventure Racing I can full-heartedly recommend it to you all. It is a superb compliment to orienteering, mixing fitness with patience and teamwork. The next ACE Race is on 6th July in Ashdown Forest in Sussex if there are any more people interested in competing in the future". Please contact Ali if you are interested. Ian and Julia would recommend it too but we are both busy at the time of the next race.

Julia, Ian, Ali.

Basil Carey Trophy 

The Basil Carey Trophy is awarded each year to the Club orienteer who has been deemed to be the most improved over the previous 12 months.  Lindsey Freeman is the current holder.

The carved wooden trophy is of a barn owl.   This was carved by Steve Hardy's father on commission from the Club acting on behalf of Basil's family.

I was asked at the last AGM ' who is/was Basil Carey.   Basil was one of our earlier Club members.  I suspect he joined in around '74/'74.   He lived with his family, all then orienteers, in Dunstable, which was then on our southern border.   Stockgrove Park was originally a WAOC playground.  Basil was a very dynamic member of the Club and cheerfully put on a number of events in our southern areas, like Maulden and Ampthill.   He was renowned for the Boxing Day event he staged in Ampthill Park on a blank sheet of paper - apart from the control circles.   Basil had either just retired or was a week away from it (I cannot recall which) at age 60, when he was knocked off his bike by a bus and run over.   Basil died in hospital without recovering from this accident.   The trophy was presented as a memorial to Basil


While I was sorting through my old maps I came across some very old and faded ones which only had tiny fragments still visible. I was curious to find out which maps they were from. 

Can you help?  A prize of a FREE entry to a WAOC colour coded event of your choice for the first out of the 'hat on the draw date of 1st July.

I'm certain that fragment 1 is the right way up but the rest could be in any orientation. 
I've only ever run on WAOC (and CUOC) maps so everyone should have copies of the maps these fragments came from.   Each is from a different map, but map overlaps can mean a feature may appear on two map titles.  And time may have modified what you see!

Answers please, or requests for help, to Jabberwaoc Editor, Hally Hardie;  Hally40@aol.com  Thanks are due to Adam Smith for this fiendish puzzle.
Have fun !

The Prize for the April Puzzle was won by Rolf Crook.   All of those who sent in answers got it correct - ten.











WAOC Committee Members

[This section removed from the online version of Jabberwaoc]



WAOC Club merchandise for sale


WAOC Club O-tops and sweatshirts are still available at the 
bargain price of £10-00 (sweatshirts) and £14.00 (O-tops) (p&p 40p extra).

O-tops are as shown (you'll have to imagine the vibrant red, if you're reading this 
from the printed copy). Sweatshirts are black with a 7.5cm square WAOC logo 
on the left breast. All sizes of O-top are available, and all sizes except small of the sweatshirt.

To order your WAOC garments just send your cheque and size requirements to Anne Duncumb.

If you require further information about sizes etc. 
you can contact Anne by email: Duncumb@Compuserve.com

Anne Duncumb (membership secretary)


Junior Jabber

Follow this link to Junior Jabber, June 2002 edition


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