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August 2002

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Editorial – August 2002

Yet more successes to record from our Club members since I last wrote at the end of May.  Helen Gardner continues with a succession of excellent results. She won the Tamar Triple Badge event running up an age group in the W18A more than a minute ahead of the 2nd place.   Brother Simon won the M14A course and Lindsey Freeman won the W50A.   Interestingly Helen shared her course with her mother Nicola, W45, and with Lindsey.   Elsewhere in this issue you can compare their differing routes for day 2 in Braunton Burrows, a military training area amongst the intricate sand dunes to the west of Barnstaple.  Helen’s 3-day aggregate time of  127.29 minutes was substantially ahead of Lindsey’s winning aggregate time of 143.38 minutes, and Nicola, 10th of 20 finishers was 183.44 minutes.   Simon was a good 5 minutes clear of the 2nd place.  Several other WAOC enjoyed the sunshine of Devon amongst the dunes, but the only other place of note was by Steve Hardy, in heavy disguise a SMOC, who came 3rd on aggregate 13 minutes down on the winner with 186.27 in the M50A.   Again Helen was 2nd placed on her course in the Junior Inter-Regional Championships.   In the annual Stragglers (SOS) handicap relays WAOC stamped all over the opposition – some 17 teams I believe but the official results have still not been published – by attaining the first 3 positions.   The Gardner Family, with a stranger replacing injured Peter, was first.   The Campbell Family, including a Chig. member, was second.   And a Bassett (All-sorts) team of Lindsey, Noreen, Roger Horton and Hally, was 3rd.   We also had a 4th team, running almost scratch with 5 mins of handicap instead of the 53 minutes the Gardners had.

As I write this I’ve just returned from the excellent, energetic, and challenging, Club contour training which Julia Wotton, Club coach, arranged for us from the Glenmore Lodge outdoor centre in the Cairngorms.   Some of you will think that this may be a long, and maybe expensive way to go for just a couple of days training.   However, different people have different priorities and sense of worth.   May I say that if you have just a tiny sense of awe and regret then perhaps you should find the time and make the effort for Julia’s next training session.   This is tending to become an annual event.  However, next year’s is likely to be much closer to home, and sometime before the Scottish 6 days in the Forres/Elgin area near Inverness.

In the June Editorial I posed a few subjects in an endeavour to excite all members to discuss orienteering subjects.   I’m trying to get enough response together for a Letters page.   Well, you’ve guessed it; the response was totally overwhelming.   I have absolutely nothing to put in that proposed letters page.   Let’s have another go.   Do you feel that your Club is putting on too many events or too few?   And are the events we do stage run at a too simple level?   Compared with the colour coded course you make compete in elsewhere are ours too difficult or too simple? – they might even be of Goldilocks level.

We saw a very interesting midweek Galoppen event on Port Holme meadow, Godmanchester, reputedly England’s largest.   This meadow is a flood plain, which regularly gets covered every winter by the River Ouse.   The contours are at 1m interval, and the depressions are c 12” deep, if you’re lucky.   However, with mini-markers laid flat on the ground they can be extremely hard to locate without good compass and pacing work.  In due course the map will be extended to include more interesting areas around the current patch.  We had three of includes elite squad attend this event.   Neil Northrop brought his SHUOC mates, Oli Johnson, Matt Crane, and Jennie Whitehead for a training session before launching via Stansted to the Swedish Oringen the next day.   Matt won the race, 3.2 kms of normal type O followed by 2.6km of map memory, in 23 .38 mins.   Yup, you got it 4 min kms.   He was followed by Neil in 27.49, with Rolf Crook 3rd in 31.57.   Oli, much the fastest runner, blew it completely when he misread a map memory segment.   There you go……….

Some might remember that I said in February’s Editorial that I considered myself a temporary incumbent of the editor’s post.   And I asked for anyone who might be interested in taking the long-term position to make themselves known to me.   Well, as you will have suspected I was inundated with interested requests to take the job off me.   Indeed, I have found it very difficult to fend you all off.   Yes, and I’m a liar.  No one has written or approached me in the forest, or anywhere else, to demand they have a go at being editor of Jabberwaoc.   However, it is now crunch time ‘cos Lindsey and myself are very likely to be moving down to Dartmoor, Devon, by the end of the year.   Lindsey is looking for a new job there.   And we’re both looking forward very much to the marvellous outdoor opportunities offered by the wild and woolly moors.   So it really is now time for at least one of you out there to put your hand up.   I would expect to be around for the October issue, but I can’t guarantee the December issue.

Hally Hardie

This is the frontispiece article from Helen’s college magazine.

A well-deserved and glowing report.

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New Members

A hearty welcome to Jannette Edwards and James Smith, both of Cambridge.   We hope you will both have a very happy and rewarding, as well as dynamic and interesting, orienteering experience with WAOC.   Both of them have joined as a result of the National Orienteering Week in June.

Chairman’s Chat

The summer season is now here with the Lakes 5 days and the traditional White Rose competition on the Bank Holiday weekend.  The following weekend (31 Aug/1 Sept) is the Harvester night relays which are for teams of 7 runners over distances from 4 to 12 Km. Which this year are being held near Newcastle.  As the name suggests, the race starts at night (02:00) with several of the early legs being in darkness.  Exactly how many legs are in darkness depends on the speed of the early runners, but it is expected that the leaders will have at least 4 legs in darkness.  The use of powerful headlamps adds a different atmosphere to this event as the waiting runners look for the headlamps moving around the competition area, trying to pick out their runner.  The other side of it is that the headlamps can show up some glaring errors.  When the race was at Thetford a few years ago the start brought the sight of about 50 runners charging off from the start and into the forest.  When they got to the forest edge, 49 lights went left…. and one went right!  60 seconds later one headlight could be seen moving from right to left to follow the 49 other runners.  Many of us wondered if it had been one of us who had made the mistake would we of turned off the light so as to hide our blushes.

The following weekend (8/9 September) sees the junior version of the Harvester, the Peter Palmer night relays which are being held at Martinshaw Wood near Leicester.  This competition is for teams of 8 juniors (M/W12-18) with the first leg starting at 04:15 thus the first 3 or 4 legs are run in darkness.  The standard of the legs ranges from a 2.2Km Yellow course (run in daylight) to a 6.5Km Green course (run in daylight).  The event has a 5-a-side competition during the Saturday evening and sleeping areas at a school adjacent to the competition area so that the teams can get some much needed rest before their run.  As with the Harvester, this event produces its own atmosphere with juniors of all ages and abilities from all over the country coming together for a good weekend of socialising and competing.

Make sure that you let the Club Captain (Ian Renfrew) know if you are interested in competing in these competitions so that he can put the teams together.

It has often been mentioned that helpers at our events should get something to reward their efforts.  I think that most people will agree that there should be some form of reward, but what should it be?  It was difficult to find something that would not affect the event budget but showed the appreciation the committee has of all the helpers who donate their time and energy to make our events such a success.  It was decided that we would offer free entry for the CompassSport Cup for everybody who had helped at any of our Colour Coded or Badge events during the previous year.  We hope to see as many people as possible at the next CompassSport Cup event!

Neil Humphries


The dates left for the WAOC Mid-Week Summer Galloppen are:

As at 26th July 2002

For further details and Results and Points Scores go to www.waoc.org.uk  

Wednesday 31st July Priory Park, Bedford  Chris Bell
" 15th August Jesus/Midsummer Rolf Crook
" 29th August    TBD  
" 11th September Hinchingbrooke Leo Eisner


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!



Saturday 17th August is the planned date for this year’s PuntO.

For those who enjoyed it last year the start point is the same ie at the North end of Coe Fen close to the Grad Pad or Anchor pub.  Downstream end of upper part of river – if that helps!!

Timing is aimed at a 2.00 pm start.   The rules of the game will be explained by the organiser/controller, Mark Collis prior to the hiring of the punts.   Team sizes are not yet known, but you will be organised on the spot if you aren’t bringing your own.

Be prepared to get very wet, very muddy, and very stung.

There will be a BBQ in Ursula and Ron’s garden, Bentley Road, Cambridge, ½ mile from Coe Fen, after the event.   Both Ursula and Mark would like to know beforehand if you intend to come to either or both functions.

Mark at;  mwc22@cam.ac.uk    Ursula 01223 – 357199 or maybe back online at ; u.oxburgh@esc.cam.ac.uk 


The OCMM is a 5 hour score event for teams of two, intended to test navigation, route choice, time estimation and fitness. Competitors must
carry basic emergency kit, such as clothing and food. Previous events have been in the Lake District, but the 2001 event was relocated to Sherwood Forest due to Foot and Mouth Disease. Three WAOC members took part: Lindsey Freeman and Jean Sinclair (Veteran Women) and Russ Ladkin, with Mike Shimwell (Men). From a starting list of 61, 56 finished, lower than the 100 or so in 2000 and 1999. Lin and Jean finished 42nd overall, finishing 1st Veteran Women and 2nd Women overall. Russ and Mike finished 16th overall, with the winning list dominated by Veteran Men. All but Jean were using the OCMM as a training event for the KIMM (Karrimor International Mountain Marathon), on 27th and 28th October 2001. For this purpose, it was probably a bit tame, but it was a good introduction to longer and team events.

Entries can now be submitted for the 2002 event. Closing date for pre-entries is 24th September 2002. Entry fee is £24 per team, which includes 2 maps and post event refreshments. Information available on 

http://www.ms.clara.net/detail02.htm   Entry forms can be downloaded from

http://www.ms.clara.net/entry02.htm  or by post from OCMM, 29 Briarfield, Egerton, Bolton, BL7 9TX.

There is a limit of 200 teams, but if not reached,  entries will be available on the day, if teams provide their own maps.

Age classes have been altered to bring them in line with other events: veteran teams must now have a combined age exceeding 90 years, and super-veteran teams must exceed 100 years.

Jean Sinclair

Editor’s note:

It was intended to use Jean’s article last year, but circumstances worked against it.   However, it now comes as a timely reminder that a similar event will happen this year as a KIMM warm up.   For those attempting the KIMM, or even not doing so but would like a taste of this sort of event, then the details are as above.

The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon (SLMM)

Julia and Dave have recently competed in this gruelling 2-day mountain marathon – this is their story.

"Following in the footsteps of Dave"
by Julia Wotton and Tim Mulcahy

Thoughts from Julia...

Amongst Dave's favourite running/orienteering events is the Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon which he had entered last year with his usual partner Clive Baker from NOR and the CUP Running Club. Last year's event was victim to the foot and mouth outbreak but entries were carried across to this year. Dave had always said how he would like to do the Saunders with me if ever Clive didn't or couldn't do it. I would have loved to run it with him. As in all things I think we would have made a great team. Clive had found another partner from the CUP Running Club to take Dave's place. I was keen to do it to experience what Dave had experienced many times before, but entries were closed long ago. I e-mailed Bob Saunders to explain why I so wanted to do it and very kindly he let me have a special entry. I asked Tim Mulcahy to be my partner on it because I have got to know Tim well in the last eight months and he has given me much support at very difficult times. I knew that this could be a difficult time. Seeing the mountains in the Lake District always upsets me because of the many happy times Dave and I spent there together.

Thoughts from Tim...

As a tribute to her late husband Julia ran one of Dave's favourite events, the gruelling 18-mile multi-terrain "Grizzly" race, in March of this year. I was unable to join Julia on that occasion but the idea of following in Dave's footsteps was one which appealed strongly to me. Fortunately, I would have the opportunity of running with Julia as a mixed pair in the 2002 Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon. This was another of Dave's particular favourites, having run it numerous times with his partner, Clive Baker. As novices in the event Julia and I initially considered entering the shortest runners class called the Wansfell. But to follow truly in Dave's footsteps we entered the longer Harter Fell class, the class that Dave would have run.

Some of the details...

The SLMM is a two-day mountain marathon with a range of courses varying in length from about 24 Km to over 40 Km. Needless to say that it is the total climb that makes the event a marathon! Except for the elite runners in the top Klets class competitors run in pairs and each must carry sufficient food and equipment for an overnight camping stop. The event can be roughly described as an orienteering event literally on a large scale. Each day's course is defined by a series of checkpoints, which you navigate round as fast as possible just as in orienteering.

The main difference is that the map scale is 1:40000 and the number of 'controls' is small with very long legs between them. There is plenty of scope for route choice with the usual distance and climb compromises.

After a long slog along the A14, M1, A50 and M6 we arrived at the Pooley Bridge base camp on Friday at around 9.00pm, just in time for a meal and cup of tea at Wilf's mobile catering. So as not to unpack our event running sacs we used a Vango Mk II two-person tent for the base camp, sleeping in large warm down-filled sleeping bags - a luxury we wouldn't have at the overnight stop! This meant we wouldn't have had to repack and carry a wet tent had it rained in the night - a useful tip gleaned from Dave's article on the 1997 SLMM.

After an invigorating breakfast of cereal and hot tea we registered and made our way to the start for our allotted time of 8.27am. Receiving the checkpoint descriptions after the start beeps we carefully marked up our maps. Unlike with orienteering, the SLMM maps are not overprinted and there are no master maps. Instead, the descriptions give you grid references so you need to be quite careful drawing circles on the map. Julia and I checked each other's mark-ups and then agreed a fairly straightforward route to the first control of our 14-Km course with only six checkpoints. We ascended a 90 metre hillside and followed an obvious series of tracks for roughly 3Km to an attack point about 400 metres from the large depression control. All our checkpoints were manned and quite obvious once you were within 100 metres or so. This is somewhat different to typical orienteering where you can be adjacent to the feature without seeing the flag! The main test in mountain marathoning is one of endurance and so making a good route choice and navigating accurately for long distances is important. If you get lost the penalty can be enormous in terms of time lost.

Fortified by our success at the first control we launched ourselves towards the second control, which was about 5 km away with no continuous track network to take us there. You soon discover that with 15 pounds of kit on your back you cannot run all the time, especially uphill. Whilst we had trained by running round Therfield Heath we never achieved our goal to run with sacs on our backs before the event. By the end of the two days we would have aching shoulders - not to mention our legs - and be very relieved to unload the weight we had carried for almost 28 Km.

En route to the second control we discovered how difficult it is to adjust to the scale of 1:40000 when you normally run on 1:10000 or 1:15000 maps at orienteering events. We thought we had arrived at the right hilltop but in fact were well short of the control. However, we were always going in the right direction and eventually got the hang of the scale and found the control spot on. Thereafter, we would have no problems with navigation. One thing we did discover is that many features we might expect to find on an O' map such as large depressions simply weren't marked. Also, white screen is used for 'open' and not 'forest'. A vital skill is that of interpreting 15 metre interval contours.

Checkpoint three was a mere kilometre away along the ridge of a steep-sided valley and we ran gleefully towards it without mishap. Going towards checkpoint four, however, we had our one and only difference of opinion about route choice. Being impetuous Tim suggested the 4 Km straight line route, which dropped down about 225m, followed by a steep climb of 150m. A more observant Julia proposed a contour route, which involved just less than an extra km but with a descent of about 75m and no climb. Needless to say the WAOC Coach won the vote and received much praise from her partner at the end of the leg! The fifth leg to a re-entrant was a short one of only 800 metres or so and we found it easily. The climb back out of the re-entrant was not great but it seemed tough to us now that are legs were beginning to feel a bit wobbly. The last leg was a straightforward slog of about 4 Km but with a 420m descent at the end, including a challenging final 150m where much sliding on one's posterior was inevitable, to reach the Martindale valley. A splash through the Howegrain Beck and a final 3-minute dash on the run-in enabled us to break the four hour mark by just 16 seconds, reaching a welcome finish and the SI 'download' tent. We allowed ourselves to collapse for a few minutes before erecting Dave's 'Spacepacker' Saunder's two-person tent and boiling up a brew of strong tea. Julia tried out another tip gleaned from Dave's article for keeping your spare pair of socks dry by putting your feet in plastic bags before putting your wet shoes on again. It's obviously a well-known tip in these circles as most people were walking round with plastic bags on their feet.

Having finished around 12.30 pm we realised that we would be hungry in the evening if we ate our main meal too soon. Fortuitously our foray to Tesco's during the week had resulted in over-catering with dried pasta and bolognese sauce and so we could enjoy a second meal in the evening. As part of the second meal we also had nutigrain bars with custard for dessert which was delicious. One feature of the SLMM is that you can buy milk and beer at the overnight camp. You cannot buy food and there is a strict rule that no rubbish can be left except for milk cartons and beer cans! Unlike some marathoners we purchased only two cans each. Water was available only from the stream running along the edge of the campsite, but it was refreshing and immediately drinkable. Once you have settled you can seek out friends in a sea of tents and soon we found Clive and his partner Steve Presland from the CUP Running Club of which Dave was also an active member. We also met John Beadle and John Hind from WAOC who had a cunning plan to seek out beer in a pub. Old campaigners Dick Towler and Steve Searle from NOR were also fellow orienteers who we met and socialised with. It was interesting walking round the campsite to see how small some of the tents were. Many were only just big enough to slide in on your stomach. We were glad to have the space in the tent to cook and sit up and eat. I think I am prepared to carry an extra pound or two for that luxury.

As the evening drew in so did the rain. The skies darkened and two people cowering in their tent briefly discussed the possibility of a taxi back to base camp! But with the morning came glorious patches of blue sky that gradually overcame the cloud. Despite rising around 6.30am the early part of the morning rushed by and we were only just in time to join the tail of the mass start at 8.30am, forty-five minutes after the chasing start period of the day 1 fast finishers.

Taking care to keep our spare pair of socks dry during the overnight camp was completely undermined by the planner who placed the Day 2 start on the other side of the shin-deep Beck. Moreover, much to our surprise the route to the first checkpoint was straight up the steep 450 metre ascent to the top of Wether Hill. (Actually it wasn't that much of a surprise as there wasn't a lot of choice about how to get out of the valley we were in, but we were hoping that there would be a more gentle route to start with - it was quite calf-cramping stuff.) By a judicious choice of route we avoided the slippery section of the previous day's descent but there was no escaping the climb. The long crocodile of competitors creeping up the hill was a rather strange sight to a pair of orienteers more used to isolation in a forest. But at the top a "second wind" of energy allowed us to start running again and soon we reached the straightforward Crag Top check-point.

A 3 Km second leg saw us running swiftly along the valley rim high above Measand Beck to a ruin at the top of another valley curving down to Willdale Beck. The route to the third checkpoint on the spur of Dale Hause was 3 Km as the crow flies but with three intervening valleys. We chose a route following contours, which avoided all but the climb up the spur. Many other pairs spotted this route too and so the race was on. By the time of our ascent to the checkpoint the sun was bright and warm. We allowed ourselves a stop for a drink and energy bar snack whilst we took in the views. The official at the checkpoint informed us that at least 30 pairs had so far navigated to the control making a classic parallel error along the wrong spur. By careful navigation and ticking off features on the way we had made no errors. But excellent visibility had made the task much easier than it would have been in the mist.

Now it was all downhill to the fourth and final checkpoint at the gate at the bottom of Aik Beck where we had started yesterday. First we had to cross the boggy Whitestone Moor before descending rapidly down the long Brown Rigg spur. The leg was the best part of 4 Km with an extra 1.5 Km run-in to the finish. The 13.5 Km course, with the gruelling 450 metre ascent at the start and 150 metre ascent to Dale Hause, had taken us 3 hours and 23 minutes. We were tired but elated and very pleased to have kept our position in the top fifty out of about 85 pairs on the course. I think we were very lucky with the weather. The whole experience could have been much more challenging if visibility had been poor.  Soon we were sitting in the marquee eating a revitalising bowl of Wilf's bean broth, cake and tea. Ahead of us was a long but uneventful journey back to the flatlands of Cambridgeshire, punctuated by a stop at Dick's cottage near Windermere for a refreshing shower and more tea!

Final thoughts from Tim...

Following in Dave's footsteps had been both a thrilling and poignant experience for me. It was a privilege to share the beauty of the Lakeland with Julia and to feel the spirit of Dave driving us on against the physical challenge of the mountain marathon. For me personally it was a special and fitting way to remember Dave and the many orienteering experiences I shared with him in the early and mid 1990's. I have always found the mountains an awesome place to contemplate the joy of life and out there Dave is at home. Through Julia his spirit truly lives on.

Julia Wotton and Tim Mulcahy

Tree Memorial to Dave Wotton – A Ceremony

On Saturday, 25th May, a short commemoration ceremony was held at the Cambridge University Press recreation ground in  Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge.   Immediately prior to the ceremony a group of some 15 WAOC and CUP runners ran around a short footpath course from the grounds south to Long Road, Trumpington Road, a back route into Grantchester, and back through the meadows and Coe Fen to the centre.   A quick clean up and the moving ceremony was held between showers.   There were some 20 plus attending including Dave’s parents and brother.   Clive Baker, from Ely and NOR, as well as a CUP runner had a few kind and  pertinent words to say about Dave as we all grouped around the healthy Silver Birch sapling with a special rock and inscription at its base.   Ursula followed this with a few of her own words, and  Julia also was moved to say a few words.   We all then recovered to the splendid CUP sports pavilion for a BBQ laid on by CUP, but contributed to by all.   A very fitting venue for this occasion.   And many thanks to the CUP Runners who saw fit to honour Dave and WAOC in this way.

CUP have actually invited WAOC members to take advantage of their fine facilities, which they claim are underused.  We are all hoping to take advantage of this in due course.

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The Silver Birch Tree

Clive Baker (left) and Ursula (right)
having their say.

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Personal Profile  -  Mike Capper (Current Fixtures Secretary)

Getting started

I first heard of orienteering in 1972 when a copy of ‘Orienteering’ by John Disley (still a classic book - I must return my old school's copy sometime) arrived in the school library.  As a distinctly unathletic sixth former (in my head I was Alberto Juantareno but in reality I was more Albert Steptoe) with an interest in maps, this sounded like the sport for me.  I sent a letter off to an address in the back of the book, then forgot about it completely.  Six months later, a reply came telling me about an event in Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk – I persuaded my dad Maurice – a regular M80 competitor) that this would be a good day out and our orienteering careers had begun.  I can’t remember much about those first few events – I got really bad cramp at Rendlesham and my dad got lost (a trait he hasn’t entirely managed to change!).  After an event at Bourne Woods we went to a meeting in Peterborough for orienteers interested in starting a club.   I think this was the start of WAOC (not quite – a meeting in Mid August at my house was the start – Ed.).  And I remember going to a WAOC event (the very first – Ed. I flew the aerial photography, mapped, planned, and organised it) at a very brambly Brampton Woods (near Huntingdon) shortly afterwards.  One of the things that I really liked in those early days – and it is still a major reason for my love of the sport – was the fact that you could compete against the best, even at club events.  I think it was Mike Down, a junior international at the time, who wandered around the car park at my first Maulden Woods event in 1973, wearing a GB top.  I was very impressed! 

Turning points

When I went to university, amongst the clubs I joined were the orienteering club (ShUOC) and, for some reason, the caving club.  It was a straight choice between the two for my Sunday morning exercise, and initially caving seemed likely to win.  Okay, it was cold and wet and the views were rubbish, but caving had that extra edge of glamour (I was young!).    Unfortunately, third trip out with the potholers… a terrific accident going too fast around a bend…overloaded Land Rover rolls down a hill with me and others inside it and is written off… potholers too irresponsible…orienteering it was! 

Mike in Brambly Brampton – January 1973 

Early mistakes

I learnt quickly, but still made some awful mistakes.  In my first few events, I though it was a good idea to keep the map tidy, so I wrote the control number inside the control circle – not helpful when trying to find a control in a complex area!  I never really learnt how to use a compass properly,  and even today still rely largely on very rough navigation/instinct/luck plus a little bit of general direction setting using a thumb compass.  That’s probably why I still get lost when there is too much detail on the map (as for pacing…).

Did I really do that?

In ShUOC, I became renowned for my ability to climb unscaleable cliffs – this reputation developed after the JK in 1976, when my carefully considered route choice at Dalegarth took me over several very dangerous (and, according to the map, uncrossable) crags, including one very high cliff.  The sad thing was that I was such a poor navigator that I didn’t even realise what I had done until someone told me afterwards. (That event was dogged by low cloud taking the visibility down to c 30m – Ed.) Fortunately I improved quickly.  Weekly orienteering around Sheffield meant that I learnt to read a map a little more accurately although I never lost the ability to make the easy look difficult.  An example of this was at the Blue Star Trophy in 1975, which was held in an area where the Keilder reservoir was being constructed.  Ignoring the marked track, I attempted to cross a ‘felled’ area, not realising that it this was the base of the soon-to-be reservoir and was covered in glutinous and deep mud.  I ended up sinking rapidly and required rescuing by three competitors and some very long sticks!  Other notable achievements from that period included trying to start as the leading W21 in a chasing start at a Swiss 5-days,  (I was stopped just before picking up the map),  and completing a race at Macclesfield Forest with a hole in my face (lots of stitches - you can still see the scar.    I think people were most impressed by the way I could stick my tongue out through the hole!). 

Best moments

I guess like all orienteers, I’m always looking for that perfect run – I’ve rarely achieved it and, in my view, it’s much more important than winning.  That said, it is nice to win occasionally and getting a cup (a very big cup!) in the British Champs in 1986 in Scotland was great – so, it was only M21B, but they all count and you can only beat the opposition.  My favourite winning performance was also in the early-1990s when I won the EA Championships at Sandringham.  This really did feel like a perfect run – one of the few times when body and mind have felt in perfect harmony and you float over the ground, with controls appearing in exactly the right place!  My dad has also had his moments – 3rd in the British Champs at Clumber Park, 1st in The JK in 1984 (and there was more than one competitor in M60B!) – he keeps chugging along, occasionally getting lost, but still striving to improve.  I hope I’m as keen and as fit at his age!

Favourite areas

East Anglia - Brandon (Morkery was pretty good until it was chopped down!). 
UK  - really anywhere forested in Scotland, but at a push I’d choose Docharn and Deishar or any of the 1999 World Championship areas.


First and foremost, to stay as fit and healthy as possible.  I am very competitive and have never given up hope of improving even further – I still struggle to achieve the balance between fitness and orienteering skills.  I have my competitive aims – but they remain a secret.  I think they’re realistic and they don’t necessarily involve winning things!  It’s good to belong to a club that provides a strong level of competition – yes, there are names that I look out for at each event to see if I’ve beaten them or not.  However, my main ambition is to continue enjoying and contributing (and Mike has done an awful lot of that – Ed).  I can think of very few events that I’ve been to that I haven’t finished feeling good.  Long may it continue!  I’ve done my share of chairing committees, organising fixtures etc, but I still love controlling events and plan to continue contributing to the sport in this way.

Final thoughts

Orienteering is a great sport – a perfect combination of different skills.  It has kept me fit, taken me to places I would never otherwise have visited and I’ve made some lifelong friends.  I hope the sport doesn’t become over-reliant on technology (that's where I am quickest, copying the master maps!), as it is making planning and controlling more and more time-consuming.  I would love it if there were more relay events on the calendar, but at every event I go to I am appreciative of the efforts other people have made to give me a morning’s competition – those who are too ready to complain and moan should never forget that.  WAOC does a great job – never more so than during the foot and mouth epidemic last year, when the Sunday park races were very welcome – it’s at times like these that you realise how valuable it is to belong to a club.  I hope WAOC and EAOA can manage to keep their strong junior sections – competing and travelling together forges group spirit and makes it more likely that juniors will continue to orienteer into the senior ranks.  I am sure that spending my early competitive years with a great group of people in ShUOC is the main reason that I am still orienteering today!

Mike Capper

I believe I’m right in saying that Mike followed his father into teaching.  I think Maurice retired from the profession as headmaster at Benwick school, but no doubt Mike will correct me in due course.   You can see from this  why Mike likes trees so much.  If you look out from Benwick you can probably see all of the dozen or so trees in the 26 miles or so you can see to the horizon in every direction.    Your could even see all the way to the Urals if your legs were long enough!   I don’t know what subjects Mike taught in Peterborough, nor what age group.  But I do understand that, like most teachers, Mike has become rather more than dischuffed with the way things are going in that sphere.   So, when the opportunity offered he bid for an Ofsted post.   And so now he's poacher turned gamekeeper.  Ed.

Does Mike still cross stiles/fences like this?

From Club member Andy Merritt, who recounts from his diary

some of his family’s exploits in Nepal.

Family Outings in Nepal

First, a quick introduction - I have been a WAOC member for the last 3 years, and an occasional orienteer for some years before that.  However you will not see me at the usual events as I have other commitments on Sundays which mean that I cannot take part in Sunday events.  However, some of you may have seen me at weekday evening Summer Galoppens over the last couple of years, but not this year as I have moved to Nepal for 5 months to work for the charity International Nepal Fellowship (INF) helping out in their computer department.
As well as working here I do, of course, get weekends off and so get the chance to do some walking and cycling here.  I am based in Pokhara, which is at 800-900m (it is built in a 7km long and 3km wide valley).  Pokhara has great views (on a clear day) of the Annapurna range, which includes Annapurna I, which is a little over 8000m high.

And the less high, but much closer and so more impressive Fish Tail Mountain (6997m).  More locally, there are several 1500m hills around Pokhara (the most popular and being the walk up Sarangkot) and lots smaller than that.  Small compared to the real Himal, but pretty massive by Cambridge standards!

I am not here on my own, but am with my wife, Juliet and 2 year old daughter Tinuviel.  Now Juliet is happy to accompany me on not too strenuous adventures, in which case one of us (me) has to carry Tinuviel on our back or on a child seat on the bike.  Tinuviel, along with her backpack weighs somewhat over 15kg - enough to reduce my cycling and walking ability significantly! What follows is a write-up (from my diary) of a couple of weekend adventures we did recently, which might give a feel of the area and what we are up to, and perhaps encourage you to come to Nepal and see what this beautiful country has to offer.

Pokhara - Naudanda and back

pokhara.jpg (658503 bytes)
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Sat 13th Apr

This morning Tinuviel got up at about 6:20am, but I had woken up earlier and was unable to sleep more so I looked outside and saw that it was pretty cloudy and hazy already so it wasn't possible to see the mountains much at all, so not a good day for my proposed trip up Sarangkot to stay the night. Therefore I spent about an hour reading through my Nepal Guidebook for more ideas of what to do today and tomorrow.  I came up with a couple of ideas which I suggested to Juliet over breakfast (toast and jam) and Juliet approved of my idea of a cycle ride to Naudanda, with the possibility of staying the night there.

We set off and called in on the INF Compound to see if there was anyone to tell about our night away (for security reasons) but there wasn't (!) so we continued on anyway, leaving Pokhara around 10am. Our route was along the Baglung Rd about 20km, but it also climbed over 500m, though most of that was at the end near Naudanda.  The road was reasonable, but when lorries or buses passed us we often had to come off the tarmacked road, and there were a few less good sections.  We rode along the Seti Gondaki gorge for the first 3.5km with lovely river views, but just before the Tibetan Refugee village Juliet's gears got tangled up with a bit of wire from the road which took a bit of time to sort out.  It was quite hot and so we needed a rest which we got at a place in the Tibetan Village, and spent about 45 mins there so Juliet could recover as she was feeling a bit faint.  We had some fanta, and Tinuviel and I played in the garden for a while where there were a couple of tethered goats too. 

We headed off and cycled about 7km before we had another stop.  The road was still gently uphill and the scenery became increasingly rural, with a steeply terraced valley between hills of about 1500m (we were around 1000m here). It was still hazy but it didn't really spoil these rural views. We couldn't find anywhere proper to stop for lunch but we found a little shop where the man offered to go and get us some soft drinks from down the road.  We agreed, and sat for half an hour or so surrounded by the locals who found Tinuviel fascinating - she wasn't so sure about them though!  We headed off and after another 3.5km found a place, Suiket Phedi, where there were proper lodges and restaurants.  It was now about 2pm, and we hadn't had lunch so we stopped and had some chips, huge spring roll things with curried cabbage inside and soft drinks too.  There was also a strange man who kept talking to us throughout the meal. He was very friendly but soon got annoying after a while and we just couldn't eat in peace!  In the end I got fed up when he 'pretended' to steal my bike and later 'had a go' on Juliet's bike, and managed to fall off seriously disturbing the big  backpack I had carefully tied onto the back. The food and drink was good and quite reasonable at 325NR for the lot (about £3), but I was very pleased to leave and get away from the annoying man!

We had another 3km of moderate uphill following which another 3.5km of very serious uphill - this was where the bulk of the 500m height we gained today was found, and it was pretty tiring.  Juliet walked up quite a lot of it, and I cycled, but stopped often to let Juliet catch up, and let T out to let off steam, but I was happy about it too!  There were some great views on the way up, which would have been even better if it hadn't been hazy - but you can't have everything.  We arrived at the to of the hill, Naudanda at about 5pm.  Naudanda is a standard stop on one of the trekking routes from Pokhara, being a reasonable day's trek from Pokhara.
Once at Naudanda we had a very brief look around and spotted a decent looking lodge and Juliet decided the room was acceptable, though extremely basic - a room with 3 beds and a coffee table, and nothing else, and no room for anything else either.  The loo down the corridor was OK though, and there was a cold shower there too.  I had a thorough wash and changed my clothes and felt very much better.  Juliet & Tinuviel had a shower.  I went up to the roof where there were quite good (but hazy) views of the Annapurna range - it would be stunning on a clear day.  What was surprising was that the mountains seemed bigger and more imposing from higher up, rather than less high as I had expected (we are at about 1450m here).  There were two other tourists (Dutch) up on the roof and they said they had walked via Sarangkot today and had had poor views - this evening's hazy view was the best they had had!  Hopefully we will be luckier tomorrow, though unless it rains that it unlikely.

Tinuviel played on the roof for a while and I then did some nappy washing while Juliet kept Tinuviel happy.  We then went downstairs and had dinner.  There were just us and the Dutch couple there.  I had dhal bhaat (rice with lentils and vegetable curry, the standard Nepali meal), with a very small portion of veg (fried spiced cabbage) and watery lentils, but it was OK.  Juliet had vegetable fried rice.  Tinuviel managed to fall asleep while we were waiting for the food and so we put a duvet from our room on a free table and laid her there! 
After dinner we chatted to the Dutch couple and I introduced them to a fun dice game I know, “Can’t Stop”.
After that we retired to our room and Juliet woke up Tinuviel and gave her some rice before getting her back to sleep again. I typed up my diary and went to bed at about 10:15pm, which is quite a late night for Nepal – in Pokhara there is an unofficial 8pm curfew, so nights out on the town aren’t possible!

You can see what Andy and Juliet get up to on the next 2 days in the October Jabberwaoc.

2003 events    2003 events    2003 events

2003 is only 5 months away so already I'm thinking of finding organisers and planners for the new year.

The first event of 2003 will be the Thetford Thrash our biennial double badge event staged in our largest event areas, with Cambridge University putting on the Saturday event this time and WAOC the Sunday event.  Put a note in your diary now to keep the weekend of 25-26 January free.

Here's the list of open events scheduled for 2003.

Date  Venue  Type  Planner  Organiser
26th Jan  Thetford Thrash  Badge Event Filled Filled
23rd Mar  Warden Warren (near Bedford)  Colour-coded    
27th Apr  Somewhere in Thetford Forest  Short Races    
17th May  Ampthill Park (Ampthill!)  Colour-coded    
14th Sept  Bedford Park (in Bedford!)  Try-O    
26th Oct  Mildenhall North  Colour-coded    
23rd Nov  High Ash (Thetford Forest)  Colour-coded    
7th Dec  ??  Yvette Baker Trophy event    


Each of these events is going to require an Organiser and a Planner so that's a minimum of 16 members to be found.  If you wish, we can consider appointing joint organisers and planners for events.

Previous organisers can tell you that each position comes with support from the Events Convenor including a bumper resource pack telling you what, when and how to do it!

Another advantage of being an official is the possibility of improving your ranking for WAGAL points.  Officials get a score equal to their best during the rest of the year.  Well – I think it improves your score!

If you would like to volunteer for any of these positions then contact me,

Bruce Marshall
Events Convenor

01223 246280

On the day helpers

From the event officials for 2002 events

WAOC event organisers are always on the look out for helpers to take on jobs on the day of their events.  As well as contributing to the success of these events you will get to meet colleagues in WAOC.  Go on - make their day with a phone call to volunteer your services.

8th September Wimpole Hall
Hally Hardie   01480 465331
27th October Rowney Warren
Bruce Marshall 01223 246280


"Excerpts from last committee meeting"  18th July 2002

Your committee continues to work hard in keeping the vitality of WAOC bubbling. With a team of 17 officers there is clearly a wide variety of matters to attend to. The following is a sample of issues discussed at the July committee meeting.

The increasing sophistication of technology in our sport means that we are now looking at ways to 'upload' information from BOF databases at an event as well 'downloading' data from competitors SI cards at the end of their runs. All this should make life easier for the registration teams at events as well as speed up the process for runners. Sometimes it's hard to remember O'life before SI punching. The benefits to both runners and the organisers alike are now well established. The WAOC Web site is also undergoing an appraisal to bring it up to date with latest innovations to keep it dynamic! So watch this space.

The events programme this year is fuller than ever before thanks to work by the Fixtures Secretary, the Summer Galoppen Series co-ordinator and the inclusion of the four additional National Orienteering Week events. Plans are already being laid for the Thetford Thrash bi-annual double-badge event co-organised with CUOC at a Thetford forest venue in 2003. A 2004 badge event is being considered for Rowney Warren and approaches are being made to the Knebworth estate for orienteering access.   A previously used area, Warden Warren,  by the Shuttleworth Trust near Biggleswade, is being brought back into use next March.

Mapping remains a priority for all orienteers and the committee keeps a close eye on quality and accuracy of all our maps. The benefits of electronic production using OCad have been reaped for many years now in WAOC. And you will all know that thanks to the efforts of certain individuals "overprinted" courses is now the norm at WAOC events. New areas are constantly being sought and the novel idea of approaching Centre Parcs at Elvedon was raised in light of the recent need to rebuild after the fire. The site is ideal for both foot and bike permanent O' courses.

Under the watchful eye of the treasurer the committee was updated on the very healthy state of finance. As well as investing in new electronic equipment the club continues to invest in people! A number of our talented juniors are currently doing so well that considerations for funding individuals on regional and national squad tours is becoming a regular item on the agenda. Anyone can apply for a subsidy from the club for expenses towards recognised representative honours. Our current policy, for example, is to award funds of up to 33% against standard expenses for the EAOA squad representation. Seniors with representative honours prospects are also welcome to apply for funding. Another project is the review of a new club tent. The committee is looking at the currently popular "Tunnel" tents with possible purchase later this year.

The senior and junior club captains report a growing number of successes in competitions, especially in relay events, which are making a comeback at WAOC. There have been notable successes at both the recent SOS and EA regional relay championships.

The club coach has been working hard to arrange a training camp near Aviemore in Scotland, such are our ambitions in pursuing performance excellence. Look out for a report on this venture! Always on the lookout for new youth in orienteering the committee is supporting a new initiative with School's development and the School's league. Do you know that WAOC has a silver and bronze medal winner from the recent World Schools Orienteering Championships in Portugal? Building on the expanding interest in junior orienteering at WAOC, an idea is currently being developed to start a special group within WAOC devoted to the interests of all juniors to enable them to meet, train and socialise together.

Concentrating on the main purpose of participation, there was much talk about the forthcoming Lakeland 5 Days event which should see a good number of WAOC members spending a summer holiday week in stimulating and challenging terrain. The committee is working to ensure that there will be every opportunity to meet your fellow club members at the event, including helping out together at one of the days.   And it is intended to have the regular multi day dinner either on the Tuesday or Wednesday.  Look out for the notices in the Club tent.

If you have any query or interest in general or specific committee matters please give one of the listed officers a ring.

WAOC Committee Members

An up-to-date web list is available here

August Puzzle

Mark Collis is the author of the August puzzle, which takes the form of a X-word.   Mark was the winner of the June puzzle, which entitles him to a free entry to a WAOC colour coded event of his choice.   It has also entitled him to compile this month’s puzzle.  If you feel you need a little help to get started you can always email Mark with a plea for help. Mark claims he has most of the EA and WAOC maps on OCAD, which helped him win.   It’s no good crying ‘foul’, you could have looked at all your own old maps – if you keep them.   I have kept nearly all of mine dating back 30 years.   It makes for an interesting study of how maps have changed with time.   Many of these carry my analysis of what went wrong, how, and where, and time lost.   These get dragged out from time to time to try to ensure the same errors don’t occur again.   Well, that’s the theory.   It does help you bone up for an area before you compete on it again anyway.

The answers to the June puzzle are:

                   1.   Mildenhall Woods, North section.           2.   Fairlands Valley Park.          3.   Highlodge Warren

                   4.   Bush Heath Woods                               5.   Ampthill Park                       6.   Bromehill

                   7.   Maulden Wood                                     8.   Rowney Warren                   9.   Thetford Warren

Thanks very much to Ian Smith for putting this interesting puzzle together.

On Familiar Ground?

1.       Bridge built in archaic fashion. (4) 1.       Force into the area of theatre. (5)
3.       Angry gesture of deference could be fatal. (8) 2,24   ? (3,3)
8.       Cloth, but not for clothing. (5) 4,17   ? (6,6)
9.       ? (7) 5.       ? (9)
11.     A tree has twisted round. (3) 6.       Used a sort of wide LED. (7)
13.     ? (9) 7.       An island haven for osprey, otter and owl. (4)
14.     ? (6) 10.     Gangsters, to a degree, run motorsport. (5)
16.     A diverse selection. (6) 12.     Poultry consuming beer and pig in Midlands town. (9)
18.     ? (4,5) 14.     Communicate with these nursery accessories. (7)
20.     Drop back to help keep the heat in. (3) 15.     Colour of fallen hero, approximately. (5)
22.     Sounds like cattle have kit for steep hills. (3,4) 17.     See 4
23.     Thin biscuit. (5) 19.     Chopped - about when? (4)
25.     Thinking about playing mixed tennis with an alien. (8) 21.     King Edward's head, missing in a ravine. (5)
26.     Above an era? (4) 24.     See 2



Mark Wadeson, our Jabberwaoc printer and long time WAOC member, has decided to get married.   This prestigious event is due to take place at 4pm on Saturday 7th September in the St Hugh & St John church, Stevenage.   There will be an evening buffet reception at Datchworth Village Hall.   All WAOC are invited to join in Mark’s celebrations, but he requests you let him know as soon as possible, if going, so as to be able to cater for adequate numbers.


Junior Jabber

Follow this link to Junior Jabber, August 2002 edition

Race Analysis

TAMAR day 3, Braunton Burrows
Lindsey Freeman

tamar.jpg (117540 bytes)
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  1. Went in off the path far too soon when I saw what I thought was the wet pit on the map and was consequently several yards out, I had to do a couple of circuits before relocating and finding number 1 partially by luck.
  2. No problem, used the leg I'd decided on and went straight to it. (50% right so far)
  3. Getting away from 2 was the problem here initially, the undergrowth just wouldn't let me take a straight route onto the east west path, very frustrating. Recognised where I came out and set off to the west intending to take the same route marked by Helen/Nicola. Obviously had a mental wipe-out, saw a path to my left, went down to it and realised I'd taken a massive detour, nothing for it but to plough on. When I was trying to explain to Helen afterwards what I'd done wrong her face said it all, she just couldn't comprehend anyone doing such a thing, and apparently thinking it was OK.  You wait ,Helen, for when you're going senile!
  4. Was straightforward, no problem (still 50% success rate)
  5. Also Ok, am I getting the hang of it at last?….
  6. ..perhaps not.. used the gravel across the path to the north of the control as my attack point but got the angle wrong, and went between the wrong two hillocks. I climbed onto the slightly higher ground along the beach, had a look about, and was then able to locate what I thought was the likely area. By pure fluke it was right.
  7. The control area on a high bit of ground could be seen from some way off so although I didn't hit it spot on I was close enough not to lose more than a few seconds making a last minute correction.
  8. This started off well with a nice downhill run then onto a path but I totally misidentified the line of thickets I was intending to go between (I note Helen/Nicola didn't have any problem at that point). Ended up overlooking the beach and the remains of an old wooden structure. Took me a moment to realise what I was looking at and locating it on the map. But once I had, it was a quick dash along the boardwalk and up to the right into the control.
  9. Not spot on but close, someone (another WAOC but can't recall who) had just come out of it and indicated the exact depression-thanks whomever!
  10. No problem, I suppose I'd made all the mistakes I could have done by then!

   F    Even I couldn't screw up an 80m leg with tapes…. although come to think of it I can recall a certain Welsh 6 day event …..

1    W18A  Helen Gardner     1:40  7:15  15:23  19:14  22:39  26:37  32:23    38:04    40:17   41:33     41:56
           WAOC              1:40  5:35   8:08   3:51   3:25   3:58   5:46     5:41     2:13     1:16     0:23

17   W45A  Nicola Gardner    4:42 13:20  26:13  32:13  37:51  44:39  53:09  1:05:01  1:07:50  1:09:47  1:10:18
           WAOC              4:42  8:38  12:53   6:00   5:38   6:48   8:30    11:52     2:49     1:57     0:31

1    W50A  Lindsey Freeman   3:11  8:09  19:18  23:35  27:00  34:15  40:36    49:02    52:07    53:28    53:52
           WAOC              3:11  4:58  11:09   4:17   3:25   7:15   6:21     8:26     3:05     1:21     0:24


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