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April 2003

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What great weather for orienteering we've been having! It isn't often that we can sit on the grass basking in the sun with a picnic after an event comparing split times, but that's what I've done the last 3 times I've been orienteering. The download team at Warden Warren also had the pleasure of working in the open. The only problem was the sun shining on the computer screens!

Since the last issue, we've had the AGM at which lots of awards, including key fobs and cream eggs were presented. This issue includes the minutes from this. We've also taken part in the Compass Sport Cup near Nottingham and we've had the East Anglian Championships at Silverstone. More of these later.

Hally gives us the story of how the West Anglian Orienteering Club came into being and provides some useful tips for speeding up your orienteering. If you'd like to do some training then please note the local training event planned as well as the weekend away in the Lake District.

Happy reading.

Julia Wotton

Next Copy Date

25th May 2003


Congratulations to our Captain Ian Renfrew and Jenni Barclay who are tying the knot this April. Best wishes for your future.

WAOC Membership Information


We extend a warm welcome to:

Eleanor Pippard from Cambridge
Jonathan and Caroline Rees and family
(Olly M15, Nick M13 and Gus M6)
from Royston
Ian and Aleta Watson and family
(Gavin M19 and Shelley W16)
from Waterbeach

We hope that you will all enjoy orienteering with us.

Anne Duncumb

WAOC O Tops For Sale

WAOC winter O-tops sizes 4 -7 are now in stock, price £16 + 40p for postage. There is also one summer O-top size 6 available, price £19.50. Please contact Anne Duncumb for details (duncumb@compuserve.com or phone 01223-843064)

Reminder: Unused Maps From Past Events

Organisers and planners are requested to please return all maps left over from events to Fred Northrop. Often small quantities of maps are needed afterwards and if the spare ones are not returned it means that fresh ones have to be printed, sometimes unnecessarily.



Captains Corner

If you have not already contacted me, or can't remember if you have, about the BOC relays. Please do so now, here are some details:

British Championships 2003

The relay is on Sunday 18th May 2003 at Greno Woods, Sheffield.

Again please contact me if you'd like a relay run, indicating which course you'd prefer to be on (age category, short/long open etc). Further information can be found at http://www.southyorkshireorienteers.org.uk/BOC2003 

Please contact me by 15 April 2003.

Contacting the Captain 

It may be easiest to contact me by email: i.renfrew@bas.ac.uk 

Otherwise, I am moving again, so don't have a reliable phone number at the moment. Also I am getting married and so away from home between the 5th April and the 20th. If you want to contact me by phone about the BOC during this time, use email, or leave a phone message with the Club

Chairman, who can pass it on to me.

When you contact me it would be useful if you could let me know some entry information: your name, age class, BOF number, SI number, what you'd like to run.

Happy running

Ian Renfrew 


0304agm.jpg (88569 bytes)The WAOC AGM was held at St Matthew's Church Hall, Cambridge on 22nd March 2003. There were games and food and drink as well as the main business of the evening. Thanks to Blanka for the photo. This was the first year that the Chairman's Cup was awarded, and it was introduced as an equivalent to the Owl trophy, which usually ends up being awarded to a senior orienteer. The Chairman's Cup is awarded to a WAOC junior who has shown greatest improvement or consistent good performance throughout the year.

0304WagalTrophy.jpg (131714 bytes)Also presented this year to the winners of the WAGAL was a pewter permanent trophy designed by Rolf Crook.

Junior Jabberwaoc has some photos of the awards ceremony as well as a report from a Junior member. Here are the minutes of the meeting including a full list of awards presented:


Robert, Alice, Susan, Caitlin & Dylan Campbell, Rolf Crook, Peter & Anne Duncumb, Nicola, Helen & Simon Gardner, Maurice, Pamela, Thomas & Hemingway, Roger Horton, Neil, Pauline, Philip & Martin Humphries, Graham, Caroline, Edward, Sophie & Thomas Louth, Bruce & Maria Marshall, Tim Mulcahy, Fred Northrop, Ron & Ursula Oxburgh, Cath Pennington, Blanka & Katrin Sengerova, Adrian & Helen Taylor, Julia Wotton

1) Apologies for absence.

Mike Capper, Mark Collis, Lindsay Freeman, Hally Hardie, Ian Renfrew, Jitka Sengerova, Peter & Sue Woods

2) Minutes of the last AGM 2002

The minutes of the last AGM were approved without correction.
     Proposed: Graham Louth, seconded: Helen Taylor

3) Chairman's Report

The chairman gave his report of the year.

4) Acceptance of Accounts

The annual accounts were presented by Caroline Louth who reported that they had been audited and approved by Richard Gibbens. The meeting approved the accounts as presented.
     Proposed: Anne Duncumb, seconded: Bruce Marshall.

There were no queries raised on the accounts.

5) Awards and Presentations

Neil Humphries presented the following Chairman's Awards:

Blank Sengerova reported that WAOC were the winners of the 2003 Icenian Trophy that was presented to the Club.

Here is a full list if the awards presented:

WAGAL Champions  2002  

These are effectively the club champions, the scoring being based on scores from WAOC colour coded and badge events during the year. The juniors, for the purposes of the WAGAL, are M/W10s up to M/W18s. the scoring system for this league is described on the club web site.

First Second Third
Junior men Thomas Louth Martin Humphries Jamie Taylor
Junior women Katrin Sengerova Clare Woods Katrina Taylor
Senior men James Hodson Guy Mackenzie Ian Scott
Senior women Blanka Sengerova Julia Wotton Helen Christopher
Veteran men Neil Humphries Adrian Taylor Hally Hardie
Veteran women Lindsey Freeman Janis Ryall Ursula Oxburgh

Summer Gallopen  2002

The summer gallopens are the events that happen on Wednesday evenings during the summer months and the final score is a total of all your scores - so the more events you go to the better your chance to win the league. For the purposes of the summer gallopen, juniors are M/W10s up to M/W20s.

Junior men Neil Northrop Simon Gardner Jamie Taylor
Junior women Blanka Sengerova Clare Woods Helen Bickle
Senior men Rolf Crook Mark Collis Marcus Misson
Senior women Julia Wotton Jean Sinclair Janette Edwards
Veteran men Roger Horton Ian Lawson Maurice Hemingway
Veteran women Lindsey Freeman Nicola Gardner Maria Marshall

Participants in the Peter Palmer Junior relays

Helen Gardner - Red (night) Martin Humphries - Red (night)
Simon Gardner - Lt Green (dawn) Clare Woods - Lt Green
Edward Louth - Orange Jamie Taylor - Orange
Katrina Taylor - Yellow Peter Gardner - Green

Juniors   -  Colour coded badges  

To recognise the achievements and improvements of WAOC juniors in terms of orienteering standards they reach, little statues of animals were awarded to juniors who had achieved a new colour coded standard within the last year.

WHITE Caitlin Campbell, Thomas Hemingway
YELLOW  Alice Campbell, Thomas Louth, Katrina Taylor, Duncan Taylor,Katrin Sengerova
ORANGE Adam Smith
LIGHT GREEN Edward Louth, Jamie Taylor
GREEN Clare Woods, Simon Gardner

Junior Progress

Rory Braggins
William Louth
Dylan Campbell
Catherine Hemingway

East Anglian Champions 2002

First Second Third
W10  Sophie Louth Alice Campbell
M10  Thomas Louth
M12 Edward Louth
M14  Jamie Taylor
W14     Clare Woods
M16  Martin Humphries Lewis Hadler
M21  Ian Renfrew
W35  Julia Wotton
M35  Robert Campbell
M40  Neil Humphries
M45  Adrian Taylor
W50  Lindsey Freeman
M60  Chris Morley

6) Election of Officers

The following three principal officers were elected.
Chairman: Neil Humphries - Proposed Ursula Oxburgh, Seconded Julia Wotton
Secretary: Tim Mulcahy - Proposed Graham Louth, Seconded Bruce Marshall
Treasurer: Caroline Louth - Proposed Rolf Crook, Seconded Mark Collis

7) Any Other Business

Anne Duncumb reported that the WAOC O' Tops had arrived and were available for collection.

Ursula Oxburgh reminded the meeting of the forthcoming programme of SMILE events aimed at Juniors. Ursula said that the first event would take place at Coe Fen, Cambridge on 26th April - planned by Edward Louth and Organised by Sophie Louth. Ursula thanked all families who had volunteered to plan and organise the events and asked the meeting to spread the word to fellow WAOC orienteers.

Recent Events

0304tt.JPG (71778 bytes)Although not so recent now, the Thetford Thrash on 23rd/24th January was a great success with 905 competitors attending over the two days! The benign weather for the time of year almost certainly helped both events although they weren't without their problems. At the WAOC event the printers packed up preventing us printing splits or results later in the day. Also the toilets failed to flush for a while. It looks like the planner (Ian Renfrew on the left) enjoyed himself or perhaps that's a look of relief that the work was virtually all over for him! The organiser (Tim Mulcahy on the right) also looks remarkable calm! Thanks to Rolf for the photo.

The original printed results had an error for the W45L course. Here are the corrected results:

Name Club Day1   Pos Day2   Pos Total
1     Jenny Selley BOK 0:45:59(1) 0:44:05(1) 1:30:04
2 Jackie Chapman SLOW 0:46:16(2) 0:44:54(2) 1:31:10
3 Lyn West SOS 1:02:26(5)  0:53:39(4)  1:56:05
4 Nicola Gardner WAOC 0:57:39(3) 0:59:22(7) 1:57:01
5 Hilary Sellens SOS 1:02:48(6) 0:59:02(6) 2:01:50
6 Kay Hughes HOC 0:59:56(4) 1:06:25(10) 2:06:21
7 Barbara Fothergill HAVOC 1:14:07(7) 1:08:59(11) 2:23:06
Kim Eden NOR 0:50:55(3)
Anita Kingdon SAX 0:58:23(5)
Sue Hooper HH 1:01:45(8)
Sue Woods WAOC  1:04:48(9)
Penny Parkes HH 1:10:40(12)

EA Champs

On 23rd February it was the East Anglian Championships 2003 at Silverstone Woods. The turn out was rather disappointing but WAOC took a good proportion of the trophies. WAOC has the following 2003 East Anglian champions:

M10  Thomas Louth
M14  Jamie Taylor
M35  Robert Campbell
W10  Alice Campbell
W12  Sophie Louth
W16  Clare Woods
W35  Julia Wotton
W50  Lindsey Freeman
W70  Anne Duncumb

CompassSport Cup

On 16th March it was the first round of the Compass Sport Cup at Blidworth Woods near Nottingham. WAOC had 29 competitors, 18 of which scored points, plus a few others who did not run Compass Sport Cup courses or only entered on the day and therefore did not count.  Only the highest 3 competitors from each club on each course can score points. We never expect to win this as NOC are so strong. However, it would have been nice to beat NOR but we were missing a few key people due to illness and other commitments so were narrowly beaten by them. Neil Northrop had a stunning run for us winning the A course. The club points were as follows:

Club Points First places Second places Third places Entries
NOC 254 4 4 4 54
DVO 180 2 1 2 43
NOR 148 0 0 1 31
WAOC 134 1 0 0 29
LEI 105 0 2 0 27

Puzzle Corner

Here is the solution to the February puzzle as provided by Hally Hardie. This was rather tricky (I couldn't get it to work myself). I don't feel that anyone really got close enough to award a prize this time but I hope those who did have a go enjoyed it.

The control descriptions for the course have been produced by me from the map with the solution that Hally gave me so I hope they are ok. I'll correct them in the next edition if they are wrong.

Length 4.1km 12 controls
Start path junction
1 knoll
2 earthwall end
3 post
4 knoll
5 pond NE side
6 ruin S corner
7 ditch junction
8 thicket NW side
9 bridge N side
10 earthbank end
11 hill N side
12 vegetation boundary corner
navigate 120m to finish
0304Hinch Puzzle.jpg (105454 bytes)
Excerpt showing controls 1-4 and 9-12

For this issue here are some brain teasers from Bruce….


Below are 4 questions. Answer them instantly. You can't take your time. Answer them immediately. No pencil or paper! OK? Let's find out just how smart and clever an orienteer you really are. Ready? ... GO!!!

FIRST QUESTION: You are running in the JK relays.  You are doing well. You see the second place runner ahead of you.  They make a mistake and you overtake the second person.  What position are you in?

ANSWER: If you answer that you are first, then you are absolutely wrong! If you overtake the second person and you take their place, you are second! Try not to mess up the next question. To answer the second question, don't take as much time as you took for the first question. (You know you took too much time.)

SECOND QUESTION: You are now running at The British Relays.  The team is not doing so well this time.  If you overtake the last person, then you are...?

ANSWER: If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me, how can you overtake the LAST person?!

THIRD QUESTION: Very tricky math! Note: This must be done in your head only.

Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. Try it. Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What is the total?

ANSWER: Did you get 5000? The correct answer is actually 4100. Don't believe it? Check with your calculator! Today is definitely not your day. Maybe you will get the last question right?

LAST QUESTION: Mary's father has five daughters: Nana, Nene, Nini, Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?

ANSWER: Nunu? Nana? Nene? NONO! Of course not. The fifth daughter's name is Mary. Read the question again.

How did you score?
1 correct - you're in the team
2 correct - you're the team captain
3 correct - did you cheat?
4 correct - you are the team and running all the legs!!

West Anglian Orienteering Club -  And In The Beginning……………………….

It was on a Sunday in mid-August 1972, the 10th if my memory serves me!, that 5 people came together at my home in Needingworth, near St Ives, to discuss the potential for forming an orienteering Club.

A few months before, in May, following the 2nd ever East Anglian O event at Wolsingham Fen near Sandringham, a meeting was held in Kings Lynn.   This meeting brought together all East Anglian parties interested in establishing our sport in the region.   A Steering Committee was brought into being under one Geoffrey Hines, not an orienteer but an educator with an interest in archaeology, and a passion for organising.   At this meeting various people offered, or were pressurised, into looking into further promoting the sport within their own portion of EA.   I was looking in the wrong direction when the finger selected me for the western part of East Anglia.

With the help of Peter Leverington, who had already been in the sport for a few years, and who has lived, seemingly forever, in Deeping St James, I advertised and ran a small introductory talk on the subject in Peterborough.   This was either June or July.  A handful of people attended, including Maurice and Mike Capper.   I'm not too sure whether Mike was a willing attendee or whether his father had used the three-line whip.   But, interestingly, they both became devoted to the sport.  From this meeting we had a few volunteers who agreed to come to my home to work out whether we wished to work together to establish an orienteering Club.

Of the 5 people at this meeting 4 eventually became members of what was to become WAOC.  One of these was a CUOC doctorate student (David Cundall) who had pedalled, the long way around some 30 plus miles, to get to the meeting.  I'm not sure if it was to concentrate more on his studies or that his navigation skills weren't quite so good, but David didn't stay long in the sport.  Of the other 3 I'm the only one remaining .  The other two, (Norman McPhail and Ted Buthcer) who both lived in Peterborough, dropped out some 4 to 5 years later.  I suspect they felt all the travelling too costly.  The 5th body, who had just become a member of LEI, decided to stay with that Club.  This was Roger Cole, currently of SMOC, but previously of HH (errr.. that's Happy Herts!).  It was at this August Meeting that we, 4 of us, agreed to put on event, location as yet unknown, as soon as possible.

Brampton Wood was the closest sizeable patch of woodland to me.  I was about to say suitable, which I thought it was at the time, but in retrospect the area was pretty grotty.   However, I got Peter Leverington to vet the patch out with me.  He was more enthusiastic than I, and much more knowledgeable. Crikey, I had only orienteered in this country about 4 times at this stage and really had little idea what to expect.  Fired with Peter's enthusiasm I sought, and got, Forestry Commission approval as the land administrators, but the owners were MoD.  Being RAF at the time it was quite easy to get MoD approval for the wood's usage.   Being an RAF navigator flying out of Wyton on photographic reconnaissance and aerial survey missions I was in a position to fly stereo survey photography of the wood.  Which I then did.  This must have been about September/October 1972.  I then got on with the footslogging after drawing a base map from photos and a 1927 OS 1:10560 (6" to the mile - 1:10,000 equivalent) map.  [Ed - If you want to see what the map looked like, Hally has a copy of it].  Front end of technology in those days for O-maps was a fresh drawn map using two screens, one for black and one for brown.  The two colours were further refined by using Letrasett screening which gave an impression of shades for varying reasons.  The printer then brought the two screens together into the one print by a two-stage process.   Some other clubs were still using copied OS 6" to mile or even 2½" (1:25,000 equivalent) maps and Snowpaking out the mini trees and other unwanted detail, or just redrawing the needed detail by tracing.  We are talking here about an era before cheap photocopying.  Indeed, there weren't too many photocopiers around, and what few there were were extremely expensive to use.  Have you ever heard of Roneo copying machines, or smelt the type of copiers, which used methylated spirits jelly?  Well these were other alternatives we used back then.  You didn't need glue sniffing with the meths around?  You will recognise that we've come on leaps and bounds since then.  It really is all too easy now, and much cheaper, pro rata, than then.  Indeed, I suspect that the true cost of O, to you the competitor, is now cheaper per event than in 1972.  Please take note those of you who think it's currently too expensive.

And so it came to pass………………………… that on Sunday 13th (or was it 11th?) January 1973 West Anglian Orienteering Club had it's first ever event, mapped, planned and organised by Yours Truly.  Peter Leverington controlled this event.  I think I'm correct in saying that we had 123 competitors, but it might have been 113.   Some of these had come from Nottingham, a very long trip for this sort of thing in those days.  Apart from the usual squash at the finish I also managed to get an urn of lovely hot, rich, tomato soup out of the RAF.  And by golly was that welcome.  The day was bright and sunny, but very chilly, with a light crisp layer of snow on the ground.  I had also got a couple of Hunts Post reporters out for the event hence the photographs, two of which show a rather young Mike Capper (to his current embarrassment).  Regrettably I've lost the verbal blurb that went with the photos, but this was quite informative.  And would you believe, but the very first event I stage I get a casualty.  A guy came in with a bent arm - fell over a wet tree trunk, I was told.  So I had to take him off to Huntingdon hospital, who sorted out his dislocated shoulder.  Then I had to get back to tidy the place up and retrieve the controls for the short, medium and long courses provided, one of which was a Norwegian.  Any of you out there know what I'm talking about?  I have never had such a casualty since then in all the 'n' years and 'n' events I have since organised.  This event was deemed a success despite the grotty wood.  Perhaps it was due to the sunny day, or even the hot soup.  But from thereon the Club developed apace.

0304styles.jpg (190680 bytes)

Some early orienteering experiences (note the clothing - no flashy O suits or shoes for these people!)

0304finish.jpg (126131 bytes)

A simple finish. Where are all the helpers?

And the Club Name?  Where did that come from?   Well, Geoffrey Hines passed on the comment to me that an American he knew had asked, 'I know this is East Anglia, but where is West Anglia?'  And so it seems we had discovered it.  Very soon after that a number of other organisations, including the police, started using the term - have you come across WAGN?

And so that was the start of O as we know it around here.  Perhaps I'll write another episode as to where we went in the next year or two - if I get invited back!

Hally Hardie 
March 2003

Bragginses and Birkinshaws

At the successful Warden Warren re-launch we had past members of WAOC attending.  Sue and Ian Birkinshaw of MDOC had been to a function in Cambridge on the Saturday.  As they hadn't actually competed on WW when previously used they thought they would give it a try.  Unbeknown to them their son Julian, a past winner of the Capricorn in a head to head with Mark Seddon (and a past pupil of The Perse), brought his family up from Beaconsfield.  Not a short distance for such a small event.

And so the family had a happy reunion on a wonderful day in splendid surroundings.  They were all wagging their tails.  Julian has not been running since his Capricorn win in 1995 due to contracting ME.  He is now trying to make a comeback - gently.  Looking at his time at WW he is not being that gentle.  Julian was also the original mapper of Coe Fen and the Harlston Clunch Pit.

The Birkinshaws were amongst the earliest Club members.  I think it was during 1973, maybe 1974, that I ran a small introductory lecture, with a BOF film, at the army base in Bassingbourn.  It was a very hot day. The Braggins were at the same meeting since the families were good friends, living nigh opposite each other in Meldreth.  An embarrassing feature about that introductory lecture was that the key I was given by the guardroom for the lecture room opened only one door - the back door.  The screen was one of these heavy canvass jobs laced to a very hefty metal frame, which stretched the full width, and height, of the small, stuffy room.  No one could locate the key for the other, front, door.  And of course the projector was in the other bit.  However, pioneer orienteers being of the true thought sport character thought through the problem and;  we unlaced the bottom of the screen, crawled through - yes all of us, even Anne - relaced the screen, had our film and lecture, then left in the reverse fashion.  That is how the Birkinshaws and Braggins were introduced to Orienteering.  Impressive or what?

Hally Hardie


There will be some fun training exercises aimed at adults and juniors available at the SMILE /limited colour coded event at Ampthill on 7th June. This should include the famous Radio-O that some of you have tried at other places. Just turn up on the day.

This year's club training weekend will be in the Lake District hopefully on the weekend of 28th June (still to be confirmed). For this I need to know numbers in advance. I hope to be using High Dam and if possible Bigland. These are both good areas with lots of possibilities for practising complex contours. We will be staying in self catering accommodation near the areas. The cost will be approximately £30 per person (£15 for juniors) not including food or transport there.

If you would like to attend, please return the form below with a deposit of £15 per person. Please indicate if you need or can provide transport. Please return to

Julia Wotton
17 Roseford Road


I/We (name) ______________________________________ of
would like to attend the WAOC Lake District Training Weekend 2003

No of adults: ______
No of juniors: ______
Total deposit enclosed: £_____
*I/We need transport
*I/We can provide transport for ____ people

* delete as appropriate


The Seconds Savers

This is an article that was produced in Compass Sport several years ago and is worth a revisit.

'Take care of the seconds and the minutes take care of themselves,'


You might think that at your level of orienteering competence, with a standard performance putting you an hour behind the usual winner of your course, that talk of saving seconds is just nonsense.  Or perhaps you're about to move up a course and you KNOW you're going to drop back down the list. But just consider that it is very easy to waste 30 seconds or more at each control without actually making mistakes, and if you have 20 controls on your course, well, that's 10 minutes thrown away.  For instance, do you stop at each control to plan your next leg when you could have worked it out on the run before?  Do you take precise bearings when a rough one will do?  Do you approach the control not knowing the code and then fumble for your control card/dibber and drop your map?  Do you circle the control site not knowing how to read the forest signs?  Do you stop to look at your map half a dozen times between controls to confirm what you already know?  Need I go on?

All these, individually are, or can be, minor points, but together they can add up to several minutes wasted.  Not only that, but the accumulation of frustration caused can adversely affect your mental attitude.  I contend that if you have a clear system to work to, practised and perfected, so that it becomes instinctive, then you can sharpen your performance, move up the results list, or tackle a more difficult course with confidence.

1. Saving Seconds At Home

1.1. Work out a satisfactory method for carrying your control card/dibber. I prefer to carry my card suspended from a reinforced corner by a re-usable cord or elastic attached to my left wrist, or my dibber is on a cord wrapped firmly around my wrist (for security) with the dibber on the outside of my middle finger.  I can hold the card with my map while running yet it allows me to twist and turn the card to read the details on the run and to manipulate the punch at the control. Using the dibber I have a description sheet holder as sold by Ultrasport (thanks for the free shoes Ian/Ken!) wrapped around my left wrist.  Others pin the card or descriptions to their wrist, trousers or even the chest of their O top.  But it is sometimes inconvenient to get the card on your chest or leg down to the punch, if for instance the string has become wound round the cane.   Bending down to your chest will also inhibit your breathing.

1.2. Keep all your O equipment in a box or pencil case, and don't borrow from it!  Check it out for cleanliness and serviceability from time to time.

Psyche yourself up at the start -remind yourself of your goals for this event

1.3. Carry out repairs or replacements as soon as you get home. If you haven't done so, check the condition of clothes, shoe laces, control card/description sheet holders, pens etc. at least two days before the event so that you can visit the shops if you need to.  Yes, clean your shoes now as well, whilst the mud is still reasonably soft.   Do you really want to be faced with caked hard mud on your shoes 5 minutes before you drive off to your next event?   And muddy shoes means a heavier, unnecessary weight to carry around, apart from dirty fingers putting them on.

1.4 If you have a map from a previous event at the same place, stick it up in the bathroom a week beforehand and peruse at your leisure!

1.5. If you keep a diary, read up on comments from your last visit to that forest, or your last event, to see what problems you need to watch out for this time.

1.6. Make sure you understand travel arrangements if you are travelling with others.

1.7. Check how far the car park is from assembly and starts. And if pre-booking, ask for a start time that will let you arrive at the car park without panic. If you are fairly local, it would probably be helpful to offer to take an early start.  This could be beneficial to you, ie fewer people in the forest to lead you astray.

1.8. Listen to the weather forecast and take cold/wet weather gear -or extra drink -if necessary.

1.9. Don't count on the master maps being under cover. If the weather is wet, take an extra large plastic bag so that you can draw the course on your map inside the bag.  Don't forget to keep old, good quality bags from previous events for the lesser events without prebagged maps.

1.10. Transpaseal/clear Fablon for your control card, although expensive, is less likely to catch on punches without marking your card than a loose bag.   I recognise control cards are now becoming a thing of the past, but they are still used for minor and midweek events.

2. Saving Seconds in the Car Park.

For colour coded courses with master map system.

2.1. Allow yourself time to copy any map corrections. Try to get a picture of, or a feel for, any major directional features. How old/accurate is the map?  Do you know the mapper's style?  If it's summer some of the wet features may be less reliable.  The opposite can be the case in winter when pits and depressions can become ponds, and we even get small lakes in some low lying ground.

2.2. Often, white and yellow courses will be on view, allowing you to mark the start and finish. 

2.3. Always, always protect your control card and map. Even if it isn't raining, marshes, sweat, mud and blood can have a detrimental effect on them.   Reading a muddy map can be impossible, but you can always remove a muddy plastic bag if necessary.

2.4. Copy control descriptions and codes onto your control card (if carried), and if you don't understand a control description, ask someone.   I orienteered for 6 months before I knew what a re-entrant was.

2.5. Don't assume pens will be provided. In dry weather a red biro is best, in wet weather a red spirit fibretip pen/chinagraph pencil. Felt tips are usually too thick and obscure useful information. If there are second master maps, a different coloured pen helps to avoid confusion.   In cold weather ensure your ballpoint works by frequent testing before you come to need it.   It is possible to keep it free flowing by putting the working end in your mouth - with care of course.

2.6. Tape up shoe and gaiter laces with electrician's tape to avoid twigs and heather getting caught in them, and tripping you up, or allowing them to work loose.

2.7. Check the map scale and if applicable fix the correct bezel on your compass. If you know your 100m pacing you could also stick on a pace scale.

2.8. Check where North is and whether you are already on the map.

2.9. Check your distances on the ground with the map.

In all cases,

2.10. Allow time to get to the start, doing warm up and body preparation en route, and making an assessment of the terrain vis a vis the map (if available).

3. Saving Seconds at the Start.

3.1. If you arrive early, keep moving - don't scupper your physical preparation and get cold by chatting to your pals. 

3.2. Get psyched up; remind yourself of your goal for this event. Is it a training effort because you want to concentrate on compass-work etc, or is it a serious race?

If using pre-marked maps, this may be your first sight of control descriptions and the map. Collect control descriptions if you haven't already been able to do so.

Try to absorb major directional features and assess the map when viewing this in the start lanes.

If using the master map system;

3.3. Keep your pen warm and the ink running, on a freezing day suck the useful end, and test on the back of map or control card. 

3.4. Just before the start beep/whistle take your map out of its bag, ready for marking.


3.5. Check which way is north, and what is the direction those on your course are starting off on.

3.6. Memorise your first control description and code.

3.7. If you can identify someone else on your course ahead of you, watch the direction they take. They might be right, or even wrong!

3.8. Make sure you know which course you are doing and where to find it amongst the map boxes or master maps. Ask the starter if it's not obvious or on display.

3.9. When copying your course, use your left finger to trace your course on the master map, while writing with your right (vice versa if you're left-handed).

3.10. Make a good-sized circle that doesn't obliterate useful detail (but not too big) and mark inter-connecting lines where you could lose your sense of direction. Remember this becomes more likely as you become more tired. Do you need to write every control number or just alternates, or at all if using inter-connecting lines?  You will know of your own foibles.

4. Saving Seconds in the Forest.

After punching leave each control fast - and know in which direction to run.

4.l. Try to remember as many control codes and descriptions as you can but don't waste time forever checking if you haven't that good a memory. Fatigue can change your abilities in this respect during the course of the competition.

4.2. Try to plan your route as far ahead as you can, if possible finding easy running at some point where you can study the map on the move. Be prepared to change your plan if the terrain proves different from what you expected but beware of indecision -one of the orienteer's worst enemies.

4.3. Fold your map as small as is feasible so that you don't have to search all over it for information.

4.4. Keep your thumb on your place and shift it along as you pass major features.

4.5. Can you feel the punch marks on your control card so that you can put your thumb on the next blank space when approaching the control?  Dibbers make it much easier, but listen out for the beep, and reinsert your dibber if there is ANY doubt.   The system will cope with any double entry.

4.6. DON'T try to save seconds by not checking the code!   And know what your control description and code is well before your reach it.

4.7. Go for the punch not the string unless it's swinging, in which case go for the top of the stake and run your fingers down the cord.   Dibber control is a bit different and needs to be practised.   It can be surprisingly difficult to hit that hole when you're tired and sweat is in your eyes or your glasses are all misted up and covered with rain.

4.8. After punching, don't stand there like a Belisha beacon. Get out fast!  It may prevent someone else saving seconds from your presence.  But know where you're going.  Either pre-set your compass for a rough exit, or use the sun or shadows. Indeed, it's better to know what your exit direction will be well before you actually punch at the control.  You could be assessing the route out as you finalise your route in.

4.9. Observe fellow orienteers. If they're quiet and moving positively, have they found the control or a good track through the forest - where are they coming from? - or they know where the control is and where are they going?  If they're standing still scratching their heads, don't join them, they're no use to you. But just because they haven't found it doesn't mean it isn't there.  And "it" of course, might not be the same "it" as you want.

4.10. Stopping is very good for your opponents so don't do it. Remember the old saying A Walk Is As Good As A Rest.  And if all your bits are safely attached, you can put your map in your mouth and use your hands for steep hills. Deep breathing helps too, don't be embarrassed about the noise, but it could give your location away if you're trying to be discrete. And if you need some competition to make you move faster, then pick on someone to race -but don't forget to orienteer as well. Even the best of orienteers sometimes go the wrong way, or could even be running up, or down a course.

4.11.  Following others on your course is discouraged.   However, all too many mistakes are made and time lost by trying to avoid others on your course.   Trying to find a different route from what you'd planned just because someone else is using it could lead you astray.   Try to avoid this.   And, of course, the person you're following might be making an almighty great booboo.   Keep concentrating.

Coming into the finish keep up your speed until you hear that reassuring "now", OR until you plug your dibber into that final hole.  Then relax.

Hally Hardie

Report From The Grizzly

I have written before in detail about what this multi-terrain race in Devon is all about so wont repeat it all again this time. So this is just a brief report on the Grizzly 2003 which took part on 9th March.

This year 5 WAOC members (Tim Mulcahy, Lindsey Freeman, Rob Court, Peter Woods and Julia Wotton) had entered the Grizzly. Also 3 CUPRC people and 2 NOR people had entered that I knew of. Nearly everyone seemed to be suffering from injuries (or arthritic knees) and several people had to drop out. Clive and Steve from CUPRC who could not compete came down to Sidmouth to support the others cycling round the area instead of running. Those who actually took part were Tim Mulcahy, Jennie Grimwood of CUPRC, Julia Wotton, Peter Woods, Steve Searle (NOR) and Helen Lloyd (NOR).

Some foolish competitor from last year commented that last year's race of 18 miles was not hard enough so this year they made us run a "good 20 miles" with more beach and more hills. The winning man said it was the hardest Grizzly he had ever done. It was a nice course though. At the end of a 2+ mile stretch of Beach after Branscombe there was a driftwood memorial to "absent friends". Many people had left ribbons on it in memory of loved ones. Tim Mulcahy and I stopped to leave a Chariots of Fire medal with Dave Wotton written on the ribbon in memory of Dave.

I certainly found it pretty tough and I'm sure several people felt they should have done a bit more training. I'm sure Clive's knees would have seriously suffered.

A total of 1495 people completed the race. The winning time was 2:15:23 and the winning lady 2:38:48. The longest time was 6:13:44.

Of those people you might know, the times were:

Steve Searle3:34:15 (629)
Helen Lloyd 3:35:06 (638)
Tim Mulcahy3:37:40 (672)
Julia Wotton3:42:41 (723)
Peter Woods 4:23:27 (1206)
Jennie Grimwood5:26:22 (1470)

Peter had not had time to do enough training and suffered towards the end although Tim, Julia and Peter had largely kept together until the 14th mile.

The weather was kind to us. We did not get rained on and the sun even came out for a while. It was a little windy (though not as bad as last year) but it was very cold at the end once we'd stopped running. The scenery was as ever quite stunning. Now we're all nursing aches and pains. The things we do for fun!

Julia Wotton

Summer Galloppen 2003

The WAOC Summer Galoppen is a series of orienteering events, of various genres, usually every fortnight on a Wednesday evening, where we navigate round parkland under the setting sun. Neither the organisers nor competitors take them too seriously - the emphasis is on fun and participation - so why not come along. Starts are typically from 6:30pm to 7pm, but may be extended, or occasionally there is a mass start.  Further details from the WAOC web page.

0304mid3b.jpg (352358 bytes)
Here's what Midsummer Common looks like on a sunny day (obviously not in June!) to entice you along
7 May Port Holme, Huntingdon TL239713 Hally Hardie
Extended starts (6pm to 7.30pm), 2km and 6km courses, National Outdoor Week
14 May Coe Fen, Cambridge TL446573 Mark Collis
28 May Coldham's Common, Cambridge TL474590 Julia Wotton
11 June Bar Hill TL379637 Fred Northrop
25 June Midsummer Common, Cambridge TL460590 Rolf Crook
9 July Wimpole Hall (provisional) TL338510 Roger Horton
23 July Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon, TL222718 Marcus Misson

Note that some of these events are provisional, so if in any doubt you are advised to contact the organiser or Rolf Crook (rolf@rolf.me.uk or 01223 569443).

We are looking for organisers for a few events in August and September. If you would like to organise one or have any other queries, then please contact Rolf Crook, who is coordinating this year in place of Hally Hardie.


Still looking for 4 officials

The club is still looking for 1 planner and 3 organisers to complete the major events programme for this year.

Here's the revised list of open events for the rest of this year.

Date  Venue  Type  Planner  Organiser
27th Apr Bush Heath (Mildenhall) Short Races ü ü
7th June Ampthill Park (near Ampthill!) Colour-coded ü ü
14th Sept Bedford Park (in Bedford!) Try-O
26th Oct Mildenhall North Colour-coded ü
23rd Nov Maulden Colour-coded ü ü
7th Dec High Ash (Thetford Forest) Yvette Baker Trophy event ü

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!The Bedford Park event would be a good start for those who feel daunted by the bigger events.  We'll be using manual punches and there's only 4 shortish courses to be planned.Don't forget that being an official will improve your ranking for WAGAL points.  Officials get a score equal to their best during the rest of the year.

WAOC Committee Members

An up-to-date web list is available here

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