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December 2003

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The year has passed very quickly and I am now going into my 2nd year as editor of Jabberwaoc. I hope you have found it interesting reading over the last year. If not, then please write me something interesting to put in the next one! Thanks to Hally Hardie, a very regular contributor, for his input in to this edition - surely you don't just want to hear from him though? - and thanks to Rolf for the puzzle. In this edition I introduce some people on the committee - a new club captain and a new junior captain.

Please note the date for the AGM at the end of February next year. We need your input and it is a fun and sociable evening, so do come along.

Happy reading,

Julia Wotton
Next Copy Date
18th January 2004

Dates For Your Diary…..

WAOC Annual General Meeting

The AGM is to be held on the evening of Saturday 28th February 2004 at St. Matthew's Church Hall, St. Matthew's Street, Cambridge from 6:00 pm.

The meeting usually consists of a range of games designed for all ages while people turn up, followed by the meeting itself conducting the business of the club, including lots of awards to be presented, followed by mulled wine, soft drinks and light bites. More details will appear in the next edition. The Agenda is likely to be….


1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes from the previous 2003 AGM
3. Chairman's report
4. Acceptance of Accounts
5. Awards / Presentations
6. Election of officers
7. Any other business

Fred Northrop will be stepping down as mapping officer next year. Neil Humphries has suggested he step down as chairman and take over as mapping officer. This means we will be voting in a new chairman at the AGM. Nominations required. Trophy holders will need to return their trophies to Anne Duncumb or any other committee member in advance so that the trophies can be engraved.

WAOC Membership Information

Welcome to:

Peter Beale from Royston
Tim and Jackie Duckworth and family
(Katherine W10 and Christopher M7)
from Cambridge
John Gresham and family
(Alice W16, David M14 and Catherine W11)
from Comberton
Norman King from St Neot's

We hope that you will enjoy orienteering with us.

Anne Duncumb  (membership secretary)


We hope that you will want to continue your WAOC Club membership for 2004.   Membership subscriptions, which include membership of the EAOA, will be the same as in 2003.   Seniors £7.50,  Juniors £2.50,  Families £9.00,  Groups £5.00

Full time students, who are 21 and over, continue to pay at the Junior rate for both WAOC and BOF.   The BOF Junior rate is £3.50, making a total of £6.00.   Students who have received a request for subs at the Senior rate should amend their form and return it to BOF with a photocopy of their student card.

BOF members please renew your membership directly to BOF using the info you will have received from them.   The total sub includes the WAOC sub - and it is correct this year, thank goodness!   BOF forwards WAOC's share to us.

WAOC Club-only members (except for new members who joined after 1st September 2003) please use the form included with your copy of Jabberwaoc.

Please would you do it right away (or sooner!)?    It makes the admin much easier if I don't have to send out reminders.

Note that information concerning WAOC members is stored on a computer database.   This is not accessible to other organisations.   A membership list is published annually and circulated to club members.

Thank you

Anne Duncumb  (Membership Secretary)

Our New Captains

Rolf is one of our better M21 members and has been around the mid 60's position in the BOF M21L ranking list. He has been on the WAOC committee as publicity officer for 3 years and designed the permanent WAGAL trophies that were presented for the first time last year. He was recently nominated and accepted by the committee as club captain. I managed to interrupt his busy training schedule and social life to get this exclusive interview with him……

JW: How long have you been orienteering?
RC: I started orienteering at school in my lower sixth, which must be about 13 years ago.

JW: Where and why did you start orienteering?
RC: Our Economics teacher drove a minibus full of keen students to local park events to compete against other schools. I didn't realise at the time, but this was probably the WAOC/SMOC schools league. Our Economics teacher left, so I stopped orienteering till I went to University at Lancaster.

Quite why I started orienteering is harder to answer. I guess I went the first time because it sounded like an outdoor pursuit, and I went with a group of friends who enjoyed that kind of thing. I kept orienteering because of the competitive element.

JW: When did you join WAOC?
RC: After Lancaster, I came to Cambridge for a PhD so I joined CUOC  (Cambridge University Orienteering Club). Then, about four years ago, I started feeling too old for CUOC so joined WAOC.

JW: Did you find orienteering in the Lake District much harder than your initial experiences in the south east?
RC: For sure. Most of my schools league orienteering was based on path junctions, whereas in the Lakes I found I had to read contours and use a compass. I recall making 20 minute mistakes, and retiring on a few occasions.

I should also say that I found it hard to adapt back to the south eastern terrain. I kept running past the knolls and ditches, as we tend to map much smaller features than in other parts of the country. It's only in the last two years that I've really appreciated the fact that to be competitive in East Anglia means running fast, even at the expense of accurate navigation. Unfortunately, that means training.

JW: How much training did you do in the early days?
RC: Very little at school. At Lancaster we would run up Clougha Pike on Wednesday afternoons, as the University generously set that time aside for sports.

JW: How much training do you do now?
RC: In season, meaning January to May, I train most days. I think it's really important that each run is focussed, be it a long run, hill training, or repetitions, but I'll save the details for a future Jabberwaoc. At the moment, being out of season, I run a few times a week on an adhoc basis just to keep the legs moving.

JW: What has been your greatest orienteering achievement?
RC: Although I enjoy orienteering all over the country, I tend to get my best results closer to home. I won a couple of NOR's colour coded events earlier this year, and was chuffed about that. At this years JK, I came third at Hambleden (M21L not M21E) running 6.3 min/km. My name was mentioned on the tannoy which hasn't happened before.

JW: What are your current orienteering goals?
RC: To be in the top 50 in the M21 BOF ranking list, and to run M21E. Next year maybe...

JW: What do you see yourself doing as Club Captain?
RC: I've only been captain a week, so haven't had the time to devise the master plan! More seriously, an important role is organising WAOC relay teams, both encouraging members to attend, and supporting them on the day. There is a captains web page with relay details, but I haven't updated  it yet. I also see the captain's role as encouraging newcomers to the sport, and supporting club training. Oh, and writing the captains corner in Jabberwaoc of course.

JW: What do you do when you are not orienteering or training for orienteering?
RC: Well, I work at the Cavendish Laboratory which is the physics department of the University of Cambridge. I research the quantum properties of electrons in semiconductor devices. For example, in a recent experiment we made images of chaotic electron paths inside a quantum billiard. A quantum billiard is one million times smaller than the more familiar billiard tables found in pubs. I also find time to enjoy cycling and playing easy music on the piano.

JW: Thank you Rolf

Clare Woods is the Junior Jabber editor having recently taken over from Blanka Sengerova. She was also recently nominated and accepted by the committee as junior captain. I managed to interrupt her busy schedule of school work and music rehearsals to get this interview with her……

JW: How long have you been orienteering?
CW: For about 12 years, since I was 3.

JW: Where and why did you start orienteering?
CW: I was introduced to orienteering by my parents. I think my first event was at Coldham's Common. Admittedly, then I only did it because of the prospect of chocolate at the finish, but later discovered I really enjoyed the sport.

JW: What do you do with the East Anglian Junior Squad?
CW: The East Anglia Squad allows me to train and orienteer outside of East Anglia, on terrain that I don't know. Also, competitions with the squad allow me to compete against the best orienteers in my age class.  We often go for weekends away, involving training in technical areas and often the opportunity to meet and train with other regional squads.

JW: What is your favourite orienteering area?
CW: Having never orienteered outside the UK, my favourite areas are around Dolgellau in Wales, around Aviemore in Scotland and (a new discovery) Roseisle from this year's Scottish 6-days. Cannock Chase and Epping are always good too.

JW: How much training do you do?
Not Enough! I go for occasional training runs and try to keep fit through other sports as well, but I should definitely start to train more.

JW: What has been your greatest orienteering achievement?
CW: I would say my championship time at the last JK because it's a personal best. I was also proud of the good run I had at the last Midland night championships: my first night event.

JW: What are you current orienteering goals?
CW: Having been disappointed this summer not to have been selected for any tours, I'm aiming to do well at selection races in the new year. My goal for this season is to become a more competent night orienteer.

JW: What do you see yourself doing as Junior Captain?
CW: Basically trying to encourage the WAOC juniors to take part in events and be confident about their orienteering. I would like to help to organise some training events because they are so good for socialisation and team-building.

JW: Do you have any other interest besides orienteering?
CW: Yes, I'm a keen musician.

JW: Thank you Clare.

Offa's Dyke Path (Part 2)

In the last edition Hally started telling us of his adventures this summer of doing the Offa's Dyke Path. Here is the second instalment [Ed].


Llantilio Crosseny to Pentwyn Farm (Brilley, nr Hay-on-Wye)
C 30 miles

It's a full breakfast at 0730 hrs, and Hally's off before 0810 hrs expecting to get another c 20-minute lead.  But no, some three fields later, on crossing yet another stile, a glance back showed two familiar figures just a field away. However, still ahead it was fields and lanes and fighting flies.   There was a brief photo stop at the White Castle, closed until 1000 hrs, and a sip of drink before a gentle jog down lanes and fields for about half a mile before enthusiasm and energy ran out.   But the lead had opened out a touch as M & L had a longer photo shoot at the castle.

The day is presently overcast, but not cold or windy.   Ideal for the purpose really.   A family of 7 is out exercising their dogs and seem amused by our attempt on the Dyke.   Our first break point today is to be at Pandy where Maureen should be meeting us.   And H is hoping to keep ahead to this point.  We're now through Caggle Street, going very well, and H seems to be gaining on the pair behind.   A lovely downhill run to cross Full Brook and stagger up a steep hill the other side.  A stile at the top gives a chance to look around, and the pair is now at the bottom of the hill.  A field away and there's a photo shoot.  The reason?  A lone llama, the furry variety, seems to want to make friends.  And so we're back to a 3-some again.   The remaining 4½ kms to Pandy were a mix of running and walking over the undulating terrain, with a final easy run on the last 1 km drop into Pandy.  Maureen had come out to meet us and brief us where to find the car.

The opportunity is taken to top up on fluid, resisting the pub 50 ms away (it's too early to be open anyway), and change socks to ease the damp feet a bit.  The drinks we're taking are just beginning to taste a bit samey now.

15 minutes later and we're all back en route.   Crossing the railway line a glance to the left shows the peculiar profile of Ysgyryd (well, you pronounce it) Fawr hillside.  Apparently there's a ruins of an old chapel on its 486 m, and very steep, peak.  We're now facing the start of the long uphill of the Black Mountains in the Brecons.   This is the leg we have been fearing might be the make or break of our attempt on the Dyke.   The leg is some 30 miles long, and the highest.  So let's get on with the climb.  We're all a bit disappointed to be finding we're going down again ½ km later, but only for some 400 m.   Then it's up, up onto the open moorland.  Apart from the first ½ km of 30º steepness it all becomes very much easier, but still up.  Malcolm is striding on ahead, he's good on hills (upwards), whilst Lindsey appears to be waiting back for Hally, perhaps to ensure he doesn't drop of his mortal coil too early.  However, once the mountain flattens out a bit Lindsey is off on a run to try to catch M up, M is now maybe a mile away.  H is keeping his powder dry for the longer term (that's his excuse).  We count off the trig points to pass the time, and give short-term goals.  The sun is out now and there are splendid views to either side.  The wind is cool so sweat doesn't seem a problem.   Malcolm has paused in a large depression for a snooze, we think, whilst H and L catch up.

Whilst the trio are crossing the mountain, Maureen is driving up the minor road to the west, stopping briefly to check out the inn at Llanthony.  The reason for this route was to act as a safety line should any of the 3 have to come off the mountain, for whatever reason.  It was deemed more suitable than coming off to the east.   We all have our mobile phones for comms, which we rarely use.   And, of course, when we do feel an urgency to communicate we don't get a useful signal do we?

This high level leg is about 15 kms before the summit is reached and the long drop to Hay-on Wye starts.   The 703-m high point is not marked, it being just a spot height on the map.   And it's a little difficult to define when you're up there.  You know roughly where it is but the moonscape that greets you, with multiple cairns built by goodness knows whom, for goodness knows what reason, don't help.   The natural vegetation, up until now usually heather and rough grass, has been worn away.  We've no idea why because it's much more widespread than any path.   There is a very strong attempt to try to preserve the footpath line here with a km or so of very large slate slabs put down for Path users to use.   There seems every intention of extending this protection very much further in future.   We had intended to descend via the Hay Bluff peak.  One of our books makes this the preferred route, with the other book missing it out.  When you get there it is obvious that the authorities would prefer you to miss it out and descend around it.   This suits us as to go via the Bluff means down, then up again, over a very much rougher path.   And we're hoping to make Hay in time for an ice cream aren't we?

Whilst around the peak area we'd had a touch of the odd light rain, enough to get us to put cags on, but now on the descent these were back in our backpacks.  And the sun is out again.  Where possible we're breaking into a jog, aiming for the road where we expect to intercept Maureen.   The brief had been to expect us to come down from the Bluff, to the car park just below it.  We were heading for a point lower than this.   And right on cue (via the shops in Hay) Maureen comes driving up the road and notices H's bright green T-shirt just 400 m from the road.   By the time she's gone on up to turn around at the car park and then back down, we're coming up to the road.  And it's a sticky bun for each of the trio - together with yet another drink from our emptying bottles of what is definitely becoming rather boring drink.  It's supposed to be the genuine energy-giving stuff, but despite the declared flavour it doesn't taste so nice.

It is now about 1600 hrs, and Maureen says we should be in Hay (or Y Gelli Gandryll if you're Welsh) in about 30 mins.   The countryside is beautifully cropped by the sheep, and it's downhill so off we trot.   However, the route here isn't very well marked so we lose maybe 5 minutes sorting it out.  But it is downhill or level all the way to Hay, but very much further than the M&M optimists had judged.  And Lindsey's hip is now beginning to bother her a bit, and she's feeling a bit worn.  M and H are still OK energy-wise.  We're beginning to worry about that ice cream now.  Will we make it on time?  Maureen had checked out the parlour for us, so we knew where to head for.  That 30-minute walk turned out to be a full 60+ minutes.   But we did get to the shop just before they closed the door to other visitors at 1715 hrs.  So we did enjoy our ice creams.

Lindsey and Maureen had discussed at the last meeting on the road below Hay Bluff as to whether L would want to stop this leg at the A438 crossing point to the north of Hay.  The intention would then have been to pick up the OD route from here on the next day.   However, despite the rickety feelings L opted to continue the extra 4 kms through to the B&B target at Pen Twyn Farm.   Maureen had checked in at the farmhouse B&B and had now, come down the Path to meet us, which she did at the A road crossing.   To the north of the road we were all feeling very knackered, especially L.   And the slog up through some dark dank conifers was very discouraging.   It was now very overcast and getting on 1900 hrs.  But we eventually roll up to the B&B shortly after 1930 hrs.   A very long day.

A steaming hot mug of tea all round, and then another - all round.  A great welcome from our hosts.  And then we all go off to have a good steamy bath to ease the aches, and get rid of the grime.  And when sorted we're off to get Malcolm's medicine, which is also Lindsey's favourite, a pint, no 2 pints, or was it 3 pints?, of cool Guinness.  This was at a very popular and pleasant inn just off the A438 (the very same) at Rhydspence.  Part of Malcolm's medicine is also a big, medium done, peppered steak.   He wasn't the only one eating a hearty meal.   We all needed a good helping or two.

The make or break leg has been completed.   Lindsey is feeling very uncomfortable, but glad she had done the extra 4 kms today, rather than facing it on the morrow.  We're all feeling fairly bullish despite everything, and full of confidence about the longer prospect.   The view of day 3 now looks very promising.

Hally Hardie

Puzzle Corner

The list of people who entered the October Jabberwaoc puzzle is

Andrew Eves
Rolf Crook
Mark Collis
Bruce Marshall
Julia Wotton
Tony Bishop

...and the person pulled out of a hat is Andrew Eves. Congratulations Andrew, a voucher entitling you to a free entry to a WAOC event will be in the post to you.

This edition's puzzle is provided by Rolf.

Match the photographs with the WAOC areas then email your entry to puzzle@rolf.me.uk or post it to Rolf, 37 Beche Road, Cambridge, CB5 8HX.

The areas:
A. Warren Wood
B. Wimpole Hall
C. Port Holme
D. Mildenhall Wood
E. Midsummer Common
F. Priory Country Park
G. Fairlands Valley
H. Therfield Heath
I. Rowney Warren
J. Maulden Wood

1. Lake

2. Fallen Tree

3. Roger

4. Plantation

5. Bike

6. Snow

7. Orienteers

8. Tent

9. Track

10. Poplars


I'm in the process of transferring a store of past Jabberwaocs to electronic format.   That store, kindly provided by Chris Thorne, starts with issue No. 13 dated May 1979.   The previous 3 year's of JWs seems to have been lost with time, but if you have any of them I would appreciate a copy for the Club's archives.   In due course I'm hoping that any Club member wishing information or copies from the past will be able to access these electronically, either through the Club website or from me (or the nominated Club archivist - probably JW Editor) direct.

So I have now moved fast-forward from my previous historical recollections by some 4 years, and I give you a few snippets and comments from the range of articles and information from those 1979 JWs.

I note that Sue Birkinshaw, now a Championship performer with MDOC, is the JW Editor.  And her family, Karen, Julian, Stephen and Hilary, together with Hubby Ian, dominate the various Club performances.   Those of you interested in elite performances will note that Stephen is currently doing extremely well in the various long O and adventure races.   And he's hardly slow in standard elite O either.  Julian, having suffered ME, and Karen (now Parker) also suffering various crippling ailments, are trying to keep in touch with the sport.   Both Sue and Ian are Championship performers very close to the top of their respective leagues.

There is a complaint in May that we have so few Club mappers, and useful O areas, that we can't put on enough events.   This is a complaint reflected around us today despite the use of OCAD, which makes the cartographic side of mapping so much easier.   Dave and Kate Bryant, also now MDOC, are cited as our only mappers.  I was serving in Malta at the time, having been at Finningley in Yorkshire previously, so was not active in this respect despite still maintaining Club membership.   Kate is also high in the league rankings, currently pushing Lindsey Freeman. And her twins (Roger and Stephanie) are beginning to be regular winners.

One Keith Tomkins, then the Club training officer, was bemoaning the few numbers he was getting at his training sessions.   Nothing changes much here either.   But in his case he was  getting in the mid teens at one and over 30 at another (both in Maulden), 6 of them Birkinshaws.

Another couple of notable names of this period;  Charlotte Somers-Cocks, who is now an elite performer with LOC, even as a W40.   And Basil Carey, whose name lives on via the WAOC Notable Services to the Club trophy (the wooden owl), but whose own dynamic services to the Club were cut short when he was knocked off his bike by a bus in the week of his retirement.  He died from his injuries.

A highly successful WAOC barbecue was held in Coe Fen, which incorporated O shenanigans i.e. various fun relays and an East Anglian 3-Legged Championship.   That's perhaps something which could be tried again.

Something very noticeable in the 1979 newsletters is the mass of league and results type of information on Club members.   I think this is the sort of information which will encourage members to read the newsletter more fully - after all most of us like to read about ourselves in print.

It may be interesting to note which Club members of 1979 are still with us.   I will use only the newsletter for my information so 'sorry' if you've been missed out;
Hilary Andrews, Mike and Maurice Capper,  Richard Beard,  Anne and Don Braggins, Olivia and Chris Brown,  Hally Hardie, Chris Morley, Mary and Tony Palmer, Satu and David Peregrine, Catherine and Stephen Thomas, Chris Thorne.

However, many of our Club members then are still competing regularly in the sport with other clubs now.

Hally Hardie, Nov 2003


There won't be too many of you out there who have delighted in the experience of running over Sandy Warren.   This is a very nice little area wrapped around the RSPB HQ, The Lodge, grounds at Sandy, Beds.   A look at the map will show that it has quite a height to it although we think the contour interval isn't at the standard 5m.   Those of you who know the area will recognise that the height differential is close to 100 feet (ie about 30 metres).   And we made the most of that height.   We couldn't hold a badge event there,  it being too small, but it would make a splendid area for that now with the use of SI, if we were allowed back in.   The events we held then had Short, Medium and Long courses, with a Wayfarers' course, or even a long and short of that.  We would also run Norwegian, with or without a blank complete map, brown only (brown map features) and score, colour coded hadn't been invented.  We must have used the area about a dozen times in all.  Those were the days when we had a bit of variety, and more of a challenge, in the events WAOC staged.  For, after all, the areas we had/have to use are all rather benign.  If you've been to Scotland you'll know what I mean.

However, my attempts to gain access to this area again over the last 20 years have been refused.  Well, not quite refused from the land agent's point of view, but he did say that if we could persuade the shooting tenants to let us in there would be no problem.   Shooting tenants?  Pah!   Quite how they got on with the RSPB I'll never know.  Perhaps all their specially bred pheasants, or at least the more clever ones, sought refuge in the RSPB grounds!

My last contact with the agents, earlier this year, sounded more hopeful.   Try next Spring says he.   He obviously knew what was in the wind.   Sandy Warren was up for sale - and the strongest bidder - the RSPB, gained the sale in June. And, no, the RSPB will not allow us to orienteer there,  I asked them when they notified me, as a member (and seeking funds). Out of curiosity Lindsey and I recently walked around the whole RSPB site, from an orienteer's point of view it is mouth-watering.   This would have been a superb area for our use, but it is not to be.   However, for those of you who are RSPB members you may like to use this Jabberwaoc map just to cruise around the area sometime and just imagine what might have been, and what you have missed.   Try a nice warm sunny day as we did.   We didn't see too many birds, but heaps (well you tell me the collective noun) of squirrels.   No fungi either despite it being the season, but it has been sohh dry.

The map you will see was surveyed and drawn in 1975.   For its time it is very good.   These things were hand drawn on special film with Rotring pens of differing nib sizes.   A separate film was needed for each colour, with registration marks to ensure a correct match in printing.   You will note it is a 3 colour map, white (the paper), black (obviously), and brown.   Lettraset sticky shading patterns allowed a greater range of pictorial description - and were they fiddly to cut out!   Obviously with today's technology and OCAD expertise we could have made this a much better map, and an even more interesting area to use.   Those of you 'sharp of eye' may note that on the high ground in the SW is an earthbank system.   This is an old Roman camp apparently, though there are no signs telling you so.   But the 50,000 does mention a Fort.

Hally Hardie

WAGAL 2003 Results So Far

The results from this year's WAGAL all bar the last 2 events (Mildenhall and Maulden which are still to be calculated) are in and are as follows. Of course with these results not being the full set, and not everyone having been to all the events, there will still be some movement in the positions. The full results will be available in the next edition.

The WAGAL results can be found here.

WAOC Juniors Making News

Congratulation to two WAOC members for success in the Cambridge & District Schools Cross-Country Championships at Wimpole. The results were published in the Cambridge Weekly News.

Edward Louth finished a close 2nd in a thrilling finish to the Junior Boys race.

In the Senior Girls race, Helen Gardner came in 2nd too.  Helen is now at Hills Road 6th Form College, but her former school, Comberton, finished 1st overall on combined scores.


WAOC Committee Members

An up-to-date web list is available here

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