Co-Chairman’s Chat 28th January

Posted on Mon, 27th January 2020 by Jolyon Medlock
Club News, Event Reports

Last weekend we helped North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club celebrate their 50th birthday with a fast middle distance at Knockalls and a classic (long slog) at Lightning Hill, both in the Forest of Dean. Several clubs are also celebrating similar milestones and as we know, Wimborne are celebrating their birthday at the Caddihoe Chase in October (which we are helping them with).

Interestingly according to the BOF website we may also have a claim for 5o years:

“As well as NGOC, we had enquiries from Swansea Bay Orienteering Club and the Welsh Orienteering Association, Poole Orienteering Club, Wimborne Orienteers, Leicestershire Orienteering Club and Suffolk Orienteering Club.

Poole Orienteering Club is no longer (now part of WESSEX); likewise, another club founded in 1970, East Yorkshire Orienteering Club, is now incorporated into Humberside and Lincoln Orienteers (HALO).”

I wasn’t in WSX then, however Andrew Beldowski was and he is now celebrating 50 years of Orienteering (presumably always with WSX?).

I was copied into some emails with BOF about this:

“Poole OC was formed at a meeting in early January 1970, and was registered with BOF by April that year. It was planned to stage a Poole OC event on 25th October, but it was postponed to 24th January 1971 at Wytch Heath, with 280 competitors, winner of longest course Mike Murray. 

The first Dorset Champs were held on 15th March 1970 at Shillingstone Hill. Listed under ‘Wayfarers’ was Andrew”

So congratulations to Andrew on his milestone, and to WSX for our milestone too. Perhaps there are club members who can shed more light on this. It would be good to read some blogs of O in Dorset in the 1970s. Wytch heath, as you may know, is located on Purbeck, next to Rempstone. It is now largely afforested with plantations and is home to an oil gathering station. It would be fun to commemorate the anniversary with an event on or near the first event. Does anyone have an old map?

On to the last week’s activities: last Thursday was the latest instalment of the Wessex Night League at Andover, organised by BADO. 8 club members made it out with Alan and Peter making the top 10.

Rob made it the BKO Concorde Chase at Star Posts on Saturday having a good run on blue.

On Sunday Gavin was down in the Quantocks at Lydeard Hill and Will’s Neck coming 3rd on his course.

My clan, Rob and Peter were over in Guildford Orienteers country in the beautiful Surrey heaths for another frantic middle distance event at Farley Heath. Peter and I battled it out on black, Rob and Rebecca on Blue, Lyra on Green and Esk on Orange. Top 10 finishes went to the girls with Lyra coming 1st out of 104 runners, and Esk 8th/16, with some tricky controls. Well done girls.

Its easy to forget how privileged we are to orienteer in some of these wonderful locations. We all know how much effort goes into organising, planning and controlling these events, but permissions for access and car parking are crucial elements to our ability to indulge our passion every weekend. At a time when access to English forests are getting harder during the spring, it was great to see that a Guildford O member allowed orienteers to park in their (rather substantial) grounds and garden/paddocks, so that 400 runners could take part in the event. I reckon we need to start recruiting orienteers from key sectors of Forestry and Nature Conservation, to ensure continued access to these wonderful habitats.

On Thursday SOC have a Wessex Night league event at Marchwood.

On Sunday it’s the BOK SW league event at Stockhill  on sunday. A fantastic former open cast mining area covered in forestry, which was used for the British middles.

Then next Monday its our night league event at Canford Heath. Dale has extended the map, and knowing Dale, it will include some cunning planning. Make sure you reserve your map.