There was an overriding sense of euphoria on Sunday. Somewhere deep in the forest the sun was shining, the smell of wild garlic pervaded the air, the beeping sound of the start clock signalled the (re-)start of something exciting. It’s easy to get carried away, but it was wonderful to be able to see so many familiar faces, enjoying being together again, as well as enjoying the delights of orienteering in a large forest. It made the 35km of criss crossing Chase woods to place/collect flags and control boxes all worthwhile.
We seem to have been lucky, WSX only organise two regional forest events a year, and like a ship navigating a series of hurricanes, we managed to run our Blackwater event before lockdown 1.0, our Agglestone event before lockdown 2.0 and now Rushmore after lockdown 3.0. Here’s hoping to there not being lockdown 4.0 or more.
Credit must go to all of the WSX team and I want to thank everyone who came and helped and those who supported me as planner. Also thanks to Ian Peirce who agreed to control at short notice. I have always been impressed how well such a small band of positive WSX folk manage to stage these big events with seamless ease. Thanks to Julie for her tried and tested organisation, and thanks to the Rushmore estate for granting access. This was our 8th event in Chase Woods in 20 years, and I hope there will be many more. If I have learned one thing in the last few years it is that we cannot take land access for granted. Relationships have to be built and fostered, otherwise, with no terrain, there is no sport. On that note, we hope to be offering dune orienteering on Studland, and town/terrain orienteering in Corfe Castle by the autumn, thanks to the support of the National Trust.
Julie has provided her thanks to the team for helping at Rushmore:
“A big ‘Thank You’ to all the team on Sunday who made it such an enjoyable, well-run event – as usual! It was great to see so many happy orienteers again and we received many compliments from them throughout the day. Particular thanks to Jolyon who planned some excellent courses – again, many compliments received. Although I didn’t get to do a course, I looked at the Short Green and I would have found it really challenging – even though I’d re-surveyed the map! So well done everyone!”
In case you missed them, the results are here and routegadget here. There were Top 10 finishes for Gavin (Blue), Lyra and Arthur (Green), Liz (Light Green), Esk, Bill and Peter (Orange) and Alan (Yellow). Don’t forget to enter your route on RG.
Our friends in SARUM have written a lovely report about the day, and Peter H captures some of the emotions of those seeing friends and making mistakes for the first time in a long time. Indeed the O calendar is now brimming with opportunities, so keep an eye on the fixture list. BOK have several events coming up at Blaise Castle, Blackdown and Wednesday evening urbans. Entries to WIM’s Stonebarrow/Golden Cap event will open soon, with limited entries, so don’t miss out. There will also be the relays, starting in June. Don’t forget there are now weekly Mapruns and we have a series of Activate events. We still await permission from Forestry England for our Caddihoe event at Godshill in September. Our SW League event in February 2022 will be at Agglestone.
Finally, we also found time to present the annual trophies, the winners were:
Gavin Clegg – Men’s champion
Esk Medlock – Ladies champion
Julie Astin – Chairman’s trophy