Some perspectives on recent orienteering from Gavin and Jolyon:
It’s been a while since I wrote. My excuse is I’ve moved to Chingford to live with my son, daughter-law and the two grandkids. Long story which I’m happy to relate, so probably best to avoid me if it’s a long walk to the start! They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you do in life. This was a double move, another long story, which according to my faltering recollection is my 27th and 28th house move – no wonder I have grey hair. It also coincided with stripping out and refitting a complete new kitchen for one of my daughters, which I’m halfway through. Being able to get out into our wonderful countryside on a Sunday has been a great stress reliever. I missed the Mendips (working on the kitchen) but did manage to get to Winterfold the weekend before and Hambleden yesterday. Both superb areas for our sport, both used for various British Championship races over the years, well mapped and mainly runnable forest, joy. Wessex had some great results at both, showing what skilful runners we have, who have not lost any of their prowess during lockdown. Both races had huge entries, with over 800 at Hambleden. One thing I’ve noticed is how relaxed everyone seems to be, flexible multiple starts, relaxed officials, relaxed organising and relaxed and happy runners. A legacy of COVID perhaps? Meeting back up with friends is also a joy. Sometimes tempered with sorrow. Some of you may know John and Jenny Collier of Essex Stragglers club. They used to be South West but moved to Essex some years ago. Unfortunately Jenny contracted cancer and died last week. John was out Orienteering yesterday, just as Jenny would have wanted him to. Very sad and another reminder, if we needed it, to ensure we all make the very most of every day we have, to enjoy ourselves. May you run in sunlit forests.
Now that orienteering has re-started, I apologise for finding no time to write a blog. Since my last blog (and in addition to the two big National events mentioned by Gavin), some clubs have been running events almost every week or two (BOK, NGOC). We have had the pleasure of the wooded gorge of Blaise Castle, deep within the city limits of Bristol, the open moorland of Black Down on the Mendips, the steep and rocky wooded slopes of Weston Woods, above Weston-super-Mare, and bluebell covered wooded slopes of Cooper’s Hill in the Cotswolds. You can check out all the results through the hyperlinks. It really has been fantastic to be back out orienteering, and the many months of lockdown have allowed planners to plan some fiendishly tough and tricky courses. Either that or my fitness and navigation are not up to scratch. We have to expect to make all the mistakes all over again, having not orienteered competitively for so long. Being locked-down in Wessex might be good for fast flat sprints, but anything near vertical and rugged is a challenge. In early May, we ventured north to the Lake District for the LOC weekend at Burnt Wood and Colonel’s Drive, for some British Middle-distance training. It was very wet, my glasses were endlessly steamed up, the navigation was proper TD5, but returning back south, tired, injured, and soaked to the skin, I realised that I had missed the endurance of tough orienteering. Most of all though, I and many others have missed seeing O friends and being able to engage in idle map chatter. The season is lingering on a few more weeks, so keep an eye out for WIM’s event at Stonebarrow & Golden Cap and SO’s event at Oldhouse Warren, and for those travelling up t’North, there is the Midlands Champs in Shropshire, the British Middles and Northern Champs in the Lake District. The Maprun league is coming to a climax with the remaining fixtures including Tisbury (don’t miss it!) and we have 6 Activate days with WIM. Finally, we await confirmation of the Scottish 6 days in Lochaber. So there is certainly plenty to look forward to before the season “re-starts” in September. Lots to be positive about.
Finally we welcome Fern Ault and Michael Chun Chi Tsung to the club