Welcome to the 6th Edition of NNews – a (roughly!) quarterly newsletter from Northern Navigators.
The newsletter contains details of upcoming events and contributions from our members. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this edition.
Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any comments or wish to contribute to any future editions.
(Thanks to Dougie Nisbet for taking the photo included above, it is of a selection of NN and others at the Summer Series event at Herrington)
Note: Some details are provisional, always look at the website of the organising club for final details.
Sunday 17th September – South Gare, Redcar (CLOK, regional)
Saturday 30th September – October Odyssey Day 1; Brandon, Durham (NN, national)
Sunday 1st October – October Odyssey Day 2; Doctor’s Gate, Hamsterley (NN, national)
Sunday 8th October – Middle Distance; Standing Stone Rigg near Whitby (CLOK, regional)
Tuesday 17th October – Dusk Sprint; Wilton Golf Club, Eston (CLOK, local)
Sunday 22nd October – Cumbrian Galoppen, Aughertree near Caldbeck (BL, regional)
Saturday 5th November – Urban, Cramlington (NATO, regional)
Saturday 5th November – Cumbrian Galoppen, Roanhead near Barrow (LOC, regional)
Sunday 12th November – CompassSport Trophy Final; New Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean (BOK, Major)
Saturday 18th November – Talkin Tarn, Brampton (BL, local)
Saturday 25th November – North East Night Championships, Broomley Woods, Stocksfield (NATO, regional)
Sunday 26th November – Hexham Urban, Hexham (NATO, national)
Tuesday 26th Dec – Boxing Day Charity Score; TBC (NN, local)
We also have a weekly club night on Wednesdays at 6.30pm in the vicinity of Durham City. Contact [email protected] for further details.
October Odyssey Weekend – 30th September and 1st October
On the 30th September and 1st October we are organising 2 national events: please enter, share and volunteer! Entries close on the 24th September. Find Day 1 and Day 2 details on the website and enter on Racesignup.
Volunteer roles will include car park marshals, first aiders, registration and download, enquiries and control collection. Organisers for the two days are Julian Warren and Matthew Foskett, they would appreciate your input on one or both days. Remember, helpers get a 50% discount on the entry fee – please contact Debby for the discount code. Thank you.
NN O TOPS
There are still a few O tops in the store if anyone would like an extra one.
We charge £10 for senior members, juniors are free. Men’s tops are a bit less fitted so maybe interchangeable depending on what you’re looking for. Please let Debby know if you are interested.
The following sizes are available:
2x Medium (Size 12)
3x Large (Size 14)
2x Extra Large
David Caudwell, 1941-2023 RIP
Nationally renowned mapper and long time NN member dies aged 82.
A report by Rob McKenna
David Caudwell passed away peacefully on Tuesday 1st August 2023 at his home in North Curry, Taunton, Somerset. He had suffered from a recent heart attack for which he had received treatment and seemed to be recovering well.
Dave was born in 1941 and brought up in Lincolnshire. He recounted that he lived the first 12 years of his life in the fens, where the only inclines are when you have to go up (and down again) on bridges over rivers, which naturally flow above ground level in that part of the world and reckoned he’d had trouble with hills ever since!
After being approached by Susan Rogers, Dave joined NN, then Lanchester Orienteers, in the early 70s, shortly after the club had been formed.
Dave served on the Committee for about 10 years from the mid 70s to the mid 80s, taking on the role of Chairman (of LO) for 3 years during that time. He then rejoined the Committee in the mid 90s and served as Mapping Representative throughout that time, until he resigned in 2009, and also took on the task of Secretary for the last 18 months or so. Other roles involved serving on the NEOA Committee for about 10 years.
Before joining NN, Dave registered a local school club called Elgin Senior High School and ran for that outfit.
Dave received several BOF mapping awards – his map of Bewick Moor North, used for the clubs National Event in 1996, achieved a certificate of Cartographic Excellence. This was followed by the Bonnington Trophy in 1998 for services to mapping – BOF’s highest award for mapping – named after the then BOF president – Sir Chris Bonnington. At the BOF Map Group Meeting in March 2005, the Mapping Awards for 2004 were decided. The Chichester Trophy was awarded to Dave Caudwell for his excellent map of Simonside Hills, as used for the British Orienteering Championships in March 2004. The Chichester Trophy is awarded by BOF to what is deemed the best non professional map in any given year. Just rewards indeed for all the hard work that Dave put in on behalf of the club over the years.
His working life was spent as a maths teacher in Gateshead, rising to the dizzy heights of Faculty Co-ordinator before eventually retiring in 1996.
In the late 70s Dave learned to play squash, although he was fast approaching 40, and most players then were giving it up at that age! Like orienteering, squash has age classes every 5 years, but also county matches in 10 year age groups from 35. By the time he was 45, he was playing county squash and performing creditably against players who had learnt to play in their teens. At about this age, he realised that orienteering training was interfering with his squash development, so he took the conscious decision to do no more ‘O’ training. This must have worked, because at 60, 61, and 62, he won the over 60 Durham and Cleveland County Championship.
Dave lost his wife Muriel about 19 years ago and about 5 years after that made the decision to leave the NE and move down to Somerset to be closer to his daughter, Jane and family in 2009.
He announced that he would be leaving the North East on 14th August 2009. Following a meeting of the NN Executive Committee, a presentation was made by the then NN Chairman, Alan Morgan, to Dave in recognition of his many years of service to the club. Alan expressed his sorrow at Dave’s departure and thanked him on behalf of the club for all the work he had done, which covered coaching, mapping, events and more recently secretarial.
He re-counted their first meeting some 41 years ago at a CATI at Hamsterley and later in 1971 noticed his mapping potential at a street night event in Elgin.
His mapping prowess has since been duly recognised.
He presented Dave with a small memento from the club – a framed Front Page Evening Chronicle article depicting some of his past history together with a bottle of single malt whiskey.
After close on 40 years involvement with orienteering in the North East, Dave finally downed his mapping tools and prepared to head south to be with his daughter, Jane and her family.
Dave’s surveying and cartographical skills are well known in orienteering circles throughout the region for his excellent maps of many areas used for both local and national events.
A long standing member of Northern Navigators orienteering club, Dave’s first recorded result as a competitor was in the Northern Championships in 1970. Going from strength to strength, Dave moved on to organising, planning and controlling events and took leading roles within the club.
His invaluable contribution to the club and to orienteering nationally and locally has been in the field (or forests and hills) of mapping. His mapping prowess was evident in the relatively early days of orienteering with his maps of Broomley Fell and Kellas in the 1970s. Thereafter, as one of the most prodigious and successful mappers, it was rumoured that he intended to have the whole of Northumbria mapped before he laid down his survey tools.
During his endeavours Dave encountered a number of difficulties, including writing off his car on a mapping expedition while negotiating an icy country road in north Northumberland. Not one to be deterred by such a minor setback, Dave went on to many major mapping achievements.
Dave has also employed his energies and skills to serve the wider community with the production of maps for a number of schools in the region and also for groups such as The Friends of Chopwell Woods.
Dave’s legacy to the club and his orienteering friends and colleagues includes his excellent maps that continue to be used throughout the North East region. He will be dearly missed by all who had the good fortune to make his acquaintance. He touched so many lives in the very best way.
A Quick Introduction to NEJS and JROS
I believe that orienteering is as much about running the course as it is about discussing routes, comparing split times, and laughing about the mistakes with friends. I have made great friends in NN but also through being a member of NEJS (North East Junior Squad). I would highly encourage any junior to join as well.
There are 12 junior squads: North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands, East Midlands, East Anglia, South East, South Central, South West, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These are all overseen by JROS (Junior Regional Orienteering Squads). Being a member allows you to meet, train and compete against juniors from across the country.
Every year, these squads all come together to compete at the JIRCs (Junior Inter-Regional Champs): a great event for meeting other juniors. This event is run over a weekend with an individual race on Saturday, a fun social on Saturday night and a relay on Sunday. The event is hosted by each region in turn so you would experience some great areas that are different from what you find around Durham (although the last few JIRCs organisers have all chosen some lovely sand dune areas).
As well as competitions, every summer JROS organises some training camps. There is a separate camp for each age group that takes place in Scotland, Czechia, and Sweden. These are amazing opportunities for training in some complex areas as well as getting to know the other juniors really well. The camps incorporate some full-on training, socialising and often some swimming. I have been on 4 of the camps (I didn’t go to Czechia but Yokub went there this summer) and had an amazing time and have made some amazing friends I meet at big events. To get on these camps you must compete at a series of ‘selection races’ which usually incorporate the JK and the Northern champs.
Don’t worry if you are not selected though as a final training weekend is organised in November for M/W 16s, where they all stay at Hawkshead Youth Hostel (in the lake district). There are no selections for this so anyone in that age class can go and have some fun!! NEJS also organise some of their own training.
NEJS has only a few entry requirements: be between 13 and 18, and be eager to improve. I have been a member of NEJS since I was 13 and in recent years have enjoyed coaching on the summer camps so the fun never ends 😊
This has just been a brief overview of the junior squads. For more information ask at club night, go to the JROS website Junior Regional Orienteering Squads (jros.org.uk) or contact me.
Debby & Julian Warren
Arriving at the pre-start with some time to spare, I chatted to some of my friends who were also doing my course and starting after me. I began to feel a little nervous that they would catch me up – little did I know that my main rival would turn out to be my husband!
In the start lane I concentrated on getting my control description holder firmly fixed on my arm, oblivious to the other competitors. Compass checked, watch started and we were off! I’m usually slow and hesitant at the beginning of my run so on glancing at the map on my way to the start kite I was relieved to see that the route to the first control was very short and reasonably easy – along the path a bit followed by a contouring climb. Nailed it! (1 minute 38 seconds)
Waiting at the start I could see my rival resplendent in her NN top setting off and noticed that she left the track and contoured along the slope. This allowed me to pick up my map and not have to think too much about my route. (1.30)
The route to control 2 took me back down to the path but I wasn’t sure where on the path I had emerged so a bit more hesitation whilst I tried to decipher the features. No worries, I was on the right track and found the crag without any issue. (4.11 cumulative time)
Dropped down the slope to rejoin the track could see the small hill ahead where the crag was. Took the small path from the clearing round the western side to control 2. (4.05)
Control 3 proved to be my first mistake of the course. I took a compass bearing and headed off, in retrospect perhaps I should have gone back to the track. I failed to read my descriptions and because the control centre was near a thicket, I assumed that was what I was looking for so headed for a thicket I could see ahead of me. Wrong feature and wrong thicket losing 90 seconds approximately. (8.00)
I kept to the western side of the small fenced enclosure then back to the track along the marsh to the 90 degree bend. West to thicket and then climbed between knolls to control 3. (6.41)
Control 4 was a good leg for me. I used the lower path as my attack point, following parallel to the crags before climbing up to the re-entrant. (10.46)
Back to track bend. I thought the crag was a few contours higher so climbed up the path to the bend but was too high and had to come down to the control. (8.46)
My route choice to control 5 involved following a steep and rocky re-entrant downhill. I was anxious I would go off my line and on reaching the crags, was reluctant to take the plunge in case I went too far so not as fast as I could have been but found the control without a problem. (16.52)
Dropped down across the re-entrant. Thought control was on the spur, simple just run down spur but I got tangled up in crags. I should have stayed in the large re-entrant. It was here that I saw Debs running across slope above crags on her way to control 8. Passed between crags to control 5. (16.18)
I contoured round to control 6 and climbed to control 7, both a bit slow in comparison to my competitors but clean. (22.23)
I chose a route along the base of the crags on a bearing across the broad re-entrant and crossed a stream which wasn’t on the map, straight to boulder group to dib control 6.
Then a climb up through the crags to the re-entrant at control 7. (20.43)
The route to control 8 was a relatively long leg across the most technical area of the map – steep, rocky and full of crags. My plan was to go back past #5 and keep to a line above the crags where I then found myself in a wide re-entrant before climbing through some more crags. It was here that I went wrong by looking for the control too early and finding myself in a thicketed area. Fortunately, I quickly worked out what I’d done and got myself back on track but costing me 2 minutes. (35.02)
I decided not to go straight, just didn’t fancy running across the crags so I dropped down to a path running along the edge of the marsh which would take me below the area where my control was. As I passed control 10, I knew exactly where I was and could navigate the 150 metres to control 8 contouring and climbing up the re-entrant. (31.50)
Controls 9 and 10 involved another little loop back on myself. Both controls turned out to be quite slow legs for me. For #9 I was distracted by another control I’d seen which I just had to check out(!) costing me 30 seconds on a downhill section and to #10, I was just slow and hesitant. (40.44)
I went back down the re-entrant and across to the two boulders for control 9.
Then despite having visited 10 before I carefully contoured around the slope picking up the crag above and down into the re-entrant. (35.43)
Control 10 to 11 was the longest leg on the course, stretching from the south of the map northwards through initially very steep terrain comprising constant lines of crags and limited visibility. My plan, which was to go out of control 10 past #8 and head for the wall leading me in the direction of #11, failed as I did not find the wall and started to doubt where I was. I kept going doggedly using my compass to determine the general direction and was lucky enough to find a control which turned out to be my #14. Hope was rekindled as I managed to get myself to #11, losing a woeful 3 minutes to Julian. (63.21)
This was the longest leg on the course and I wanted to play safe. Noticed a ruined wall going in the right direction. This entailed a fairly steep climb up the slope through the crags and thickets on a bearing to reach the wall. Keeping the wall in view but not losing height I followed it until it was in a marsh then crossed and climbed to a line of crags and knolls. I could then take a bearing to the crags and reentrant at control 11. (55.01)
Another little loop of 3 controls followed this where I somehow managed to get into “headless chicken” mode. Looking at my GPS track, I went off in the wrong direction but was blissfully unaware of the fact. Not sure what I had in mind? It looks like I visited several controls on my way to #12 – lucky me – wasting at least another 3 minutes! But at least that meant I knew exactly where #13 was and pulled back some valuable seconds from my rival, beating him to #14 too – hurrah! (75.26)
Rather than going direct to control 12, I went out of my way following path and track. Came off the track a bit early at the clearing through the Rhododendron where there was a melee of people.
Saw Debs on the way to control 13 which was an obvious ruin with the control inside.
Tried not to overtake Debs to control 14 as I thought it would put her off. I climbed through the crags to the small open area with odd little stone construction, not the usual cairn. (66.20)
Another fail going to #15 where I went down to a path only to come back up again – it makes no sense when I look at it now but again I was oblivious to my mistake at the time. Perhaps tiredness was setting in. It was now that I first caught sight of my rival; he was coming into the control as I was leaving. We were then head to head contouring along the slope until I went to the wrong control below #16 and lost more time (about 1 minute). (89.46)
I took a bearing past the drinks station down the path onto a track and through the gate to the wall and stream. I then followed the stream and started looking for the control too early in a re-entrant. Once I realized it was easy to locate control 15.
Took another bearing from the end of the path around the hill heading for the re-entrant with a watercourse and marsh. Followed thickets round to control 16. (78.45)
I got my own back at control 17; I was surprised to see Julian coming into the control at the same time as me so I’d managed to claw back some time. (92.40)
This should have been easy but couldn’t find it straight away and went all headless chicken and visited a control which wasn’t mine. Finally got my head back on and approached control from above control 17. (82.22)
The route to the last control was mercifully easy and I arrived at the finish to find that Julian had beaten me by 10 minutes – aargh! (93.59 finishing time)
Last control in marsh and then run in. (83.37 finishing time)
Can’t wait for our next duel, if we haven’t started divorce proceedings before then!!
Our weekly club training continues to be well-attended and a popular way to concentrate on technique or fitness. The venue changes each week but usually within a 5 mile radius of Durham and is operated via a WhatsApp group. If you would like to join, get in touch with me and I’ll add you to the group. Alternatively, the details are put on the website each week (usually by Monday).
Summer Street-O Series
This summer we had a series of Street-O events – thanks to everyone who has took part and all those who planned/organised the events.
Congratulations to Barney who won the series overall! For full results see the website.
Let me know if you fancy having a go at planning/organising an event – there will be approximately 5 events on evenings between April and September.
The Saunders – Coniston Fells
Last year we had a great writeup on Elizabeth and Paul’s first run of the Saunders – this year Dave and I had a go too. The Saunders isn’t organised under British Orienteering, however it very much requires navigation, combined with running or walking over mountainous terrain. It is a two day event and so as a pair you carry your tent, stove, food etc in order to camp overnight.
This year’s competition was on the Coniston Fells. This was perfect for me as it is where much of my Mum’s family is from. This would help a bit with the navigation, but also meant that we could stay the night before/after at my Grandparents rather than camping! It was quite rainy on the Friday night so we stopped at registration on route to my Grandparents rather than walking down. At registration Dave had a tracker attached to his bag and we both had an SI card attached to a wrist – we now weren’t allowed to remove it until we reached the finish!
Prior to leaving in the morning we finished packing – I had a bit of a quandary over which rucksack to take, I had tried my hardest to minimise my kit to that required by the kitlist. A bit of a challenge for me as I’d rather carry things just in case… Eventually I was happy and to be honest I think I got it about right. Dave wished he’d given me more of the team kit weight on the Saturday though.
We walked to the start, following the tape and the stream of competitors. It started to rain and we had the first occasion of the waterproof up/wait it out gamble. The start was in the Coppermines Valley, just above Irish Row – a slightly out of place row of terraced houses in the hills where my Granddad lived as a child.
We’d timed it well and were there promptly for our start time. We punched the start and collected our waterproof map. Unlike standard orienteering events we had to mark up the map before we could run off. All the controls were on the map for the entire weekend, but we’d been given grid references for our 7 controls in the order in which we needed to find them on Day 1. We were wishing we’d brought china graph pencils rather than sharpies, but got enough ink to stay on the wet map before heading off.
We started with a little jog and headed up Red Dell which was the route which kept us out of the cloud for longest to Control 1, near the top of Weatherlam. The cloud made this one of the hardest controls to find of the day and required a bit of navigation – for most of the rest it was a case of spot the crowd! We then descended after a brief stop and change of route to ensure that Dave could see it safely after his glasses fogged up.
Controls 2 and 3 were on the far side of Wrynose Pass, on the slopes of Pike O Blisco. By this point we were in a train of people which helped. We did have to pay attention though as often there was a couple of controls in close vicinity, only one of which would be on our course. By this point it was clearing and was mostly dry for the rest of the course that day.We descended and crossed the shin deep River Duddon and then back up the steep slopes of Grey Friars. The rest of the day was contouring around the back of Swirl How with a fierce crosswind, before descending to the camp near Seathwaite.
We camped up in the field and cooked our dinner as well as catching up with Elizabeth/Paul and the various Hampshire-Wright pairings. There was also a chance to check the midway standings: we were in the middle. At 6.30am the next morning we were given Day 2 control descriptions before our start just after 8.
Day 2 began just south of the campsite. We saw Nigel and Maya’s pairs as we headed up to Control 1. Control 2 and 3 took us over some of the area I’d orienteered on at Torver High Common. The route to control 3 provided a route choice: contouring around the back of Dow Crag where we’d been at the end of Day 1 or up past Goats Water and over the saddle. We went with the former. The wind was fierce again, but again at least it was a crosswind into the hill side. I was getting a bit cold but i knew we’d drop out of the wind as we descended to the next control behind Lever’s Water.
The final controls took us over to the Fell Wall before descending about Heathwaite. At the Walna Scar carpark we passed an ice cream van which had to be ignored (would have been cheating 😞). We’d walked basically all of Day 2 but ran the last bit into the finish. This involved a slightly long, round about entrance to the school – but you can’t stop whilst you’re being clapped!
We finished in 47th out of 89 finishers on our course which we were happy with for a first attempt. The weather had been less nice than expected for July but could have been a lot worse and definitely kept us cool. I’m definitely keen to do the Saunders again and Dave is considering it depending on kayaking trip opportunities! Well done to all the NN entrants, we saw a good number at the finish and they all seemed to have enjoyed it. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of NN tops on show again next year!
60 Seconds with…..Bob Cooper
Bob Cooper answering questions from the Warrens
What’s your role in the club? I was a Committee member and Chairman for several years but nowadays it’s restricted to helping at events when needed – Boris usually assigns me to Parking!
How long have you been orienteering? I was a relative latecomer to orienteering, joining when I was in my forties, so probably 35 years of enjoying the sport to date.
How did you get into the sport? Through other parents and staff at my son’s then school.
What’s your warm-up routine? Limited to a jog to the start to get my heart rate up a little and a bit of stretching for the hamstrings and calf muscles.
What’s your best result? I have a very mixed history of performances and results. I do recall being pleased to win a long course at an army event at Cottonshope some years ago against some considerably younger and fitter army personnel. More recently, at Beanley earlier this year it was very satisfying to beat some very good runners from other clubs and win the Compass Sport Cup/Trophy course for my age class – more importantly to score 100 points to contribute to the Club winning through to the Final of the competition.
What do you eat before your run? On the evening before an event it’s whatever we happen to have in the house, which often turns out to be a pasta and vegetables dish. The morning of the run it would normally be porridge with fruit but I must also have a freshly ground coffee an hour or so prior to running.
Thumb compass or base-plate? I used a base plate quite happily for many years but for a long time now I’ve used a thumb compass and found it more convenient.
Do you take compass bearings? I take rough bearings on moorland areas to allow me to run as directly as the terrain permits, hoping to identify features as I progress.
What’s your favourite orienteering area? Any open fell in the Lakes. Nearer to home it has to be the club’s area at Bewick Moor which has such a delightful setting and a good variety of terrain.
Lycra or baggy? Neither. Ron Hill tracksters.
Moorland or forest? From what I’ve already said, you’ll know it’s moorland. Mature, runnable deciduous forests are acceptable but a map with huge blocks of dark green conifers can be less enjoyable (no names mentioned).
Urban or cross country? If there’s nothing else on I’ll take part in an urban event.
Do you pace count? Yes but I’ve still been known to overshoot the control by a considerable distance, usually because I’m not accurately relating what’s on the map to what’s on the ground.
What’s your worst mistake? I’ve made so many, such as 180 degree errors going out of controls, running off the map, missing a control through lack of concentration etc but one interesting one was picking up the loose control descriptions (none on the map itself) for the Blue course when I was running the Brown. On getting to the first control shown on the map, the actual control site and number didn’t tally with the loose description sheet. As one does, I put this down to an error by the planner and carried on. Only at control 3 did I realise my own mistake and went on to finish the Brown course without resorting to the control descriptions to confirm I was at the correct control.
One mistake that I have not repeated!
Are you a results nerd? My wife would say so but I beg to disagree. I always look at the results from events (even some I haven’t participated in) but I don’t overanalyse.
What do you think of Routegadget? A useful tool for seeing the route choices made by good orienteers. I haven’t put anything onto it myself as I often can’t accurately recall the route that I took.
What is it?
The JK takes place every year over the Easter weekend and is essentially a 4 day festival of orienteering. Named after Jan Kjellström, a Swedish orienteer who helped to introduce and promote orienteering in Great Britain in the 1960s, it is the premier event in the UK calendar and attracts orienteers from all over the country as well as further afield. It’s an event that we as a family are always keen to get to for several reasons; there is a great atmosphere, the competition is first class, it is always held on the nation’s premier areas so you get to experience some cracking orienteering planned by the country’s finest and it’s also a very enjoyable social occasion. It’s quite something if you do well at the JK (I always consider it an achievement to get into the top half of my age category!) but for the elite orienteers and juniors it can be a real game changer, whether you are crowned JK Champion or simply want to see where you stand on a national level.
The JK travels around the country so that each orienteering association can reap the benefits of hosting the top orienteers at some point and participants can experience a variety of different areas. At the risk of being a little vulgar, with 3000+ competitors it can be quite a profitable venture for the associations! In the past it has enabled the NEOA to invest in SI equipment for example. It was our turn back in 2020 but as I’m sure you will remember, it was cancelled with just a few weeks to go as COVID gripped us.
Each day of the JK is dedicated to a different discipline: Day 1 = Sprint, Day 2 = Middle Distance, Day 3 = Long Distance and Day 4 = Relays. Times for Days 2 and 3 are added together to make a total time which determines your final position – the top 3 podium places in each age category are based on these results.
This year’s JK was a real treat as it was the turn of the Lake District clubs to host which automatically means top terrain. Day 1 took place on campus at the University of Lancaster. It was a beautiful day, full sunshine, blossom spilling from the cherry trees that lined the roads and bees busily buzzing and taking their fill of pollen. The arena was perfect for viewing the run-in but it did mean that some of us had to run up the side of the arena in full view simply to run back down again to the finish – really?! Of the small group of NN attendees, Maya had a noticeable success coming 4th in W20E 1:35 behind the leader missing out on 3rd place by 2 seconds! Other results were Fin 44th Novice, Yokub 17th W16, Barney 90th M21E, Jed 15th MOpen, Clare 9th W40, Rob 6th M45 1 minute behind the leader, Kate 28th W50, Nigel 18th M50, Debby 40th W60.
We moved to High Dam for Day 2 – a lovely area on the west side of Windermere. It was another hot and sunny day which enabled us to get together in the arena on finishing our runs and have a chat whilst watching people run in. The terrain was mixed; semi open with areas of trees that reduced visibility – absolutely gorgeous. Day 2 successes were: Fin 6th White course, Yokub 21st W16A, Maya 3rd W20E 2:43 behind the winning time, Barney 1st M21L ( having dropped down from elite), Jed 19th M21L, Clare 14th W40L, Rob 12th M45L, , Kate 19th W50L, Nigel 13tt M50L, John 12th M55S, Debby 29th W60L, Julian 14th M60S. Suffice it to say, a really good day for NN.
Day 3 was at Bigland, near Newby Bridge which is one of the most challenging areas in the country and love it or loathe it, you will certainly get your money’s worth. Long times, steep hillside, crags, re-entrants, low visibility and physical challenges were the order of the day and it didn’t disappoint (see the article detailing routes on course 20 in this edition) with no-one finishing in under an hour despite the high placements. We were lucky to get more good weather and the arena turned out to be a brilliant natural bowl shape from where we got a good view of the thankfully flat run in. The results were as follows: Fin 9th White course, Yokub 15th W16A, Maya 4th W20E, Barney 1st M21L, Jed 27th M21L, Max retired M35L (more accurately he was timed out as he had a late start – courses closed a little early for such a technical area IMHO), Clare 11th W40L, Rob 10th M45L, Kate 16th W50L, Nigel 14th M50L, Debby 31st W60L, Julian 11th M60S.
Overall positions (the cumulative time for both days) were:
Yokub 16th W16
Maya 3rd W20E Podium Position
Barney 1st M21L
Jed 19th M21L
Clare 10th W40L
Rob 10th M45L
Kate 13th W50L
Nigel 13th M50L
Debby 29th W60L
Julian 12th M60S
Congratulations to Maya and pretty impressive all round for a small club, I would say!
Dale Park, near Finsthwaite, was the venue for Day 4 Relays on Easter Monday. The day began dry but overcast and we knew rain was forecast so we were hoping we would get our runs in before it started. We had 4 teams this year which I think is the most we’ve ever had – yay!
Half the fun of it is coming up with the names and this year we had Cool RuNNing on the JK Trophy comprising of Rob, Max and Barney; NortherN Lights on the Women’s Trophy with Maya, Yokub and Clare; Wright oNN Time on Men’s Short made up of Kate, Jed and Nigel; and Also-RaNNs comprising Debby, Julian and John doing the Mixed Ad Hoc.
The relay field is always packed with club tents and people milling about so since we don’t have a club tent as yet [Update: we now do!], we arranged to meet in the general changing tent available for just such a purpose. Par for the course is mud – there’s a lot of footfall in a confined area – and high stress levels – you must be at the right place at the right time!
Taking part in relays was always something I’d shy away from in the past but I was roped in a couple of times and realised they’re just a lot of fun. This year I even volunteered to run the first leg which has traditionally been way out of my comfort zone. The first legger starts in a mass start and you either keep up with everyone without actually following them as you may have some controls that are different to catch you out or you just let everyone go, run your own race at your own pace which was my strategy. Luckily I had David Thomas (erstwhile club night enthusiast and proxy NN member) to keep me company and fend off the nerves in the starting pen. After visiting the last control, you then run through the finish to tag your next runner who should be waiting for you in the holding pen.
This year, there were the usual catalogue of mistakes, mis-punches and missing persons that go hand in hand with the relays but hey, it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts. Interestingly, even the elite orienteers can make errors; from our vantage point we observed several instances of them running straight from the penultimate control to the finish and having to backtrack to punch the last control after urgent shouting from spectators!
Ultimately, we all enjoyed the camaraderie and I learnt that running first leg is no big deal. It was also a big step forward for NN to have teams in the elite categories of JK Trophy and Women’s Trophy. And so to the results: NortherN Lights were 14th, Wright oNN Time were 41st, Also-raNNs were 23rd and Cool RuNNing sustained an unfortunate mis-punch. Thanks to everyone for volunteering to make up the teams!
I hope I’ve inspired you to give the JK immersive orienteering experience a try. See you next year in the Midlands (Loughborough, Cannock Chase and Matlock) from 29th March to 1st April 2024 😉
Scottish Six Days 2023: Moray Firth
For many orienteers, the biennial Scottish Six Days (S6D) is the pinnacle of the orienteering calendar: running in some of the most complex and beautiful terrain the UK has to offer, meeting up with old friends, and generally having a fun-packed (if exhausting) holiday week. My first Six Days was in 1995 in Speyside (event centre in Kingussie) and, bar a few years off orienteering when I was working a lot overseas, I’ve barely missed one since.
This year, the S6D returned to Moray (where it was in 2013), to the beautiful and technically-complex coastal dunes of Lossie, Roseisle and Culbin – names to conjure with. NN were out in force: 20 of us in all, with our shiny new club banner waving proudly in the finish field each day.
Day 1 was a long race in Lossie: hard work in in the scorching heat, especially as NN had relatively late starts that day. It was very much a game of two halves: a technically-tricky coastal strip of forested dunes, with lots of contour detail and lots of controls, followed by some longer legs in flatter, more featureless forest, which were hard work! I was just recovering from a bug, so took it pretty steadily, which proved to be an advantage in the end: I managed to hit most of the controls with relatively few wobbles, while many others were running in the heat round like headless chickens. But those last few long legs were exhausting, and I felt I definitely deserved my post-race seas swim that day…
Day 2 was the only non-coastal day, in beech and conifer forest, again with lots of contour detail and mostly pretty runnable. I was glad of our earlier starts that day because, more or less as soon as we finished our races, the sky clouded over, and the rain set in. My run was a bit shoddy – mostly navigating OK to near the circle, but too many careless mistakes close to the controls.
Day 3 was pretty much orienteering heaven: the beautiful forested sand dunes of Roseisle, in glorious sunshine. Open, runnable, with the sparkling sea behind, it’s hard to imagine a nicer way to spend a day. I didn’t have a great run: I made a really bad mistake on an early leg, navigating several times to the same control that I thought wasn’t mine (because my control was supposed to be on a spur and this seemed to be in a re-entrant), only to find when I actually checked the code that it was in fact my control, and I’d lost over 15 minutes needlessly. Often, that would have been enough to spoil my race but, such is the magic of Roseisle, that I soon put the mistake behind me and just enjoyed it.
After the race, we had an NN picnic on the beach at nearby Hopeman. Actually, it wasn’t much of a picnic, as no one but the Warrens had remembered to bring any food (though Dougie brought some alcohol-free beers, which were very welcome). But lots of swimming happened, followed by hot chocolates or ice creams from the nearby café, depending on the degree of hypothermia after the swim. Matthew definitely won the shiveriest swimmer competition.
Wednesday was the “rest day” although some of us, suckers for punishment, decided to do the “optional” sprint race around the town of Forres. It was a fun event, again in the sunshine, with lots of fast and furious route choice, trying to avoid dead-ends. We then headed to Findhorn for a swim but, unfortunately, the tide was miles out and then it started raining, so instead we went round to the Warrens’ holiday house for a cup of tea, before dragging our youngest (Yokub) away from junior squad beach parties.
The final two days* were in another legendary orienteering area: Culbin – more sand dunes, more complex contour detail and (mostly) open and runnable. Everything about Thursday was long: long walks to the start and back from the finish, long bus and walk to assembly for those of us in campervans, and long courses (very long indeed for me, owing to another 20-minute error, this time towards the end of the course). The weather was also a bit murkier, but we were all cheered up with lots of tea and cake chez Dave Matthew, Meg and Tom, for Julian’s 60th birthday.
Friday also had long walks to assembly and starts, but the courses themselves were middle distance and fantastic: I finally had a clean run! Suddenly, all the mistakes and blunders of the previous days were forgotten and, for that day, I felt like a decent orienteer.
All too quickly the Six Days were over for another two years, and we wended our ways gradually homeward, some of us on bikes, and others heading off to other parts of Scotland. But we were already making plans for Deeside 2025. Hopefully, we’ll have an even bigger NN contingent for that!
(*The mathematically adept among you will notice that, if you discount the optional rest-day sprint, there were only 5 days of orienteering. This is a new thing, post-covid, apparently because lots of people prefer doing 5 days. In my view, it’s a great shame and I hope they’ll go back to having 6 proper days in the future.)
Herrington – a History
Back in June we had a local Summer Series event in Herrington Country Park. This is a park with lots of undulating grassland and ponds as well as some small sections of woodland. A typical parkland event, there was lots of opportunity for fast running but it was also was a good area for beginners.
After some delicious food from the local farm shop, I cycled back from the event with Tom and Meg and whilst on the ride I realised that they’d not known that the park was previously quite different. Following that conversation I thought this article would be of interest.
The derivation of the place name Herrington is unclear – it may derive from the Old English for rocky, from “Hær” which is Old Norse for army or potentially something else! The area appears to have been attractive to settlers since ancient times – several barrows (old burials) have been found on nearby hills and there is believed to have been an Iron Age fort on Penshaw Hill (Penshaw likely deriving from head of rocks, “Pen-Cerr”).
The area had likely suffered from raiding and then the harrying of the North and is seemingly not mentioned in the Domesday Book. The first references are slightly later, around the start of the 12th century. The Bishop of Durham, Ralph Flambard (believed to be the first person to escape the Tower of London), granted it to his “nephew” (some historians believe this actually to be his son!) who became Willian de Herrington, Lord of the Manor of both West and East Herrington. Another textual reference to “The Herringtons” is from 1183 in the Boldon Book. At this point the modern day Herrington Country Park was between the manor of West Herrington and Penshaw. Interestingly a de Herrington also later held Houghall.
Throughout the Middle Ages and up until the 18th century ownership of the manors passed between several families. At some point a mill was constructed on the burn which runs through the park, outside of the park boundaries to the South West. The land eventually ended up in the possession of the Lambton family (although note Penshaw Hill and Colliery was owned by the Londonderrys) and Penshaw Monument which looks over the Country Park was built in honour of John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in 1844-45. John Lambton was heavily involved in the Reform Bill of 1832 and known as “Radical Jack”. The monument features on the Sunderland AFC club badge.
It was in the 1800s that our orienteering area became a lot busier – coal mining. Initially, the coal was passing through: the old Lambton Wagonway crosses the park. Opened in 1812 as the Newbottle Waggonway, this wagonway took coal from Newbottle Colliery to Galley’s Gill on the River Wear at Sunderland. The waggons were initially pulled by horses, but (after an experiment with a moving locomotive which exploded and killed about a dozen people) the horses were replaced by static engines. It is unclear whether the first route crossed the park, but the Wagonway route was altered in the early 1830s. The new route passed right through the centre and both the route of the wagonway and the location of one of the static engines is still discernible in the park. The engine was located in the out of bounds olive green area, centre bottom on the map; the wagonway went from south to north east across the map, its route is followed by the path shown as exiting the mapped area in the north east corner. New railways made this section of Lambton Waggonway redundant as a through route by about 1870.
However the area would not be out of use for long as in 1874 the Herrington Colliery opened, owned by the Earl of Durham (son of John Lambton above). The colliery would consist of two pits and be operational for over 100 years. Peak production was in the 1960s when it employed around 1700 people. Over its history around 100 people lost their lives working at the colliery. It closed in December 1985, shortly after the Miners’ strike.
The mine left behind what was supposedly the largest colliery waste heap in the North East. After 10 years of negotiations work started to alter the waste heap into a country park in January 1996. It is estimated the scheme cost £30 million – it was funded partly by the value of the coal extracted from the waste.
The scheme made use of the existing Herrington Burn for a wildlife corridor, included reed beds for filtration and used the waste materials (other than the coal) in the landscaping which aimed to mimic the surrounding hills. The park opened in 2002.
Since then the park has held many events including Durham County Shows, Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the weekly parkrun! More importantly it has also hosted orienteering…
Mapped by Dave Caudwell (see earlier article in this edition), between 2003 and 2008 NN held 7 orienteering events in the park. A “J. Warren” won the medium course at the initial 2003 event; “B. Spence”, “R. Cooper” and “D. Warren” also featuring. These events were mostly summer evening events, but also included the 2008 Boxing Day Score. Our event in June and training earlier this year appear to have been our first event in the park since then.
Introductory guide – Colour Coded Courses
At many events, courses are named by colour to indicate their length and difficulty. This is designed to make it easy for you to choose a suitable course at events in varying locations and organised by different clubs across the UK.
For a “Classic” event (a long distance event on woodland or moorland terrain) the lengths and difficulties should correspond to those shown in the table below.
The colours shown above are referred to as White, Yellow, Orange/Long Orange, Light Green, Very Short Green/Short Green/Green, Short Blue/Blue, Short Brown/Brown and Black. Note that at smaller events the number of colour options may be reduced.
For a Middle Distance event, the distances are decreased for each colour (and there is not normally Short Blue or Short Brown options).
For an Urban event, the suggested lengths are similar to a “Classic” event, but with a reduced number of colours and decreased technical difficulty (there is simply more on the map to help you in an urban environment!).
The “Navigational Difficulty” is also referred to as “Technical Difficulty (TD)” with “Very Easy” being TD1 and “Very Hard” being TD5. TD1 will be all along paths and tracks with controls close together and at every decision point. TD2 starts to introduce following other line features e.g. walls with some controls being on nearby point features. TD3 will include the option to follow a compass bearing to travel between two line features or find a control which is located off a line feature as well as simple route choices to decide between. TD 4 and 5 introduce longer legs on compass bearings and significant choice of route.
Normally we recommend adult novices start with a White or Yellow course if they have only limited prior experience of using a map and compass. Those with more experience might start with an Orange or Long Orange course depending on how far they wish to walk/run. For Juniors, the recommended courses get more technically difficult and longer as they get older.
Please send any contributions for the June newsletter to [email protected] by Wednesday 29th November.