Welcome to the 7th 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.
(Photo is some (but not all) of the Northern Navigators contingent at the CompassSport Trophy Final in the Forest of Dean)
Note: Some details are provisional, always look at the website of the organising club for final details.
Saturday 13 January – Autumn/Winter LOP 4; Wylam (NATO, local)
Sunday 21 January – Classic; Simonside Hills/Lordenshaw, Rothbury (NATO, regional)
Friday 26 to 28 January – Edinburgh Big Weekend (EUOC)
Saturday 3 February – Night Event; Hackthorpe Wood, Penrith (BL, local)
Sunday 4 February – Middle Distance; Eston Moor, Eston (CLOK, regional)
Sunday 4 February – Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge (EPOC/PFO, regional)
Wednesday 7 February – Golf Course Winter Series; Romanby Golf Course (CLOK, local)
Saturday 10 February – British Night Championships; Hawse End, Keswick (WCOC, major)
Sunday 18 February – CompassSport Cup/Trophy Heat; Gilling, Helmsley (EBOR, National)
Sunday 25 February – NE Score Championships; Dukes House Wood, Hexham (NATO, Regional)
Sunday 25 February – Smithills, Bolton (SELOC, regional)
Saturday 2 March – YHOA Night League and Northern Night Championships; Wheldrake Woods and Golf Course, York (EBOR, regional)
Sunday 3 March – Middle Distance; Lazenby and Wilton Woods, Eston (CLOK, local)
Saturday 9 March – Spring LOP No 1; Newburn (NATO, local)
Sunday 17 March – Cumbrian Galoppen; Askham Common, Penrith (BL, regional)
Saturday 23rd March – local event suitable for beginners (launch of new map), Elemore Country Park, Hetton-le-Hill (NN, local)
Friday 29 March 2024 – JK Sprint; University of Loughborough (EMOA, major) Saturday 30 March 2024 – JK Middlle; Beaudesert, Cannock (WMOA, major) Sunday 31 March 2024 – JK Long; Beaudesert, Cannock (WMOA, major)
Monday 1 April 2024 – JK Relays; Stanton Moor, Matlock (EMOA, major)
Saturday 13 April 2024 – British Orienteering Championships; Hutton Mulgrave, Whitby (CLOK, major) ***with help from us***
Sunday 14 April 2024 – British Relay Championships; Hutton Mulgrave and Skelder Woods, Whitby (CLOK, major) ***with help from us***
Saturday 20 April 2024 – Hallin Fell, nr Ullswater (BL, local)
Saturday 20 April 2024 – Spring LOP No 2; Seaton Sluice (NATO, local)
Sunday 21 April 2024 – Cumbrian Galoppen; Honister and High Doat (WCOC, regional)
Saturday 27 April 2024 – British Middle Championships; Danefield and The Chevin, Otley (AIRE, major)
Sunday 28 April 2024 – Northern Championships; Kilnsey South, Grassington (CLARO, national)
Saturday 18 May 2024 – LOC National Weekend 1; Colonel’s Drive, Graythwaite (LOC, national)
Sunday 19 May 2024 – LOC National Weekend 2; Holme Fell, Coniston (LOC, national)
Monday 27 May 2024 – York City Race; York (EBOR, Regional)
Saturday 22 June 2024 – British Sprint Relay Championships; Birmingham University (HOC, major)
Sunday 23 June 2024 – British Sprint Championships, Warwick University (OD, major)
Friday 12 to Tuesday 16 July – World Orienteering Championships; Edinburgh
Sunday 21 July 2024 to Saturday 27 July 2024 – Croeso 2024; Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons National Park) (WOA, national)
We also have a weekly club night on Wednesdays at 6.30pm in the vicinity of Durham City. Contact [email protected] for further details.
It’s the time of year to renew your NN membership.
This year, the committee decided to raise membership fees to £10 per senior, £18 per family (at least 2 people at the same address) with juniors remaining free. Ironically, we are a victim of our own success – as more people have become involved our costs have risen. So in the spirit of transparency, we wanted to explain what your fees are used for:
- Free entry to CompassSport Trophy heat and final
- Subsidised relay entry fees at JK or BOC
- Subsidised O tops
- Free maps for club night which continues to run successfully each week
Some dates for the diary
Sunday 18 February – CompassSport Cup/Trophy Heat; Gilling, Helmsley (EBOR, National)
Saturday 23rd March – local event suitable for beginners, Elemore, launch of new map
Saturday 13 April 2024/Sunday 14 April 2024 – NN are helping with the British Orienteering and Relay Championships; Hutton Mulgrave and Skelder Woods, Whitby.
Sunday 8th September OR Sunday 13th October (TBC) – NN Regional event, Chopwell Woods
Saturday 16th November – NE Night Champs, Durham
Sunday 17th November – NN Regional event, Durham
I hope that you can join us for the Club Christmas meal on Wednesday January 17th, 7pm at Tia’s Mexican & Mediterranean, Claypath, Durham.
All club members are welcome, as are family members/significant others.
We have sampled the food there on a couple of occasions after club nights and it is excellent, as are the drinks. I have provided links below to the main menu and the vegan menu – they can also cater for gluten free people.
Please complete the form to select food choices by Friday 12th January
If you want it from the vegan menu please state this on the form.
Volunteers and Event Officials
We are always looking for additional organisers, planners and controllers. If you are interested in helping please speak to one of the committee. The local events, club nights and Street-O events are great opportunities to get involved – the team are always willing to assist or shadow.
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).
A Year in the Life of NN
NE Night Championships – Broomley Community Woods
A year into Orienteering and I decided it’s time for my NN newsletter debut! One of the things I love most about NN is the people and how invested you all are in the sport. Thank you, you wonderful keen beans, for taking me under your wing with tips, advice and encouragement over the past year. I’m glad to have found others whose brains have also been wired to enjoy muddy forest runs.
As many of you are details people, I thought you’d enjoy a little breakdown of my experience of the Broomley Night Champs in November. Hilarious, exhausting, would do again.
So here it is – what happens when the newbie takes on the night…
(Tl;dr it took me OVER TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Yikes.)
1 – 5:55. All going ok so far, loving the brightness of the Warrens’ head torch I’ve borrowed and not loving the steep steps.
2 – 10:01. Not too bad, plodding along.
3 – 11:48. Navigation gets a bit harder – looking out for a little stream, got sidetracked by an earlier sort-of stream, but was helped out by seeing a couple others in the forest near the control. (Classic scenario of copying other runners – sorry not sorry.)
4 – 24:46. Nemesis. My first of two big enemies in the race, and my first time ever navigating in the dark through the woods on bearings alone. I was grateful for the relocation training we did earlier in term that helped me get back to the path to start over. Chuck in some hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar, I’ve got Type 1 Diabetes – drawing blood and downing juice in the forest probably doesn’t feature in most of your races), a sprinkle of forgetfulness of what the little yellow splodges on the map meant, a few out loud “WHAT? Where the heck am I?” moments and that’s a recipe for a 25-minute control hunt.
5 – 3:31. Stay North, cross two paths, get up a hill. Sweet, I’m back on track.
6 – 11:06. Follow the path, get to the junction, head West to the clearing – boom. Getting the hang of this. Happily muttering along to myself, probably singing at points, and deciding I’d rather walk, be precise and not get lost than have a repeat of Control 4.
7 – 13:52. “Down the hill and over the bridge”, by this point I’m definitely singing instructions to myself. Except the bridge was broken so this was a river-jumping moment. Felt epic. Probably looked tame.
8 – 7:34. I was starting to decide on easier navigation plans. You can see from 7/8/9 I didn’t even try to go directly between them and voted for road over trails and judging my location by clear markers where I could (rivers/vegetation boundaries) instead of contours, bearings or pacing.
9 – Handy little malfunctioning control with its red light on, could see it from a ways off.
10 – Had a lovely “aha!” moment where the control was exactly where I thought it would be.
11 – 9:38. “Follow the fence” except I followed it the wrong way. Thankfully, I noticed after a few paces that something didn’t feel right and corrected myself. Ended up at control 12 and navigated back to 11 from there. Found it from taking bearings which gave me a boost of confidence that I was learning from my earlier mistakes.
12 – 1:20. Easy.
13 – 3:39. A little hill with a lovely view of the town at night. Clear sky, bright moon. Feeling like I’m on the home straight…
14 – 30:04. Yeesh, I don’t even want to talk about it. I was so done, so ready to finish. But here was another bearings-through-the-woods control – I started confident, quickly got frustrated, but I was so determined to complete the course. I knew that as long as I didn’t mispunch, I’d come second in WO (it was only me and Elizabeth in the category). In fact, if she had mispunched I had a chance of coming first! In my dreams. Three or four attempts and I finally found the stupid flag. After two hours of this, I wasn’t going to give up at the final hurdle.
15 – 4:09. Back to the road. Wow, urbans will feel unbelievably easy after this.
F – 3:15. My sheepish little face & tired legs arrive back at base. 15 mins until the courses close, I’m still smiling but half expecting someone to be on the phone for an ambulance for me. The rest of the NN team were so kind, patient and encouraging – I love you guys!
CompassSport Final 2023 or “Mud, Sweat and Tears”
I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your attention that we made it to the Final this year? Did you know that we came 7th out of 12 clubs? Well, that’s the last you’ll hear of the result – I’m sure you want to know what else happened……
We mostly set off at some point on the Friday afternoon, with a 300 mile trip to look forward to. Some of us even flew!! Google said it was approximately 4 ½ hours but what do they know – it actually took us more like 6 hours. The final few miles from the nearest inhabited location were the worst as we navigated our way through endless single track roads with high hedges in the pitch black, occasionally taking the wrong turn as Google tried to keep up with our meanderings. But we finally made it to find a large complex with 3 different areas of accommodation – the main bunkhouse with dorms and one double room, a flat separated into 2 sections big enough to accommodate 2 families and a self-contained horsebox.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, some of the team were unable to make it for the weekend so we were down 5 key players ☹ This did have some advantages however, as it meant we had more space in the accommodation to spread ourselves around so … swings and roundabouts! As the residents began to arrive during the course of the evening, the rooms were divvied out – the youngsters got a mixed dorm, there was a male dorm, Jules and Debs had a room to themselves (obvs), Team HW had the horsebox and the Puschmanns and Bakers took over the flat. It all worked out perfectly! Matthew and Co had already been shopping for the food for the weekend and got busy straight away with making us a lovely meal. The last to arrive (around 10.30 – what dedication!) were the Bakers with their two little ones already fast asleep in the car– so cute. The evening ended with a discussion on how we were going to get to Parkrun (some) and the warm-up event (most) in the morning with limited cars. With a plan sorted out, we went to bed.
The next morning, we were able to see the environs of the bunkhouse for the first time; a farmhouse surrounded by fields which descended steeply down to the river Wye complete with pigs, chickens and a skatepark to the delight of the children. But no time to admire, the parkrun addicts had to be out of the house by 8.
The warm up event was in another part of the Forest of Dean. It was very picturesque and gave us a taste of the terrain to come. The weather was pretty kind with a good amount of sunshine but that unfortunately attracted some unwanted wasp attention and in some cases stings.
On returning to the bunkhouse, some folks went for a walk to make the most of the good weather. A walk down to the river Wye took about an hour; you could even cross the bridge and pay a visit to Wales. The area was full of little-used public footpaths amongst steep-sided woods and had an eerie, unspoilt edge to it. We ended up coming back in the dark by the light of our phones; the steep paths definitely took us a little longer.
For the evening meal, pizzas had been ordered using the outdoor pizza oven. On our return from the walk, the smell of the burning wood was most encouraging. We all gathered outside by the oven and firepit, some were playing games, others enjoying the camaraderie. By 7.30 it became obvious there was a bit of a problem … the pizzas were not appearing. Apparently, the recent rain had made the wood damp and the pizza oven was not cooperating. Meanwhile, in the bunkhouse the NNers were going crazy with hunger, eating everything they could lay their hands on, some were even to be seen resorting to the pig swill! Eventually, our hosts used their own gas oven to cook the pizzas which were very nice, if 3 hours late!
The next morning we had another early start to get to the main event. It was raining. It didn’t stop raining all day despite the forecast giving us hope that we would see a let up. The mud was thigh high by the time the late starters came in – what a mudfest. It continued to rain as we packed away the tent but hey, did I mention – we came 7 out of 12 clubs?
What an epic trip! Thanks to Dave and Matthew for securing the accommodation and to all for joining in and making it an experience to remember.
Boxing Day Charity Score
Thanks to everyone who came to the Boxing Day Score – beautiful weather encouraged 104 competitors (the most we’ve ever had!) to leave their Christmas firesides and raise ~£350 for REfUSE. Results and photos can be found from the website (thanks to Dougie for the photo below).
Allen Banister has been a big part of NN since his move to the North East. Prior to this he was a member of Claro for numerous years and in recognition of his service to Claro, Allen has been awarded the Charles Lewsley Cup – congratulations Allen!
The Claro AGM stated: the Charles Lewsley Cup was awarded to Allen Banister for service to the club above and beyond expectations, extending into the present despite his move to the North East. Congratulations and thank you Allen.
The Charles Lewsley Cup is in honour of Charles Lewsley who was an active and enthusiastic member of Claro and their first ever M80 competitor, a milestone for which he became the Club’s first Honorary member. He suffered a major heart attack competing at a local orienteering event in 1999. The Club decided to honour his memory with the purchase of a trophy, the Charles Lewsley Cup. The cup is awarded to the Claro member who has made the greatest contribution to the Club in the preceding year. The choice is made by the Committee and the recipient cannot be a member of the Committee.
Thanks to everyone who attended the NN Annual General Meeting and Meal on 8 November 2023 at the Bridge Hotel, Durham. For full reports see club emails prior to the AGM or contact one of the Committee.
Full minutes will be provided elsewhere, the committee for 2023-24 consists of: Debby Warren – Chair/Fixtures Secretary (note some aspects of the Chair/Secretary role will be shared)
Boris Spence – Secretary/Fixtures Secretary (note some aspects of the Chair/Secretary role will be shared)
Kath Marshall-Ivens – Treasurer
Julian Warren – Mapping officer/Welfare Officer/Activities Secretary
Allen Banister – Membership Secretary/Results secretary
Matthew Foskett – Publicity and social media officer
Dave Peel – Publicity and social media officer
No Junior Representative was appointed by the AGM – if this is something that your Junior may be interested in then please contact a member of the committee.
60 Seconds with…..Debby Warren
Debby Warren answering questions from the Warrens(!)
What’s your role in the club? Club Chair
How long have you been orienteering? I started in the early 90s so about 30 years.
How did you get into the sport? Julian got involved through university and he dragged me along. For a time, I just did short courses until I became a convert.
What’s your warm-up routine? I like to stretch my hips and thigh muscles as they are always tight.
What’s your best result? How fortuitous that you should ask me this; I recently won the Green course at Ayton Moor and received my best ever ranking points! To be fair, 2 weeks before this I came last ……
What do you eat before your run? I don’t usually eat anything if it’s a morning run. I’m not a big fan of breakfast – overrated in my opinion.
Thumb compass or base-plate? I’m a recent convert to a thumb compass which until the Lakes coaching weekend in November I had been using incorrectly (don’t ask!)
Do you take compass bearings? Rough compass bearings using my new technique 😊
What’s your favourite orienteering area? I love a sand dune so maybe Roseisle in Scotland.
Lycra or baggy? Lycra
Moorland or forest? Forest – it’s more technically challenging.
Urban or cross country? Cross Country. I don’t dislike urban but I find it hard work – I’m just not fast enough.
Do you pace count? Sometimes. It can be useful but I often forget.
What’s your worst mistake? I suffered an embarrassing incident at a night event on Darwin Moor. When my torch failed, I panicked and headed for the nearest street lights. It turned out I’d run off the map and had absolutely no idea where I was. I had to phone the emergency number and tell the organiser my predicament. Needless to say he was pretty surprised – I’d managed to run across to the other side of the moor from assembly and it took him 15 minutes to drive round to collect me!
Are you a results nerd? I confess that perusing the results post event is one of my favourite things about orienteering. Looking at where I lost time and what my nearest rivals did in comparison can keep me occupied quite happily.
What do you think of Routegadget? It’s a great tool for a results nerd!
Dave Caudwell, 1941-2023 RIP
The previous edition contained the sad news of Dave Caudwell’s passing. We wished to share that £2500 has been raised for the Orienteering Foundation from donations by his family and those who knew him. Dave’s family have expressed a wish that the money go towards youth development in orienteering
For full details see the orienteering foundation website.
Introductory guide – Major Events Lowdown
As we move into the depths of winter the orienteering pickings are slim, so let’s look forward to the major events of next year with a deep dive into what’s happening.
The orienteering season proper kicks off in the spring but for those of us that enjoy night orienteering the British Night Championships is taking place in the Lake District near Keswick. Great for a bit of technical navigation through the Lakes terrain with the added challenge of darkness.
The season kicks off with the JK a four-day festival of orienteering over the easter weekend from the 29th March to the 1st April, hosted in the Midlands this year. The JK is one of the oldest orienteering events in Britain, and is named after the man who exported orienteering to this country (Jan Kjellstrom). The event’s age is matched by its prestige, as it takes place in some of the most technical areas of Britain and draws thousands of competitors not just from Britain but from all over Europe.
In mid-April we are hosting a very important event in the North East (so keep your diaries free). On the 13th of April the British Long Championships are being held in Mulgrave Woods, and the following day the British Relay Championships are being held in Hutton Mulgrave, both near Whitby. The Long distance is a classic endurance test (often across varied terrain), and as a major event, it attracts stiff competition from all over Britain. The relays are a good opportunity to have a bit of fun; short and sweet, they’re very social occasions and are a good opportunity for spectating.
Another double weekender at the end of April, and also in the north so easy to get to. On the 27th April are the British Middle Championships near Otley and the following day is the Northern Championships at Kilnsey. The British Middle Championships were only added to the events calendar in 1998 but have earned their place, challenging competitors to navigate highly technical areas over a shorter distance at high speed. The Northern Championships is a great place to settle your regional rivalries as members of the North East Orienteering Association (NEOA), the North West Orienteering Association (NWOA) and the Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association (YHOA) go head-to-head. As the two events are linked this year, expect a high turnout and great competition on one of the best areas of Yorkshire.
At the end of June, the last of the British Championships is being held. Unfortunately, they are taking place in Birmingham, but intrepid explorers or sprint specialists might want to head down all the same. The British Sprint Relays are taking place on the Birmingham University campus on 22nd June. This is the newest British championship discipline, involving high-octane orienteering in the fast sprint terrain of the universities as part of a team; rather daunting but undeniably fun. On the 23rd June the British Sprint Championships are being held at Warwick University. Sprints are short and snappy races rarely longer than 3km, but the organisers of the British championships let us run two in one day. The format is simple: morning heats, and afternoon finals, with the best battling in the A final (but winning any final is a success).
In mid-July, Edinburgh is hosting the World Orienteering Sprint championships. This is the biggest orienteering event in the international calendar. Us orienteering plebs might not get to run for our country, but we do get four days of sprint competitions in some of the best sprint areas in Britain (if not the world)! It’s also a fantastic opportunity to watch the best orienteers in the world compete against each other, in a beautiful city to boot.
At the end of July, we get the final major event of the orienteering season: the Welsh 6 days held from 21st-27th of July. This big six-day extravaganza takes place in Wales every four years and is happening in the northern Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog this year. This is a great chance to have a nice early holiday in Wales (hopefully in gloriously sunny weather), orienteering (and then chilling) in the Welsh countryside. Who could ask for more?
All these events are open to people of all ages and abilities, and with a lot of competition over great terrain they are well worth attending. I would highly recommend going to the JK and since they are in the north the British Long and Middle, but if you are feeling adventurous, all are great events with plenty of different disciplines on display.
British Night Champs – 10th of February the Lakes Hawse End Keswick
JK 2024 29th of March to the 1st of April in the Midlands (Loughborough Uni, Beaudesert and Stanton Moor)
British Long – 13th of April in the North East Mulgrave Woods
British Relays – 14th of April in the North East Hutton Mulgrave
British Middle Champs – 27th of April Yorkshire Danefield & The Chevin Otley
Northern Champs – 28th of April Yorkshire Kilnsey South
British Sprint Relays – 22nd of June Birmingham Uni
British Sprint Champs – 23rd of June Warwick Uni
World Orienteering Champs – 12th-16th in Edinburgh
Welsh 6 days – 21st – 27th July South Wales
Indoor-O – 2nd York Indoor Cup Millthorpe
I like being outdoors: walking, running, cycling, orienteering – most of my favourite things to do are outside. But…if you bring something that is normally outdoors and take it indoors it can be pretty good too 😉
I’d previously done an indoor event in York (same location) back in 2016 and also one in Cambridge which was slightly different (that one you had to be careful with the control descriptions as there could be a control both on a chair and under the same chair!). This time, I was heading down to visit my parents the same week as this event back at the end of October but was pleased I could make the timings work to do the event on my way down.
There was a good NN crowd – Debby, Naomi and Elizabeth on the Women’s Open course and me, Barney, Dave, Julian and Paul on the Men’s Open. A few of us had done the parkrun at York racecourse beforehand too.
The event was in a school in York – otherwise empty on a Saturday late morning. As you can see from the map above it was a complex warren of corridors, classrooms, canteens and even a few cleaners cupboards etc over 4 floors! There was an extra twist with a corridor which was blocked off for the two longer courses near stairways O/P.
I started a bit later than most of the NN contingent and with over 200 orienteers taking part over only a few hours the corridors were pretty busy with competitors moving at a wide variety of speeds (Alexander Fielding of DUOC won my course in 23:01 minutes but several people took over 100 minutes). Running in the corridors was definitely permitted but there had to be a bit of give and take – letting others through narrow sections and slowing down before any blind corners.
There was a butterfly looped section to prevent you following the competitor in front and this coincided with a section that confused a few people – the road block near the ‘O’ stairs meant the route from 5 to 6 was not as straight forward as it initially looked. Most of the legs similar to this I went down ‘D’ or ‘E’ and then down ‘P’ into the basement and back up ‘O’ – it took a while before I spotted the alternative stairs ‘B’ and ‘A’ route.
It was always a compromise between pausing to check the intricacies of the match and keeping up the pace. I got the balance wrong between 18 and 19 – totally missing the undercover walkway and instead going up and down stairs N, M and K!
Time seemed to move weirdly when running the event but after just over 30 minutes I headed towards the finish. One benefit of starting later meant I was not confused by the run in to the finish – a few people initially missed the last control and had to retrace their steps along the sprint in front of any spectators!
It was a really fun event – the intricacies of the indoor environment mean you really have to think hard and the corridors required a lot of accelerating and decelerating. Well done for Alex (DUOC) for winning the Men’s Open and for Elizabeth with her 3rd place on the Women’s Open. Full results and a video can be found linked from the EBOR website.
Now if anyone has a good location for an NN indoor event…
Please send any contributions for the March newsletter to [email protected] by Wednesday 6th March.