Hosted by Leicestershire Orienteering Club
17 March 2018: Middle Distance Race - Irchester Country Park
18 March 2018: Midland Long Championships - Belvoir Castle, Grantham
Chris Phillips, Chair of Leicestershire Orienteering Club (LEI), says:
"The highlight of Leicestershire Orienteering Club's (LEI’s) event programme for 2018 was our UKOL weekend, on the 17 and 18 March. A level B Middle Distance race at Irchester Country Park near Wellingborough and the Midland Championships at the Belvoir Estate on the Lincolnshire borders promised a quality weekend of orienteering.
Irchester is a wonderful area with a lot of complex contour detail to provide a challenge for even the most experienced orienteers. The number of entries for this event was around 350, although this reduced to 324 on the day, presumably due to the inclement weather. There were over 30 volunteers involved in supporting this event, from registration and enquiries right through to download and control collection. Many competitors commented on the uniqueness of the area, which was utilised to its fullest by excellently planned courses, courtesy of Iain Phillips and Roger Edwards, overseen by the controller, Graham Louth, West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC).
With the weather forecasters promising the “Mini Beast from the East” the event teams for both days were having an anxious time in the run-up to the weekend. High winds on Saturday meant that hanging out competitor bibs was not possible, so thank you to those of you who waited patiently for the personal service offered by the friendly registration team. This, along with trying to clear loose, barking dogs making access to a control very difficult, was all part of the challenge for organisers Alan and Wendy West. Snow showers and the bitter cold meant a challenging day for both competitors and volunteer helpers.
Forty miles further north the Belvoir Team were getting on with their preparations for Sunday. Having lost all the original car park locations because of earlier bad weather the team were hurriedly re-signing all the routes around the vast Belvoir Estate directing Sunday’s competitors to the replacement car parks. The Belvoir Estate provides a contrast of areas. The mature woodlands of the west end of the estate provide classic orienteering, whilst the beautiful semi-formal gardens near to the castle give runners a chance to test their micro navigational skills.
Light snow falling during the night had given some cause for concern, but the event officials were all on site early on Sunday morning and all seemed well. However, it quickly became apparent that car parking was again going to be a problem. The main car park by the castle is accessed and exited by narrow steep roads. It was clear that it was not safe to drive on the three or four hundred yards of road affected by snow and that regretfully we would have to cancel the event. An accident later in the day (not related to the event) on that stretch of road confirmed that as a sensible decision.
Thank you to everybody in the sport for your very kind messages of support over what was a difficult weekend for everybody in Leicestershire Orienteering Club (LEI). We hope to return to Belvoir sometime in the not too distant future."
Results for LEI Irchester UKOL Weekend on 17 March 2018 can be found here.
Find out more about the UK Orienteering League 2018 and the remaining events scheduled to take place here.
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Phillips and all members of Leicestershire Orienteering Club for their hard work in organising these two UKOL events.