This weekend members of the GB Talent Squad continue their preparation for the 2019 season by attending the squad camp in the Surrey Hills. On Friday evening 19 athletes met up at the Juniper Hill centre, in the shadows of Box Hill, to build on the base from previous camps and their winter training.
The weekend is set up to further develop individual skills, to give time for detailed personal discussions with coaches and medical staff, and to familiarise themselves with terrain similar to that of their selection races at the JK.
On Friday evening they were able to review the experiences and lessons from the pre- Christmas Lake District camp and set themselves up for the exercises of the weekend.
They spent Saturday at Winterfold with sessions focusing on route choice and map memory.
In the morning they were faced with a pairs route choice exercise in which each chose a different route and then saw who arrived at the control first. Given the terrain, this was often a choice of straight or around to avoid climb and contours or, as they soon found out, some patches of quite difficult and potentially slow forest.
Following a change to dry clothes and some lunch they then had a separate pairs exercise that tested map memory over some complex and variable legs. Again, straight or longer path and attack point choices were on offer.
During both sessions, the pairs were shadowed for part of their runs by one of the five volunteer coaches.
This meant that as well as their GPS tracking the squad athletes were able to review and analyse not just where they went but how they tackled to challenges of the legs.
Showered and refreshed the athletes then had to opportunity to individually review their day, their activities and also their current and planned training programmes with one of the coaches. They were also able to discuss any injury or remedial exercises and general conditioning with trained medical and physiotherapy staff.
Today, Sunday, they will travel to the University of Sussex for some sprint training.
Over the past few months, Club Matters have released some great videos and podcasts on a range of topics such as:
This year Club Matters are looking to build a content plan for the next 5 -10 months that will look to provide great advice and guidance for clubs across the country. As part of this, they would like to support British Orienteering and Orienteering Clubs more and see where there are further opportunities for sharing across all of our platforms.
The structure of the content plan is hoped to be shared later in January. If your club has any plans across the year for club development or campaigns then please get in touch.
Do you have a topic you would like them to discuss in their new videos or podcasts? If so, please email: SportEngland@freuds.com using the subject ‘Club Matters podcast’.
Alternatively, you can tweet your interest @ClubMatters or contact them via their facebook page @
If you wish to discuss anything about the above and development of your club email: email@example.com
Thank you to both Andrew Evans, Dartford Orienteering Klub (DFOK) and Allison Page, DFOK Club Coach who both met with a feature writer and photographer from the Woodland Trust Head Office in Grantham. The reporter has written up the article about her experience of orienteering.
The article appeared in the winter issue of The Woodland Trust's Broadleaf Member Magazine – and has been distributed to their 200,000 members.
The Woodland Trust have kindly given British Orienteering permission to reproduce the whole article and to share with a wider audience.
Photos credited: The Woodland Trust
HEAVY FOOTSTEPS pound the hill behind me. I turn and glimpse a figure moving among the silvery trunks. My breath comes in sharp bursts, my heart hammers, and overhead a jay unleashes an ungodly cackle.
But this isn’t the start of a John Grisham thriller, this is orienteering – and time is of the essence. I’ve come to Joyden’s Wood in Kent, just 13 miles from London to sample a sport that’s the perfect cocktail of woodland exploration, physical agility and mental acumen. And yes, orienteering is indeed a sport, and not just the casual saunter I’d always assumed. At my heels is my mentor for the day, maestro of the map Andrew Evans. “You’re faster than me!” Andrew laughs as we crest the hill and weave between the Corsican pines towering above. A carpet of needles deadens the air, and coal tits squabble like children in the branches. “But I’m lost, and you’re not,” I shoot back. And this is the crux of orienteering. Racing with gusto may gladden the heart, but have I been paying attention to the minutiae of the terrain around me? Can I orient the map accurately to sniff out the next staging post? And most importantly, have I got the faintest idea where I am? Luckily Joyden’s Wood is a brilliant place to get lost, its warren of forest rides tangling delectably through a mosaic of ancient broadleaf and mature pine. This is a wood with history: it’s got medieval wood banks and scraps of Iron Age dwellings half-buried in the undergrowth. Much was replanted with conifers after the war, but 30 years of tender Woodland Trust husbandry have eased it back to health, and nowadays treecreepers and nuthatches scale trunks in search of insects, marauding redwings and fieldfares forage for berries, and dormice, wolf spiders and wood ants scuttle in the leaf litter. For the wood’s human visitors, Joyden’s new orienteering course offers a fast route to total immersion. Dartford Orienteering Klubb helped the Trust install the 2km network of midget markerposts earlier this year, and my own crash course began 40 minutes ago with a tutorial from club chairman Andrew and coach Allison Page. They handed me map and compass and explained the basic idea: to plot a route that gets you from A to B in the quickest, cleanest manner. The more fragile bits of habitat are off limits, and direct-line travel is often blocked by areas of ‘forest fight’ – code for no-go unless you have a machete and a will of steel. So as I’m quick to learn, orienteering is about watching the map and tracking your surroundings as you run This, it turns out, is where I struggle. “Look at the contours and where the post is marked,” says Andrew, sensing my disorientation. I realise my mistake.
The post I’m seeking isn’t atop the hill as I’d assumed, but just over the brow – away from direct line of sight. Apparently, these navigational nuances become second nature to a hardened orienteer. We race on, shouting out features to help keep us oriented. “Left at the T-junction” I yell, feeling like a navigator in a road rally. “Vegetation change!” We plunge downhill and burst suddenly from the muffled quiet of the pines into the joyful vibrancy of native broadleaf trees again. A blackbird is shunting leaves in the undergrowth, entirely unconcerned as we speed past. Shafts of low winter sunlight dance at our feet. “This is what it’s all about!” says Andrew with a broad grin, spreading his arms wide. His exuberant love of this place is infectious. We notch up another post and then run blinking into the glare of a sandy glade. Dense gorse and buddleia forms a thicket around us. Forest Fight! Andrew points into the greenery: “Somewhere under there are the remnants of an Iron Age roundhouse. And that huge ditch is called Faesten Dic. It was built by the local Saxons to keep out the Londoners!” This must be the most breathless guided tour I’ve ever had – it feels like speed-dating with a wood. “Post!” I yell suddenly as it looms from the brush. I’ve learnt my lesson by now, and have been mentally ticking off features as we pass. I think I’m getting the hang of this. A stretch of wide forest track gives me a chance to quiz Andrew about orienteering culture. “The sport is really easy to take part in,” he says. “All you need is a compass, trainers and a downloaded map. We have people aged from eight to 80 competing at our club, and we run lots of family events.” Standard orienteering pace, he tells me, is about 1km every ten minutes. I glance at my watch. We haven’t quite cracked it, but I don’t mind. Today was more about exploring the hidden corners of this beautiful place. Ahead of us, a mammoth oak splits the path in two, fat-bellied and glorious. I spot ropes hanging from its limbs and wonder about the children who’ve clambered there. This queen of the forest has seen some adventures in her time, and we pause briefly so she can share in ours. Then, all at once, our race is run. I don’t know whether to hug the post or high-five Andrew, but I’ve loved every minute of our adrenaline-fuelled quest. Orienteering is a unique way of exploring the great outdoors, and I can’t wait to give it another go.
Orienteering oracle Andrew Evans keeps you on course:
NOW HAVE A GO
Orienteering isn’t just about racing: it can add variety to a family walk or spice up your woodland jog. You’ll find links to courses and events at britishorienteering.org.uk/goorienteering. The map for Joyden’s Wood can be downloaded free at dfok.co.uk/permanent, and other Woodland Trust woods with permanent courses include Hainault Forest in Essex, Martinshaw in Leicestershire, Elemore Woods and Low Burnhall in Durham and
Carnmoney Hill, County Antrim.
This is a great article! British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank both Andrew Evans (DFOK) and Allison Page (DFOK) for their work involved in generating this fantastic article. Special thanks must also go to The Woodland Trust in raising the profile of the sport of orienteering with their 200,000 members.
Does your club have Permanent Orienteering Courses on any Woodland Trust sites?
There may perhaps be an opportunity for you to engage with the Woodland Trust and put on some future orienteering activities.
There are thousands of people who are committed to the development and delivery of orienteering within the UK each year. British Orienteering is looking for nominees for our 2018 awards and wants to recognise and reward some of the great work being done across the sport of orienteering by our clubs, coaches, mappers and volunteers of all ages.
Who do you think deserves recognition for their hard work, dedication and effort they have given tirelessly to our sport throughout 2018? British Orienteering would like to recognise the dedication and achievement of the many outstanding individuals within the sport.
We are delighted to announce that we are now actively accepting nominations for British Orienteering National Annual Awards. This year we have introduced a new category – Volunteer of the Year Award. This is an exciting new development! The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises one outstanding adult volunteer for their valuable time and commitment they have given over the year. This is in addition to the Young Volunteer Award which recognises commitment from those under the age of 25. We are delighted to introduce this new category into British Orienteering Annual Awards for 2018. Who do you think deserves to be recognised and nominated for this new award? Details of all the Volunteer, Club and Mapping Awards are outlined here, together with the criteria and nomination process for each Award.
Each year British Orienteering presents a number of awards to recognise the incredible effort and impact delivered by clubs, coaches and volunteers across orienteering.
2018 Award Categories Open for Nominations are as follows:
Is your club an important part of the local community?
Providing opportunities for everyone to experience high-quality activities at all levels of your sport or recreation?
Demonstrating a commitment to the development of participants as well as coaches and volunteers?
Taking an innovative approach to the promotion of the club?
Club of the Year Nomination Form – can be found here.
This award recognises the efforts of University Clubs in the development of participants as well as coaches and volunteers. The award is also to show appreciation for the University introducing and providing a gateway to the sport to their students.
University Club of the Year Nomination Form – can be found here.
Coach of the Year award is looking for coaches who demonstrate success in one or more of the following areas:
Coach of the Year Nomination Form – can be found here.
This award is for a volunteer, under the age of 25, who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting delivery of orienteering activity with passion, energy and enthusiasm.
Young Volunteer of the Year Nomination Form – here.
This award is for a volunteer who has demonstrated a commitment to supporting delivery of orienteering activity with passion, energy and enthusiasm.
Volunteer of the Year Nomination Form – can be found here.
- a person or persons who have made a very significant contribution to orienteering over a period of years, with an emphasis on ‘field' activities rather than committee work.
In 1983 SILVA (Sweden) AB decided to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first Silva compass by establishing an annual award within each IOF member Federation. The awards were to enable Federations to honour those who have contributed in a special way to the development of orienteering. With the assistance of SILVA (UK) Ltd this was interpreted, within the UK, as being a person or persons who have made a very significant contribution to orienteering over a period of years, with an emphasis on ‘field' activities rather than committee work. Indeed, nominees may not be active or retiring members of the British Orienteering Board, nor part- or full-time employees of the Federation.
All members can nominate someone they believe has made a significant contribution to orienteering through ‘field’ activities.
SILVA Award Nomination Form – can be found here.
To encourage the production of high-quality maps the Map Group, on behalf of British Orienteering, awards a number of trophies to encourage high standards of mapping and related activities.
All nominations for the Mapping Awards below should be made by Sunday 24th February 2019 and winners will be presented with their awards at the 2019 AGM.
Terry Smith, Chair of the Mapping Group, said: “We continue to be impressed with the high standard of maps submitted for the Mapping Awards. We particularly look forward to receiving nominations from, or on behalf of, new mappers and those who have not previously submitted entries.”
2018 Mapping Award Categories Open for Nominations are as follows:
The Chichester Trophy was donated by the Honorary President of the British Orienteering Federation in 1971, Sir Francis Chichester. The Trophy consists of the binnacle compass used on Sir Francis' 'round the world' yacht, Gipsy Moth V, mounted on a wooden plinth. The Trophy was first awarded in 1971 to Robin Harvey and Sue Bone for their map of Leith Hill. It was originally awarded for the Best Map produced in a single year, though later it was awarded for multiple maps or contribution to mapping. In 1985, with the introduction of the 'Bonington Trophy', the 'Chichester Trophy' reverted to the original concept of the best map produced by an amateur mapper.
Mapping Award Nomination Form – can be found here.
With the high standard of professionally surveyed and drawn orienteering maps being produced in Britain, the British Orienteering Map Group decided, in 1992, that a new trophy should be awarded in recognition of these mapping companies. The Map Group annually awards the 'Silva Trophy' to the best professionally produced map. This trophy, sponsored by SILVA U.K. Ltd. is made from Stourbridge crystal. This irregular shape, called cullet in the trade, is formed when the unused crystal cools. The base was made by Mike Baggott of Harlequins from English elm and the solid silver plate was purchased from a bullion supplier in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and engraved nearby.
Mapping Award Nomination Form – can be found here.
This trophy was made by Mike Baggott of HOC and is sponsored by Walsh Shoes. The trophy is made of old walnut with a triangular cross-section and an etched plate with an image of Canary Wharf, London. It is awarded annually to the best urban or sprint map drawn to ISSOM specification.
Mapping Award Nomination Form – can be found here.
This trophy was donated to British Orienteering by its Honorary President, Sir Chris Bonington, the world-famous mountaineer. The trophy consists of a piece of rock collected from the summit of Mount Everest on Chris' 1985 expedition, mounted on a wooden plinth. It is awarded annually for the 'best contribution to mapping' which can cover a whole range of activities related to mapping.
Bonington Trophy Nomination Form – can be found here.
Who are you going to nominate?
To find out more about the awards and how to nominate, click here.