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Share  Tweet Friday 16th February 2024

Recruitment - British Orienteering Performance Manager

British Orienteering have an unparalleled opportunity to lead and shape our Performance Pathway Programme towards the World Championships in 2024 and beyond.

We are on a mission to secure sustained success and make our mark on the global stage. This isn't just about competition; it's about transcending boundaries, defying expectations, and showcasing the very best of our collective talents.

As the leader of this programme, you will lead and co-ordinate the immense potential and will inspire and unite all those involved in the programme including athletes, parents, support staff and volunteers. Your Leadership will provide the opportunity for our athletes to fulfil their potential and reach new heights.

So, are you ready to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

For further information regarding the post please see here.

Join us as we embark on this extraordinary journey towards the World Championships in 2024.

Closing Date for applications is 10 March 2024

Performance Manager
Share  Tweet Thursday 29th February 2024

Thinking of becoming a Planner? Take advantage of our special E-Learning course offer this March!

Considering becoming a Planner?

Planning is the one of the most rewarding and enjoyable roles. Not only does it improve your navigation skills, but it can also provide you with a different and new type of orienteering challenge.  

The British Orienteering E-Learning Course, Introduction to Planning , developed with the expertise of Barry Elkington (Octavian Droobers) and the educational robustness  of Pauline Olivant (Nottinghamshire Orienteering Club) is a great place to start.

This course is aimed at current and experienced Orienteers who wish to become a Planner.

By the end of the course you will have a great understanding of how to plan your first local event and how the roles of the main officials interact.

Course objectives

  • To understand what is expected of a planner before, during and after the local event, and how the planner’s role interacts with the other event officials.
  • To understand the different technical and physical requirements for planning orienteering courses to meet the requirements of the full range of expected competitors and the role of the officials.

The course content is designed to only address the course objective rather than attempting to cover the full scope of Planning. As we recognise that Planning is a skill that takes much time and practice to hone.

The course should only take around 45- 60 mins to complete and for the whole of March is only £6.00

To access the course and find out more information about our other E-Learning courses, please visit the E-Learning homepage.

Interested in learning about our other E-Learning courses on offer? Visit the E-Learning homepage and access information on all the other resources we provide.


Share  Tweet Wednesday 28th February 2024

Patience, Persistence and Politeness – key factors in gaining access

Written by Ranald Macdonald, Derwent Valley Orienteers


For many years Derwent Valley Orienteers had gained permission to hold Level C/Regional events at Linacre Reservoirs, to the west of Chesterfield in northern Derbyshire. The three reservoirs used to provide drinking water for the Chesterfield area but became non-operational in 1995 and are now managed for wildlife and visitors and provide a popular local amenity, particularly with dog walkers and families. The woodland around the reservoirs is a mixture of runnable forest and areas of slow run with ground vegetation, mainly brambles. The area continues to be managed by Severn Trent Water.

Prior to the pandemic DVO held its last event at Linacre just before the first lockdown on 8 March 2020, which attracted 215 competitors. As with previous events, we were not asked for any access fees.

In January 2022 we started planning for an event in November that year and, having been given an earlier indication that a request would be successful, approached Severn Trent with a draft risk assessment, a previous all controls map and the BOF indemnity policy.

A setback

We were therefore surprised to receive an email saying that our request had been rejected “due to the Event straying away from the main footpaths/walks. These areas are not included in our Tree Safety checks.” It turned out that their concern was with ash die-back and that they were concerned about allowing groups into areas that they couldn’t be 100% certain is safe. My initial reply pointed out that orienteering is an individual sport and the only groups might be families who would stick to paths, within the areas covered by their safety checks. I also noted that no other major landowners whom we approached for permission to hold events had raised the issue of ash die-back; these included the National Trust, Forestry England and Chatsworth Estates.

At this stage I was communicating with Severn Trent’s Senior Visitor Engagement Officer and the Visitor Experience Operation Manager (who thinks up these titles?), who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their visitor sites. We went through several rounds of communication, with no movement on their part other than to say we shouldn’t have been given permission in the past!

A tactical error?

Finding I was getting nowhere, I arranged a meeting with Emma Monkman, British Orienteering’s Access and Environment Officer, and we agreed to ask Peter Hart, BOF Chief Executive, to contact the CEO of Severn Trent Water, Liv Garfield CBE. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she backed the decision of her staff and suggested we arranged a meeting with Dan Taberner, the Visitor Experience Operations Manager based at Carsington Reservoir, to discuss alternative arrangements for an event.

Emma and I met with Dan on 15 May 2023, having sent him previous maps and risk assessments in advance. It was a very positive meeting and we were more hopeful that the event would be allowed to go ahead. Because it had been referred back to him he may have felt empowered to make a different decision, though that is speculation on my part. However, there was still opposition from the main person responsible on the ground who reiterated his concerns about safety and falling trees.

A key meeting to negotiate access

In late September 2023 Richard Parkin, DVO’s mapper for the area, and I met on site with Dan and his colleague. It became clear that Dan was open to persuasion if we agreed to meet certain conditions. His colleague, somewhat tellingly, said very little. The main condition was that no control should be more than 40 metres from a path. We agreed to this as there are many paths at Linacre and we only lost a few controls from previous events. Dan told us that we had permission, in principle, when they had seen the final All Controls map. A tip: increase the size of the circles enough and they all look as if they are close to paths!

The event was due to be held on Saturday 25 November 2023. We had gone for the Saturday because South Yorkshire Orienteers, a neighbouring club, had scheduled an event for the Sunday and we thought it was good to have a couple of relatively adjacent events over the one weekend.  SYO subsequently moved their event into early 2024! However, we decided to stick with the date already publicised.

We had to plan as if we had permission even though it was still touch and go. I had agreed to be the Controller as we had a relatively inexperienced Planner and I am a Grade A Controller who has mentored many Planners and Controllers in the past. It also fitted with my role as Access Officer for the area and DVO’s Event Safety Officer as I could make play of the fact that safety was always my primary concern but that no outdoor activity could be 100% risk-free. Our safety track record as a sport is excellent and our environmental credentials stand up to scrutiny as well, though we could always do better.

A last, we have permission!

On Friday 10 November 2023 Dan emailed me to say the event could go ahead as planned if we agreed to include in the Risk Assessment that the event would be cancelled if there was a Met Office Yellow, Amber or Red weather warning for wind, which we would have taken account of in normal circumstances anyway.

Two weeks before the event we finally had permission to go ahead! The event went ahead successfully, with just over 200 competitors on a very cold but sunny day. It was almost two years since I had made the first approach for permission.

A further complication over the last few events at Linacre has been that we lost parking at a pub adjacent to the area as their customer numbers had gone up and they couldn’t release the space. However, we have been parking at Holmebrook Valley Country Park, also to the west of Chesterfield, which has a lot of hard standing, and using Community Transport minibuses. As it was only a 10-minute ride away, this arrangement worked well, though some competitors did get cold waiting for the return ride. As a club, we have become much more comfortable with parking a short distance from the event and using minibuses.

Lessons learned?

What lessons did we learn?

That it pays to be patient, persistent and polite. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. With hindsight, I would reflect a bit more about whether to escalate it too far up the organisation as most managers will support their staff. Be patient but keep badgering, whilst remaining polite, even though you really want to say “don’t be so stupid!”

If you can, meet with the person able to make a decision. In this case we had been told that Dan was a very reasonable and amiable person, and this proved to be the case. His colleague seemed less experienced and was working to the book rather looking for compromises or solutions.

It was a LOT of effort for a Level C event. However, we have been losing areas, or had restrictions curtailing access, so we couldn’t afford to let a relatively good orienteering area go without a fight.

Share  Tweet Tuesday 5th December 2023

International Competition Summary

2023 was the first full year of the new Performance Pathway Structure, where alongside the Junior and Senior International Competition Calendar there were a total of 16 training camps, held in both in the UK and abroad.

Senior Team

The Senior International Calendar started with World Cup 1 in Norway, a Forest competition programme leading into the Forest World Championships later in the year. It was a solid start to the season with some athletes picking up their first World Cup points and the athletes having the opportunity to wear the new Trimtex kit.

Following the WOC Selection Races the 9 strong squad was selected to travel to Switzerland to race at WOC, after a good preparation camp, Megan Carter-Davies was able to show her strength in the forest as well as the sprint events just missing out on a place on the podium with a 7th in the Long. She also had a strong result in the Middle finishing in 12th position. On a hot final day, both the Womens and Mens relay teams were in action finishing in 8th and 17threspectively.

Images: The Senior Team pose in their new Trimtex Kit ahead of World Cup Round 1 and Ralph Street celebrates following his first World Cup win at World Cup Round 2. Credits: Rob Lines.

As the senior International season headed to its half way point, World Cup 2 in Czechia, hosted a mix of both forest and sprint races. With less than three weeks since WOC, Ralph Street took home his first World Cup win in the Individual Sprint race. Cheered on by his fellow team mates as he approached the finish line, he kept his cool throughout the 4km course to comfortably win by 14 seconds, on a day which was largely successful with five of the six British Men finishing inside the top 22.

The competition moved into the forest for the final days of competition where the sandstone terrain proved to be a challenge for all the athletes especially after the heavy rainfall on the steep slopes.

Images: Megan Carter-Davies at EOC 2023 and Jonathan Crickmore at World Cup Round 2. Credits: Rob Lines

The World Cup Final which also hosted the European Championships closed the Senior International season as the team looks forward to the home WOC in 2024. With races taking place just a few meters from the famous Roman Amphitheatre Arean in Verona, the quick, flat course favoured Ralph Street as he finished an agonising 4th place just missing a medal by 1 second.

Ralph once again missed out on the medals in the Knock-Out Sprint finishing in 4th place in a race where only 0.5seconds split 2nd-4th, but the team managed to land a place on the podium in the Mixed Sprint Relay with Charlotte Ward, Nathan Lawson, Ralph Street and Megan Carter-Davies finishing 6th.

Ralphs overall performance throughout the Senior World Cup’s earned him 5th in the overall ranking and he will be looking to challenge for the medals at WOC next year.

Junior Programme

The Junior international competition programme was made up of EYOC, JWOC and JEC and welcomed both seasoned International athletes and fresh faces to the start lines.

Bulgaria hosted EYOC where the first race was took place in the streets and parks of Velingrad. Lyra Medlock was the highest place British athlete finishing in 9th place, before the competition turned to the pine forest for the Long event. With excellent results across the board, it was James Hammond who was top British athletes in 13th. The final day of competition was dominated by Finland in the Men's and Women’s forest relays, but the Mens 16 team just missed out on a podium place in 7th, with credible finishes from all teams.

Images: The Junior Team in their new Trimtex kit at JEC 2023 and Jim Bailey at JWOC 2023. Credits: JWOC Official.

The Junior competition turned to Romania for JWOC, with day 1 on a fast flat course including plenty of tricky challenges as the athletes made their way through the course. Jim Bailey had an excellent race securing a top 10 finish with Rachel Brown finishing inside the top 20.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the Mixed Sprint relay as the strong performances from the previous day didn’t carry forward into the relays in a race which was full of drama.

Images: Rachel Brown at JEC 2023 and Euan Tryner at JWOC 2023. Credits: Christophe Amerijckx Photography and JWOC Official.

Both Rachel Brown and Jim Bailey had another strong day in the Middle, with Euan Tryner also having a good result in the Long.

Both Men's and Women's teams had great performances in the forest relays and were unfortunate to both just miss the podium in 7th place.

JEC rounded up the Junior International competition season as the athletes travelled to Belgium in the beautiful forests of Wallonia, with Imogen Pieters securing a place on the podium, finishing 6th in the Middle.

Imogen followed this up with a top 10 in the long, alongside Alex Wetherill and Jim Bailey and the Mens and Womens relay teams finished in 8th and 9th place respectively.

With all eyes next year on WOC 2024 which will take place in Edinburgh. Those athletes looking for selection will be working hard over the winter to try and secure a place in World Cup 1 and 2, and with three World Cup competitions, World Cup Final as well as World University Championships alongside the Junior Calendar of EYOC, JWOC and JEC it certainly looks to be a busy and exciting year!