Sunday 7th April saw 332 competitors from 32 different clubs attend North Wiltshire Orienteers’ event in the ancient forest at Savernake near Marlborough, including three teams of juniors running in this Yvette Baker Trophy qualifying heat.
Challenging but runnable terrain (with notably less mud and brambles than some past years), North Wiltshire Orienteers’ investment in a completely new map was well received. “A huge amount of effort went on behind the scenes securing permission for this unique event and of course the new map. Based on the feedback from the day it was all worth it and we’re thrilled so many people enjoyed the courses and the fantastic atmosphere”, said event organiser David Livingstone.
A dry day with sunshine for the later starts, the good conditions resulted in some fast times, with a strong run from Devon’s Adam Potter putting him at the top of the Brown course by nearly three minutes. Colin Dickson of the British Army Orienteering Club topped the Blue while junior Oliver Tonge’s impressive run for Bristol Orienteering Klub’s Yvette Baker team took the top spot on the Green course.
Bristol, Sarum and the Quantock Orienteers were the teams of juniors competing for a place in the Yvette Baker Trophy final, and while the smaller Sarum team yielded some great runs, Bristol Orienteering Klub and Quantock Orienteers were the ones to qualify. “The team really enjoyed running in Savernake and we had some great results, with Andrew Page and Freddie MacPherson finishing top on their courses. We were very close to Bristol Orienteering Klub with only ten points in it, so we’re excited to see what the final brings at Sandringham in July”, said Quantock Orienteers club Chair Roger Craddock.
The Savernake event was also the seventh in the 2018/19 South West Orienteering Association Galoppen League, for which results are pending.
North Wiltshire Orienteers’ street orienteering series continues Tuesday 30th April in Highworth, and the club will host a South West Orienteering Association relay event at Badbury Hill on 9th June. See our Fixtures page for all future events.
There was something for everyone on 2-3 March on the spectacular National Trust land at Cherhill Downs where NWO held two events; a challenging nighttime score event on Saturday 2 March, and a four-colour day event on Sunday 3 March, which offered courses for all ages and abilities.
“Despite Storm Freya bringing rain and some strong winds, 29 competitors took part in the night event, and when they reached the finish in the dark of the night event, all seemed to have ‘enjoyed’ the challenge of navigating the largely open and heavily contoured downs”, said Planner Pete Gilder. The ‘score’ event (part of the Western and Wessex Night Leagues) requires competitors to race to as many control points on the map as possible within an hour, earning points for each control reached. Competitors returning outside of the hour limit face heavy penalties, but several orienteers avoided such a fate, achieving the maximum 500 points within the hour. Dan Cope of SARUM orienteering club did so with the quickest time of 47:47, and the fastest woman also with 500 points was Tereza Maria Rush of Bristol Orienteering Klub, clocking an impressive 54:00.
The rainy conditions continued, but Sunday saw a great turnout from junior and senior competitors alike, with runners enjoying all of the four courses on offer. “It was fantastic to see more than 60 people turn out on this wonderful landscape, including families and people who have never orienteered before,” said Organiser Stu Fisher. The Yellow course was run in the fastest time by George McDonald representing the 10-and-under age class, Dougal Anderson topped the table for the Orange course, Darren Nolan of BAOC took the top spot for the Green course and NWO’s own Doug Stimson ran the longest Blue course in the fastest time.
“I really enjoyed my run round the blue up at Cherhill on Sunday morning,” said Doug. “There was “only” 220m of climb on the blue course (quite low for Cherhill) and the planner spared us (plus himself and the controller!) the extra leg work of getting right down into the southern section and then slogging back up again. The strong winds were both a help and a hindrance in places… and unlike the previous evening I was able to stay upright throughout, even on my rapid descent down the unofficial route back to the car park!”
Congratulations to NWO’s Nick Nourse (left) and Chris Rhodes (right) on becoming South West Long Distance Champions (M55 and M35 classes) at the Caddihoe Chase event on Perham Down. Both went on to win their events on the second day on Sidbury Hill. Nick’s great start to the season follows his successful win of the Blue course class in last season’s SW Galoppen League.