Articles

2010

Maze-O at Highfield Park: 15 June 2010

Helen tried out the the new Maze-O event at the HH Evening Event on 15th June. We now know that two of us can put out all the stakes and tape for the full maze in about an hour. We also know that it can keep a group of people ranging from experienced senior orienteers to complete novices who happened to be in the park that night occupied for quite a long time.

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2008

British Schools Orienteering Championships 2008

Two months ago Helen decided to organise a Fleetville Junior School team for the British Schools Orienteering Championships. Since then they have been to events in places like Epping Forest, Verulamium, Rothamsted and High Wycombe, as well as having a coaching day in Highfield Park during half term.

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Punching Technique

Sometimes the hardest part of orienteering is punching the controls, never mind finding them in the first place. You will no doubt have spotted that the three year old having trouble is the same person as the resourceful ten year old on the right who found a novel way of punching at the City of London Orienteering race. There is lots more about the London race on the website , including a fantastic video by Graham Gristwood.

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Coming Soon: London City Race

I’m controlling the City of London Orienteering Race in October. The picture shows some of the things I ran past when checking control sites. It’s going to be a great race. Don’t miss it.

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2007

Scottish 6-Day 1991

(Reflections on Day 3 of the Scottish 6-Day 1991 reproduced from Lokation 79. I believe it’s normal to apologise to Wordsworth at this point.)

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Rest of World Nowhere

(From an O-Net article I wrote in June 1995.) Prime makes it two on trot after epic bramble battle. (This refers to Emma Prime, winner of the open girls’ and local enough to be considered a local by the ‘Ballarat Courier’). Can anyone top this? Blair Trewin Yarra Valley OC/Bushflyers OC Australia LOK STARS 1-2 in WORLD CORPORATE GAMES. REST OF WORLD NOWHERE!!!!!!!!

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English O-words

(An attempt to be helpful from the O-Net in October 1995.) I would like to know the best English word describing the distance between two controls in an o-course. In Norwegian this word is called strekk, and some English suggestions are route, lap, leg, stretch and trek. I hope anyone can tell me the right word to use. Thanks for any replies! Oystein Bjorke

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Colour photocopying

(Some thoughts on early attempts at low-cost colour map reproduction from an article I wrote on the O-Net in November 1995. We have come an awfully long way since then.)

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Tall Stories

(From an O-Net article I wrote in November 1995.) Anyway, here are a couple of moments from LOK folk-lore. I promise you they are both true (he would say that wouldn’t he)

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Pigsticking

(From an article I posted to the O-Net in December 1996.) John gives me an ideal opportunity to provide a tribute to Willie Rushton, who died recently. His book “Pigsticking, A Joy for Life” provides brief details of how to participate in nearly every sport imaginable, and includes a section on orienteering. I quote:

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Rites of Passage

(An article I posted to the O-Net in December 1997.) December 1997 has been fairly traumatic so far. I started a new job on the 1st. I managed two days there before a short break to be at the birth of my first child. James made his first appearance at an O event at Wisley on the 14th, and I discovered the joys of split starts for the first time at Trent Park on the 21st. But the really momentous occasion was at the SAXONS event at Ightham on the 28th for this was my last race as an M21.

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Of night and light and the half light

I was in the LOK team that won the Harvester Trophy Relay in 1986, and this still counts as one of my best results ever. Here Peter Waldron reports on the event in Lokation 53. The title is taken from Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B.Yeats, which ends with the perhaps better known line Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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Leith Hill National Event 1993

Helen organised the LOK National Event on Leith Hill in 1993. I was Entries Secretary and then ran the Finish. Many of you will remember the blizzard that struck during the event, and the temperature was so low that our finish computer clock started running slow. I ended up timing nearly 1400 people on my wristwatch. The following items are reproduced from an article in wrote in Lokation 88.

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Trog-O Chislehurst Caves

(This article was written by Ian Gilliver and is reproduced from Issue 56 of Lokation, the London Orienteering Klubb newsletter.) LOK achieved a world first at Chislehurst Caves on the evening of Saturday 19 September 1987: the world’s first day-time night orienteering event, or more simply, the world’s first underground orienteering event. One hundred and one competitors accepted this unique navigational challenge and some twenty more pursued the less taxing wayfarers course.

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Why Sprint Races are Different

You might think that sprint race planning is just more of the same, but experience has shown it probably needs a lot more care, certainly when looked at in terms of effort per kilometre of race! Fairness is a concern for any orienteering event, but the problems are made much more apparent for sprint races. What follows is based on my experience as a controller at several recent big sprint races (British Sprint Championships at Milton Keynes, World Cup sprint races at the University of Surrey in Guildford and at Battersea Park) and as a spectator at sprint World Championships and Park World Tour events. (Reproduced from CompassSport, December 2006)

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2006

Top 10 - Things You Didn’t Know You Had Missed

An embarrassing number of the general orienteering public have been doing silly things in the woods for a very long time. For those who weren’t there in the 60s and 70s, or who have now forgotten, here is my list of orienteering things that are no more. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 98, May 2006. The article also appeared in CompassSport in June 2008.)

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Orienteering on the Woolwich Ferry

For those people who are familiar with Woolwich in London, the prospect of orienteering there might not be that attractive. But this Woolwich ferry set sail from Circular Quay, sailed out past Sydney Opera House, under Sydney Harbour Bridge and twenty minutes later, after a brief stop at Greenwich, arrived at Woolwich Pier. Runners could be seen from the ferry as they navigated through the parkland along the harbour edge, some coming right past the ferry terminal to a control in the small park there.

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The mistakes are all waiting to be made

Several years ago (probably meaning 10 to 20) I remember reading a newspaper article that included a quote from a chess grandmaster. This was a description of the board before either player has moved and was something like ‘the mistakes are all there waiting to happen’. This still strikes me as a perfect description of an orienteering event in the few minutes before the first start.

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The Institute for Advanced Physical Research

The Institute for Advanced Physical Research is one of the most respected research centres in the world and has published numerous ground-breaking papers. Many of its studies have had particular relevance to the sport of orienteering.

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Global Warming and the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Many orienteers will be aware of the classic 1996 paper ‘Predictions of future magnetic field reversals’ by Professors Howard Orchard and Alberto Ximenes of the Institute for Applied Physical Research (IAPR). Now a follow-up study 10 years later has made dramatic new predictions that may have an even more fundamental impact on the sport of orienteering.

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Top 10 - Events not to miss

So you’ve done a few events around Hertfordshire, and you’re ready to venture a bit further. Here is the “not to be missed” list to aim for. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 97, January 2006)

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2005

Esher Micro-O

A few thoughts about the Micro-O that was part of the M21L course at the OK Nuts Trophy at Esher Common.

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Top 10 - Animal Sightings

The final details for the Queensland Championships 2005 included information about what to do if you encountered snakes on the course. Read on for further details of wildlife encounters from orienteering events around the world. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 96, September 2005)

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Controlling The World Cup Sprint Races

My normal experience with controlling is that the planner has a first go at the courses. There is then a reasonably short discussion between planner and controller, and the planner comes up with a second set of courses that are pretty close to the final thing. With these two events it didn’t work like that, for many reasons. Planner Andy Jones and I probably went through at least five iterations of course shape to determine start, finish, spectator controls and course flow, before even more detailed reviews of exact courses. Read on to see just some of the problems we had to overcome.

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2004

Top 10 - Mistakes

A list of the all-time top ten mistakes to watch out for that even the experts still make from time to time. If you haven’t done some of these yet then it’s only a question of time. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 93, September 2004)

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Top 10 - Technology Advances

Simon Errington looks back over 25 years of orienteering and picks his top 10 technological advances since he took up the sport in 1977. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 92, May 2004)

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April 2004: Orienteering Development in Hertfordshire

As part of their review of how to develop orienteering within the local area the Hertfordshire Orienteering Club (HH) have asked the Institute for Advanced Physical Research (IAPR) to provide input in key areas. Professors Howard Orchard and Alberto Ximenes, already well-known for previous studies in areas of orienteering such as age group structures and cartography, have now produced their initial ideas.

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2001

Going to the dogs?: WOC 2001 in Finland

In July I went to Tampere in Finland for the World Orienteering Championships 2001. As a long-time attendee of this event (I’ve been to all eight since 1987) this was a chance to see the first of the new ‘spectator-friendly’ World Championships. So what difference did it make?

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1999

Y2K problems hit orienteering age groups

In a surprise press release today the Institute for Advanced Physical Research (IAPR) has announced the outcome of a year-long survey into membership, entry and results software used by orienteering clubs and federations around the world.

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The Agony of the Long Distance World Championships Spectator

(Reproduced from Lokation 124, August 1999) I started orienteering in 1977, swept up by the membership rush following the World Championships in Scotland in 1976. One year later, in October 1978, the front cover of The Orienteer showed “Yvette Hague, Reading OC, just after finishing first in D12 in the Swiss 5-Day event”. Twenty-one years later a new photo is needed, with a new caption: “Yvette Hague, Great Britain, just after becoming Short Distance World Champion”. This must surely be one of the most popular World Championships victories ever, but it has been a long time coming.

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British Championships 1999: Graythwaite

Two-week debate at home about whether to go up Friday evening or Saturday morning. We eventually settled for Saturday morning leaving home at 6.00 a.m., since James has been waking up at 5.30 every day anyway. Helen and I are both totally knackered after 10 weeks of problems with Peter, plus moving house three weeks ago. We’re also both seriously unfit, but what the hell.

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Breakthrough in real-time tracking of orienteers

Following extensive research conducted by the Institute for Applied Physical Research (IAPR) it now seems possible that all competitors at this year’s World Orienteering Championships in Scotland will be tracked in real time. This should provide even greater spectator interest.

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1998

1997

World Champs 1997 - Grimstad, Norway

(Reproduced from Lokation 114, November 1997) This is the story of three intrepid adventurers who set out on a WOC99 fact-finding mission to this year’s World Championships in Norway. Read on to find out how David May (SLOW) and Helen and Simon Errington (LOK) got an alternative view of WOC97 from the inside.

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The Origins of Micro-O?

(This is an article I posted to the now-defunct O-Net in 1997. Even I had forgotten what I wrote, but it’s interesting to read it now given what has been going on recently.)

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1996

Holmbury 1996: A badge too far?

Read on to find out how Helen overcame her fear of planning and ended up helping Simon plan the LOK Badge Event at Holmbury Hill in November 1996. Dramatis personae Richard (Blake): Organiser Helen and Simon (Errington): Planners Bill (Greep) : Controller

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Canadian Orienteering Championships 1996

(From Lokation 108 in December 1996.) Honeymoon day one, and a chance to test the large sports bags that LOK gave us as a wedding present. (Thanks to everyone who contributed: we decided we’d leave the wine at home, which just about gave us room for O-kit for two weeks.) The flight to Boston passed slowly enough for me to plan most of the Holmbury badge event, and we managed to get about one hundred miles north before finding a motel.

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A Tribute to the Microscope Spill Chucker

I’ve bought another PC, which brings with it a new spell checker. This one does the spell checking as you type, and also tries to outguess you on the grammar front. It thoughtfully suggested that I should replace FROLICS is LOK's main claim to fame with either FROLICS are LOK's main claim or A FROLIC is LOK's main claim in my chairman’s article. Nice try but no banana. I then let it loose on my list of maps. Some of you may recognise some of the following.

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April 1996: Magnetic Field Reversal Imminent

A paper to be presented at a scientific conference in London this week could have a profound impact on the future of orienteering. “Predictions of future magnetic field reversals” by Professors Howard Orchard and Alberto Ximenes of the Institute for Applied Physical Research (IAPR) presents the results of a detailed study of movements of the earth’s magnetic poles, and uses these observations to predict that a reversal of the magnetic field is imminent. They claim that the north magnetic pole could move from its current position in northern Canada to a new location in Antarctica over a period as short as one year. The impact on the sport of orienteering, where competitors rely on maps aligned to magnetic north, could be severe.

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China 3 Day Event 1995: Guangzhou

(Reproduced from Lokation 105, January 1996.) Advertised as the “first multi-day international event hosted by the Chinese Orienteering Committee” this event proved just too convenient to miss for many of those attending APOC in Hong Kong. It was a short train, bus or plane journey from Hong Kong for most to get to the luxury hotel accommodation in Guangzhou. For Helen Teece and me it was a slightly longer train journey (starting from London and taking in the Channel Tunnel, Moscow, Ulan Bator and Beijing, and taking twelve days).

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1995

World Orienteering Championships 93

I must admit that I am a bit of a World Championships addict. The first one I attended was France in 1987 and I have been to every one since. WOC 93 in the United States was therefore my fourth.

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1994

Moscow Ringworld 1994

This is an article from Lokation 97 in September 1994. Three orienteers and a hanger-on somehow decided that the Moscow Ringworld, a 10-Day orienteering event, sounded like a good idea for a holiday. This involved a large boat sailing round the Moscow Canal and Volga River stopping each day for an O event and a bit of sightseeing.

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1993

WOC 1993 Classic Race

For the classic race at WOC93 in the United States, Simon Errington and Frank Martindale volunteered to man a control. So now read the story of the race from inside the forest. (Reproduced from Lokation 92, November 1993)

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1986

Sorlands galoppen 86 H21A Day 2

(First published in Lokation 51, August 1986) Pick up the map, check first leg. 500m to a small re-entrant. Path, then follow wall, then another path and in. Fold up map, whistle goes, jog off with the bunch. Path is a bit odd, they must have felled here recently.

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