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.
(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.)
(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
(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.)
(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)
(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.
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.
(An article by Paul Street reproduced from Lokation 90.) I came last in an O-event on Sunday: it was one of my best days of the year.
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.
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)
(A brief history of electronic punching in Great Britain, reproduced from an article I wrote for the January 1999 CompassSport.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few thoughts about the Micro-O that was part of the M21L course at the OK Nuts Trophy at Esher Common.
Just some of the things that went on behind the scenes at the World Cup races in 2005. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 95, May 2005)
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.
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)
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)
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?
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.
(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.
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.
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.
Researchers at the Institute of Applied Physical Research (IAPR) may have at last explained why Scandinavia has dominated the orienteering world for so long.
(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.
(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.)
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
(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.
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.
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.
(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).
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.
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.
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)
(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.