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«Newsletter January / February 2016 Editor: Dick Collins Editorial Apparently we are a small Club again. A couple of years ago we were re-designated ...»

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The Red Rose Orienteering Club

BOF Club of the Year 2008


January / February 2016

Editor: Dick Collins


Apparently we are a small Club again. A couple of years ago we were re-designated as a small Club on the basis of

falling membership numbers. This meant that we competed in the CompassSport Trophy rather than the CompassSport

Cup. Having been narrowly beaten by FVO in 2014 we came back to win the trophy at Helsington. We were then re-

designated back as a big Club, and thus in the CompassSport Cup at either Bickerton or Abraham Heights. We were asked which we preferred, but we didn’t prefer either as we felt that we were still a small club (albeit, on the size limit).

Size is determined by your membership on October 1st, the over 85s and under 10s not counting. We felt that the relevant number then made us a small club and after a lot of e-mail traffic, this has been confirmed. So, we are competing at Timble Ings (near Blubberhouses) on March 13th in the CompassSport Trophy. The main opposition will be EPOC.

Can we win again? Your Club needs YOU !

Congratulations to Luigi Lerose and Enrada Capele who were married recently. We hope that they have a long and happy life together.

Lancs County Council - saving money Lancs CC have to save money and there are reports that they are considering selling off some of the areas that they own. The main concern for us is Beacon Fell where the Ranger Service is to be discontinued at the end of the year. There is a petition up in the cafe at Beacon Fell trying to prevent this, so please sign it if you are there.

Other areas which have been mentioned are Healey Nab, which is one of ours, Spring Wood near Clitheroe (PFO) and Wycoller. The latter is a long way from us and not much of an area for orienteering but Spring Wood is an excellent little area which PFO use for summer evening events. It isn’t clear how access for orienteering might be affected if these areas are sold.

 Club Dinner Friday March 18 The Mill at Condor Green Thurnham Mill Lane, LA2 0BD Speaker Wendy Dodds

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Please send a cheque payable to SROC to me (Rowena Browne) at 19 Eden Park, Lancaster LA1 4SJ Please also let me know your menu (see below) choice for starter and main and dessert  

Compass Points by Dawn Lock

1. Promises and Unexpected Meetings On Wednesday 2nd December we were enjoying coffee with friends in Barton Grange Garden Centre's pleasant canal-side café when in walked the Editor.

Although living at opposite ends of SROC territory, we and Dick and Jane Collins seem to meet up more often than you'd expect.

Chatting intermittently at friends' and Editorial tables, we caught up on the latest SROC news from the much better informed Dick including CompassSport Cup successes, SROC JK-enriched finances and Jane's unfortunate encounter with a rocky path at Slaley. Also, apparently, I found myself rashly offering to write "something for the Newsletter". So, with some long-past events included due to the interval since last writing, here it is and I hope the Editor doesn't regret asking.

2. An Exciting JK What an exciting finale it was to the 2015 JK held at Biglands on Sunday 5th April. The assembly area was one of the hilliest I can remember but the viewing control on the elite course with the cream of the world's orienteers running through visible to mere mortals, was wonderful.

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Both men showed an approachable lack of airs and graces and posed amiably for close-ups. What a sport where you can run at the same time on the same territory with the all-time orienteering heroes and then go up and talk to them!

A misty view of the Day 3 assembly area.

3. The Joys of the Outdoors The White Rose Festival, Yorkshire's annual homage to orienteering, makes use of the county's vast, mainly coniferous, forests.

It's not an event that finds universal favour with SROC members many of whom, relishing the openness and complexities of the Lake District, dismiss the territory as "grotty". But I love the North Yorkshire Moors and the prospect of a visit especially in the gorgeous long hot Indian summer of 2015, was irresistible.

In spite of its poor profile, the event nevertheless attracted several SROC orienteers amongst them John Brewer and Jane Anthony, Julian Lailey, Deb Murrell and Mike, Laurence and Finlay Johnson and, no doubt others I didn't see.

On Saturday 29th August, the first full day of orienteering, the forest was fairly open and not of the grottiest, the labyrinth orienteering course in the field below the assembly was diverting and, the day was completed by my personal favourite, a sprint-O. The worst downpour of the weekend delayed the start of the evening sprint but the sun reappeared in time for us to race round the grounds of a Pickering school in generally easy orienteering with some tricks to catch the unwary. I don't need to elaborate on my orienteering performance (70% OK spoilt by 30% careless, over-confident and sheer crazy misjudgments) because, as usual I ended near the bottom of the list.

This year's campsite, a clearing in the forest two miles along bone-shaking tracks, was basic. A row of portaloos, a catering van and a large container of drinking water completed the facilities.

But, no matter, the site was superb. Balanced on the edge of the scarp overlooking the deep-cut valley route of the NY Moors Railways and across from Levisham Moor, resplendent in regal purple - who needs washing facilities when you can bathe your eyes on such a view?

On the final evening, the organizers lit two barbecues for us and we happily stood around cooking. Undercooked sausages jostled frazzled bacon rashers and raw pork chops elbowed fully cooked hamburgers. Health and safety wasn't in it! But all this raw red meat closed in menacingly on one staunch vegan who, once her exclusion zone around her carefully prepared vegetarian skewer was breached, dissolved in a panic attack.

4. Norway Orienteering We took a trip to Norway in early October, and, dare I admit it? we went to see the place not the sport. Far less familiar with Scandinavia than our SROC colleagues who take biennial youth training visits or commute annually to the O-Ringen, the trip was only our second to any part of Scandinavia, birthplace of orienteering.

How often or how fervently Norwegians orienteer wasn't clear because we didn't see much of it but there were plenty of parks, riverside paths, marine promenades and, foremost, the Oslomarka, the woodlands circling the capital, where the sport no doubt takes place. And we did come across one event during an evening walk on the outskirts when runners, mostly children, scampered past us holding maps.

There are, of course, stocky and portly Norwegians but on average they are sleeker and more athletic-looking than their English counterparts and you get the impression that exercise and keeping fit is of prime importance.

We did have one amusing trip to an icon of sport: the Holmenkollbakken Ski Park, still busy even without a crystal of snow. The deprived "skiers" were to be found levering themselves along with ski poles atop two short skis with an underside row of roller-skating wheels. Norway excels in skiing well beyond its size of population and you begin to feel that it's winter sport that dominates the national psyche.

5. Bethecar Bog It rained only once on Sunday 9th November but unfortunately that was for all the daylight hours - an unlucky choice of weekend by LOC for their aptlynamed "Lakeland Weekend".

On one of the shorter less competitive courses my 1:7500 map included only a small northern section of the 1995 1:10000 map but the high percentage of blue hatching should have sounded alarm bells. Coupled with the excessive rain that fell throughout the weekend, it's easy to see why "some of the best open fell terrain in the Lake District" was also some of the wettest.

Many features, possibly clear in better weather, had degraded into fairly featureless bog making orienteering tricky and ploughing through, an arduous task.

Reaching the finish hardly alleviated the toil because the half mile track returning to the Assembly was a series of ponds linked by mud.

I have just one other map of Bethecar so presumably I have only run there twice. The first time in 1995, also the second weekend in November, was on a big newly-drawn 35 x 42cm map. Granted it was in much better weather but a 5km badge course then took me 63:25. In 2015 a 3.1km children's course took 105:26. What havoc twenty years has wrought!

6. CompassSport Trophy What an excellent result for SROC - a win for us! And, additionally, there was an impressive turnout of 59, which must represent a high proportion of the membership, taking part. Sadly this didn't include me although I would have loved to participate. I dedicated Sunday 18th October to Lytham St. Annes Road Runners Club's Green Drive Five, their oldest and, importantly, most profitable race.

But luckily for SROC their best orienteers were on hand. Top of their classes and a gaining a 100 Trophy points were Quentin and Zoe Harding and Finlay Johnson and with scores in the nineties Rebecca Harding and James Todhunter (2nd), Mary Ockenden and Mike Wilmore (4th) and Annie Ockenden and Laurence Johnson (5th). One SROC member won a course outright: Quentin with 41:44 for 6.8k on Men's Blue Trophy course.

I've just seen the date of the 2016 qualifying round, Sunday 13th March, and the not-too-handy venue, Tarporley, and I should be able to fight the next round! (It is now at Timble Ings near Blubberhouses --- Ed.)

7. Street-O Season!

It's Street-O season again - good. I spend the rest of the year running round the streets of Lytham twice a week but somehow that extra incentive that street orienteering gives takes the focus from the mechanics of running to the single-minded hunt for controls - and in the process I run better.

8. A Bird in the Hand …… It was on that afternoon in Barton Grange that we were in for a surprise. Apparently we are one of only three membership units requesting a printed Newsletter. Dick did his best to convince us of the advantages of seeing a full-colour ethereal version but neither of us was convinced and the October / November 2015 edition duly arrived by post a few days later as requested.

It's lying in front of me now as I write this; conveniently handy for checking facts about the CompassSport Trophy, the venue of the New Year Cracker and the date of the Handicap. I can also read and reread at leisure my favourite articles.

Dick informed us that the internet version includes many more photos so once home I went on line to see the unabridged version. Our October/ November edition wasn't yet posted so I viewed the July/August 2015 edition, the most recent available. At 20 pages long with 11 photos compared to the Oct./Nov.

edition of 13 pages, it's a bumper edition reporting on meaty high-profile events such as the 2015 JK, WOC and Junior WOC - interesting topics but personally I find it less tempting to read such a long script on a computer screen. Am I alone in this?

But there's another aspect. A sequence of newsletters, even if not a complete record, forms one of the best written histories available to the Club. Websites are transitory, appearing, disappearing and changing at the whim of the current webmaster and so often, with them, the accumulated facts and figures collated by diligent archivists. Data stored on electronic gadgets can similarly fail, fall foul of viruses or degrade. In the week when we've discovered that parliamentary commentaries are kept on velum as the most indestructible medium, is SROC discarding the paper copies too readily?

9. Sparkle-O There's a good many Os nowadays (sprint-O, cyclo-O, urban-O, street-O, score-O, spook-O, even snook-O) so why not sparkle-O?

Around Christmas decorated houses could take the place of telegraph poles and lampposts in street orienteering to add festive zest.

I well remember many years ago before street-O had become today's well-formatted event, one organizer selected the area's most decorated house as a bingo 50 pointer in a competition otherwise rewarding controls with 10 points.

In the riot of Santas, icicles, snowmen, reindeers, trains, sleighs etc illuminating the two-story front and another set of free-standing equivalents filling the garden, I miscounted reindeers and totalled two too many missing out on the 50 points.

Wigan West on 16th December disproved my theory that the fashion for over-the-top exterior house light displays had waned and treated us to an ample display of potential sparkle-O controls.

10. A Weighty Matter I was chagrined to step on the scales and find I was over 10 stone rather than the under 10st I wanted to be.

So meeting Dale was an ego-booster. Dale, a Shetland pony resident of World Horse Welfare's Penny Farm, was resplendent in plaited main and carefully brushed orange-chestnut coat ready to star in the Nativity tableau staged for the Christmas Fair on Sunday 6th December.

Dale had arrived at Penny Farm with "welfare issues" which included being 10 stone overweight! He was still a bit podgy after being kept inside away from the irresistible temptation of all-day grass eating and now, on the way to recovery, stable enough to be trusted for the Nativity.

What has Dale and Penny Farm got to do with orienteering for svelte members who don't need thinning out? Well not a lot (unless pony-O has taken off) but it is a Chrismassy story and readers with horse-loving children might enjoy the excursion. However Penny Farm would make a great sprint-O venue providing planners contemplating "fence corner" controls took note of the electrified paddock boundaries.

12. An Orienteers' Christmas

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