October 2013

VHI 2013
To round off the reports on this year’s Home International series, here is Team Manager Helen Baxter’s account of the Veterans’ event where, to everyone’s surprise, Wales finished in second place behind England, relegating Scotland to third and Ireland to fourth.

Team Manager Helen Baxter

After something of a scramble to put together a full team the Irish Veterans set off for Norfolk on the first weekend of October. It all started very well when the NI contingent went to pick up their two Skoda Octavias and found they had been allocated a couple of Mercedes Benz B class. It was a little worrying that they were white and even more worrying that they were Mercs given the usual mucky parking fields at orienteering events, however they were very comfortable. As it turned out there was no need to worry, the parking was on hard standing and a nice dry field.

Things started to go downhill a little when we reached the YHA in Sheringham to be met with an unapologetic ‘There’s no hot water all weekend’. I’m sure it was an unfortunate coincidence that the English team hadn’t managed to book in time and were accommodated in a different hostel (with hot water). That and the fact that the bar wasn’t open and they were intending to lock up at 11 with half the team (plus some Scots and Welsh) still en route almost sent me into meltdown. Instructions to use the keypad on the door weren’t complete either so when they were passed by phone to Andrew at 12.15 am it didn’t work. Fortunately Philip had waited up, helping Mary with a bottle of red, so was able to let them in.
Next day, fortified by breakfast, but not necessarily showered, the team had the morning to explore Sheringham as the Relays didn’t start until the afternoon. I waited with bated breath for Kathryn to turn up as rumour had it her passport had expired – she managed to persuade Ryanair to let her aboard much to my relief. The Relay area was in three distinct parts; a sloping contoured area and a flat area with lots of small paths separated by a wooded holiday park with multiple rides and roads. Running was fast and furious with England dominating the event. The main surprise was when Wales pushed Scotland into third place. Despite some good runs we were bringing up the rear by the end of the day and 18 points down on Scotland. Organising club NOR had arranged for us to use shower blocks on the campsites so at least we had access to warm water.
The four teams managed to drink the hostel dry of red wine that evening – obviously we were all in training for the Individuals the next day. The Individual day dawned sunny and warm: Sheringham Park was a great area with some well planned courses – the bracken added to the challenge but Marcus, Toni, Mary, Jean and Colm produced fantastic runs. Despite our best efforts the deficit was too much to make up so we held on to fourth place, but congratulations to Wales who held onto their second place leaving Scotland in an unaccustomed third. Photos are here. Full results are here. Relay map and routes here; individual here.
It was a great weekend and the long term plan of lulling the other nations into a false sense of security is going well! Next year it’s the Forest of Dean near Bristol on 13/14 September, so start the fitness training now!
Helen Baxter
Team Manager
The team that travelled was: M35 Marcus Pinker; M40 Declan McGrellis, Bobby Smyth; M45 Angus Tyner, Billy Reed; M50 Colm O’Halloran, Aonghus OCléirigh; M55 Andrew Cox, Philip Baxter; M60 Colin Henderson, Raymond Finlay; M65 Wilbert Hollinger.
W35 Toni O’Donovan; W40 Jeni Pim; W45 Heather Cairns, Julie Cleary; W50 Mary O’Connell, Kathryn Walley; W55 Bernie O’Boyle, Helen Baxter; W60 Jean O’Neill, Teresa Finlay; W65 Sue Pim.
Northern Ireland Championships: Meelmore and Luke’s Mountain
M21E winner Colm Moran

About 180 ran in this year’s Northern Ireland Championships on the rocky slopes of the Mourne Mountains on October 12th, with top spots on the two Elite courses going to visitors Colm Moran (3ROC) and Niamh O’Boyle (CNOC).

The map, updated for the World Police and Fire Games in August, covered the south-facing slopes of the Mournes and, though not basking in sunshine, the conditions were fine for running, with a cool breeze and good visibility. The underfoot conditions were good, with little heather and reasonably dry, and  Harold White’s courses brought the runners on the longer courses first west and then back east along the slopes by the old quarries, with a long leg across the hillside. The shorter courses did a clockwise loop with the juniors following the few old mining or sheep tracks available. The Meelmore café provided parking and also refreshments for the most patient orienteers in the world.
You can see the results here and the courses and runners’ routes on Routegadget here. Bizarrely, there seem to be two LVO websites without clear communication between them, so you may not end up quite where you expected … a bit like orienteering, really!
Harking back to the last TIO, a look at the numbers in various age classes is interesting. If we take both M21 classes together (M21 Elite and Long) there were 18 entered for this 14-year age spread. If we look at the next three age classes (M35, 40 and 45) – admittedly 15 years – there were 16; for M40-45-50 there were 34, and for M45-50-55 there were 36, with similar proportions in the Women’s classes: where are all the 21? Are they all off doing adventure races or mountain biking, sports where you can get an immediate return for your investment in terms of adrenaline rush and instant gratification?

Schools’ Orienteering
There is a lot happening around the country in schools’ orienteering. There are primary and secondary schools competitions in Munster, in Cork, in Leinster and in Northern Ireland. The Irish Schools’ Championships are being hosted by GEN in Co. Wicklow in April. A short video promoting orienteering in schools has been released by IOA – you can see it here.

For your diary, here are the forthcoming schools’ fixtures from the IOA fixtures list:

Leinster (Primary)
13 November – Cabinteely Park
12 February – Santry Demesne
30 April – Irish Primary Schools Championships (GEN)

Leinster (Secondary) 
23 October – Santry Demesne
4 December – Cabinteely Park
29 January – Malahide Castle
12 March – Leinster Schools Champs (Secondary) – Djouce Woods, Enniskerry
8 April – Irish Secondary Schools Championships (GEN)

South East
12 February – South East Schools’ Championships – JFK Forest Park, New Ross (Primary)
13 February – South East Schools’ Championships – JFK Forest Park (Secondary)

22 October – Farran Forest Park
22 November – Doneraile
28 January – Curragh Wood, Midleton (Secondary)
29 January – Curragh Wood (Primary)

13 March – Munster Schools’ Champs (Primary & Secondary), Fota, Co. Cork.

Northern Ireland Schools Association
EVENT 1- 26th SEPT: Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen
EVENT 2- 16th OCT: Stormont
EVENT 3- 28th FEB: Garvagh
EVENT 4- 17th APR: Castlewellan
EVENT 5- 16th MAY:  Portglenone
EVENT 6- 18th JUNE: Drum Manor

We also have an extraordinary situation in Munster where an alternative schools’ orienteering organisation, also calling itself the Cork Schools Orienteering Association, which is not affiliated to IOA, is staging more than thirty schools events  throughout Munster, some on the same day as the officially sanctioned events …

From the archives
30 years ago … in September 1983 Eoin Rothery was urging us to enter the 1984 Irish Championships at Killary, the first complex open mountain area which was mapped in Ireland (before that we had thought of orienteering as being only in forests) … Joss Lynam entered into correspondence with The Irish Orienteer about his course length at the 1983 Irish Championships on Keeper Hill … IOA Fixtures Officer Bernard Phelan was trying to get the clubs to commit to major events farther in advance … Four schools (Wesley, de la Salle, Oatlands and Muckross Park) ran schools events in Leinster and LSOA Chairman Brian Duffy lamented the lack of development in schools orienteering … DUO were about to unveil their map of Glencree at the 2-Day in November … entry fees were £6 for seniors and entries closed six weeks before the event in those pre-internet days … The Irish Orienteer Trophy inter-club competition was about to kick off another round, with Thomond v Lee Orienteers v Western Eagles; Ajax v 3ROC; Eastern Command v GEN; NWOC v Setanta … the ripples of the “Moving Crag” controversy at Curragh’s event at Stradbally in May were still being felt, with an Ajax Limerick competition including the following verse:

“There was a Young man called Wally
who went hunting crags in Stradbally
though he looked up and around
that crag couldn’t be found
it had gone for the day to Offaly” … 

Both Aonghus O’Cléirigh and Wally Young were anxious to improve the selection process for WOC teams … there was a report on the 1983 World Championships in Hungary where only Wally Young and Eileen Loughman made it through to the final … Norway finished 1-2-3-4 in the men’s race. This was the first time that qualification races were used to select runners for the finals. The Irish relay teams finished 18th and 15th … National Orienteering Day was on September 25th … John McCullough gave yet another report on the 1983 Swedish O-Ringen in Smaland where Aonghus ÓCléirigh won the H21A class on Day 5 … the World Military Championships was to be in Brazil in November … the IOA organised a course planning competition … the first seven teams at the Tio Mila overnight relay in Sweden finish within 48 seconds of one another after 13 hours of racing. Finland’s Kalevan Rasti win … the inclusion of Ski Orienteering as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada is threatened by Curling … IOA Juniors Officer Larry Roe was encouraging schools to make O-maps of their grounds … IOA were running a development conference in October in Kilkenny… Plassey Orienteers (PLO) ran a relay event at Foynes, Co. Limerick … and ECO ran an event on their new map of Fauna, near Donard in Co. Wicklow, which another club had been mapping under a different name, little suspecting that two maps were being made at the same time until the two groups of surveyors met in the forest. “What are you doing here?” “Making a map. I might ask you the same question …”.

35 years ago … In Autumn 1978 Curragh Orienteerers were about to launch their new 4-colour map of the Curragh (printed on yellow paper to save ink) … John McCullough reported on his first trip to the Swedish O-Ringen … the second edition of John Disley’s book “Orienteering” had been published (Cost £3.25) … Wally Young and Eileen Loughman were heading the Leinster Ranking List … Prian Porteus was about to run a planning and organising course at Newcastle Youth Hostel in Co. Down (Cost approx. £3). Brian is now the President of the International Orienteering Federation. The Irish Junior Championships were run in Donadea, Co. Kildare on 14th/15th October (I was sent by the planner to put out controls in the dark with sites marked by streamers made from pieces of black plastic rubbish bags – the only was to find them was by touch!). The two-day Leinster O-Ringen was in Clarabeg and Donadea. Schools events were run on Sundays and there were 9 planned for the season in Leinster.

You can read the full story in the Irish Orienteer and Leinster Orienteering Clubs’ Newsletter archives here.

And finally …
The venue of next Sunday’s CNOC Leinster Autumn Series event (October 20th) is at the Curragh, Co. Kildare – the location isn’t shown in the IOA fixtures list.
Some reminders: don’t forget to enter the Connacht Championships on October 27th and the Munster Championships on November 3rd.
And thanks to the people who replied to my recent request for confirmation that somebody out there is actually reading this!


Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    D15 DY62
  • fixtures@orienteering.ie
  • info@orienteering.ie