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Newsletter - October 2016

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Welcome to our new newsletter

Well the autumn orienteering season is underway, the leaves are beginning to change, and so is the way that NOR is going to be communicating with you - its members. For a number of reasons we have decided to replace our quarterly paper newsletter with an electronic newsletter. We’re aiming for more frequent e-newsletters and for them to include a range
of items from short news, upcoming events, Captains round ups and longer articles. The format may take a little time to bed in, so please bare with us. A small group of the club’s committee will be editing the newsletter for the moment and we are also looking for someone new to join that team - volunteers please contact me
In the mean time, there are lots of exciting events coming up in the region, including our event at Shouldham Warren this week and our Double Dumpling combining a country event on the Saturday at Blicking Park, and the city event on the Sunday in Norwich city centre. This urban event is the last in the UK urban league and so promises to be of excellent quality with a good field. Volunteers at all our upcoming events are always welcome.

One of the things that we are also trying to do is to make it easier to communicate between events. We know some people hate it but there is no getting away from the fact that Facebook is a brilliant communication mechanism and most running clubs use it as their main way of getting information to their members - we have a long established group with 74 members so keeping in touch has never been easier - you know you want to……….
…….Join our Facebook Group
And just to confuse you more, we also have a Facebook Page which our publicity officer uses to promote the club to the outside world. It also contains details of our events. A bit of banter on this page would also be very welcome.
Welcome to our new members who have joined the club since our last event: Andy Gayford from Fauncett St Peter, and Andy and Helen Underwood from Wymondham. We hope you will enjoy many happy hours in the sunlit forests of Norfolk and beyond. Hopefully you will not get quite as lost as the editor - who did not even complete the first six events she attended some 35 years ago.
Our City and County weekend is fast approaching and entries are now open on Fabian 4. Alan Bedder is co-ordinating the help needed (over 20 people for Sunday alone) and would really appreciate your help as we want to ensure no stints are over an hour. Volunteers will get about a 45% discount on event entry fees - cash back on the day!
Alan - I would like to help at the Double Dumpling
Peter Leverington has produced a brand new enlarged map of Blickling and we can't wait to get out there and run on more of this beautiful estate than we have been able to access in the past. 
The City event is the final prize giving event in the UK Urban League so we are hoping for a sizeable turnout. The event last year received some very favourable comments and if you've never tried urban orienteering its a great event to start on. There is a health warning though - you may get hooked! If you haven't already done so, read this interview with Sal Chaffey  that was published in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago.

Event details are now available and if you are intending to enter please help us by doing so as soon as possible as it then makes the event look more attractive to the wider world.
Take me to Fabian4 to enter NOW
Congratulations to the winners at UEA 
John Liston - Green
Andy Gayford - Orange
Emma McManus & Lucy Bain - Yellow
Steven Denby - Score

This was the final event in the "Run the Parks" series of events. By staging three events in short succession we were hoping to make this an attractive proposition for newcomers and get them hooked.   We certainly saw quite a few new faces at the three events and look forward to hopefully seeing some of them returning to other events this Autumn.
Our next event - Shouldham Warren on Sunday 23rd October
Shouldham was last used for an event in November 2014 when Rob Frost, Peter Leverington, and Lauren McDougall and Matthew Large were the sole NOR members occupying top slots. 
This event covers 3 distinct areas. All courses, other than Blue and Brown stay in Shouldham Warren. In many ways this is typical East Anglian forest, but it does have a significant hill, so there is a bit more climb than normal and there is the opportunity to use the contours for control sites. The Blue and Brown courses cross Mow Fen, which is fairly featureless, into The Sincks, which is again forest split into blocks. This area can be very wet underfoot and has many ditches running across it.
Course Difficulty Length km Climb m Controls Map Scale
White Very easy 1.6 20 10 1:10000
Yellow Easy 2.7 30 11 1:10000
Orange Harder 2.7 30 11 1:10000
Light Green Fairly hard 3.2 40 13 1:10000
Short Green Hard 3.1 35 12 1:10000
Green Hard 5.0 50 17 1:10000
Blue Hard 6.6 60 16 1:10000
Brown Hard 9.4 75 23 1:10000

Huge thank you to everyone who has volunteered to help.
Download the Event Details
Events around the Region. 

November is a bumper month for events around East Anglia and all within an hours drive for most of us. They all count towards the East Anglian League where your best four of six events count. After two events NOR are looking a bit under-represented and our only course leader is Steven Denby on M16, but with four events to go anything can happen so put the dates in your diary and enter them soon on Fabian 4.  Click here to see the full table.

Sunday 6th November - Mildenhall North - WAOC
One of WAOC's best and nicest areas to race in ....NOT TO BE MISSED……and a full range of courses

Sunday 13th November - King's Forest, Thetford - SUFFOC
Unlike other recent events in the King’s Forest, this one is on the western side of the B1106 Brandon to Bury St Edmunds road. The terrain is typical East Anglian coniferous forest, with deciduous windbreaks and scattered pits & depressions for added interest. As this Level C event is included in both the EA League & the Essex & Suffolk Schools Orienteering League calendars, there is the full range of courses from White to Brown. This could be combined with a visit to West Stow Country Park for the family....

Sunday 27th November - Brandon Forest, Thetford - SOS
Details not yet available

Event Safety Workshop

HAVOC is holding an Event Safety Workshop on Saturday 29 October near Brentwood. From 1 January 2017 all event officials for all levels of competition must have attended this workshop (or equivalent), so this is a good opportunity to get accreditation ahead of time. Click here for more information.
New Tuesday Club Night at Whitlingham Ski Centre in Norwich

Many of you will remember our Tuesday evening runs from years gone by. They gradually dwindled away with fewer people turning out.  We are now trying to revive them again and the ski centre have kindly let us have use of their bar and showers. You don't have to be able to ski, or even run as people who want to just socialise can come along for a chat and drink around 8pm. It is a great opportunity to meet fellow orienteers in a social atmosphere and discuss future events and the latest disasters / fantastic feats. 

The club has plenty of parking, shower facilities and a BAR. If you wish to run, just turn up at 7pm. In the summer we will be able to use the Country Park for training and in the winter, the City is easily accessible. We may even put on some training targeted especially at Orienteering!! The run will be suitable for all and as long or short as is comfortable for each person - no pressure!

The Ski Club has kindly agreed to let us use their facilities for free at the moment, as long as we use the bar. We hope to see some of you there over the next few weeks.

Captain's Round Up……..
I am pleased to report some success over the past month for those who have travelled beyond Norfolk, mostly for the juniors.
As you may have seen on the website, William Blyth-Bartram recently won a silver medal at the British Schools Score championships in Leicestershire. William only discovered orienteering 12 months ago, and in that time has become one of the most promising juniors in Norfolk and East Anglia, and has now announced himself on the national stage. There were also top ten finishes for Josh Kohler, Monty Platt, James Price and Steven Denby, and Norwich School narrowly missed out on team medals in a couple of age-groups.
The other major junior event to take place last month was the Junior Inter-regional champs, which took place this year up in Aberdeenshire. Ella Gilbert was making her last appearance for the East Anglia team, and helped the team to another very impressive result, finishing 5th overall out of the 12 regions. I remember the days when EAOA used to scrap with NIOA for the wooden spoon, so it is a credit to our juniors and their coaches that they have now moved up into the top half.

Back in early September, a dozen NOR members tackled the London City Race weekend, which took place this year in Crystal Palace (night race), Rotherhithe (classic) and Soho (sprint). We had 2 winners this year. I won the vets course on Saturday, and Steven Denby won the junior course on Sunday.

Finally, as a whole club, we are on course for our best ever season in the UK orienteering league. This is a competition which collates individual results from all the major events around the country and ranks clubs according to the results of their best 15 individuals. This year we are in 26th place with 2 races to go, comfortably ahead of all the other clubs in East Anglia, and well ahead of last year’s 64th place. Click here if you don’t believe me.

Calling all Cartographers

One of the issues we currently face as a club is that an awful lot of our maps need updating and we have a dwindling band of people with the skills to do this. Without the maps we can't orienteer so right now it's pretty important to address this. There are already three or four people who want to do some training and if you would like to joint them you will be very VERY welcome.  We're not talking maps from scratch here but starting to build your knowledge by amending our existing maps.  Please let Tim Eden know if you are interested in doing some mapping training using specially designed OCAD software.
Croeso 2016 - The Welsh 5 Days
Steven, Alan, Paul and Tim in action at the Welsh 5 days. 
Day 4 may have been NOR’s best ever day at a major event, with Steven Denby (M16A), John Ward (M45S), Alan Coddington (M80S) and Ella Gilbert(W18A) all winning their class. The best overall results were Alan Coddington 1st M80S, Ella Gilbert 2nd W18, Barbara George 3rd W80.
A Competitors Tale - Paul Goldsworthy

Having decided last year to enter the 2016 Welsh 5 days the only two remaining decisions for Karen and I regarded what course to enter and where we were going to stay.
The first decision was fairly straightforward. When entering various multi-day events over the years I have always tended to enter the short course for my age class. The reasoning behind this is that I like to treat events such as this, the Scottish 6 days and Belgian 3 days as a holiday as well as an orienteering event and I have found in the past that entering the long course often results in me being out on the course for much longer each day and on finishing, being so tired, that all I want to do is return to my accommodation and collapse in a heap! This doesn’t then leave much opportunity to enjoy the remainder of the day. Therefore, M50 short was duly entered.
Sorting out our accommodation usually falls on Karen’s shoulders. Once we had decided to pass up on the opportunity of camping in the vicinity of what I now am reliably informed is the wettest city in the UK (Swansea), Karen set about looking for cottages to rent in the area in which all five event days were due to be staged. This can often prove to be tricky if you do not book early enough (orienteers can book up every cottage for miles around within days of the event venues being announced) or if there is not a particularly large amount of holiday accommodation in the event area. Fortunately Karen came up trumps and found a converted stone barn on a farm near Pontardawe, a few miles northeast of Swansea, that had among other things, three bedrooms, a washing machine and a hot tub. (The order of importance for each of these changed at various times during the week).
The next thing I now had to address was whether my fitness levels would be adequate to cope with the demands of a five day event in potentially physical terrain, even if I had only entered the short course. At this time towards the end of 2015 I wasn’t really doing much exercise. So as the winter started to draw in I took up a discounted membership offer and joined my first ever gym…….. And so it was that I fell into a routine of doing two or three cycling classes a week with the occasional treadmill run thrown in during the winter months.
And so, having completed a 100 mile bike ride at the beginning of June, and continuing to do my gym classes, ride to work more frequently, and still going out for regular long bike rides I felt that I was as fit as I had been for a long time, ready in fact for whatever Wales had to throw at me.  

Day 1 – Kenfig 3.9km 110m climb
I have to say that my first impressions of the sand dunes of Kenfig were somewhat underwhelming. The description of short vegetation, complex contours, marshes, woodland, some exposed sand areas etc. on the south Wales coastline had me picturing such stunning areas as Penhale sands in north Cornwall, Pembrey forest further along the south Wales coast or even Roseisle in Scotland, all areas I had orienteered on in the past and all of which had left a positive impression in my memory. The approach to Kenfig was via a scruffy industrial estate and underneath the M4 motorway and a railway line, and the area was also in the shadow of the massive Port Talbot steelworks. However, the assembly area was excellent and as most orienteers know, once you have started your course the surrounding area becomes irrelevant, the terrain you are running through is all that matters and all that you become aware of, and so it proved at Kenfig. I had come prepared for the intricate detail of the map. Three years ago, with my eyesight starting to show signs of minor deterioration, I had purchased a pair of cut away glasses from Ultrasport at the Scottish 6 days in the expectation that I would need some help with the intricate detail of the map. As it turned out I didn’t need them then but over the subsequent three years I have found them to be necessary for most of the orienteering maps I have used in East Anglia.
So it was that I lined up at the start with my trusty specs and a plan to take things very steady to begin with until I had ‘got into’ the map and had got used to the contours. This worked pretty well as I proceeded to steadily work my way through my course without any mishaps although I was beginning to notice that I wasn’t able to quite see all the fine detail on the map even with my glasses, obviously my glasses were adequate for the low detail maps of East Anglia but were not quite up to the task of more intricate maps. Then, as the rain started to fall and with the high humidity my glasses started to steam up, I was faced with a long leg from control 5 to 6. This leg started in open dunes, crossed a large marsh, passed through some trees and undergrowth and then re-emerged back out in open dunes again. Not knowing how wet the marsh was I decided to skirt around it at the base of the surrounding dunes, and when I reached the end of the dunes I would then have just a small bit of marsh to cross before heading into the undergrowth and out the other side to emerge back into the open dunes and have a small distance to my control. 
The first part of the plan worked fine but when I reached the end of the first lot of dunes with the small bit of marsh to cross instead of a line of trees and bushes in front of me I saw more flat open marsh and grass. I was now convinced I was in the wrong place and yet on the map the marsh I had just skirted seemed to fit exactly with what I saw behind me, it was just that in front of me was not what I expected to see. As usual I doubted my ability to orienteer and assumed I had gone wrong and so set about heading off in various directions to try and find the place where I should have been. This was now being made harder because I had less than ideal vision and could not see the map with any clarity. Every time I went to relocate I kept ending back at my original position. In the end I just could not see any other option other than to press on even though the terrain looked completely different to the map. As I carried on in the belief that I was just getting myself more lost I found myself back in open dunes which looked similar to the area my control was situated in and before long I found my control no.6 after having wasted approximately 12 minutes running around thinking I was in the wrong place when actually I had been right all along!
I managed to finish the rest of my course without too many problems but I was still mystified why the map had looked so different to what I was seeing on the ground. Once I had dried off and put my proper reading glasses on I studied my map in detail to try and see what I had done. What I could now see was that the section of the map I had problems with was a combination of different patches of yellow, white, dark green, and light green all overlaid with a blue marsh screen. What had looked to me like a solid block of green did actually have an open gap in the middle which was covered with a heavy blue screen which made it all look a similar colour. Even now six weeks later in bright light and with proper glasses on I still struggle to differentiate the different colours so it is little wonder I struggled in poor weather conditions and with inferior glasses. What makes it most frustrating of all is the fact that I was in the correct place all along.  
Still, it wasn’t a complete disaster, and like all orienteers at these multi day events I consoled myself with the fact that this could always be the ‘bad’ run that I could discard from my five runs during the week. 
Time: 58:26 Position: 18/31
Day 2 – Kenfig 3.5km 50m climb
The second day at Kenfig had the same finish and assembly area but this time I had a lengthy walk to my start. This involved walking across the top of the map to start in the north-western corner very close to the beach. Along this walk we passed numerous apparently disused railway sidings with the buffers now becoming completely overgrown and decaying rolling stock looking totally abandoned. I don’t think I had ever seen so many different rail tracks in one place, and yet this was just one tiny remote part of the massive steelworks. The scale of the plant is absolutely astonishing and I can’t think of anything in East Anglia that comes close in size.
The weather was sunny and warm so I at least didn’t have the same issues with wet and steamed up glasses. The course was over similar terrain to day one but because the start was near the beach there were a few more open areas of sand in the early stages. It was amazing what a difference having the experience of running on the terrain the day before made to my run. I immediately felt comfortable with the map and the navigation seemed very straightforward. At one stage I even had to pass through the scene of my disaster from the day before, albeit in the opposite direction, and of course I knew the area intimately and sailed through untroubled. I completed my course without any problems and at the finish was really pleased with my run. In fact everyone was saying how much more they had enjoyed day two compared to day one, and that was borne out in the results. Like me, everyone else was faster and made fewer mistakes than the previous day and therefore all our positions unfortunately remained much the same relative to the other competitors on our courses.    
Time: 31:38 Position: 10/30
Day 3 – Margam Forest North 3.8km 140m climb
Margam Forest North is a green map, a very green map, even most of the open areas had a green screen on them. It was therefore very different terrain from days 1 and 2. The wood was quite steep and in parts the visibility was very poor and there were quite a lot of brashings and other undergrowth to help slow you down as if the gradient wasn’t enough.
The weather was damp and quite humid so that in the parts of the forest with dense tree cover it was misty and in places very dark.
My first four controls were in such an area and at times it was virtually impossible to see your map properly without first wiping your glasses and then finding a small clearing to let some light in. I didn’t have much choice but to go steadily but this was probably a good thing as I managed to find these controls pretty much spot on. The rest of my course was in much more runnable woodland, some of it completely clear of undergrowth and a joy to run through. Then, with two controls to go, I decided to take a safe route to my penultimate control via a forest track and a couple of paths before following a vegetation boundary uphill to a shallow re-entrant. Everything went as expected until I arrived at the place where my control ‘should have been’ and found a couple of other runners wandering around an area of very indistinct patches of vegetation changes and shallow undulations. Needless to say nothing quite fitted to my map and there was no sign of my control. I widened my search as more and more people arrived to look for the same control. The frustration increased with the knowledge that I had had a decent run and was very close to the finish, and this no doubt only made my relocation efforts even worse. Eventually I decided that the control could not be in this area with so many people looking for it and failing to find it, so I moved along the ridge twenty metres or so, through some undergrowth that wasn’t mapped and found another area similar to before but this time with my control in it! An easy run to the finish then ensued followed by a period of quiet seething in the club tent wondering how I could have ruined a good run so close to the end.
Time: 57:46 Position: 19/32
Rest Day
For the rest day, everyone in our house decided to go our separate ways. Karen and I decided to head for some of South Wales’ stunning coast and go for a walk. We decided to head further west than the Gower peninsula and instead ended up west of Tenby at a small National Trust village called Stackpole. The enabled us to walk part of the Pembokeshire Coast Path. The weather was glorious and so was the walk. The route took us westwards along the top of cliffs which had views right along the coast and across the Bristol Channel. Occasionally we would drop down and walk along secluded bays which could only be reached on foot, and then we headed inland via some freshwater lily ponds and made our way back to the car at Stackpole harbour. It was an absolutely fantastic walk. We then drove into Tenby to find somewhere to eat. I have to say I was very impressed with Tenby, in fact it must be one of the nicest seaside towns I have visited. It was clean and smart but had lost none of the feel of a family seaside resort.  It had fine beaches, a castle and an old walled town as well as a harbour with winding narrow streets leading to it, (am I beginning to sound like I work for the Welsh Tourist Board)? We found a nice pub near the harbour, had a meal and then headed back to the car via the beach and an ice cream.
All in all it had been a perfect day off from the orienteering.
Day 4 – Mynydd Llangynidr 4.0km 90m climb
Time: 39:53 Position: 9/30

Day 5 – Margam Country Park 3.6km 120m climb
Time: 71:19 Position: 27/31

Read more of Paul's account here
Overall result: 15th out of 35, day 5 was the result discarded.

Final thoughts about the Welsh 5 days:
I need to get some new orienteering glasses.
My improved fitness levels did help me a lot. I don’t think I struggled physically on any of the days but unfortunately my mental abilities let me down. Day 5 was a disaster but that is why you are able to discount your worst run. I have always aimed to try and finish in the top third on my course and this I achieved on days 2 and 4 when I didn’t make any major errors. But a single major error on each of days 1 and 3 let me down and my results suffered accordingly. If I could only avoid such errors for four days instead of two I would achieve my aim of finishing in the top third overall.
It is great to orienteer on unfamiliar terrain. Often the days you think you will enjoy turn out to be less enjoyable, usually as a result of your own ineptitude, but days you think you will hate because of the terrain or the weather, or both, actually turn out to be unexpectedly enjoyable.
As with all orienteering, your impression of an area or a course is significantly affected by how well you performed in your run. Nevertheless, not having had any particularly good days I did still enjoy the areas and courses, except maybe day five!
Make the most of the local area on your day off. I don’t believe you will ever be more than an hour away from somewhere beautiful whichever part of this country you find yourself in.
A hot tub and a glass of wine miraculously make any frustrations about your run magically disappear!
Finally, to anyone contemplating entering a multiday event – go for it!
Over the years Karen and I have gone to a whole range of multiday events, before kids, with kids and now without kids. For the longer 5 and 6 day events we have tended to stay in rented accommodation.  Before we had the kids we tended to stay with other club members, with the kids it tended to be with other family members, and now the kids no longer come with us we are back staying with any club members who will share with us.
For the shorter 3 day events such as the White Rose in Yorkshire and the Belgian 3 days we have always tended to camp either on the event campsite or with other club members on a separate site. We have done this for years even when the kids were babies. Our daughter Laura actually camped with us at the White Rose when she was only three weeks old. These days the events are very family friendly with split times available to families so that one parent can go out for their run whilst the other looks after the kids and then they can swap and the second parent can go out whenever they are free to start. As our kids got older they were able to be left unsupervised at the assembly area and quite enjoyed the freedom of being able go and buy themselves pizza or cake all by themselves. There was usually always a NOR member at the club tent anyway if they had any problems.  
So there you have it – you have no excuses not to do it – see you in Scotland/Belgium/Yorkshire some time soon.

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Norfolk Orienteering Club · 24 Church Lane · Wroxham · Norwich, Norfolk NR12 8SH · United Kingdom

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