On 26th November a team of 11 DUOC members travelled to compete in a regional event in Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield. Mainly traveling by mini-bus, the passengers were subject to the delights of VP Andrew’s and driver Emily’s karaoke. Fortunately, this scarring experience was avoided by the 3 "senior pros" who enjoyed a scenic train route through various industrial cities of the north followed by a return on the floor of a packed Trans-Pennine Express train.
The event area proved to be trickier than anticipated due to a distinct lack of contours and open land alongside a plethora of interlinking paths and streams. Normally, a wide range of paths would have been a dream for the "Sprint Squad" (note Luke and Myself) bar the fact that in Ecclesall Woods what constitutes a path is still highly disputed by the mappers.
Overall the team performed admirably with best results on each of the courses coming from Michael (13th on Brown), Eleonora (21st on Green) with Bronwen close behind, and the impressive Paul (8th on Blue) who finished only 12 minutes slower than the course winner!
Other notably mentions must go to Andrew and Emily, who ran both some exceptionally quick splits, often placing in the top 3, but who had their times checked by some mis-navigation on other legs. Also, honourable mentions go to Hiroshi and Jason for persisting on the course for an extended length of time and showing true DUOC spirit in the process. It was a tough course for those so young into their orienteering careers, but both should take heart from the fact that the "improvement curve" in our sport is steep especially when exposed to tricky areas. Luke must also take credit for finishing despite a poorly back.
The team’s gratitude goes out to Emily for driving (and parking) the van, to Andrew for his hard work organising the trip bringing both precision and banter, and finally to South Yorkshire Orienteers for putting on such an interesting event; the experience whether positive or negative will put us in good stead for BUCS!
[On another note the whole club must be pleased to hear that I have abandoned all hope of retaining my sprint crown due to two elderly gentlemen blocking my route to the finish. Alas, someone else will know what it feels like to become a DUOC legend this year.]
Eight of Durham’s finest orienteers were keen enough for an Autumn sprint event to get up early for a two bus journey to Guisborough, just south of Middlesbrough, and six were cunning enough to not miss the bus.
After a long walk uphill from the bus stop, we were all tired for the start of the event. The course took us through damp moorland, covered in heather apart from quad bike tracks, and open forest with distinct vegetation boundaries. Daniel struggled early on and lost a lot of his time on the first 3 controls (out of 17). An odd route choice from Andrew and slip ups in navigation from Paul and Eleonora on the middle controls (in particular the tricky number 9) gave the rest of us a chance to catch up. Michael and Matthew did well to run consistent legs throughout, maximising their times.
Having enjoyed the downhill and flat legs on the course until control 12, we had the enormous hill to attack that we had confronted when walking to the start. From the top of the hill there was a quick sprint along a mud path for the last few controls. Some people were confused by the 10 m sprint from the last control to the finish, missing dibbing the finish until reminded by the spectators!
Overall DUOC performed very well at this event. First and second place were taken home by Michael and Andrew in times of 21:34 and 23:20 respectively. Great times were also posted by Matthew, Daniel, Paul and Eleonora who finished 5th, 11th, 12th and 27th out of a field of 35 finishers!! Well done to all who took part and many thanks to CLOK who organised the event; we’ll see you at the next sprint event in Stockton-on-Tees on 18th November!!!
Extra report!!! Andrew's Experience at the OMM with his dad
My dad and I competed at the 50th anniversary OMM well prepared after a summer of training on the hills of Cambridgeshire. After cutting down our pack weights to 8kg by getting rid of all unnecessary clothing and surplus cereal bars, and by weighing out the amount of porridge we actually needed, we were ready for two days on the fells. Having checked the mountain weather forecast the day before, we knew that winds up to 60 mph could face us at high altitude, and cloud cover above 500m would make navigation all that more difficult.
Once we picked up our maps, we saw what was set before us on the B course, 20km straight line with over 1600m climb, and 11 controls. We managed to pick routes that avoided the swathes of other starters for the first two controls, not deliberately, but we think our routes were good. The next few controls up to 5 there was one obvious route, which meant we were following a whole train of teams up ahead, something unfamiliar to us as orienteers. Leg 5-6 proved to be the most critical in the entire race, between the summits of Glaramara and Allen Crags, here we first truly experienced the extremity of mountain weather. We navigated to this control with no error, and it showed with a 5th fastest split, by far our best of the weekend. Many teams retired from the whole weekend here, it would have been a horrible place to get lost in the wind, rain and cloud. It was at this point in my mac in a sack and base layer that I was starting to feel very cold and odd, thinking this might be the start of hypothermia, I quickly put on another layer and cracked on up Esk Pike, knowing this was our last significant altitude and that we'd be out of the cloud soon.
As we tired some errors crept in with our navigation, with time lost at 9 and at our last control 11 where we lost half an hour wandering in the cloud unable to relocate quickly. This was not helped by the map which had writing obscuring the contour lines of the land that we were lost on. We arrived at our overnight camp after over 8 hours and quickly found a dry bit of bog and set up camp, delighting ourselves with our dehydrated foods, and the first instant noodles I've ever had! After a very windy night which caused some over the portaloos to fall over, the morning was clear and fairly still, but very cold when you don’t have many clothes.
We just made our allotted start period for day 2, and were very pleased to see that the course was shorter and involved less climb than we done the day before. I didn't warm up properly until 45 minutes in when we got into the sun. Navigating was a lot easier since we could see exactly where we wanted to head a lot of the time. We think that our routechoices for the whole day were optimum and we executed them well, but it's quite easy when you have so long to look at the map. We reached controls with a similar group of people for most of the day, but it was only on half of the controls that we were following/being followed by others. After a brutal 11th and final control, that involved a very steep climb and descent in sight of the finish, we finished the weekend by running to the finish, some of the only we did all weekend. Cowbells, cheers and a few spectators greeted us at the finish line, my dad was exhausted, I felt like I could do it all again. [Andrew modest as always]
Overall we finished 28/155 starters, and 3/17 in our class, 100 teams retired showing how challenging the conditions were, and that we’re proud to have finished it together.
The sharp breeze throwing itself around the streets of Newcastle wasn’t enough to deter DUOC orienteers taking on Ouseburn. Despite near sub-zero temperatures a hardy group of 16 athletes rocked up to a morrisons car park ready for the urban that would begin most of their orienteering careers.
The day began with some warm-up navigation led by Google maps from the train station to the start on the lookout for kites along the way. Once at our destination having left the warmth of morrisons the race began. The terrain was mostly paths around a park and various streets around a canal in Ouseburn. It was surprisingly hilly but promised for a fast race if the navigation was accurate. (Not to mention the helpful locals directing you to any control they see- when will they realise the most important part is the number on it?)
Not to be thrown by the road crossing or copious amounts of steps involved, the DUOC squad prevailed in their navigation through the flats, looping around the canal. Although a few dogs showed a little too much interest in Sam and Hannah- humans are friends not food- it provided a nice incentive to put in that extra bit of effort.
With many successful races, DUOC stormed the results winning both the A and B courses, with a cracking run from Michael, and a happy fluke from Hannah. Another podium position saw Sam hitting up the silver medal spot with the fastest sprint finish time on the A course. As the first race for many of the newly joined freshers, results were amazing with excellent times for everyone who competed- a special shoutout to Lara who finished fifth at her first event!
It’s looking good for the rest of the season and bigger events later in the year!
October Odyssey, Washington - 7th-8th October 2017
The (October) Odyssey...
Months had passed, seasons had changed and battles had been fought by our heroes since their last foray in the north east. Aroused by rumours emanating from the Northern Navigators, a quest was sought to prove that our heroes still had what it takes. Our heroes thought the first task was already lost by Andrew when his arrival at the chariot was delayed, but alas, he materialised as soon as he heard the rurring of the horses, some would say this was a rare display of perfect timing. The name of chariot “Whey aye 5 0” was lost on our heroes who have no cultural understanding of modern times. Upon arrival at the gates of Washington leisure centre our heroes greeted a heroine who had battled with our elders in times gone past. Our heroes were seven in number; for Matthew, Joe, Katie, Sam, Daniel, Luke and Andrew the quest had now truly started.
Joe was the first to reach a hurdle, a fence that all the other heroes negotiated successfully. Despite this, wisdom and bravery was displayed when he decided he could in fact climb over a half metre tall fence and he was not delayed any further. Andrew was faring well until a confusing curved housing estate where both him and Matthew continued to run but lost all sense of direction. This allowed Luke to lead on the men’s open. This was until a few controls later, Luke forgot to take heed to the infamous proverb passed down from generation to generation “always check your control descriptions when the circle on the map is ambiguous as to its precise location” and he floundered to the north side of an impassable wall, when instead he should have been on the south. Despite these hiccoughs, both Luke and Andrew knew that they were faring well on their quest, so they both independently decided to impair themselves to give the others a chance by ripping their legs apart with brambles when all others were wiser and took the quicker, safer and easier path. But time gained on technical legs by Andrew was enough to stave off the time Luke clawed back on the easier legs and Andrew won the men’s open. On the women’s open Katie was faring well until she made a large error at the same control Luke had, this cost her the lead but fast running saw her regain it later on and she won her course. Sam, who had spent all his summer training for the wrong sport, had a consistent race, narrowly beating Matthew to take 4th on the men’s open. Daniel had the worst fortune of all, a result of his quest is an injured ankle, he will hope to get running on it again soon. Joe brought us all home with a valiant effort and an impressive sprint finish.
Less than a day later, Luke, Sam and Andrew were at it again, seeking more glory in the second race of the weekend, this time at Hamsterley forest. A steep forested valley was the locations our heroes found ourselves in, and after the conversation about what re-entrants and spurs are that is had at every event, we were ready to begin. Only Andrew was able to find control number 2 at the first time of asking, probably because he was the only one who truly knew “the truth of re-entrants”, this meant he gained a lead he would not squander for the whole race. Just under halfway on the course, Sam caught sight of Andrew who was just leaving the loop of controls that Sam was just entering. This was closely followed by a large splash and shout which caused Sam to turn around and see what had occurred. Andrew found the next couple of controls difficult because he couldn’t read his map for it was caked in muddy water, as were his arms, hands, compass, legs, shoes, top, watch and control descriptions. Sam and Luke struggled together in finding a small boulder, but a better ability in contouring and recognising vegetation boundaries would have helped them here, and it would also help when they apply makeup. Andrew later held his map upside down, so ran in the complete wrong direction until he realised. Sam and Luke continued to battle to the finish, but their race was won by who made fewer mistakes, and that was Sam. Luke can take comfort thought because he was incorrectly put on M21S on the results, so he came 1/1 and was quickest to every control on his class. Sam on the other hand was 22 minutes adrift of Andrew but he had beaten him by 1 second on the 140m sprint finish, victories like these are what makes you a sprint champion. It was the general consensus (for Andrew at least) that this was a very nice and fun area to run in. And we thank northern navigators for the lifts we had on Sunday and for hosting good events that had been organised and planned in rushed circumstances.
British Sprints and Middles, Milton Keynes - 30th Oct - 1st Sept 2017
Freshers' week was upon us, but the opportunity for 2 events so close to home was just too good to miss. So Andrew, Joe, Michael and myself(Matthew) as well as alumni Cameron, Harriet, Adam, Jack and Yasha all spent the weekend running about in Buckinghamshire as I allowed myself to forget about the packing / freshers' leaflet preparing / discussing training and the website (sorry Julie and Daniel for the slow replies!) for a weekend.
The sprints in Milton Keynes started with a bit of car parking – Andrew's home club was helping organise the event and so a few of us had been roped in, there weren't any crashes so I regard that as a success ;-) Apologies to all those drivers who had to do a hill start after I made them stop…
The heats took place in an area of housing that fitted the grid and roundabout stereotype of Milton Keynes perfectly. This made for easier navigation than many sprints, but even so both Andrew and Joe did really well, with Andrew qualifying for the A final (i.e. the one for people who can actually orienteer.). I was in the lowest, C…always good to leave room for improvement in the year ahead ;-) . The finals took place in parkland with a few hills and some woodland providing a little more technicality. It was a nice area but all of the DUOC competitors were feeling a bit worn out and none of us really had a good performance on that course.
We headed to my house and rounded of the day with a quiz and fish and chip supper run by the Church I go to at home. In a team with my parents and brother we were joint first only to be pipped at the post in the pointless style tie breaker – Wimbledon Mens' Champions since 1970 anyone? If only Joe had written down Jaws in the literary round…
Day 2 was the middles in Wendover Woods. It was an area with lots of different vegetation types and the 1 to 10,000 scale meant completely different distances to the day before. We put in an ok showing but none of us really excelled. Well done to Andrew on winning that all important sprint in the M20 though! Guessing he'll be changing his mind on asking for the sprints competition to be altered to last control time now. After a good showing at the White Rose and London City Race and a reasonable effort here let's get going for a great year for DUOC :-)
Report by Matthew Foskett
White Rose Weekend, Helmsley - 25th-28th August 2017
One of our summer events!!! An absolutely amazing long weekend of orienteering. In
dense forests teaming with ticks, anthills and snakes, 5 members of DUOC (Matthew
Foskett, Andrew Stemp, Luke Piper, Michael Hallett and Daniel Murphy) competed in the
White Rose Orienteering Weekend near Helmsley in North Yorkshire.
The first event was on Friday night; a 30 minute score event (10 points for each
control) in pitch black forest, a good head torch was necessary!! For most of us it
was our first score event and so I think we performed rather well! Despite taking
some bad falls, Andrew returned just over 3 minutes late to reduce his score to 230
points after getting 25 out of the 30 controls! Luke, Matthew and Daniel all returned
within the time limit (just!) and scored 210, 170 and 160 points respectively. Kudos
must indeed go to Matthew for putting in a respectable score despite losing power on
his head torch after getting just 2 controls and relying on his phone torch (totally
not cheating!) for the rest!
Day 2 started off with the Middle Distance race, with all five DUOC competitors
tackling the short brown course in the M20L category. Some rough terrain and difficult
navigation in the varied vegetation made for a great challenge. Some of the course used
parts of the score event course from the night before that seemed very different in
daylight. Michael and Andrew both posted impressive times of 30:29 and 32:56, with Matthew,
Luke and Daniel finishing strongly in 41:15, 44:08 and 54:06 respectively.
A more relaxed event took place around lunch time and the fastest runner did indeed prove
the best of us! This was a trailO event that tested your map reading and carefull analysis
of control descriptions rather than speed! TrailO is perfect for any keen map reader even
if you can't run or walk across rough terrain. Competitors walk along a path and at mark
observation points must decide which (if any) of the visible controls match the one described
by the map. Points are awarded for correct answers only. TempO is also included to help
discern participants that achieve the same score. This section involves a timed portion where
(in this case) competitors must decide which of 6 controls the map was indicating with a
max time allowance of 60 seconds and 1 minute added on for incorrect answers. Luke came
4th in the senior category with 10/12 points. Andrew came 7th with 9 points and an impressive
tempO time of 16 seconds. Matthew and Daniel both got 8 points and were separated by their
respective tempO times o 46.5 and 94 seconds (which included a penalty for an incorrect answer).
for a better explanation of trailO and tempO.
The last event on Saturday was the afternoon sprint around Helmsley. Very fast paced orienteering
through the streets past the school, churchyard, historic ruins and circling back to the cricket
ground, there was simply no time for mistakes. All running in the senior men category, Michael
finished fourth with a time of 18:34, only 2:14 behind the winner! Andrew, Matthew, Luke and Daniel
all came in with times of 19:17, 20:19, 20:47 and 21:35 respectively. After a long day of
orienteering we then treated ourselves to a well earned dinner in the Royal Oak pub (and a break
from cooking on the old gas cooker beside the tent).
Sunday saw the Classic Long Distance race, over a treacherous 6.9 km course through dense forest
with only vegetation boundaries for catching features. Michael, Andrew and Matthew returned with
amazing times of 54:50, 67:26 and 82:43 to leave them as the top three in the M20L category for
the Combined Middle and Long results, each bagging a yellow event mug for their efforts. Luke and
Daniel finished in 109:35 and 129:59, glad to have finally found all of the controls!!!
Running under the guise of “Every Day I'm Houghalling” The DUOC team of Luke, Matthew and Andrew
had tremendous success earning third place in the Open Relay event on Monday, including a notably
strong performance from Matthew coming second in the short course 3 of the relay, and then going
on to run the final leg!! Another 3 mugs returning to Durham for their triumph!
The White Rose weekend was an overall success for the club and all the organisation that went
into the event was well appreciated, even for the smaller events like the maze course, quiz and
welly wanging!! To see a full set of results, click here .
Report by Daniel Murphy
Houghall Woods - 18th June 2017
Britain is in the midst of a record breaking five-day heatwave. An eerie silence has enveloped Durham, North East England. The birds have stopped singing, the roads lie deserted but the sun continues to beat down upon the parched, cracked earth. The oppressive heat has caused railroads to buckle and tarmac to melt. The city grinds to a standstill. Flowers are wilting, Mildert lake is rapidly disappearing and people are frying eggs on the pavement.
Alright I'm getting carried away but you get the idea - it was hot. It was on that day that Northern Navigators held an orienteering event in Houghall Woods. Eight DUOC members braved the heat that morning: Daniel, Andrew, Adam, Cameron, Hannah, Emily, Matthew and myself.
One of the first to set off was Andrew wearing a white bin bag. He flew round the course in a time of 52:23 and finished in first place.
Next up was me so once I'd registered for the blue course, plastered myself with sun cream and relearned how to take a bearing, I set off. The first part of the race took us through the woods and it was all going splendidly until the fifth control which proved to be elusive for an astonishing amount of time, twenty-one minutes to be exact. Anyone nearby might've noticed a dishevelled purple figure stumbling through the undergrowth looking very confused, sweating profusely, and generally looking like he was having quite an unpleasant time. Anyway, I eventually found it but only after Matthew appeared and pointed me in the right direction. The middle few controls took us over a field of horses, back into the woods and then eventually to East Durham College. I was beginning to enjoy myself because this was familiar terrain – we'd visited a few of the controls in training. I was bounding down hills like a mountain goat, winding along woodland footpaths and leaping over tree trunks and small children.
The last few controls took us onto the Science site, where I met Matthew again. We overtook each other a few times then headed back into the woods where I honestly didn't follow him for a few controls. At that point, we ran into Adam who had been reduced to a walk due to the heat. All three of us came into the finish at the same time where I promptly collapsed. I was torn to shreds and severely dehydrated, but delighted nonetheless because I was going to make it back in time for brunch. Matthew, Adam and I finished in 55:31 (2nd), 1:11:13 (9th) and 1:13:37 (10th) respectively.
Our newest member Emily ran well and finished in a time of 1:17:03 earning her 14th place. There were also great performances as usual from Cameron, Hannah and Daniel who finished 3rd, 8th and 12th.
I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the next event in October which will hopefully be a bit less life threatening.
Last month, EB Orienteers put on a race in and around York city centre, and Durham sent 4 of its finest; Andrew Stemp, Dan Murphy, Hannah Goldswain and myself, Joe Bleasdale. As our first event after a rather stressful exam period, and anticipating many slip-enducing downpours later on in the morning, the mood was one of hope but mild dread at the start line just next to the cobbled promenade of the River Ouse. In contact with the group from the start was also Laura Hindle from Manchester Orienteering, competing in her first race alongside Goldswain, a friend from home.
Surprisingly, despite having been out of practice for over 2 months, Durham's competitors did not seem to suffer any major setbacks and all finished the race, myself included (my first solo finish since Edinburgh, so a major improvement on favourable terrain). The rain almost completely held off, with the sun even coming out strong towards the end of my time on course, and the beautiful city of castles, cafes and Douglas Adams showed its true colours to all that took part.
The men's open route wound first along the river bank and briefly into the retail centre, before heading back in the same direction towards the train tracks (controls 1-5), and entering a short, sharp sector around two schools; St Olave's and St Peter's, each surrounded by giant playing fields and connected by an intricately-designed iron overpass which was difficult to spot on the map but played a key part in completing the route (controls 6-22). This sector was also highly-reminiscent of the Milthorpe School indoor event on the other side of York that many of us did in November; my first event, and one which I still display proudly on my wall at home. The race then took us back the way we came via the same river bank, before traversing the pedestrianised section of the city centre in by far the longest control (24), and with the finish in sight on this 4.1km course, the race then made full use of the most obscure back alleys of the city (24-28), before coming to an abrupt halt opposite a temporary fairground on Parliament Street (which made the sprint incredibly difficult, forcing us to concentrate on not crashing into sugar-high children).
The route made very good use of narrow alleyways and various fences and walls which confused several of our competitors. The nearby footbridge accompanying the train tracks was a feature Andrew Stemp seemed to miss, costing him 3 minutes on the first control, but he soon found the rhythm we all know and love, eventually pulling out a consistent run around the schools and a steady sprint on the long controls, earning himself just over 50 minutes and 8th place. One control that everyone, particularly myself and Stemp, were caught out by involved the first control on the school field, placed on the opposite side of a residential brick wall in someone's driveway. This, as well as my over-optimism in believing I could cross a swarm of nettles to get onto an opposite field without going around a rather long, energy-sapping path, added considerable distance to an otherwise short open race, but was mitigated later on once the narrow alleyways started to become more frequent and less obvious.
Possibly the most consistent racer of the day was Daniel Murphy who, having earnt 20th place from the first control, never really shifted, only slowing up on the slightly longer controls towards the end, and finishing in 18th place after just over an hour, before almost immediately sprinting off to find the nearest Cooplands. However, the strongest overall performance of the day came from Hannah Goldswain who, in a recurring theme, recovered from an over 7-minute control at the start to finish 4th in the women's open, with a time of just over 40 minutes for 22 controls, again, making up a lot of that time around the schools.
And then, there was myself. Coming from the incredibly urban suburbs of south London, and genuinely excited to enter during my post-exam denial, this was one of my favourite events of the year, down to inventive control locations and the fact that I was never truly clueless, just a bit tired by the end. 79 minutes and all controls completed was the best result I could imagine, even if it did mean annoying a few of the arroga faster competitors by checking on location to see if the control was the right number. Sorry.
Other key attractions of the day included the door to the maths department at St Peter's school whose handle was shaped like Pi (a truly ingenious idea), our well-deserved beverages and lunch in a city-centre café where our usual route-mulling took place, and afternoon rambling around the city filled with dire puns and beautiful sights (Dan Murphy even took home a candelabra from the market, don't ask me why). This race was a brilliant reminder of the orienteering bond that we share, but haven't used for a long time, as well as a reminder that we're actually quite good at it! Next stop, end-of-year festivities!
At the AGM we elected(well more agreed but anyway...) a new exec:
Captain: Matthew Foskett
Vice-captain: Andrew Stemp
Treasurer: Luke Piper
Coach: Julie Emmerson
Social secretaries: Sam New and Hannah Goldswain
Kit secretary: Michael Hallett
Webmaster: Daniel Murphy
Thanks to everyone who did roles last year and hello to Daniel who'll be taking over control of this page :-)
18th and 19th March: BUCS 2017 Sheffield
DUOC went into the British University Orienteering Championships on the 18th and 19th March full of optimism and enthusiasm for the individual event on Saturday and the relay on Sunday. The championships this year was held by Sheffield University, the second biggest university club in the country, so the courses and social were hotly anticipated.
The individual event took place at Wharncliffe, where the terrain was technical, varying between forested and open moorland. Andrew and Michael both had good runs, coming 48th and 50th out of 102, whilst Cameron, Matthew and Sam took places 66-68. The weather varied throughout the course, turning from low cloud and rain to bright sunshine in under 20 minutes. This didn't stop some of the team from slipping over on their way to the finish and emerging from the forest completely drenched. Julie had the most successful run for the team, coming fourth in the Women's A class, with Hannah, Mariama and Harriet 32nd, 33rd and 36th respectively. Joe unfortunately had to retire from his course.
Following the race, the Club ate with the other universities at a buffet before heading to the student's union for a night out. Daniel and Andrew had some stunning outfits to suit our fancy dress theme of Peter Pan, with the poorest outfit being Luke's who turned up with just a hat.
The relay was held in Hugset, which could not have been more different to Wharncliffe. There were few hills, but running across much of it was impossible due to the chest-high brambles! The women's team came 9th, Mariama making the unusual decision to run the second half of the course first. The first men's team came 14th, Andrew putting in a decent first leg. Unfortunately, Sam had to retire from his run in the second team, so they didn't finish. The Ad Hoc team came second in their smaller event.
Overall the team did well, coming 7th in the final standings. It was the fresher's first taste of BUCS, who will take what they've learnt from this weekend into future orienteering events. Report by Cameron Davies
25/26th February: Lake District - British Night and Northern Championships
Two races in the lakes were competed at by
eight members of DUOC all aiming high.
The first event was at night
at Great Tower scout campsite.
The next was in the day
around the bigland estate.
Neither were easy with climb aplenty,
bogs and cliffs featured of which there were many.
On Saturday at the British night champs,
most used headtorches whilst others used lamps.
Julie ran well, Andrew okay,
but for Matthew it really was not his day.
A DNF for him is a learning curve,
thankfully though he has not lost his verve.
Michael was ill so didn't start the race,
deciding instead to rest and save his pace.
The northern championships were the sunday morning,
many wide awake, but Andrew was yawning.
Hannah, Mar, Joe and Sam arrived just in time,
ready and raring for all the steep climbs.
Sam hurt his ankle right near the start,
but he soldiered on keeping all his body parts.
Joe started great but then fortune left him,
for he couldn't find a flag, his race was trimmed.
Everyone else finished including Matthew,
but we all had tired legs and very wet shoes.
Overall I think the weekend was great,
but just not too much to celebrate.
The skills we developed will help us in BUCS,
Three weeks and counting, can we win? discuss.
29th January: Shaftoe Crags - North East Orienteering League Level D event
A Sunday morning saw 4 members of DUOC even farther north than Durham, which started off looking promising with a hint of sun and an unusual lack of rain. So, despite the extensive brown course length (which seemed to be longer due to the lack of a black course) morale was high. The area was called Shaftoe Crags, and was mostly a compilation of farmers fields and the odd row of crags. The courses were very runnable, with grassy terrain, even if the damp crags remained treacherous, lending to fast times and manageable navigation. It was very much a runners race, even if some controls were hid in depressions and could only be found if ran right into.
Andrew, Michael and Hannah were chauffeured there by Adam, with the boys running the brown and Hannah on the blue. The brown proved to be physically demanding, with a double sided map and a course that apparently seemed never-ending. Meanwhile, Hannah decided a trip off the map would be a good idea which taught her not to follow
Everyone ran very well considering the length (and off the map ventures) with a top performance from Michael, who finished 4th on the brown, resulting in a fairly successful day overall.
Written by Hannah Goldswain
The weekend of the 22nd/23rd saw the club take eleven members to Edinburgh to compete two races organised by EUOC. The Urban race saw us navigate through the intricacies of Edinburghs streets and alleyways, passing famous attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace, on tricky and surprisingly lengthy courses. Notable performances came from Julie Emmerson who came 6th in the open Womens race and Michael Hallett who placed 23rd in a very competitive open mens race.
Following Saturdays race the Club ate out in the city at an Italian restaurant before attending a lively haggis-filled ceilidh alongside fellow competitors: a new and memorable experience for many members!
On Sunday, we competed in the second event on the rugged yet picturesque terrain of Holyrood Park. The courses attempted by members proved to be innovative, including a climbing frame and an embedded micro-course, whilst remaining technically difficult and physically challenging. The top performance in DUOC came from Andrew Stemp who came 29th in the brown course.
Overall it was a highly successful weekend with lots of experience gained for newer members preparing us well for BUCS at the end of march.
Written by Sam New
19th November: South Park, Darlington - Autumn Short Race Series
Cameron, Sam, Hannah, Will, Luke, Joe and Lizzy all competed in this local event with an amazing 5 of them in the top ten :-) Well done in particular to those of youfor whom it was the event and also for Cameron who won!
Cameron, Andrew, Michael, Daniel and Matthew all competed on both days at the LOC/SROC weekend. The first day was on the sanddunes at Roanhead which required a lot of looking at the cotours! The second day was in the more mountainous terrain at Torver High Common which provided more of a physical challenge although there were still some navigational challenges too. A special shout out to Michael who came 4th on the short brown course - less than 1 minute off the winner!
Mariama competed in the Original Mountain Marathon which is a "2 day test of endurance, teamwork and mountain skills". She completed 47.2km over two days in a combined total of just under 17 hours which included a massive 2790m climb!
Wern, Joe, Matthew, Daniel and Andrew all competed in the York Indoor Cup. It was a great course which required quick decisions and map reading as well as agility to avoid obstacles(such as doors and other competitors!). The location was a school with the controls spread over 4 levels and involving butterfly loops. Unlike many who took part, all off us correctly punched each control and Andrew finished an impressive 6th with Daniel not far behind in 10th. A special shout out to Joe for getting the fastest sprint finish split and him and Wern for doing their first events :-)
Adam Poole and Andrew Stemp competed in both days of October Odyssey run by Newcastle Orienteers with Mariama Dryak and Matthew Foskett joining them on the Saturday. The long distance on the Saturday was tough going with lots of heather and a couple of steep sections but the area was very picturesque nonetheless. Adam had a difficult afternoon on the black course but Matthew, Andrew and Mariama had reasonable success on the short brown coming 4th, 5th and 12th overall for that course. The Sunday course was runnanble woodland with interesting features which proved better for Adam with him coming 8th and Andrew in 6th.
A team of 15 DUOC members went down to Bristol to compete in BUCS. There were two great events - the individual at Moseley Green in the Forest of
Dean on Saturday and the relay at Coopers Hill in Cranham. Both were great areas, despite the abundance of hills! There were lots of fantastic runs both days
and as a result we were 4th in the individual and 5th in the relays to secure 4th place overall.
31st July - 8th August 2015: WOC and Scottish 6 Days!
WOC A commentators perspective
Normally Im a very prepared person. I like turning up to the Scottish Six Days knowing
my start times and sometimes whos starting near me. Ive read through all the final details
and roughly know which days will be early starts. Ive got a mental picture of the geographical
location of the areas in relation to where Im staying, and I will undoubtedly have geeked the
maps beforehand. But a combination of uni work, friends from uni staying over, and holidays (mostly holidays!)
meant that I pretty much just rocked up to Scotland and hoped for the best.
But this wasnt any ordinary Six Days, for I was down for helping for a couple of days, and I was doing
the IOF Livecentre commentary for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) races too. I knew it was
going to be a hectic week, but I hadnt quite appreciated how much time it would take up!
Im very involved in the student radio at Durham University, and wanted to do something relating to commentary
or media when I heard Scotland had got the Champs. But it wasnt until quite last minute that I found out that
I would be working with Hugh Dan MacLennan (a professional shinty commentator) and Clive Allen (my grandpa,
but also an experienced orienteering commentator!) on the IOF Livecentre online video coverage. I also found
out when I arrived in Scotland that I was the standby expert for BBC Alba, should Lorna Eades be unavailable
for whatever reason (which didnt happen)!
Initially, my job was to spot athletes, which involved looking for new radio control split times that came up
on the screen. We also had a screen that displayed the images we were talking over, which were sometimes
difficult to keep up with. Therefore, there was less to say at our first event, the sprint relay, as it was
generally pretty obvious who was in the lead and there was less technical information to comment on.
However, as the races moved into the forest and I became more confident with the setup and procedures, I
began to say more and interact with the other presenters. I managed to interview Annika Billstam (the winner
of the middle race), as well as Graham Gristwood after he came in second on the second leg of the relay and
Cat Taylor after her run at the Long on Glen Affric. Despite being fairly unprepared, I was able to learn on
the job, and by the end I think I managed to make some insightful comments about runners.
One of the best things about the job was that it put me at the heart of the action. Our gazebo was right at the
finish line, and it was clear to see the range of emotions that runners felt after finishing. It was also
perfect to see the run-throughs and I could keep track of the progress of the likes of Ruth Homes and Alice
Leake, as I had all the radio information at my fingertips. One of the most exciting times was silently
cheering on the mens relay team who ended up just out of the medals, whilst attempting to maintain neutrality
on air! I also got to cheer Ruth and Alice on in the heart of the action.
Therefore, the Scottish Six Days was not really my priority. I managed to hold runs together (even after 5
hours of carparking duty at Glen Strathfarrar), and especially enjoyed the beautiful runnable forests at
Despite feeling unprepared, everything went smoothly (despite many queues in and out of carpark fields)!
Overall, I learned loads, worked with some great people, and was able to feel the thrill of watching
world-class orienteering. Heres to more commentary in the future watch this space!
This urban evening score event, was one of a worldwide
series of events for the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015, and saw a strong DUOC turn out on a warm summer evening.
The club took the first three positions with Peter Bray collecting all 30 controls in just over 30 minutes, closely followed by
Nicholas Beyls and Adam Poole. Katherine Bett also did a great job, being the only woman to collect all the controls. See the
race report and
full results. There were also illuminated stick man hoodies which some people opted for wearing. Despite odd looks from people around town,
these looked pretty cool as it got dark, see
All in all a dash around Durham in the dark, darting in and out of alleyways and trying to avoid the Saturday night crowds, was an excellent way to end the year!
So thankyou to NN for organising a fantastic event. I hope everyone has a great summer, best of luck
to those who are graduating and I look forward to seeing everyone else again in October!
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