Feb 11 06
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Back in December we were ready to run the national junior team orienteering competition of the year, the Yvette Baker Trophy Final. Qualifying orienteering teams from around the country had competed in local rounds to win their chance to compete in the final of this premier competition. And then it snowed (a lot). We cancelled the whole thing with 3 days to go.

The event, at Hawkbatch Woods near Bewdley, was re-organised for this weekend.

On Saturday we spent the day collecting gear (two car loads!) and organising everything on the ground at Hawkbatch. Richard spent his day placing the control stakes in the wood, whilst I spent the day sorting out signs, temporary steps over fences and arranging the finish area…. doesn’t sound much but it took a long time!

After finishing our deeds for the day (which also included pulling a 3 cm long, 5 mm diameter bar out of my car tyre), we set off for home to compete in the British Night Orienteering Competition, which happened to be about 10 minutes from home. This was a fabulous event in a great woodland (no brambles!). I ran the short course because I thought in advance that I might be a bit tired after the day, but actually I felt fine and managed to navigate by torchlight without getting lost! The short courses are not very competitive (there were two of us), but I won :-). Richard raced around much faster than I, but he came in looking less impressed, which meant he wasn’t quick enough.

The morning came too early – it was a 5.15 am start. We drove to Hawkbatch and began organising and re-visiting all the controls in the wood. It was quite windy …. I attempted to put red and white tape between the canes of the finish funnel, but as soon as I tightened it, the wind stretched it to double the length! We put one of the three tents up, but within minutes the pegs were coming loose. Things were blowing around everywhere; it was like being in a washing machine!

The first competitors of the day were the adults who looked after themselves. Here’s a picture of them walking to the start:

The relatively calm walk to the start

Then came the deluge of juniors. They all brought tents, some of which they tried to erect….. this was unsuccessful in most cases as they got the tents half up and then found that it was impossible to erect them fully, but also impossible to put them away! …. so they just sat on them! The juniors sat on the tent below for at least 30 mins before working out what to do…

Can't put it up, can't take it down...

I’m not sure how long these guys (below) sat on their tent, but they look fairly comfortable.

Another team sitting on the problem

You may wonder how we kept the official tents up (registration/download) ….. well we actually had designated helpers holding them down from the inside … this is perhaps where Anna went wrong with the greenhouse problems! This all worked well until prize giving and then everyone deserted the tents to watch Brenda present the trophies and chocolate …. about 3 minutes into the presentation the registration tent did an entire somersault behind the prize giving crowd and ended up on the floor in a large pile.

View down the finish funnel

The helpers of Harlequins OC did a fantastic job and contributed massively to the success of the day; thanks to all of them!

And congratulation to SARUM (3rd), LOC (2nd) and OD (1st!)

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