Sat 29th Oct: Warwick University, Coventry

and Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham

Sun 30th: Gentleshaw, Cannock (West Midlands League)

and Stowe, Buckingham

Sat 5th Nov: Warrington (urban)

Sun 6th: Bury Ditches, Market Drayton (West Midlands League)

Wed 9th: Burbage, Hinckley (night)

Sat 12th: Coombe Abbey, Coventry

and Standish, Stroud (night)

Sun 13th: Bradgate, Leicester

and Foel Goch, Machynlleth

Wed 16th: Memorial Park, Coventry (night)

Thu 17th: Worcester (night urban)

Sat 19th: Donisthorpe, Ashby

and Kidnalls, Forest of Dean

and Sutton Park (World Schools Selection Race)

Sun 20th: Wirksworth (urban)

and Sutton Park (British Schools Championships) (entries close 1/11/16)

Thu 24th: Clent Hills (night)

For major national events see the BOF list and Fabian4



Compass Sport Cup/Trophy Final


West Midlands League standings



West Midlands Relays

Coming up:

Sun 9th Warwick (urban)

Mon 10th WMOA AGM 7.30 pm at Great Barr Hotel

Wed 12th Gamecock, Nuneaton (enter by 10/10/16)

Sat 15th Parkend, Gloucester

Sun 16th Compass Sport Cup Final (Yorkshire) – good luck to OD and POTOC

Wed 19th Watermead Park, Leicester

Sat 22nd Malvern (urban)

and Biddulph Grange

and Grange Top, Swadlincote

Sun 23rd Castlemorton Common, Malvern (WM League)

Wed 26th Sutton Park (night)

For major national events see the BOF list and Fabian4


…which stands for “Swynnerton and map” of course. The map in question, you can see, barely survived the race!

Tue 14th June Wildwood, Stafford (sprint)

and Severn Valley Country Park

and Macclesfield Forest

Wed 15th Elmdon, Solihull

Thu 16th June Jaunter, Clent (time trial)

and Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham (urban)

Sat 18th Carsington, Ashbourne

Sun 19th Sandwell Valley (West Midlands League)

Tue 21st Peel Pursuit, Brocton (x-country)

and Telford Town Park

Wed 22nd Ryton Pools, Leamington

and Rosliston, Burton

Sat 25th Hawkbatch, Wyre Forest

and Cranham, Gloucester (harris relay)

Sun 26th Harvester, Cleeve Hill, Cheltenham (night relay)

and Ashby-de-la-Zouch (urban)

Tue 28th Wrockwardine, Telford

Wed 29th Gates Run, Sutton Park (time trial/o) nb. embargoed for schoolchildren

Thu 30th Ross-on-Wye (urban)

and Brereton Heath, Congleton

Sat 2nd July Baggeridge, Sedgley

Sun 3rd Leek (urban)

and Yvette Baker Junior Trophy Final, London

Register now for:

9-10 July Twin Peak, Manchester

24-29 July Croeso, South Wales

27-29 August, White Rose, North Yorkshire Moors


Hartshill Hayes




West Midlands League standings

Coming up

Wed 17th Feb: Leek

and Western Park, Leicester

Sat 20th: BUCS

and Rough Close, Coventry (night)

and Moseley Green (night)

Sun 21st: Lizard Hill, Shifnal (West Midlands League)

Wed 24th: Sutton Park (night)

Thu 25th: Stourbridge (night urban)

Sat 27th British Night Championships, Charnwood enter online by 21/2/16

Sun 28th Midlands Championships, Sherwood Forest enter online by 17/2/16

Thu 3rd March Kinver Edge (night)

Sat 5th Welsh Championships weekend

and Consall, Leek

and Junior Development Meeting, Birmingham

Sun 6th Longshaw, Peak District enter online by 28/2/16

Wed 9th Ashby (evening)

Thu 10th Aston University (night urban)

Sat 12th Memorial Park, Coventry

and Lyme Park, Disley

Sun 13th Compass Sport Cup, Cannock Chase

and Bickerton, Cheshire


JK, Yorkshire 25th-28th March

British Championships, Brown Clee 30th April-1st May

For other major national events see the BOF list and Fabian4

Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7: WCH training
WYEVENT children’s training @ Hereford Leisure Centre
Saturdays at 9 am: Parkrun at 15 locations in the region

Always check before travelling. Share transport where possible.

Sat 6th: Daventry Country Park

and Coopers Hill, Gloucester

and Macclesfield

and Billa Barra, Markfield

and Frith Wood, Ledbury (night)

Sun 7th: Chasewater (West Midlands League)

and Forest of Dean enter online by 22/1/16

Thu 11th: Sence Valley, Ibstock

and Habberley Valley, Kidderminster (night)

Sat 13th: Apedale, Newcastle

Sun 14th: Wyre Forest (West Midlands League)

Wed 17th: Leek


British Night Championships 27th Feb, Charnwood Forest enter online by 21/2/16

Midlands Championships 28th Feb, Sherwood Forest enter online by 17/2/16

I hadn’t had much sleep so it probably wasn’t too surprising that when I opened the bag I saw it was Catherine’s shoes… Still, luckily I did have some trainers with me. Not ideal though when it’s muddy and a bit icy too.

But the shoe thing wasn’t my biggest mistake of the day. As I ran up the road towards the first control I realised I wasn’t carrying a compass. Now, that doesn’t make things impossible – I’ve tried it a couple of times before, at park and urban events, where it probably made me concentrate a bit more, and I probably saved some time by not looking at it – but on Highgate Common?? in the dark???

Sure enough, the first control, a 400-metre leg, took me 10 minutes. Thinking about it now, I must’ve run past it after about 5 minutes, but I wasn’t at all sure where I was (!), and I’m pleased that I somehow managed to slowly work out the pattern of slopes, paths and trees IN THE DARK and gradually home in on my prey. (If you look at the map, you can see that the contours show that the slope upwards is generally towards the northwest, so this info can be used to substitute for the lack of compass.)

After that, I didn’t really have much trouble. I went 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-14-15-16-18 for 12 controls in the hour allowed. To be honest, if I hadn’t been wearing my new headtorch I wouldn’t have risked this madcap compassless adventure. I got it off eBay for a tenner, and though it’s probably not as bright as the EIGHTEEN HUNDRED LUMENS advertised, it is pretty damn bright, and made me feel a lot more confident out there than I sometimes have been with my old headlamps.

Simplifying legs is a very important skill in orienteering. Most of us find it very hard to memorise the leg from the start so we have to check the map quite often (!), and this slows us down even if we’ve mastered the art of mobile map-reading. (And I haven’t, really.)

The most obvious means of simplifying a leg is by following a line feature, usually a track. WorldofO’s annual “Route to Christmas” series is a great chance to practice making route choice decisions. Often the choice is between going straight (in the terrain) and going round (using the paths) and the 24 exercises are a chance to learn about what can make one choice better than the other.

One of the clearest examples this year wasn’t really about paths though. On this leg from the Czech Republic, where the question was whether to run round the north or south side of the hill, the south side seemed to have better path options, but according to the results it was clearly much slower. To my mind the secret of this leg is the field east of control 2. It’s possible to run the first kilometre of the leg without checking the map at all, simply by running straight(ish) and fast till you hit the field. Then you pick up the paths towards the control from the southern edge of the field.

I suppose you could call the field a catching feature. We usually think of catching features as being beyond the control, stopping you from going too far past, but you can also use them to simplify long legs.


West Midlands League final tables
Brandon Wood

Coming up…

Sat 26th: Cannock Chase (charity score) online pre-entry recommended (by 25/12/15)
Sun 27th: Castle Hill, Leicester
Mon 28th: Rough Close, Coventry (relay)
Fri 1st January 2016: Telford Town Park (annual inter-club score championships) pre-entry recommended via your club captain (by 28/12/15)
Sun 3rd: Haywood Oaks, Mansfield
Thu 7th: Wombourne (night urban)
Sat 9th: Bathpool, Kidsgrove
Sun 10th: Lickey Hills (West Midlands League) online pre-entry recommended (by 3/1/16)
Thu 14th: Highgate Common, Wombourne (night)
Sat 16th: Kingsbury Water Park
and Bixslade, Forest of Dean
Sun 17th: Eyam Moor


Western Night League
Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7: WCH training
WYEVENT children’s training @ Hereford Leisure Centre
Saturdays at 9 am: Parkrun at 15 locations in the region

For major national events see the BOF list and Fabian4

Always check before travelling. Share transport where possible.

Happy Christmas!

Sat 28th: Blakeney Hill, Glos
and Brabyns Park, Marple

Sun 29th: Forest of Dean
and Birchen Edge, Bakewell (Level B) entries closed

Wed 2nd December: Hartlebury Common, Stourport

Thu 3rd: Hartlebury Common, Stourport (night)

Sat 5th: Arrow Valley, Redditch
and Reaseheath, Nantwich (sprint)
and Donisthorpe, Coalville
and Cherhill, Calne (night)

Sun 6th: Brandon Wood, Coventry (West Midlands League)
and Wharncliffe, Sheffield closing date: 26th Nov

Thu 10th: Whaley Bridge (night urban)

Sat 12th: Knockalls, Glos

Sun 13th: Cannock Chase (West Midlands League)
and Longstone Moor, Bakewell

Tue 15th: Swithland, Leicester (night)

Wed 16th: Sutton Park (Santa O)

Family Orienteering Sessions on Cannock Chase
Peak Raid 3
Wednesdays at 6.30: COBOC training @ Sutton Park
Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7: WCH training
WYEVENT children’s training @ Hereford Academy
Saturdays at 9 am: Parkrun at 15 locations in the region

For major national events see the BOF list and Fabian4