I believe that the first time I ever orienteered was in Durham in 1984. Great High Wood (aka Houghall Woods) was the location for DUOC‘s freshers’ event. But the only other event I remember going to was in Hamsterley Forest. I remember it being quite wet, and I remember running 180º in the wrong direction along a fence, but that’s about it, apart from the fact that the club members were a very friendly bunch, and we stopped for cream tea on the way back to town. That weekend was equally memorable to me because of the unfortunate consequences of the three-legged bar-crawl my roommate went on the night before…  I was quite glad to be out of our room for the morning.

(I wonder where those two maps are?)

Kinver Edge SEE results extract

I came to Birmingham in 1986 (so I’ve now spent more than half my life here – eek) but I was more interested in politics than sport at that time, and I think it was a couple of years before I took part in my first local event, which was a massive come-and-try-it one hot summer day in the Lickey Hills. That was just before I got contact lenses, and I didn’t find running in glasses a pleasant experience.

But even after I got my first pair of contact lenses it was quite some time before I took up the sport. That seems to have coincided with my starting teaching in 1994. I can remember trying, and somehow failing, to make contact with the O club in Besancon while I was there that summer, but my first real O phase started with an Orange on Cannock Chase that autumn, and it wasn’t long before I was competing twice a week and running a school O club.

My first Ad Hoc is dated December 1993 – I think I must’ve received this in response to an enquiry, because I didn’t start receiving them regularly till October 94. Brian Hughes started about the same time; whatever happened to him?? 😉 The November 94 issue includes the ominous listing “4th December: Sherbrook. A last chance to run on Cannock Chase?”, the December one an early mention of “orienteering on the internet”, March lists the Chamberses as new members and my name appears for the first time in the May 95 issue!

One good thing about looking back, apart from the warm glow of nostalgia, is that I’m reminded of some good performances. For example, in the “sweltering” evening event on Kinver Edge 19/7/95 I came second (out of 25) on Green, beating third-placed “D Williams” by nearly four minutes. (He claims to have walked round…)