Thursday, 13 December 2012

December 2012/1

Hawkshead Revisited
Lakeland fells near Hawkshead
Aoife McCavana, Róisín Long and Jonathan Quinn, three of our most promising 16's, spent a weekend training in the Lake District with their British counterparts. Róisín and Jonathan take up the story ...

Earlier in the year at the JHIs all the Irish M and W 16s received an invite from Tony Carlisle, an English orienteer who works with juniors, to go to the annual M and W 16 training camp at Hawkshead in the Lakes District of England.
We were told it was a very fun and worthwhile thing to go to so four of us (me, Aoife McCavana, Jonathan Quinn, and Caoimhe O’Boyle) signed up. We were also warned that it would be very, very cold. I don’t know about the others, but I certainly didn’t take the warning as seriously as I should have. How cold could it get in a forest in England in November? Bitterly cold, as I found out.
The training camp ran over two days, the 24th to the 25th of November. We were expected to arrive on the 23rd, the Friday, so at around five o’clock (after a rushed hour of homework) we set off for the airport. Caoimhe unfortunately couldn’t come, so there were just three of us, along with Pat McCavana who kindly volunteered to bring us.
We arrived at Liverpool airport and picked up our hire car ready to travel north. We didn’t have a detailed map, but with some directions off the internet and Jonny’s experienced navigation skills we were sure we’d be fine. Aoife and myself in the back fell asleep after a few hours (and a lot of dead ends) but we awoke to find ourselves in the picturesque village of Hawkshead. How we got there I’ll never know but we apparently took some very  unexpected detours!
Tony was at Hawkshead youth hostel to welcome us as we arrived, and offered us some tea and coffee. It was Saturday morning at this stage so we politely declined and found our rooms. Aoife and I had a room to ourselves as the hostel staff had expected three of us girls, while Jonny was sharing with some English boys. The 24th was Aoife’s birthday so after some quick present opening we went to bed.
Hawkshead Youth Hostel
The next morning dawned bright and, unsurprisingly, cold. We ate some breakfast with the other juniors (we already knew many of them) and  after a quick meeting then got back in our car to head to Stony Hazel, the first of the training sites. Each region had a particular order in which to visit each of the three possible training sites.
We got very lost on the way to Stony Hazel, and completely missed the first training exercise. However we eventually found it after returning to the Hostel and then asking the help of some friendly local hill walkers who directed us to the nearby church where we parked. The forest proved to be a beautiful deciduous one with lots of rock features.
“There were three training on offer at the first area, Stony Hazel. A slope, map memory and star course. We all did the slope course and it was nice to get a feel for actual contours and a technical map! I did the star course while the girls were finishing their course. Unfortunately, I had no partner for the map memory course being the only Irish boy so it was hard to not glance at the map between controls. The girls did theirs together alternating after each control. Due to us being late to arrive we could only do half the course. A great introduction to the weekend however!”
We then got back in the car (this time with Lucy Butt to direct us!) and drove to Bishop’s Wood for more training. 
“Later, we trained on the very runnable forest of Bishops Wood. There were three trainings to complete in this forest as well. A low visibility course in the green section of the map, a contour only map and an attack points and catching features course. It wasn’t that low visibility if you live in Ireland however but it proved to be a good exercise using your compass a lot. The attack points and catching features course was just a normal course around the forest except you had to pick a definite feature to attack the control site from and a large feature to use if you went astray. This was very good for competition techniques. The contour only course is pretty self-explanatory, just contours on the map. This course used many of the same controls as the previous course so it turned out to be more of a terrain memory course than anything. Still a great training in a nice forest so can’t complain!”
Great Tower - typical lakeland terrain
After training we got back to the hostel tired and very cold, and not so psyched about the ‘Ultra Sprint’ three-man relay around the hostel that evening. But first- food! In the self-catering kitchen we found a feast of flapjacks, cakes, fruit bread and hot chocolate, all very much enjoyed and appreciated!  We then turned our thoughts to the relay and decided our running order, put on our soggy shoes and readied our head torches.
I was second leg and had no idea what was happening as all we could see were lights as people ran here, there and everywhere looking for their controls. Jonny came back quickly and passed over to me. The map was covered with controls (35 controls over 1.5 km!) and covered several different types of terrain including forest and open. I had a great time searching for my controls in the dark (although my head torch wasn’t the best!) and achieved my fastest leg time ever- 1 second!
As soon as I passed over to Aoife I hurried to the shower as I could see there being a big queue- 25 girls and only one shower! When we were all finished we had a delicious dinner followed by sticky toffee pudding, and then attended a talk on JWOC by Lucy Butt, Florence Haines, and Peter Bray, three very successful and inspiring junior athletes. We enjoyed it a lot- especially the numerous references to ‘doing it for Great Britain’, ‘Make Britain proud’ etc.!
The next morning was even colder than the day before and we wrapped up warm before getting back in the car for more training- this time in Summerhouse Knott-a slightly grottier but still technically difficult forest.
“Sunday morning saw us visit Summerhouse Knott. The forest was very windblown and some forestry work had been done recently so runnability was significantly reduced but it was still very technical, with a mass of contour detail and it was still far better than some Irish forests! There were four trainings in the forest and each had a fair amount of climb, not something you want after a long day on Saturday. There was another slope course which I felt was much better as it used the areas of most contour detail on the map really forcing you to read the terrain. Next was a simplification course where you had to look for big features and you them to navigate precisely and efficiently. This is a very well-known technique of a certain French man so it was very competition related. A contours course on this map really tested your map to terrain visualisation, especially in such a hilly area. The days training finished with a star course around the start vicinity. Thankfully this was short as everyone’s feet were starting to freeze!”
We were so cold after the training that an icy stream which we washed our shoes in seemed appealing! Shivering and starving we thanked Tony and left for our journey to the airport, stopping on the way in the small town of Keswick for a much needed hot chocolate and some cake.
We didn’t get quite as lost this time round and made it to Liverpool airport with some time to spare, before getting back on the plane for Ireland.
We had such a great time and learnt so much and I would really recommend the weekend for all the younger juniors-Tony said we were welcome back! Thanks to Pat McCavana and the IOA as well who funded us.
“A great weekend was had by all in the forests and we all really gained a lot from the trainings. I strongly encourage all upcoming juniors to take part in this weekend, it’s great to escape to some beautiful forests and have some fun as well.
(by Róisín Long and Jonathan Quinn)

IOA Event Management Seminar
IOA Technical Officer Harold White and Mapping Officer Brian Power hosted a meeting to look at event organisation and the current state of mapping in Ireland. The meeting was at the Red Cow hotel in Dublin on 1st December and representatives from 10 clubs turned up.
The morning was devoted largely to the roles of the organiser, planner and controller, emphasising that the role of the organiser is a key one for any event. Marcus Geoghegan looked at lessons learned from some major events run in Ireland in the past two years, including the 2011 JK, the Irish Championships and the Leinster Championships. Fingal's Ian Murphy gave a quick tour of social media for sports promotion (that's facebook, Twitter and so on), and IOA Communications Officer gave us a preview of some of his short "10 Elements of Orienteering" videos.

In the afternoon, mapping was the issue, with Brian Power and Pat Healy holding the floor. Technology has moved on in recent years with base maps produced from LIDAR plots ( Light direction and ranging) which Pat demonstrated, showing detailed contour and vegetation information. Hand-held GPS and tablet computers allow the map to be made there and then in the field, rather than dealing with soggy notes and drafting film. Pat used the new map of Mullaghmeen to illustrate some of his points: the next event there should be something to look forward to as it's a lovely forest but the contours always left something to be desired, particularly in the flatter, more complex parts. Geo-referencing is another topic, where the orienteering map can be placed precisely on the GPS data so that everything is exactly where it should be.
The day finished up with Martin Flynn, computer suprem-O,  dealing with a lot if issues which could bedevil users of SportIdent equipment and other orienteering software and hardware. Martin, the man behind the Ór software lots of Irish clubs use, had a lot of practical advice like make sure the time is right on the SI units and that their memory is cleared before an event, and recommended that the start boxes be downloaded after the start closes to verify who actually started and when.
All in all, a very well run, information-packed and worthwhile day.

Shamrock O-Ringen entries open
Cork Orienteering Club will run he 18th Shamrock O-Ringen in the Killarney area on the June Bank Holiday weekend (1st - 3rd June), with a prelude in the form of a sprint race at Ross Castle, Killarney, on the Friday evening, run by Kerry Orienteers.
The event centre will again be at Killarney racecourse and the competitions will be at the Black Lakes (now hosting a wind farm) and the nearby Crohane Mountain (scene of a1998 World Cup race), between Glenflesk and Kilgarvan.
The Shamrock attracts a small but dedicated following, with many orienteers from Britain and Europe returning time after time for the unique terrain, relaxed atmosphere and hospitality for which the event is justly famous. The format is a middle distance race on the Saturday, classic distance on the Sunday and a chasing start (based on your times for the first two days) on the Monday, so the first across the line is the winner.
The event web site is here and online entries are being taken via Fabian 4 here.

Scottish 6-Day 2013
Interest will be high in the 2013 Scottish 6-Day in view of the 2015 World Championships being run there. The event, Moray 2013, runs from Sunday 28th July to Saturday 3rd August and entries have just opened. The competitions are in north east Scotland, and include Culbin, a sand dune forest used for the 1976 World Championships. There's a sprint race at Lossiemouth on the rest day (Wednesday). The event campsite is at Brodie Castle, about 30 km east of Inverness.
You can get details of the event here and watch a short promotional you-tube video for the event here - it looks good!

Leinster League Prizegiving
Prize giving for the Leinster Autumn League will take place at the function room in the Basecamp shop in middle Abbey Street Wednesday Evening, Dec 19th, starting at 7.00 pm.
Finn Van Gelderen is also going to show some of his recent footage, hopefully including some of Thierry Georgiou at Carlingford. All are welcome to come along.

The prize winners are as follows
Brown 1st Colm Moran, 2nd Conor Short, 3rd Angus Tyner
Blue (M45+) 1st Marcus Geoghegan, 2nd Phillip Brennan, 3rd Stephen Doorly
1st F Hazel Thompson
Green (M55+,W45+,M16-,W18-) 1st Jean O'Neill, 2nd David Dare
1st F Eileen Walsh, 2nd F Catherine King
Light Green (M65+,W55+,M14-,W16-)
1st Dara O'Cleirigh, 2nd Michael Butler
1st F Zoe Tyner
Orange 1st Sophie Walsh
Yellow 1st Oisin Wickham, 2nd Matthew Walsh, 3rd Ben Lawless
1st F Rachel Walsh, 2nd F Katya Gatova

Venice on Video: If you read the brief report on the washed-out Venice street event in the last TIO (or even if you didn't!) , you might be interested in this 40 mins+ head-cam recording of the M18 race here.
Spring treats: As well as the Dublin by Night series starting on Saturday January 12th, there is another series of events to look forward to in the New Year: The Junior Squad are running four urban sprint races on University campuses to help raise money for their travels. The events will be in Dublin at UCD (16th February), DCU (23rd February), Trinity College (2nd March) and in Cork at UCC (23rd March).
EYOC withdrawn from Israel: The European Working Group in Orienteering has decided to withdraw the 2013 European Youth Championships from Israel because of the deteriorating security situation there. They recently announced their decision and will offer the event to the three unsuccessful applicants, Poland, Hungary and Romania. This presumably means that the event will move back to its usual summer slot instead of the end of October in Israel. The latest news, however, is that Israel have appealed the decision and the IOF are now seeking views from member countries as to whether they would send a team to Israel if the event was located there.
Most of the venues for the "Dublin by Night" night orienteering events has been announced. The events are all on Saturday nights, starting with Three Rock Wood on January 12th, then Carrickgollogan on January 19th, Cronykeery (near Ashford) on January 26th, Killiney Hill on February 2nd and an area to be announced on February 9th (run by CNOC so maybe the Curragh?). OK, so two of them aren't going to be in Dublin, but who cares? There will be two courses each night, but for insurance reasons the events are only open to M/W16 and above. Night-O is great fun and makes even quite small or unexciting areas usable. Details of the events will be on the IOA web site.
Night-O fans might also like to note the Northern Ireland Night Championships on Saturday 23rd February at Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh (following the NI Score Championships).
NWOC are 40: Limavady-based North West Orienteering Club are celebrating their 40th birthday with an event on December 29th at the Roe Valley Country Park near their home town. The club was a major force in Irish orienteering back in the 80's, producing multiple Irish Championship medallists (like Peter James, James Logue and Steven Linton) and multiple Irish Relay Champs wins under the stewardship of Noel Bogle and others. Based at Limavady Grammar School, their minibus was to be seen the length and breadth of Ireland and further afield, sleeping in scout dens and school halls from Howth to Dunblane. See how many faces you can recognise from the rogues gallery on the NWOC web site here. One young whippersnapper called Allan Bogle has recently been seen in the area again ...
December "Inside Orienteering" available here.  Inside Orienteering is the International O-Federations newsletter.

Happy Christmas everyone! Follow the "Route to Christmas" on the World of O here: put in your chosen route and compare it with the real ones and everyone else's chosen routes.

Thanks to everyone who wrote for TIO during the year and who allowed me to borrow from them. Look forward to a good orienteering year in 2013 with lots of events of different types to temp you - the annual preview of tempting orienteering in Ireland and abroad will be published here soon.

John McCullough