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If you're looking for a list of upcoming training sessions and races - see the calendar. Beginners always welcome.

For more information about the club see the about section or email the captain with any questions.

British Nights / Northern Champs

This weekend the British Night Champs and the Northern Champs were being held in the Lake District; a couple of CUOC members and lots of DRONGOs decided to go.

Paul, Ben, Dan and Zuzka got a lift up with Janet, a kindly WAOCer, and arrived about lunch time on Saturday to do some training at Dockney Parrock, organised by OD. It was very wet and slippy, but useful training to retrain the brain to see contours after weeks of mind-numbingly flat Cambridge. The controls were hung using strips of tape clipped on with clothes pegs, and some controls had been hung twice – Paul managed to collect 10 strips of tape from 6 controls!

Four DrongOs and a CUOC

The parking for the training was just beside an open farm, which had a milk vending machine, which Paul wanted to use, but didn’t actually want any milk, so didn’t.

After the training was over, we headed straight to the race location at Great Tower Scout Centre, and sat in a barn for a while. Dan made some tea, which it later turned out we weren’t allowed to do when a slightly angry organiser told us to ‘drink it quickly so that other people don’t see it’. There was lots of time before the race started, so we played multiple games of Banangrams, including one where you got extra points for orienteering related words, which made ‘QO’ (for Quantock Orienteers) a very useful combination!

Gradually, other people arrived, including Pippa, who no one else knew was coming, but had gone home on the train and then come across with her parents. Paul was especially surprised that she had taken time out of her busy schedule of rowing, rowing, erging and rowing to come and do a proper sport instead.

The night is dark and full of terrors

In the race itself, there were a few mistakes made by the organisers, including the following:

  • The start window was very late in the day, meaning it was dark while we were racing. We actually needed to use headtorches to see! CUOC suggests a start window of 10.30 to 1.30 for optimum daylight levels.
  • It was foggy, which made it even more difficult to see. CUOC suggests not holding races in the fog.

However, everyone got round their courses successfully. Paul was quite slow and made lots of small mistakes and a couple of bigger ones. Pippa was quite fast and didn’t make very many mistakes, so won by seven minutes!

After the race, Pippa went home, Paul went to Matthew’s house, where he discovered Fiona, who had bought some pizzas. Ben, Dan and Zuzka went to John and Helen’s house, where they discovered that Helen used to have a snake around her neck. Luckily, she had an operation to get it removed, and continues to live happily in a snakeless state.

The next morning, we all converged on Bigland, where we were presented with rain, slightly more cold than last night, and very big maps. Zuzka had tried to enter the W21E course, but accidentally entered W21L instead, so had a shorter run than anticipated. Paul and Pippa were on M/W20E, and both came 3rd. The area was quite good, with a good mixture of runnable grassy fell, unrunnable bog, and steep rocky forest. There were lots of compulsory crossing points, which made the long legs quite easy, but the running was quite hard.

After the race, the NWJS had a bun sale, where everything was 50p, so instead of buying one bun from Podium catering, everyone bought four from the NWJS. Once everyone had finished, we headed back to Cambridge, which took quite a long time, but we got to listen to the Archers for 15 minutes, which made it worth the trip.

Rygge Airport has closed

Ryanair planes at Rygge (image from wikipedia)

It has unfortunately come to our attention (a few months late) that the airport at Rygge has been closed.

Orienteers who went on the summer 2016 training tour to Moss, will remember that the Norwegian goverment introduced a new passenger tax, which Ryanair very kindly passed on to us. Ryanair have since pulled out of the airport due to this tax being introduced. The airport did not have enough flights going in and out to remain open.

If the summer 2017 trip to Scandinavia happens, there are a selection of other Ryanair destinations to choose from:

We apologise for any distress this news may have caused

Icenian 2017 Race Report

Results now available

Controller's comments

I had just finish 2 successful controller jobs for Suffolk and Norfolk OC’s in close succession, closely followed by coaching day for the EAOA junior squad, was patting myself for getting through with all concerned happy. An email hit the inbox from Rory, CUOC were have problems finding a controller for the up and coming Iceni, firstly I did not really look at the date and must have been on small high after getting through the previous few weeks, but I said yes, I could help. Helen got in touch with the map and I went down to look around, now not happy teddy bear. The map was very out of date and had a couple of run ins with rude mountain bikers. CUOC found someone to update the map and after a re-plan by Helen we started to get somewhere. But we were now into the middle of January, with a small fast ball of my College being OFSTED inspected we got all checked and maps off to printer on time. The only minor issue was how was I going to get all the controls check before first start with sunrise at 7:30ish, well with the aid of new head touch and some planning of which controls I could get around in the dark and asking for the starts to be delayed I thought I could get round in time. Well 24Km and 4 hours after starting and a minor delay waiting for the final controls to be put out I checked the printout at 10:30 just in time to not delay the starts to much.

Hope you all had a good day, Helen did a good job with the limitations of the forest and the ever-present mountain bikers. Rory and Jeremy did a good job especially with Auto download giving up the ghost mid-morning (with some help from Daniel the NOR download guru and later for other members of the CUOC team in sorting it out). Then, when a competitor that had punched the start with different dibber to the one registered and then decided not to complete the course, also did not report to download, while further compounding the problem by taking her children off to the High Lodge play equipment. Everything was sorted before we had to start a real search, it is a reminder to competitors that a lot is done on your behalf to ensure a safe e`vent takes place and we who look after the e`vent for you need you to take responsibility to follow the rules.

If you enter, use the dibber you have entered with, or ensure you change that detail before going to the start, if you punch the start always report to download. Those of you with access to more than one dibber do not use a different to the one registered.

Thanks to all of the competitors who helped in the search of the High Lodge facilities and for keeping myself informed while we tried to find the lady.

I really enjoyed the CUOC members enthusiastic help and the way they pulled together when things need doing.

There were a lot of very positive comments on the day and although I was having a minor panic at 9:45 while waiting for the final controls to go out I had a good day and happy I could run 24Km and still be with it enough to have some helpful talks with the competitor throughout the day. Well done CUOC and a big congratulation to my Club NOR for winning the cup.

Michael Chopping

Planner's Comments

Since CUOC use their areas in Thetford forest in rotation for the Icenian, it was already decided that we would be using Highlodge for the Icenian. Despite problems including re-mapping the area 1 month before the e`vent and MTB tracks through the best parts of the area, planning the courses was still an interesting challenge, with lots of route choice legs through and around the various blocks of forest. It was a shame that only the longest courses made it into the north west part of the area, a complex area with lots of depressions and pits, but hopefully there was still plenty of navigational challenge on all the courses. Looking at Routegadget after the e`vent has been very interesting, as the variety of routes taken is far greater than i imagined it would be. I hope everyone enjoyed the running at the Icenian.

Helen Ockenden

Organiser's Comments

With an additional 418 emails in my inbox, another Icenian is finished! It was great to see so many orienteers supporting the race (I will get in trouble if the e-v-e-n-t word is used), and lots of happy faces at the finish. Apart from the hiccup with a malfunctioning download (thank you to everyone for their patience and advice with this), I felt everything went well, with only a few other minor problems. A big thank you must go to the team of 21 helpers from CUOC, DRONGO and elsewhere who took a day out of some very hectic schedules to make sure everything ran smoothly. Your help was very much appreciated.

As the first major race for both Rory and I, the Icenian wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a team of DRONGO’s. Massive thanks must therefore go to Ben Windsor for answering our endless list of questions, Matthew Vokes for coming all the way from the Lakes to help out and John Ockenden for an emergency mapping trip in some pretty poor weather. The number of emails I received is a reflection of just how much support they provided in keeping us on track.

Once again, CUOC is very grateful for the help, lifts and equipment provided by WAOC and EAOA members. The Icenian wouldn’t have been possible without it. The Forestry Commission were also very cooperative and accommodating, contrary to many of the stories I had heard about previous Icenians in Highlodge, even agreeing to discount the car parking! The St John ambulance volunteers also deserve a mention for giving up their time to keep the race safe, and were very helpful as an extra pair of eyes out on the courses – thank you.

We are very grateful to Michael Chopping for agreeing to control; he did an excellent job. He was very accommodating of some tight deadlines due to the last minute remapping, was very efficient at answering emails, and made sure we were on top of everything. His advice regarding the mountain bike trails was also very useful. Thank you for all your work.

Helen did a brilliant job to get some interesting courses out of the area, despite working off a constantly changing map and losing some of the most interesting features to mountain bike OOB half way through the planning stage. Finally, thanks must also go to my co-organiser Rory Burford, who despite leaving CUOC and having a huge amount of work himself, put in many hours to make the Icenian happen.

See you all at the city race on 28th October!

Jeremy Knott

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