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Compass Sport Trophy Orienteering Competition

12 March 2017

The imposing stately home and forested grounds of Ashridge House in Hertfordshire was the setting for the South-East regional heat of the Compass Sport Trophy competition on Sunday 12 March. School teams are ineligible for this competition, so the Claremont Fan Court School squad travelled there to run in the colours of Mole Valley Orienteering Club. The overnight rain had made the paths muddy, but the forest in between was reasonably dry underfoot allowing for very fast running conditions.

A fast speed over the courses depended, however, on taking very accurate bearings, since apart from the occasional footpath the forest was remarkably featureless, and many of the controls were placed in deep pits or behind fallen trees requiring fine pin-point navigation. Joe B, attempting his first orange course since November, found the lack of eye-catching features perplexing and was unable to locate his sixth control, although he did manage eventually to find all the others. Robert G on the green course was also disorientated by the difficulty of finding features to latch onto, and ended up 73rd overall in a time of 81:02, although this was enough to place him 6th in the junior men’s class. The best result was that of Nathan J, who had a storming run to come 8th on the orange course in 29:37, which translated to 4th place in his class. This is by some margin his best run of the year so far, as measured by a 154% improvement in speed since last term.

Between them, the boys contributed 184 points to the club’s total of 1236. Sadly this was not quite enough to propel Mole Valley to victory, and the club had to be content with 5th place behind Suffolk Orienteering Club. Nevertheless it was an exciting day, providing excellent practice in both accurate use of compass and running fast along a bearing as well as a few important lessons about relocation techniques.

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