First of all I hope all Wessex Orienteering Club members (and other blog readers) had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and managed to get out in the brief spells of sunshine between days of low mist and gloom. This is a time when we focus our attention to other aspects of our life, and start to plan for the forthcoming year of Orienteering, perhaps thinking about a summer trip to Welsh Croeso 2020, or the JK in North Yorkshire at Easter, or perhaps taking part in the British Long Champs which will be in Sussex in March.
However, what has become a regular item on the Christmas schedule is the WIM Boxing Day Canter. After all the indulgences of Christmas Day, where better to be than with O-friends in a forest on Boxing Day, whatever the weather. This year it was Moors Valley, and the rain was teeming down. However that didn’t stop 173 individuals/groups turning out for festive fun, thanks to Kevin (organiser) and Joanne (planner, Grinch) Pickering and all the wimelves for putting aside Christmas to entertain us all. Bravo!
This year there were a few twists; Santa, the elves and the ‘tree in the forest with tinsel’ were only worth 30 points. However this time there was someone or something in the Forest we didn’t want to encounter. The Grinch is one of the many fantastic inventions of Dr Seuss and certainly provided a novel aspect to any run in the forest.
I will let Esk pick up the story:
When I first initially heard about the Grinch patrolling the paths of the Boxing Day Canter, able to minus 30 points, I admit I was petrified.
I was offered to be an elf. I thought great, if I do that I will be safe from the Grinch.
But then Dad didn’t feel great, but he wanted to have a run, so persuaded me to run with him – GRINCH here I come!!
At the start the Grinch came and pranced around, making me certain that it was the actual Grinch. Jo Pickering did a great impression.
We were on our way to one control when some people told us that the Grinch had been sighted further down the path. We were going to head in that direction but had to change our route to avoid being caught. I kept saying to Dad, “Dad, can we please get off the path, Dad, pleeeaase!”. On every junction I would check to see if there was somebody in green wearing a red jacket.
At the finish we had 20 seconds to get there but the Grinch was in our way. We had to make a detour and go on a tiny path behind a slow orienteer, but eventually we got to the finish, 5 seconds late.
Overall I really enjoyed it, managing to find the Christmas tree and Santa (and not getting Grinched!). Because we were 5 seconds late we had 10 points deducted leaving us with 460. On the bright side, we did win the family course.
It was a fun and frightening event, but I enjoyed it. Well done to the people of WIM who organised it, to produce a fantastic Boxing Day Canter, with an extra bonus, mulled wine and mince pies, yum!
Thanks Esk, I agree about finishing every event with wine and pies.
As for the results, we had more than a dozen members take part, with James taking an impressive 3rd behind two very fast SN Bray boys (GB team). Visiting all controls within 60 minutes is a huge challenge, and although James was 30 seconds over this was on account of avoiding the Grinch!
Over the Christmas period, Lyra also heard from the England Orienteering Council that she had been selected to represent England at the upcoming Interland Cup. This a five cornered competition between Netherlands, Belgium (French league), Belgium (Flemish league), Northern France and England. It involves a team of 42 of all ages and Lyra will run as W14. This year it is in England (Burnham Beeches). Well done to her for all her efforts at the selection events over the autumn.
On Wednesday (New Year’s Day) SARUM have their annual score event at Martin Down, home to many rare butterflies and chalk grassland flora (in summer!). This is a new area for us all so see you there. Next weekend, there is also a DEVON event at Woodbury Common near Ottery St, Mary.
Happy New Year to you all!