British Middle Champs at Danefield, Otley

MW55 top placers – Sarah Campbell, Jenny Peel, Ruth Ker & Jon Duckworth

Congratulations to John and Liz, who placed 3rd in their age classes

Spring is the crazily busy season for competitive orienteers, this year with the JK, British Classic Distance and British Middles falling in a 4-week window! Twelve DVO runners took part in the Middles, and you can spot Dave Chaffey and Mike Godfree in Wendy Carlyle’s flickr album of the event.

Wikipedia tells me that the first Middle Distance Champs was held at Tarn Hows in 1998. The idea of Middle Distance racing is an emphasis on fine navigation rather than route choice, so there are normally lots of controls, varied leg lengths, tricky direction changes and sometimes butterfly loops (where you visit the same control twice), all in just a few km! Direction changes may not sound difficult, but if your map’s folded into sixths and you can’t see the north arrows, it can be easy to make a 180 degree error.

The Chaffeys chose to walk Offa’s Dyke rather than compete in the British & British Relays in Mulgrave Woods, but we were keen to do the Middles, as the hosts (Airienteers) was our first club, back in 1989. We were introduced to orienteering by a sister of the BBC Correspondent Bridget Kendall (confusingly called Felicity, but not she of To The Manor Born. [Ignore this digression if you’re under 50 – Ed.])

We arrived at a remarkably dry parking field in the nick of time (and green with envy), so we were ‘fully adrenalised’ when we got to the Start. This was the same location for everyone, and the kite was on a trig point, which meant that all first legs were downhill! I followed 2 paths and a ride to #1 and stayed on the paths until #3. Then we swung east, and things turned tricky.

I lost 90 seconds on both 5 and 7, then told myself to concentrate in time for the fiendish boulder fields on the NE corner of the map. I was glad I’d read the Final Details, as I knew that telegraph poles were marked with an x, and that was my attack point for 12. From then, it was plain sailing to the Finish and I was pleased to be first finisher, in a time of 34:06 – but it didn’t last! After the ‘big guns’ Jenny Peel (SYO) and Sarah Campbell (DEE) came back, I was pushed down to 6th place, but still delighted with my run.

In MW55, John Duckworth placed 3rd, less than 2 mins down on OD’s Alistair Landels. In Middle  and Sprint distance, Long and Short courses are dispensed with, as all courses are comparatively short!

In MW75, Liz Godfree was 3rd, behind her Nottinghamshire nemesis Hilary Palmer. Congratulations to everyone who found the flags among Danefield’s mossy boulders! Full Results here.

MW75 top 3 placers – 1st Hilary Palmer & Andy Hemsted ; 2nd Sheila Carey & Peter Gorvett; 3rd Liz Godfree & Tim Sands (not shown)

It was a sociable day, and we ate and chatted at the our pop-up tent by the Finish, watching for our Club mates at the far end of the run-in and cheering them home.

Doug, Dave and Val punching the Finish control

Next year’s British Middle Championships on March 15th and hosted by Mole Valley OC at Holmbush and Buchan Country Park near Crawley and is twinned on the Sunday with Southampton Orienteers’ National Event at Worthlodge. Why not make a weekend of it?

Future events

Sunday 14 July 2024
Chesterfield

Saturday 24 August 2024
Bradford Dale

Sunday 25 August 2024
Bakewell

Recent results

Saturday 22 June 2024
Allestree Park

Wednesday 12 June 2024
Etwall

Sunday 19 May 2024
Hardwick Park

Routegadget (view routes)

MapRun Results

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In 2023, thanks to a grant from the Orienteering Foundation, our Club is focusing on offering training courses for newcomers and help at local events in the Derby Area and beyond, but open to people from across Derbyshire.