Orienteering Training Weekend Trip Report
4 U-turns later the second Bath car pulled up to Taff Wells blasting “I want it that way” by The Back Street Boys. The other Bath car was already there waiting with the Bristol car that was setting the morning training. Turns out we were very early through me telling everyone to turn up early assuming without a doubt we would be late, I was wrong. This was no issue however as it gave everyone from Bath time to get to know each other if they didn’t already and get psyched for morning training before Bristol arrived. Nobody was more psyched than Sam Boston who had only looked at the itinerary on the drive there and was quite shocked to see a plan for morning, afternoon, and night training totalling to 5 and a half hours of training before the event tomorrow!
Once Bristol arrived the 6 BUMC members and Jane (alumni) headed up with UBOC to begin our orienteering education. Training began by splitting us up into experienced, and not experienced and then pairing up between the Unis so that the experienced could teach the less experienced. This worked brilliantly and also had the added entertainment of watching Sam Boston try and keep up with the UBOC team captain. We all headed off around multiple orange courses with Mindy and Jack getting there first proper taste for Orienteering. The orange course was then followed by multiple different training courses all featuring on different techniques such as; attack points, catching features, traffic lights and much more!
Morning training came to a close with Bristol collecting in the controls whilst Bath sat and ate lunch taking mug shots of Amy and discussing all the new techniques we had learnt, or according to Alex, “already knew just been given names for them”. Before we knew it, it was time to head for afternoon training at Llangynidr. Both Bath cars arrived without any U turns this time and were quickly distracted by the deep philosophical orienteering discussion of the difference between ducks, swans, and geese. Once Bristol arrived, we stopped this discussion and walked up to the open moorland that would be afternoon compass training. The name of the game was bearings and we all quickly started tackling the checkpoints Bristol had put out running to and from them staring at our compasses, this skill would turn out to be very useful the following day in the event.
As the afternoon training was drawing to an end, I headed out to collect some of Bristol’s further away checkpoints with a Bristol Alumni, Richard. This was a deep dive into technical orienteering and was well beyond my understanding so was thankful to have Richard there or else Bristol wouldn’t have been getting there controls back! With everyone else from Bath collecting the other controls that gave Bristol time to go buy the food for tonight.
Once all the checkpoints were collected, we headed to the accommodation with my car achieving another 5 U turns bringing our total up to 9 for the trip so far. However, we arrived unscathed and piled into a village hall with Bristol for the night. Stories unfolded of BUMC setting fire to kitchens on trips and everyone socialised whilst cooking and Bristol and Bath seemingly joined forces to try and get Sam Boston to be quiet (this was unsuccessful). An excellent chilli later, cake, the decision to not do evening training, and an incredibly long game of darts it was time for bed before the all-important event tomorrow.
The morning started a tad bit delayed after missing the alarm but after some quick oats for breakfast everyone was packed up and heading to the Pwll Du orienteering event. Bristol and Bath all seemed to lose hope in Sam Boston once and for all when he asked which way north was whilst holding a compass, but in his defence half our compasses were pointing the wrong way (which isn’t useful). This would be Jack, Mindy, and Sam’s first orienteering with Jack and Mindy doing the orange, Sam doing the light green, Alex and Amy on the Blue and myself on the Brown.
It was a great event on some of the most interesting orienteering terrain I had ever been on, and everyone had a great time getting lost and running around the Welsh countryside with our newfound orienteering skills thanks to UBOC’s training. Our results were:
- Jack Ingram, 1st on Orange
- Mindy Hu, 3rd on Orange
- Sam Boston, 3rd on Light Green
- Amy Goncalves, 31st on Blue
- Alex Everest, 1st on Blue
- Robin Regan, 6th on Brown
Thanks everyone who came along and made it such a memorable trip,
Robin – Orienteering Sec 22/23
Just to note there was only two more U turns on the way back to Bath, so the trip total was 11!