British Orienteering Championships 2021 results

A big group of Quantock Orienteers made the journey down the A361 to take part in the British Orienteering Championships - braving the heavy rain and the wind (and the occasional ray of sunshine) to tackle the technical challenge of Braunton Burrows.

A massive congratulations to everyone who took part and to BOK and Devon Orienteering Club for putting on the event and coping with the challenges the weather threw at them!

Full write up to follow (if anyone can contribute a paragraph or two it would be much appreciated!), but for now here are the results.

British Long Distance Championships 2021 Results

A huge hurrah to QO medal winners - Bill Vigar 3rd place on M85 and especially Al Hemmings, who got around the tricky W10A course in the heavy rain in 3rd (photo below).

Course Name Position Award
M21E Adam Fieldhouse
M21E Robin Fieldhouse
M40L Phil Sorrell 11th Bronze
M45L @Pete Shirvington 12th Silver
M45L @Jeff.Pakes 18th Bronze
M55L Andy Rimes @andyr 49th
M55L Stephen Lysaczenko @stephen 50th
M60L Brian Pearson @BrianJP 12th Championship
M65L Steve Robertson 46th
M70L Tony Hext 30th Bronze
M80 Roger Craddock @craddocktaunton 4th Silver
M85 Bill Vigar 3rd Silver
W10A Al Hemmings 3rd
W55S Karen Lewis @KarenLewis 8th
W65L Rosie Wych 13th Bronze
W65S Julia Robertson 5th

Full results | RouteGadget

Middle Distance Results

Special mention to Robin Fieldhouse on M21, Brian Pearson on M60, Rosie Wych on M65 and Oliver Lewis on Orange who all look to have had especially good runs.

Course Name Position Award
M21 Robin Fieldhouse 9th Gold
M21 Adam Fieldhouse 21st Silver
M40 Philip Sorrell @daylightgambler 7th Bronze
M45 @Jeff.Pakes 16th Bronze
M45 @Pete Shirvington 17th Bronze
M50 Martin Lewis 21st Bronze
M55 Andy Rimes @andyr 42nd Bronze
M55 @stephen Lysaczenko 55th
M60 Brian Pearson @BrianJP 9th Championship
M65 Steve Robertson 26th Silver
M65 Simon St Leger-Harris 44th Bronze
M70 Tony Hext 22nd Bronze
M80 Roger Craddock @craddocktaunton 4th Silver
W55 Karen Lewis @KarenLewis 28th
W65 Rosie Wych 5th Championship
W65 Julia Robertson
Orange Oliver Lewis 4th Orange standard
Orange Annabelle Lewis 11th

Full results | RouteGadget

When I first saw the announcement about Braunton Burrows being the venue for BOC, I immediately stuck it in the calendar. My last run there was in 2019 at the SW Middle Champs and had a few a problems staying in contact with the map. Errors were costly so I wanted to avoid a repeat and spent a bit of time geeking the old map and thinking about my approach. It has been great to get back into orienteering and a couple of good runs at Whitchurch Common on Dartmoor and the SW champs at Godshill reminded me of what works.
I decided to not worry about going straight and instead detour for the paths or easier running. Also tried to simplify routes and make the controls bigger by using the nearby features. It was still tiring and really had to stay on top of the orienteering towards the end on both days. Map contact was my main focus throughout the leg and when I did go astray, making myself stop and relocate quicker than usual. I never noticed any rain during both runs so my cag stayed in the bum bag- no doubt lucky compared to a lot of other runners and I’m sure helped with my results but I’ll take it and order the badge.


Al Hemmings write up:

I had been really looking forward to the event because it was my first chance to run in an important event like this. It was a very complicated run with a lot of difficult features. The map was very intricate with all the contours as it was over sand dunes and I found it quite difficult to know where on the sand dune the controls were. There were a lot of paths so you needed to check the map to know which one to take. While I was running the weather got very wet and it was sometimes difficult to see the controls. I am very happy that I came third in my age group, and I am looking forward to the next orienteering event.

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I had been really looking forward to this event - my biggest orienteering event and on technical terrain, that I last visited as a schoolboy (doing night exercises on cadet camp).

I had reviewed maps from previous events and, to be honest, the terrain terrified me - such intricate contour detail and a mess of paths and tracks. Earlier in the week @Jeff.Pakes had done his best to calm the worst of my worries but, after a morning standing in the rain helping at one of the starts, it was with some trepidation that I set out late in the day on M40L.

See my route on RouteGadet

I purposely took the longer route following the path around from the start to give me a chance to get used to the terrain (I should have done the model course!) which seemed to work as I found control 1 with no problems. Then my inexperience met the dunes proper and it all unravelled - I went to completely the wrong dune looking for control two stubbornly refusing to accept my error before finally relocating and correcting. Control 3 was no better - leaving me wandering the dunes for ages (it seemed like forever) checking every dip.

But - it did then start to click. I started noticing the contours on the ground, the clumps of different vegetation, and the dry water features. As Geoff promised - the dune contours became more obvious across the open areas. I started getting the hang of it. I was especially proud of my flow, speed and navigation from control 7 to … sigh control 9… I only noticed my error as I thought I was at control 6 and the numbers did not match.

For the rest of the course, things got back on track and, other than a wobble at 22 and heading to the wrong dune top for 23, controls were mostly where I was expecting them to be. The run down to the final control must surely be the best orienteering leg ever - flying (almost literally) down a steep sand dune - amazing fun!

I, fortunately, avoid all the rain, thoroughly enjoyed my hardest orienteering to date, and came 11th in a national event - a result I am really pleased with!

My confidence was much higher on Sunday - I was caught very quickly by a W21, who gave me a tow for the next few controls before disappearing into the distance. I was of course still using my own map, but there is a boost of confidence you get that someone else is validating your choices.

I was much happier navigating through the technical terrain and although I was slightly off at control 9 and overshot control 11, my relocation skills were a step up from the day before and I felt much more in control over the course. In the end, I came 7th - another result I am really pleased with (although the rain finally got me with several heavy downpours during the run).

I also really enjoyed my stints volunteering at the starts on both days - it was nice to meet the other helpers and chat with fellow competitors. A big thank you to the organisers who worked around the terrible weather to put on a brilliant event.

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