Last week two groups of pupils from Ulverston achieved success in national & international orienteering competitions.
On Saturday November 15th Miss Evans loaded 51 pupils from across years 7 to 13 (and a happy band of 14 coaches, parents and teachers) onto two coaches and headed across country to Leeds. Saturday afternoon was training at Golden Acre Park for the Year 7 and 8 orienteers, whilst years 9 and above faced the challenge of a qualifying race, through the open woodland of Adel Woods, for possible selection to represent England at the World Schools Orienteering Championships, to be held in Antalya, Turkey in Spring 2015 (still awaiting selectors decisions at time of print). This was followed by some time for fun on an inflatable obstacle course in the Harrogate Hydro swimming pool, a meal out at a local restaurant, then back to Bardsey School for team talks from team managers and ‘bed’ (on the floor!).
The British Schools Championships took place on Sunday 18th November 2012 and were held in Delamere Forest near Chester. After training hard for a year our students travelled in hope and returned with numerous trophies and medals. More importantly, after a two year gap they regained the Large School Trophy and returned with the title of ‘Best Orienteering School in Britain’.
Delamere Forest is well used for walking, biking and horse riding. It’s many paths and tracks could be very confusing and it was always important to keep the map orientated. The pressure to run fast sometimes produced silly mistakes. The vegetation ranged from open woodland to dense conifers and, much to the runners dismay, large areas of brambles. The high rainfall in recent weeks resulted in the marshes being much bigger and deeper than expected and some of the ditches were impassable. The runners had to make quick decisions about route choice in order to find the easiest and quickest way to the controls. Luckily the weather couldn’t have been better. After an early frost the sun shone all day which made participating very enjoyable.
The World Schools Orienteering Championships took place around Primiero, Trentino – in the Dolomite area of Italy in May. The junior boys team from Ulverston Victoria HS was selected to represent England and they have returned with a trophy, medals and certificates.
Sun, sand and sea – this event had it all. Ulverston O club organised the event (on behalf of the local club – LOC) as a fundraiser. Parents and pupils ran everything – planning the courses, running registration and start, putting out controls and manning the BBQ and cake stall. It was a lot of work, but nearly 200 people took part and it was a great success.
There could not have been a greater contrast between the last two weekends. After the sunshine and warmth at Formby the Ulverston orienteering club travelled to Keswick on Sunday to be met by low cloud and steady rain. Aiken skyline is situated on the hills north west of Whinlatter Forest and includes a small area of forest and a large area of open fell.
The school orienteering year always starts with our own championships. These are run on a handicap basis so everyone has a chance of winning. Taking all results from last year, time and distances are used to find a runners average minutes / kilometre. Start times are allocated (to the second) so that, in theory, everyone will finish at 6pm. The school champion is the runner who finishes first, thereby beating their handicap by the greatest margin.
The Ulverston party divided on leaving Rotorua with the exam group heading for Auckland ready for their flight the next day. The rest of us went on to the Coromandel Peninsula. This area is blessed with some of NZ’s best sandy beaches and a great climate. We had booked into the Opoutere YH not realising what it was like. This YH is a 1908 schoolhouse with cabins added in the grounds. The white buildings were set in mature bush surrounded by the calls of native birds. It is positioned on the estuary overlooking the sand spit and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The perfect place to recharge our batteries before our journey home.
The last evening in NZ was spent playing football on the beach outside the Paraparaumu YH with the sunset as a back drop. Everyone was looking forward to coming home to the UK and UVHS and we arrived at Wellington airport all packed & ready to go. Unfortunately, there was a problem……….our flights were cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano. We were first given a new flight date of 2nd May which was later changed to 8th May. Not sure who was more shocked – pupils, parents or trip leaders.