Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

British Orienteering Championships 2023Chilterns, 25-26 March

Once again, the British Championships weekend was in the south of England, and just a few ESOC competitors made the long journey.

The 2023 British Orienteering Championships were held in the Chiltern Hills, west of London. The Long Distance race was on Saturday 25 March and the Relays were on Sunday 26 March.

The Long Distance event was at Cold Ash, near Newbury. (This was the venue for day 3 of JK 2019.) It’s an area of mixed woodland with several gently sloping hills and a fairly extensive path network. The northern part of the area is mostly commercial forest, both broadleaf and conifer. The longer courses also visited the western part of Bucklebury Common further south, a series of shallow, marshy valleys mainly comprising fast runnable broadleaf woodland interspersed with holly. The Final Details warned that due to the dry winter, some ponds had turned into depressions! There had also been damage in some parts of the forest following storms last year.

ESOC’s best result came from Janice Nisbet, who won W70L.
Other results:
M60L (69 competitors) – Keith Brown 22nd
M75L (40) – Brian Yates 35th
W16A (27) – Megan Brown 14th
W50S (14) – Judy Bell 5th

The Relay event was at Hambleden, near Henley-on-Thames. The terrain is open deciduous woodland with some rhododendron and box, and some areas of newly-planted trees. The area spans two valleys and ridges, so it is quite hilly.
ESOC had just 1 team, in class S, Mixed Ad Hoc – this was a family venture (Judy Bell, Megan Brown, Keith Brown) and they came 13th out of 36 teams.

Keith Brown reported:
“At Cold Ash on Saturday the weather was pretty good for March. The car park was right beside the run in so it was easy for everyone to meet up and see the finishers. There was a walk of 1.5 km to the starts to avoid needing a second timed-out road crossing. The forest was quite muddy but generally runnable except in the north end when nearing the finish where there were a lot of extraction lanes and debris. It rained a lot on Saturday night and the drive to the relays at Hambleden went through a lot of extensive puddles, but the car park was okay to get into even with the rain. The forecast was for rain all morning, but it got lighter pretty quickly then stopped altogether. The start of the relays was delayed by 30 minutes but after that it all ran smoothly. The woods were surprisingly nice and were very runnable, but the courses had quite a bit of climb.”

Full results, Routegadget, and links to photos from the weekend are on the British Orienteering Championships 2023 results page.

The Long Distance race was the 6th event in the 2023 UK Orienteering League. There are more details about the UKOL, including the updated league tables, on the UK Orienteering League page of the British Orienteering website. With the score for this event included, ESOC is still lying 48th in the club league, but so far only has 5 counters. The latest score for each club is calculated automatically from the 15 best club members' scores (across various age class groups) - so the club members whose scores are included may change as the year goes on and more events are included.

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