Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

Croeso 2016

Croeso (Welsh for welcome) is the name given to the Welsh summer multiday event which is held once every 4 years. Eleanor Pyrah reports on the 2016 event from ESOC's point of view.

Report by Eleanor Pyrah.

Those ESOC members who travelled down to South Wales for Wales's own multiday event were met with a warm welcome on the first Saturday, even if the weather didn't quite live up to expectations after that ...

Croeso (Welsh for welcome) is the name given to the Welsh summer multiday event which is held once every 4 years, so as not to clash with the Scottish or Lake District multiday events which take place in other summers.

This year there were five stages, made up of three Long and two Middle races, plus an evening Park race on the Wednesday rest day for those who had the energy. There was also a training event on offer, on the aforementioned sunny Saturday, in the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes beside the sea at Porthcawl. Some of us opted not to do the training but to enjoy the beach instead!

The first 2 stages were held at Kenfig, which is another sand dune area a few miles west of Porthcawl. In fact 4 of the 5 days were within a few miles of each other near that part of the coast between Swansea and Cardiff. Kenfig provided a highly technical challenge with a series of linear dunes which (as many found to their cost) were easy to confuse one with another. Added to the difficulty was the fact that only the very large depressions and knolls were mapped. Knolls less then 2m high and depressions less then 2m deep were left off the map entirely; although we had been warned, this took a bit of getting used to! There was also a lot of scrubby vegetation particularly in the southern part of the area used on the first day. Day 1 was a Long race on a wet day and this was reflected in some long times. Day 2 was termed Middle distance and was made up of short legs in the nicer and faster part of the area and, although not actually much shorter in distance, most of us had much faster times.

Day 3 was a Long race in Margam Forest North, a few miles inland. There was a lot of green coniferous forest interspersed with felled areas covered in bracken, brambles and other vegetation. Together with steep and muddy slopes this all made for a challenge which was physical rather than technical.

After the rest day, which was pleasantly warm and sunny, it was little surprise to find the wet weather had returned for our mountain day, along with a blanket of mist. Day 4 was held on Mynydd Llangynidr, which many will remember from JK2014 with its limestone rocks and massive depressions . ESOC members were fortunate to have late starts when the mist was lifting. Despite this being termed a Long race some very fast times were achieved, in many cases the fastest times of the week.

For Day 5 we returned to Margam, this time to Margam Country Park. It was our second Middle race and as the quoted course lengths were quite long, in some cases longer than our Long races, we thought it must be a fast area. In this we were disappointed because it was tough, muddy, steep in places, and there was a lot of bracken. In fairness, the organisers had some of their original permission withdrawn only a few weeks before the event, meaning a change to the finish arena and presumably a lot of re-planning. On the plus side it was a reasonably fine day and we were able to stay around the arena chatting to friends, old and new.

At the end of this week of varied orienteering experiences, there was some excitement to see how the final scores would work out. Those who had completed all 5 stages were able to drop their worst score as only the best 4 counted. ESOC runners who finished in the top half of their class were:

W55L: Chris McLeod - 15th

W65L: Mary Williams - 4th

W65S: Fiona Findlay - 4th

W70L: Eleanor Pyrah - 3rd

M50S: Finlay Ross - 16th

M60L: Andy McLeod - 39th

M65L: Alastair Lessells - 25th

M65S: Robert Findlay - 12th

M70L: Ian Pyrah - 27th

M80L: Jim Clark - 8thC

The above results do however mask some other ESOC success stories. Special mention must be made of Janet Clark who was 1st in W75L on Day 2 (by over 7 mins!) and again 1st on Day 4 (by over 9 mins!); it was only her failure to pick up the right map on Day 3 that cost her a top half finish and even a possible win overall.

Another very special mention for junior ESOC member Heidi Ross who finished high up on the Light Green course on all 5 days, her best being 5th place (out of 52) on Day 4.

Full results can be found on the Croeso website.

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