News from KFO

Apr 8, 2015

JK2015 – Lake District

Phil's report of the 2015 JKs held in the Lake District on Easter Weekend
Category: General


Les, Heather and Phil made their usual trip to this Annual International event as they have done for over 40 years now.  They looked forward to enjoyed a gathering of over 3000 like-minded folk, battling the mentally demanding Sprint event to start off with at Lancaster University followed by three days of highly technical and physically demanding terrain of the Lake District mainly deciduous forests on sometimes (mostly?) precipitous ground with many cliffs, boulders and moss covered slopes.  The descent from the hillside to the penultimate control at a field gate on Day 2 must qualify as the hairiest downhill of the decade.  It was like a scree run with moss and boulders with the odd cliff thrown in whilst the relay run-in was a different sort of challenge.


The weekend had a number of international teams present as the Sprint and the two Individual Days were World Ranking events for M/W21E.  Day 2 – Individual day was also a ranking event for the M/W 20 & 18 Elites.  Days 1 – 3 were events in the UK Orienteering League for all L Classes.  This whole was an exciting prospect.


Friday was wet!  2127 folk turned out at Lancaster University that proved a good location for a sprint race with many small route choices that were going to make a difference.  Sound running all the time, but route choice of the essence and so it proved for Phil with two legs having poor route choice and two other hesitations losing enough time to penalise the position to 14th.  Scotland showed very strong in the M65 with 5 in the top 15 out of 100 runners, so our home league must be doing something for us.  Heather ran steadily and well with one fastest leg time and perhaps one route choice penalty to take 10th place out of 60.  Two Scots in the top 10, so good showing again.


Then onto the tough Lakeland terrain.  Day 2 went to Ulpha Park and Barrow Fell is a not very often available area, which is a shame as it is a technically demanding area with a physical requirement also.  Steep slopes with gloopy streams and re-entrants, steep hillsides with slippy, slopey, moss covered crags tested all.  Much detail put many courses on 1:7500 scale maps with only major crags and boulders showing.  I cannot recall a similar area in Scotland other than perhaps Craig a’Barns with knobs on.  Many perhaps like me decided fairly early on to take a pleasant day out, slow progress perhaps meant better navigation and so the result benefited. Phil managed 9th to his surprise out of 107 in M65L and top Scot, Les was 20/39 in M60S and Heather 16/57 in W65.

M21E on this day had 5.7k and 190m climb and a wining time of 34:02 – just over 6mins/k.  To watch this is to marvel.  There were 2829 runners on this day


Day 3 was at Bigland, a place that all three of us have visited before.  Even more crags and steep hillsides with course distances to climb ratios on the higher side.  M65L was 5.1k with 320m.  However, more of the same approach of slow, but sure seemed to be the key once again and another 9th position for Phil from 103 in class saw an overall 9th place for the two main days and second Scot to Tim Sands who had a much better outing.  Unfortunately Heather retired this day, but Les improved to 17/40 giving an overall result of 14th out of 46. The weather turned out brilliant, but so did all the tourists and the roads were rather busy.

Phil helped out with car parking this day, being the poor sod out on the road trying to get folk to go the different ways.  Until you have done this job, you haven’t lived.  Cars, or perhaps their drivers, appear have minds of their own when it comes to directional integrity.  However, the big first for me was directing a full blown Bentley into the muddy car parking field.  I hope he was going orienteering and not Lord of the local Manor!!


Relay Day is always a bit of fun – highlighted with major tailbacks for parking.  This year a return to Graythwaite by Lake Windermere was no disappointment in this respect – one field with one entrance and so the starts were put back 45 minutes.  The sun shone and the commentating was good.  We were the KeenFolkOldies team in the Ad Hoc class with Les running the first middle-distance leg of 2.7k, Heather the second short leg at 1.5k and Phil the glory leg of 3.2k.  The sad thing about all this was that each course had 110m of climbing. So Phil came off best this time round.  More slopes and crags, but not as intense as the previous two days.  This class is made up of Odds and Sods from clubs with excess people or those clubs needing a range of distances and TD levels.  The team ran steadily, other than Les on the first control where the line from the start triangle did not start until after Control 11, so all was a bit confusing and a chunk of time lost to come in in 68th place from 73.  Heather moved the team up to 53rd position, whilst Phil improved the placing to 43rd overall.  The finish run-in was well chosen as the first six runners were able to get up a decent sprint.  It then deteriorated into a grade one quagmire and some of the run?? in splits make interesting reading.  Several folk lost their shoes and finished in bare feet and indeed, the lost property list has one such detached shoe for reclaim.  How many others are still there in the field is anyone’s guess. It will be a challenge for Time Team in years to come.

Oh, and the weather was a cool 22degC with not an ice cream van in sight.




Next Year the JK celebrates its 50th year in Yorkshire starting off with the Sprint event at Leeds University. Day 1 in a North Yorkshire Forest (challenging or what, though the bracken will be absent perhaps??) It was to be in Wass, just over the top of Sutton Bank, both Forest and Bank having their own reputations, but a change may be on the cards for the forest.  Day 3 returns to the open limestone fells at Kilnsey with its limestone pavements and great sights – Kilnsey Crag, Gordale Scar and the huge Malham Cove.  Relay Day goes to Storthes Hall, just south of Huddersfield.  There is more than usual travelling round at this JK.  Logistics will always be a challenge for the JK, bit it is all part of the event.