On Sunday 17th April the Northern Orienteering Championships were staged by Cleveland Orienteering Klub (CLOK), and Hangar 18 were proud to attend and sponsor the event. The race took place in Mulgrave Woods, close to the seaside town of Whitby, and attracted over 500 competitors. Orienteering is often considered a “sport for all”, and this race saw men and women, from 10 to 85 years of age, compete over a variety of course lengths.
The weather had not been kind leading up to the race. Significant rain in the weeks before led to the loss of the parking field, and competitors had to be bussed in from parking in Whitby. And the day before there was a complementary orienteering race round the streets of Whitby, which felt the force of wintry showers blast in off the north sea. However, Sunday dawned sunny, and fair weather remained throughout the day. The races were based around an “arena” in the forest, with food, clothing and equipment traders (including the Hangar 18 stand seeing good interest from the orienteers!), views of a spectator control point, the run-in, and plenty of space to lounge in the sun after the race.
Mulgrave Woods provided a real orienteering challenge. The area is bisected by two deep valleys, with a network of tracks, but also wilder forest areas where many control points were located. There was also a significant element of route choice in the courses, between straighter routes through the varied forest, or longer routes on tracks, and also the option of using two ancient tunnels in the area to reduce the ascent!
Despite attracting a range of abilities, this was the Northern Championships, and the sharp end was hotly contested. It was also a World Ranking Event for the main men’s and women’s elite classes – one of only half a dozen such events in the UK each year. The women’s elite was won by Heather Monro in 76 minutes – Heather now lives in Durham, and is an ex-GBR team member who won a bronze medal in the World Champs 2005. The men’s elite was won by Marcus Pinker, another international runner from Ireland, who completed the men’s elite course in 99 minutes. Hangar 18 provided prizes for the elite races with an excellent down vestgoing to each of the winners, and H18 socks to the 2nd and 3rd places. Full results, photos, and maps of the courses can be found at http://www.clok.org.uk/events2016/nchamps/index.htm.
Report by Duncan Archer (course planner for the event)