Saturday, August 30, 2008


Again we would all like to say a huge thank-you to anyone who has contributed to the trip it was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. We have also improved our orienteering more than we thought possible in just 10 days. Below is the whole group in our tour O-tops- no doubt you will start to see them at events across the NW soon.

When we weren't orienteering (no-one can train 24/7- or so we thought until we saw some Norwegians at events) we often relaxed by swimming in the sea north of the Shetland Isles (however it was 16 degrees in the water- not bad for the North Sea)

Below is the result of trying to keep pace with the locals at a friendly evening park race....

Our accomodation for the tour was in Fredrikstad Ski Kulb's Skihytta (She hutta). The club own and maintain it for use by club members as a training facility year round. Locals can also pop in for a cup of tea etc.(Is anyone familiar with the planning regulations in Tockholes?)

Below is the best picture i could find to illustrate our idea of an enjoyable evening activity- going down to the nearest mash and playing football/ rugby/ handball whilst up to our waists in mud/water/ecosystem. Of course the teams were decided by residence- Cumbria played Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.

I would personally reccomend anyone to go and orienteer in Norway as it isn't like anything we have in this country- their whole cultrure is outdoor sport and they will do anything to accomodate orienteering events and training. In summary an exellent experience.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thanks to PFO

WE would like to say a big thank-you to PFO club + members for their contributions to the Norway trip. Especially to Maureen for her excellent cake stalls at recent events.

Today was the first Stockport town centre race with plenty of steep, technical orienteering to be had by the many high profile orienteers who turned up. For the rest of us it was hot and/or windy at times but very enjoyable. Below is a scanned section of my mum's map (course 3, W45+) which shows most of the central area used:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Cake Stalls!

On Friday 9th May the four of us (with lots of help from friends and family) held a cake stall at school to raise money for our trip. Talking to others who had sold cakes in school we realised we would need around 900 cakes (300 per family). After a week of baking (many thanks to parents and more than one set of Grandparents!) we made all 900 cakes required and sold a large percentage of them. We raised £204 overall.

The following weekend was MDOC's Twin Peak event at Macclesfield Forest in Cheshire, over the two days the North West Squad cake stall (with some of our left over cakes from Friday plus many more) raised a similar amount to our efforts on Friday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

British Championships

This weekend saw the culmination of the main racing season in Britain with the British Champs, all the way up on the Moray coast of Scotland. The terrain was described as "complex forested sand dunes" something i had never previously experienced. Below is an extract of my course (M18L) which was 8.8km long with just 200m of climb- an indication of what a flat coastal area this is. This map was 1:10000 with 2.5m contours so it first appears as if it is much steeper!

If you click the picture it will come up much clearer and more legible. The black Biro line you can see is the route i took- not necessarily the best but no-ones perfect!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Blodslitet (Tim Watkins Tropy)

Today was officially the longest course I have ever run (discounting the Capricorn Mountain Marathon.) It was 14.4km straight line distance- I am yet to measure the actual distance I ran. This special event is run once a year by South Ribble Orienteering Club as a tribute to Tim Watkins who worked hard to bring this event to Britain from Scandinavia. See for more details on the event and its history in Norway.
After completing the C class in 3 hours 10 minutes (25th of 44 starters) I can't wait to have another go next year (hopefully with none of the limestone pavement that made up this years area!)
Below is a small extract of my course (I couldn't scan the whole thing as it was A3);

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lake District Adventures

Over Half term myself and Danny spent three days enjoying some fine winter weather in the Lake District. Day 1 took in Grasmere, Helm Crag, Greenup Edge and Eagle crag, before stopping at Rosthwaite camping barn for the night.
Day 2 was a big climb out of the valley up High Spy and a lovely ridge run down to Cat Bells. This was followed by a brief dip in a chilly Derwent water and a nice warm bed (compared to the previous night) in Keswick Youth Hostel. Day three was up onto the ridge on the eastern side of Derwent Water taking in Bleaberry fell, High Seat and High Tove before dropping down to Harrop Tarn and the car park below to finish. All in all a cold, tiring few days which were enjoyed immensely and will no doubt be followed by more adventures in the future (I hope). Below is a selection of the best pictures:
For Dan's slant on the 3 days click on Dan's fell running blog on the PFO website/in the right hand column of this webpage.

Greenup Edge Ice!!
Blencathra and Derwent Water
Harrop Tarn

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winter Wonderland!!

Well winter has arrived in style wilth several inches of snow across Rossendale. After a later than usual start we made it up Cowpe (not bothering to actually reach the summit), through the quarries and over towards the wind turbines. Quote of the day goes to Danny with this offering "Head to the one with wings on it". Reffering of course to a wind turbine at the time- badly affected by snow blindness at the time I hope. Some pictures are below...

The frozen waterfall!

Danny's Bit:

Ever warming British winters are making snow a bit of a rarity in Lancashire. This morning however, we were shocked to see around 10cm of snow in the valleys and up to 50cm on the hills. The hills were calling, but so was the Lancashire Schools XC at Witton Park. After much deliberation, we eventually decided to try the roads only to reach the car park after the race had started. So we got our snowy hill run in the end...

Running over Cowpe Moss was tough going as underneath the snow and the tussocks were frozen bogs, incredibly energy sapping; not nice at all!

Frozen Waterfalls en route, we were considering starting the Lancashire Ice Climbing Club:

All in all, a very good 7.8 miles which took slightly longer than expected due to repeated immature endeavours mainly involving snow balls and yellow snow. Snow makes children out of us all you know.

The Pennine Bridleway above Cowpe Reservoir:

Ironically, by the amount of car tracks seen today, people with gas guzzling Chelsea tractors seem to enjoy driving on the gravel tracks in the snow, but it's mainly them who are making snowy winters a thing of the past in Britain.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Morning Run - 26th Jan - Great Hameldon Hill

50mph winds made for hard running. We did a 12 mile (19.3km) loop taking in Most of Cribden, Great Hameldon (409m - SD 794 289) and Hameldon Hill (399m - SD 810 287).

Winds around the side of Cribden were so strong, huge effort was required to put one foot infront of the other. Thankfully, we did have the wind on our backs for some of the duration, especially noticeable on the slog up Great Hameldon.

Looking Down The Valley Towards Peel Tower

Great Hameldon Hill Summit, The View South

Great Hameldon Hill Summit, Windswept

On the path to Hameldon Hill we came across some rather icy 'puddles' which turned out to be knee deep icy bogs.

Upon returning to Loveclough, we did come across what would be an excellent orienteering forest, a nice surprise when the legs were beginning to burn. All in all an excellent run, apart from the gales, perfect weather!

Click here to download the route for viewing in Google Earth. You will need to have Google Earth installed on your computer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

News Flash - Finals Here We Come

Pendle Forest Orienteering Club are through to the National Final of the Compass Sport Trophy!

After battling with the mud and rain at Frodsham, PFO came out ahead of local rivals SELOC to ensure a place in the inaugural final. After missing out on qualifying in previous years, this is a leap forward for the club. PFO will compete against the cream of British orienteering clubs at Sutton Park, Birmingham on the October 18th.

Needless to say this is partly due to the outstanding efforts of our Norway Juniors, with Alex Willis and Sophie Horrocks scoring the maximum possible on Blue and Light Green courses respectively. Liam and Ste also contributed to the clubs success.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mountain Bike Orienteering Part 2

I woulod like to add to Danny's comments about the event last Sunday and say that it was a really good event; different to what we both normally do (being 4 hours long!) but enjoyable for the novelty if nothing else. I have added a picture my Dad took as we raced away from the start having already planned our route (we did however promptly make a 180 degree error on reaching the main road- less haste more speed i think!).

British Schools Orienteering Champs Report

SUCCESS mapped out: Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School’s year 12 orienteering team (front left) with other runners, who competed in the British Schools’ National finals at Dorset.

Rossendale Free Press Report Tops in the end 7/12/2007

BACUP and Rawtenstall Grammar School’s year 12 orienteers have been crowned national schools champions.
They beat more than 70 school teams from the UK and Northern Ireland to claim the British Schools title at the army’s tank training ground at Bovington, Dorset.
And BRGS also took third place in the overall team category – based on the best nine finishers from years seven to 13 – for the second successive year.
There was also a silver medal for Emily Lester, who marked her final appearance at the championships by taking second place in the year 13 category
And the new year seven girls team of Eilidh Brailey, Esther Clare and Heather Cudworth completed a fine haul by taking a team bronze medal.
The winning year 12 team comprised Liam Taylor, Alex Willis, Stephen Horrocks and Jack Heyworth with the first three finishers counting.
It was a second taste of national glory for Liam and Alex, who were part of the BRGS year seven team who won their category five years ago.
BRGS teacher Tom Gray was extremely pleased with the school’s performance.
He said: ‘Liam and Alex were in the team that won in year seven and the team has just got better and better through the years. Last year was our first time on the podium in the overall category and we were hoping to go one better but were third again.
‘It was a really good achievement with the spread of results for our team because we had counters who were new children in year seven. We have good orienteers coming through to replace the ones who will be leaving and we are hoping for another good team result next year.’
There were a number of other top 10 performances in almost Arctic conditions over a range of courses suited to each school year group. They were: Liam Taylor (fourth) year 12 boys, Sophie Horrocks (sixth) year 10 girls, Paul Burdekin (seventh) year seven boys, Eilidh Brailey (seventh) year seven girls, Alex Willis (ninth) year 12 boys, Danny Hoyle (ninth) year 13 boys and Alix McDermott (10th) year 11 girls.

With thanks to the Rossendale Free Press for Permission to use the above photo and article.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Awesome Limestone Descents

Nothing like 4 hours hard riding in the Dales to cure the Christmas overeating!

On 30th December 2007, Alex Willis and myself ditched the running shoes, for a day in the saddle in a mountain bike orienteering event.

Organised by Kudu Bikes Triathlon Club, the event was a competition between two disciplines, running and mountain biking. It's aim to see whether the runners, with the advantage of footpaths (offering much shorter root choices), could beat the mountain bikers with the clear advantage of speed. To even the out the event, there were two compulsory checkpoints for the bikers, which the runners could ignore. Also, one particularly speedy bridleway was made out of bounds to bikers.

Starting in the centre of Hawes, we headed out on the roads to get the 2 compulsory controls. Following this was a steep climb on forest tracks featuring several switchbacks. After this very painful climb, we were rewarded with a brilliant downhill taking us over some great limestone steps.

Back into Hawes we set out on our second loop, this was a steep climb onto a huge Roman Road running along the ridge of Whether Fell. The next step of the journey offered some fantastic technical riding over open moorland. The kind of track good enough to find it's way onto a magazine cover.

The last descent into Hawes' neighbouring town Gayle, was very technical with deep ruts and tight corners. It follows that I took flight over the handlebars, thankfully, no serious damage. A quick blast through Gayle took us back into Hawes and to the finish. We finished with 140 points in 14th place.

The winner was the speedier mountain bike, yet surprisingly the runners occupied many of the high placings.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

British Schools Orienteering Championships 2007

Liam Taylor, Alex Willis, Stephen Horrocks and Jack Heyworth are the Year 12 Boys British Schools Orienteering Champions. They completed a wet and windy challenging course over the British Army’s Tank Training ground at Bovington, Dorset in November.

B.R.G.S. was placed 3rd as a School in the Large Secondary Schools section. Sophie Horrocks Alex Willis and Liam Taylor were amongst the nine runners counting towards this place.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tockholes Training Day

The aim of the training day was to provide training for all abilities within the PFO membership. Alex and Stephen (with some parental help) started planning the day in October. Due to the wide range of ability and experience within the club the challenge was to provide a wide enough range of training courses to be of interest to everyone.

The training was split into three groups, novice, intermediate and experienced. Within each group they planned three courses. The planning involved visiting Tockholes, several planning sessions and numerous hours at the computer using mapping software to plan the courses. All this on top of their normal schoolwork and other commitments.

On the day around 35 people (including a large number of juniors) turned up despite the cold damp November weather. The courses they did ranged from Scandinavian style training to micro courses.

All those who attended seemd to enjoy themselves and hopefully gained something from the day.

Feedback comments recieved included:-

"Thanks so much for yesterday's training- really appreciated all your efforts and I certainly gained experience from the varied courses that you had set up.
If you do have any time for coaching young people, you are always welcome at my school, Northern Primary in Bacup"

"Thank you for all the hard work you put in to today's event. I know the CTK children got a lot out of it and enjoyed the stream too. I enjoyed being able to do some of it on my own too. Well done to you all, and hope there is another similar day again very soon"

"Fantastic day out! It was apparent just how much effort the organisers had put in; really appreciated by all. It was good to see people from a variety of skill levels training together. It was a valuable experience for everybody training on the day."

"On behalf of the BRGS 'little-uns', thanks for all the time and effort you put into the training day. It was a great success; the minibus was a cacophony of chatter all the way back to Rawtenstall . Thanks Again"

Alex and Stephen gained valuable experience which hopefully they can use again, maybe for another club training day in 2008!

Hamish + Kate Willis