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Orienteering at Burnham Beeches

Published on 03/03/20

Following weeks of bad weather which had forced the cancellation of a number of scheduled events, the sun shone brightly on the competitors for the ‘Ace of Hearts’ event at Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire on Sunday 1 March, among them two members of the Claremont Fan Court School orienteering club. This event incorporated a large international competition, and the boys found themselves sharing the forest with hundreds of runners from England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Although the weather was dry, many parts of the forest were waterlogged, and keeping their footing in the slippery mud proved a challenge for most competitors. Other challenges included crossing fast-flowing forest streams and finding routes through the numerous holly thickets. Navigationally, the courses appeared deceptively straightforward, but once contact with the map had been lost, relocation could be very difficult in relatively featureless areas. Ellis B, moving up to the Orange course after his brilliant win on the Yellow last month, discovered this to his cost, and was forced to retire after losing his bearings. Nathan J, on the 5.1 km Green course, found the going very tough but fared rather better, coming 45th in 79:48. In a large and highly competitive international field, this was a very creditable result which bodes well for the final Junior League event of the term.