Every year we go to the Jan Kjellstrom Orienteering (JK) event, somewhere in the UK. This is our fifth year attending, and it was the 50th anniversary of the competition itself. We enjoy meeting up with our orienteering friends from all over the world at this event. We normally stay as a group in a centrally located area, but this time the events were quite scattered so we decided on a cheap and cheerful hotel stay off one of the motorways.
The first race is an urban sprint. Leeds was the University of choice, and the day was just beautiful. The college is made of of many levels which made the race all the more fun. Sprint is my favourite day.
With a little dread while looking at the weather forecast we travelled back to our tiny room! Of course we were all extra excited as knew we were heading to Michael O’Hares restaurant that night. Nigel had managed to secure a last minute cancellation. That experience deserves its own very special blog.
The Yorkshire dales are everything I remember from reading about so many years ago. I was an avid James Herriot fan, both in the written and TV form, and even though I didn’t have the first clue where it was based, I knew I wanted to go there. We actually travelled through Thirsk to get to Day 2, and I even saw the practice where it “all happened”. We were very lucky to have four wheel drive, as we got to park within shouting distance of the arena. Some poor unfortunates were parked over 3km away!
We had early starts and all finished just before Storm Katie hit with a vengeance. It was very wild and bleak, a little like I had imagined from reading the Herriot books all those years ago! We didn’t hang around but headed back. The arena was perched on top of the hill so it was a tad windy and cold at that stage. Normally in JK competitions the walk to the start is nearly longer and more arduous than most of the courses. But this time it was the walk to the finish that- literally finished us off! Wass forest you got the better of me. Until we meet again! Day 3 was nearer to the Lake district. There was an issue with parking so we got the bus from the communal car park, and then had a short walk “UP” to the arena. (As an aside there was a lovely sand arena – dressage letters the works beside it).
This was a slightly longer walk to the start, but not as hilly on the run. I did far better this day, but really took my time (i.e. walked up all the hills) and really felt my orienteering was good. Jords finished ahead of me, and we had just put on our coats when the first of the hail showers hit. Poor Nigel was on the last 1/4 of his course and came back frozen. That’s the biggest downside of having to get a bus, you can’t bring all your stuff, and then noone hangs around cause they’re frozen.
The relay day dawned very cold. So cold we were all very silent as we made our way to the arena. Due to injuries and tired legs, poor Jords was the only one who had to run. But it meant that we were both there for her. The relays are great fun, and it’s good to dissect the previous days with our JK friends.
Jords had a great run as middle leg for her team, so we ended the weekend on a high. Now for a drive through Snowdonia, and a last night in Wales. See you all next year for JK 2017 in England.