Students excel at SW Junior Orienteering Championships

Students from, The Kings School and Sidmouth College and Colyton Grammar School, took part of the SW Junior Orienteering Squad, writes Tess Stone.

Meg Somers and Dom Walker, from Payhembury and Flurry Greirson from Ottery St Mary ran in the W14 & M14 category respectively, Dulcie Greirson from Ottery and Emily Keenan from Sidmouth ran in the W16 category, Jonty Eaton Hart from Payhembury ran in the M16 Catergory and Ellie Stone from Colyton and Grey Greirson from Ottery were in the W18M18 age category.

This is the major competition in the SW Regional Squad calendar. Each region takes in turn hosting the event, The Lakes was going to be a technical challenge for some who have not orienteered in this area before.

The first day saw the individual races on Graythwaite which provides terrain that is technical throughout, with good variety. It is also tough and physical, so physical fitness was tested as well as technical ability. All courses visited the challenging central area of forest. This is low visibility conifer plantation, hiding complex rock and marsh terrain. The MW18 and M16 courses also visited the eastern slopes with some great terrain, but also extremely rough in places. Bracken was bit of an issue slowing progress on some who chose open areas as a route choice. Orienteering requires you to navigate you way around a course in the quickest possible time with the aid of the orienteering map with your course marked on it and a compass. There are various technical levels, which means that they are graded with a degree of difficulty to locate the features the control points are on. It is a challenging adventurous sport that requires you to think and run (in the right direction!)

Meg Somers was eighth on her course, an exceptional effort for her first time at such an event. She completed the 3km course and 145m of climb in 40.43 minutes. Flurry Greirson had an excellent run coming sixth on the 3.7kn course with 190m of climb in 40.27 minutes and Dom, who was orienteering in the Lakes for the first time, was 33rd with a time of 94.44mins on the same course.

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Dulcie Greirson from Ottery and Emily Keenan finished 11th on the W16 course in 54.56 minutes and Dulcie Greirson was 17th in 63.44.

Jonty Eaton Hart, on the M16 course, came 23rd in 78.59 minutes.

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Ellie Stone was competing as part of the Welsh squad as she is now studying in Carmarthen. She was 19th on her course of 4.7km with 255m of climb whilst Grey Greirson was 17th on the 5.9km course with 360m of climb in 76.12mins.

Sunday was the Relay Day at Roanhead near Barrow which is an area of technical sand dunes. The organisers had cleverly set up the start, handover point and finish on the inside of a massive sand dune crescent. The crescent sand dune could be climbed to view the mass of dunes and marshes beyond in the competition area. A few controls were visible from here making the relay competition an excellent spectator event as well.

All courses are gaffled, which means that although the courses are all the same length they will have some controls the same and some different to the others in the race. It makes it very exciting, but also means there is more chance of runners miss punching by going to an incorrect control.

There is one from each age group in a team. Emily, Millie (from Bristol Orienteering Club-BOK) and Ellie were 12th overall. Another SW team came fifth and the other two had a miss punch among the team. Meg, Frankie and Dulcie (who was running up as a W18) had very good legs for their team. The boys relay of Jonty, Joseph from BOK and Grey also were 12th overall.

Another SW team finished seventh; James, Dom and Fraser (from Wimborne OC) finished 20th and the other team, with Flurry on the middle, had a miss punch on the last leg, they would have finished eighth! That is the nature of the sport and why it is so important to check control descriptions numbers!

If you would like to try this exciting adventure sport Devon Orienteering Club hold coaching sessions in East Devon on a Friday evening in various locations and events on some Saturdays and Sundays, many in East Devon. Take a look at their web site You can come as a family, junior school aged to be accompanied by a parent. If you have any questions contact Tess Stone on 10297 553421 email:

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