Foxbury Bares its Teeth
Nearly 300 orienteers gathered at Foxbury, near Wellow on the edge of the New Forest, for this year’s Sarum Galoppen, organised by Sarum Orienteers’ Pat Hart and Kerry Larsen. Foxbury is a National Trust heathland restoration project but the open terrain is deceptive and provides orienteering food for thought.
Since it was last used the terrain has changed as gorse and general undergrowth have strengthened their hold presenting real physical and technical orienteering challenges. Competitors had to navigate round courses devised by Planner Mark White which made clever use of the terrain.
As we all know, Orienteering is very much a sport for all ages and competitors on the day ranged from age 6 to 94 with many families coming along to enjoy the competition in a surprisingly mild and sunny day. Most runners seemed to enjoy their runs and their complimentary comments are much appreciated though perhaps the marshy areas should be excluded from any praise!
For some of the juniors it was a first opportunity to try out their new found skills on full orienteering competitive courses and for others to have some field coaching to improve their competitive performance. There were some good performances from our new juniors and on the Yellow course there was close competition with Cameron Jacobs (M11, Sarum) coming home just over a minute ahead of his younger brother Benjamin (M10, Sarum) and both ahead of Monty Bratcher-Howard (M10, Wimborne) and on the White course six-year old Elara Jacobs of Sarum took second place. What is exciting about the results from the junior courses is to see how many young newcomers we have, how enthusiastic they are and how supportive are their parents.
Full results for the event can be found here but a selection of the leading performances follows. Ben Chesters (M35), formally of Sarum but now running for Devon OC, won the top Brown course in 62:43 min some 3 minutes clear of second placed Ed Dickins (M21, British Army OC). Gavin Clegg (M60, Bristol OK) won the Blue course in 55:43 ahead of Axel Blomquist (M65, BAOC). Best Sarum result on the day was on the Green course where Chris Huthwaite (M45, Sarum) beat Andrew French (M50, Wimborne) by just 11 seconds. The Short Green course was won by Wimborne’s Sue Hands (W65) in a time of 48:57 and the Light Green Course by David Pack (M40, Sarum). On the less technical junior courses, Toby Huthwaite (M20, Sarum) won the Orange course; it’s good to see Toby out running again.
The afternoon finished with presentations of the SWOA Galoppen 2016 trophies and certificates with Ben Chesters, formerly of Sarum and now Devon, receiving the top Brown course Trophy from Mark White.
Thanks again to Pat and Kerry for organising, Mark White for planning, Craig Blackford for controlling, all other Sarum Volunteers and, of course, Jake White and the National Trust for kind permission to use Foxbury for another Sarum event.
Not to be denied their orienteering the juniors turned up the following evening for another club session, with Phil Conway teaching compass work on the sports field at Five Rivers Leisure Centre.
Information about the Junior Club can be found here.
Foxbury is a heathland restoration project from which the Trust run guided wildlife walks and volunteering opportunities (such as practical conservation work, wildlife survey work and events management), if you would like to get involved and/or join National Trust rangers to learn about heathland wildlife and help preserve Foxbury future please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01425650035.