20 Nov Havering Orienteering Team
The schools orienteering journey began at Stubbers Adventure Centre on October 9th, with schools being invited to bring teams of year 6 and 8 children to take part in the Havering Borough Championships. Children worked in pairs and after receiving some training from Stubbers staff raced to get the best time whilst visiting the control points in the correct order. The event was overseen by Josh Jenner who has supported the development of orienteering in the Borough over the last 4 years. Results were managed by Steve Partridge and Julie Laver who again have been involved in our events from the start. A full write up of our borough championships can be found here.
The Havering Championships were attended by 121 children from primary schools and 29 children from secondary schools. We awarded medals to the top 3 pairs from each age group and selected the best pairs to form part of a Havering Orienteering squad which would move forward to attend a local orienteering event for more practice and then take part in the National Schools competition in Slough.
The local competition took place on Sunday 3rd November at Langdon Hills where Julie and Steve again gave the Havering team some coaching on map reading and general orienteering skills prior to the event. This gave the children a great boost in confidence and they achieved some brilliant results which can be viewed here.
Two weeks later the team gathered in Black Park, Slough for the British Schools Orienteering Championships under the watchful eye of Josh Jenner. There were schools from different parts of the country with ages ranging from 10 to 18 all competing for the National titles. Many of the schools have orienteering on their curriculum and have the chance to practice on a weekly basis whereas our team had really only had 3 main experiences. They were all excited and determined to do their best. The weather was sunny and the woods muddy and the children nervously awaited their start times equipped with whistles and compasses. The course times ranged from 10.07 minutes to 65.13 minutes and the Havering team put in some amazing performances as can be seen from the full results here.
Photos from the day taken by Ray Barnes can be viewed under Primary Gallery.
Josh was thrilled with the team performances, particularly as the children were quite inexperienced. He suggested that we keep the team together for the next year and provide training on a regular basis so that next year when the National championships are in Broxbourne they will be able to compete on a level playing field with other schools. So our Havering team is now established but with room for more children to qualify from the Borough championships in October 2020.
Orienteering has now been well and truly established as a pathway event in our competition and festival calendar. We run a festival in March for teams of year 5 and 7 children to introduce them to orienteering at Stubbers Outdoor Centre. From there the children move into years 6 and 8 and the best performers are invited back for the Borough championships in October and the winners of that event have the experience as outlined above. We have also piloted a year 3 and 4 festival and for the first time this year we will be running an event for years 1 and 2 so orienteering is well and truly on the map!