2011 season preview continued...


Following our preview of the first few months of the year, here are some more of our picks of what is worth getting in your diary up to the summer if you haven't done so already.

22-25/04/11 - The JK, Northern Ireland

This Easter, Belfast and County Down in Northern Ireland play host to the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering for the first time. The weekend will offer an interesting mix of challenges, from the tricky repetitive college buildings to be found at Stranmilis in Belfast for the sprint, to a mixture of complex dunes at Tyrella South for the middle & relay, while the long will play out on the technical open moorland of Slieve Croob.

The JK is always a popular event, and typically the opener of the elite season, but with the late easter it comes a good few weeks after the British Middle & Sprint so we should have some idea of who to look out for at those distances. As a World Championships selection race, expect all the big names (and any prima donnas) of the British Elite to be there, while it is also a UK Cup, Masters Cup and FCC counter to add to the appeal. The relay will be the first of the UK Relay League, so expect to see the usual suspects of Interlopers, South Yorkshire, Sheffield Uni, Edinburgh Uni and Bristol in the mix for the men's and women's trophies, and while the men's trophy doesn't have the same clout as when it was a four leg affair, it does give opportunity for those on the fringes to perhaps muscle in amongst those listed above and you can expect some strong Irish teams. 

Full details can be found on the JK 2011 website.

7-8/05/11 - Nopesport Urban League race 3: Filey & regional event, Barns Cliff - Yorkshire.

The first of two quality weekends of orienteering in Yorkshire, as EBOR host the third race in the Nopesport Urban League in Filey with a regional event the following day at Barns Cliff. Filey is a small, traditional holiday resort where you can expect a tricky network of footpaths and narrow alleys along with shopping streets, and the contrast of a seafront park. The following day Barns Cliff will present a physical test with a sometimes steep but complex forest.

More information can be found on the EBOR website

14-15/05//11 - British Championships, Sheffield

Expect a wide variety of technical and physical challenges at the British Long Championships (and World Ranking Event) taking place on the combined Wharncliffe, Wheata Woods and Greno areas. With fast, vague slopes in Greno, thickets galore in Wheata Woods and complex rock and mining detail of Wharncliffe, the British Champions will have had their techniques tested.

Watch planners Oli & Jenny Johnson frolick in the woods in this promotional video:

The relays will take place at Tankersley Wood, which has a rich industrial heritage containing factories and railways during the war when it was heavily bombed so now contains a wealth of detail with many bell pits and bomb craters. With a myriad of paths spread across mixed vegetation you can expect a high paced, highly technical relay competition.

All your information needs can be found on the BOC 2011 website.

21-22/05/11 - Middle distance, Bigland & Classic, Holme Fell - Lake District

The following weekend the elite will head to the Lakes for the WOC selection races, also forming part of the UK Cup. They'll face two testing classic Lake District areas in Bigland and Holme Fell, with the complex contours of Bigland a suitable challenge in the lead up to the World Championships in France. 

More information can be found on the LOC website.

29-30/05/11 - Scottish Championships, Perthshire

Rounding off a bumper May is the Scottish Championships in Perthshire. The individual takes place at Auchingarrich, a mixed woodland with some open and steep slopes which will present a physical challenge. The relays, taking place at Drummond Estate, offer great relay racing through a mix of deciduous woodland, coniferous forest and estate parkland.

More information can be found on the Scottish Championships website.

29-31/05/11 - Springtime in Shropshire

For those not heading north for the Scottish Champs, take advantage of the long weekend and a great mix of events in Shropshire, with 4 races in 3 days, including an evening urban race round Ludlow.

More information can be found on the SINS website.

05/06/11 - Nopesport Urban League race 4: Nottingham

Starting in the historic market square, Nottingham will offer a mixture of shopping streets, alleyways, residential areas, commercial estates and parkland. More information on the NOC website

12-13/06/11 - Nopesport Urban League race 5: Lossiemouth, and Culbin regional event, Moray

Moray Mix

Back to Scotland for two well regarded areas on the Moray coast in the Moray Mix. With Lossiemouth having already proven a tough test for the Scottish Sprint Championships in 2009, it has now been extended to offer a longer & contrasting challenge of urban streets, airforce base and forest. The following day offers some of the best orienteering in the UK, with a blast around the fast sand dune forest of Culbin, always worth heading north for.

More information can be found on the Moravian website

16-17/07/11 - Harvester weekend, Sheffield

Final event in the UK Relay League sees ShUOC host the Harvester relays overnight at Ecclesall Woods, where the event was first held in 1978. Offering a runnable suburban woodland with complex mass of thickets, expect exciting night time racing with plenty of opportunities for mistakes (and a bit of chav bashing or something). Either side of the relays will be a middle race, ultrasprint and urban race, making for a great weekend of orienteering.

Continuing the entertaining videos coming out of Sheffield here's some ancient footage of orienteering in the 1970s:

More information can be found on ShUOC's Harvester website

Ecclesall Woods

And after all that, you've got the Scottish 6 days and the autumn season to think about...


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