JK Memories – Day 3 Long

Day 3 Long Distance Slieve Croob, County Down

  • Planner – Bill Simpson LVO
  • Organiser – Colin Henderson LVO
  • Controller – Graham Nilsen MEROC
  • Assistant Planner – Greg McCann LVO
  • Assistant Organiser – Gordon Stephens LVO
  • Assistant Controller – Richard Williamson LVO

Day 3 treated us to even more views of those Mourne Mountains.  Slieve Croob is open mountain terrain, mostly used for sheep grazing, with a patchwork quilt of farmer owners.  It is the source of the River Lagan (inspiring the name of local club Lagan Valley Orienteers), which winds its way through the countryside, right past Stranmillis University College (Day 1) and onwards into Belfast Lough.

On the day of the event, the sun (mostly) shone for us – indeed it had been so dry in the run-up to the event that the marshes dried up and competitors had a decent shot of keeping their feet dry.  Previously unheard of on the mountainous terrain of Slieve Croob!

This fine video captures plenty of the weekend, including some stunning views of Slieve Croob.

Perhaps the most, let’s call it “challenging” run up to a major event though:

The arena with the view up to the terrain. Credit Graham Nilsen

Graham Nilsen, MEROC, Controller writes 

22.30, the Wednesday before, 10 seconds after arriving from Liverpool.

Bill: “Did you get my message?”

Me: “No”

Bill: “We have a problem…”

Atop the hill before the first start on Day 3: glorious sunshine, no wind, looking across at the stream of competitors heading from carpark to start, and thinking what a wonderful place that was to be.

Controlling has never been so much fun.

[We lost access to 2 fields, something to do with organic sheep, and some elite courses had to be re-planned & printed with two days’ notice!!]

Heading up to the start. Credit FINGAL

Richard Williamson, LVO, Assistant Controller writes

I was lucky enough to spend most weekends on Slieve Croob and so experienced the full range of climatic conditions, from snow, fog, high winds and clear blue sky.

One particular memory was of watching a murmuration of starlings wheeling and twisting for about half an hour.  In the week of the event a Red Kite was constantly above us.


Sorting the SI cards for the string course

Cecil Armstrong, LVO, SI Equipment Coordinator writes

I was responsible for gathering up (and more worryingly returning) 519 SI controls from 3ROC, BOF, CORKO, LVO, NWOC, Sportident, Setanata, NIOA and FERMO. All had to be re-programmed to upgrade their firmware and re-numbered, whilst keeping track of their original numbers to be re-instated before returning to their owners. There were several happy evenings in Ivan Millar’s unheated shed above Dromara.

Thanks to Harold’s steady hand on the tiller, all went pretty smoothly. My only memory of conflict is having to speak sharply to a couple of demob-happy officials after Day 3 on Slieve Croob, who were tittering and gossiping while we were trying to make absolutely sure all the controls had been retrieved!

Gavin Cairns, LVO, String Course Organiser writes

Ben Cairns enjoying the string course

Running the string course over 4 days was quite a challenge for only 2 adults with a 5 year old in tow. The first day we built a maze on the all-weather pitch which was a great success – even some of the adult competitors had a go (even Sarah Rollins). Day 2 was on the hill at Slieve Croob where we encountered some problems as the farmer had failed to remove his sheep, once rectified it proved a very enjoyable course. Day 3 was a nice long string course around the edge of the assembly field giving the kids a good chance to run while the parents could observe from a distance. Day 4 in the same area but was a mixture of forest along with a loop through some whin bushes. We were pretty exhausted by the end !

Start on Slieve Croob. Credit Graham Nilsen

Raymond & Teresa Finlay, FERMO, Start Team

Hard to believe it’s 10 years ago! (It seems like much longer!)  We were glad to help and lucky to have so many willing and capable volunteers from a variety of clubs (NI, Republic and England). After the success of the British Individual and Relays in 2001 we had the skills and confidence to handle the even bigger JK.

From memory the weekend weather was very good which always helps!  It was a fantastic cooperative effort, well led by Harold and his team.

For more information on orienteering in Northern Ireland, a great place to start is with one of our DIY Orienteering courses

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