Published on December 6th, 2021 | by nioa-sec0
Veterans Return Home
The Irish team has returned from the Veteran Home International without the Stonewall Trophy which again went to Wales, but having enjoyed a great weekend of orienteering and craic that no other country could match, thanks to the dependable coordination of team manager Helen Baxter. Organised by SLOW, with both individual and relay events very convenient to Gatwick airport, team members flew in from both Belfast airports and Dublin airport to excellent hotel accommodation in nearby Horsham, to be joined by ex-pats from various locations across England and Wales.
Saturday morning started bright but cold and calm, with the first challenge to follow a route map from the finish to the start. Seasoned orienteers are tuned to always look for the red triangle when picking up the map, not the double circle! However once orientated, the walk to the start was a good introduction to the significant height differences of the large re-entrants of Winterfold and Pitch Hill. By the end of the individual event, the Irish men at 37 points were 3 points ahead of the Welsh men, but with the women’s contribution to the team short by 4 places due to unavailability, covid and then new travel restrictions, it was always going to be a tough call to catch Wales. So the scores on the ever important Ireland v Wales match at the end of Saturday were 61 to 85.
Saturday afternoon provided time for tea and buns in a local village hall to watch England claim the Lagan Valley Rosebowl, before a group meal. The venue was a delightful Sicilian restaurant adjacent to the hotel in Horsham, with great food, drink, service and most convivial conversations. Sharon Dickenson made sure that everyone ate and then paid for what they had pre-ordered.
Passengers on early Sunday morning flights sitting on the right side of the plane must have wondered what was going on down in Glovers Wood, before they ascended into the clouds. In fact the relay forest was closer to the end of the Gatwick runway than the Gatwick terminals! The area was good testing relay terrain, criss-crossing a small glary stream lying in over-sized re-entrants. With the relay format being in two categories of a Man-Woman-Man and Woman-Man-Woman combinations, the Irish team was 2 teams down in the WMW combination. Although beating Wales in the MWM format by 24 points to 18 it was not enough to win the relays overall, which went to Wales by 48 points to 40.
The final team scores were:
- England 286
- Scotland 200
- Wales 133
- Ireland 101