Badenoch & Strathspey Orienteering Club

There was mud at the JK this year!

Pat at JK Finish
Pat at JK Finish
Credit: Wendy Carlisle
Published: Tue 9 Apr 2024

Pat Morris experiences her first JK - a large event (2000+ competitors) held over Easter weekend. The location rotates around the 12 regions of British Orienteering and in 2024 it was the turn of the East Midlands with Yorkshire hosting in 2025.

Having returned from my first big Orienteering event, the JK at Loughborough University and Cannock Chase, I am still buzzing. Rebecca and I had planned to camp, but to my great delight the campsite was flooded prior to our arrival. Despite Rebecca’s best efforts to secure an alternative tent based experience we ended up in a warm, dry, and comfortable Premier Inn.

Day one took us to Loughborough University for the Sprint. It was amazing how many people there were everywhere, all in their own worlds, concentrating on their maps. I lost concentration for a millisecond, mixed up the buildings and really got my nickers in a twist, wasting 15 minutes. One rectangular building looked very much like all the other rectangular buildings. Once I managed to re-engage my brain I enjoyed it very much, despite getting soaked. After our run Rebecca and I had a go at the Biathlon, along with a load of other Scots, which was great fun.

Days two and three were based at a muddy Cannock Chase and I have never seen so many fit healthy people of all age and abilities in one place in my life. Orienteers certainly are a friendly happy group of people. It was lovely to see everything from the children’s maze course to the Elite super fit and everything in between. The courses I did (Orange) were both good courses with very varied terrain and plenty of mud – I hate brambles (except to eat) and I had to stop several times to remove thorns from my legs.

Day two was more challenging than day three, with more route choices, but on both days I made a big mistake at the easiest of controls – my brain just switched off. Next time I am taking a bag of Jelly Babies to try and keep the brain cells ticking over.

The three days were great fun and it was exciting to be part of such a big event, which despite its size remained friendly and inclusive. It was amazing that, without any planning, we met up with all the BASOC members every day which added to the enjoyment. Luckily the rain stayed away during the 2nd and 3rd days running, however previous heavy rain resulted in a great deal of mud at Cannock Chase. I got muddy enough to feel that I can now call myself an Orienteer! I was also inspired to try and go faster and on day three I managed to jog a good portion of the course. I have never been a runner but now at the age of 73 I have just enrolled on Couch to 5k programme (my family thought this was something they would never see). As usual I learned a great deal during the event, hopefully enough to not make the same mistakes again.

I am looking forward to a summer of fun events.