Three RAF Orienteers headed to North Yorkshire over the August Bank Holiday for an action-packed weekend of racing. Eborienteers, the club for the eastern half of North Yorkshire, were hosting the annual White Rose event, which attracts competitors from across the UK to a four-fixture weekend. This year, base camp was on the outskirts of the market town of Helmsley.
Before setting up camp for the night however, they were straight in to a night score event. This saw 99 runners leave the starting field in the valley bottom in a mass start. It was a fast and furious 30 minutes running round in the dark, visiting as many control sites as possible without incurring a time penalty – great fun!
They would complete Sprint, Middle and Long Distance events over the weekend, in a mix of dense woodland and open parkland.
The Sprint was open for the first half (aside from dodging a few sheep). The second half saw them pinball round Helmsley Castle grounds. With a moat, battlements and the castle interior all runnable, it made for a fast and fun race in a spectacular setting.
The Middle Distance proved tough going; the grounds had been used by the military during WW2, so there were lots of similarly shaped building foundations, and a lot of undergrowth, which made for difficult navigation and the odd nettle sting! The O-Nosh butty van was a welcome sight just beyond the finish, to refuel before the afternoon event.
The final event (for the RAF runners at least) was the longer classic event. It headed over the River Rye, and in to more runnable, faster, woodland. Alas, the rain also came to play in true Yorkshire style, so it was a rather bedraggled bunch of runners heading in to the marquee for prize giving.
Although no awards came the RAF’s way, it was an entertaining weekend in a beautiful area – thanks Eborienteers for hosting us, and see you next year!