At the weekend a raiding party of Roxburgh Reivers travelled down to deepest Englandshire to compete, against 10 other clubs from around the UK, in the final of the Compass Sport Trophy . The event was held at Fineshade Woods part of Rockingham Forest in Northamptonshire.
Amongst naturalists this area is renowned as a place to see the rare bird of prey the Red Kite. However, it was the red and white kites marking the control sites , that were of interest to the 700 orienteers competing in this national final. The forest offered a physical challenge rather than a mental one, with dense carpets of brambles impeding progress far more than any intricate or subtle contours which were distinctly lacking. For most competitors the tactics were to cover the ground quickly by making use of the large network of paths and then drive into the undergrowth with steely resolve (and gritted teeth) to finally locate the control. At the finish most runners emerged from the forest with many minor scrapes and scratches from their encounters with the unforgiving vegetation. Hopefully most of the physical and mental scars accrued were superficial and will soon be forgotten.
For a variety of reasons a number of key Roxburgh Reivers personnel were missing, whilst a few members also took to the start line suffering from the effects of minor illness. Thus expectations of a winning team performance were not high. In the event the Reivers performed as well as could be expected, a little short of the medals in 6th place but not far from the 4th placed club.
As ever a few runners were disappointed with their runs but there were also a number of excellent performances. John Tullie continued his fine form of 2009 with a storming run to win the 7 km Blue course ahead of Donald Petrie (CLYDE) by a mere 18 seconds. Not far behind on the same course was Ian Maxwell with an excellent run for 6th. There was also a winning run by Robin Sloan on the Green course. On the Blue course, womens open class, Kirstin Maxwell placed a superb second and Fiona Forest also placed highly on this course. In addition Karen Maxwell, Lindsey Knox and Sarah Tullie scored well in their respective classes.
Special mention should be made of Andrew Armstrong who stepped in at the eleventh hour to tackle the long and arduous Brown course, about a 50% greater distance than he was expecting to run. Trophy holders Forth Valley again emerged triumphant. Results here