Q1: What was your first experience of orienteering?
My Auntie introduced me and my mum to the sport in 2013, when her husband, who was into fell running, found it. My Auntie came down from Scotland for the week and we found a local event at Chorlton Water Park where we walked around a Yellow together.
Q2: What is your favourite aspect of orienteering?
My favourite aspect of orienteering is the feeling of freedom, it is just great to get out into the countryside, and be all to yourself to enjoy great scenery.
Q3: What is your favourite competition and why?
My favourite competition is tight between the Scottish 6 days, the O-Ringen and the MOM. If I had to choose it would be the MOM though, it is an annual event in Spain, I went to it earlier in 2020 and it was great as the forest was complex with very intricate terrain. The final day was out in the sun, where I did a 15km course taking over 2 hours. You just never get that kind of freedom on any other holiday. This event also taught me a lot, a going back to England to race at Formby the next week felt so much easier on the navigational aspect of things.
Q4: What is your favourite orienteering area?
My favourite area for orienteering has to be Formby (Raven Meols), as it is one of the toughest navigational nightmares in the country, the terrain is changing all the time, it is also so fun to run there in the sun, with its tracks that shift from year to year.
Q5: My greatest orienteering achievement ...
was at the Scottish 6 days 2019, when in the final day I came 8th in M14A, completing my aim to get within the top 10 at some stage in the competition.
Q6: What have you done to keep up training during lockdown?
I have got into running a lot more over lockdown completing a 24km run and a 32km run. I also ran and walked well over 450km over the course of the last three months. As the lockdown has eased I have managed to do orienteering at Teggs nose and at Alderley Edge. The NWJS (North West Junior Squad) organised to do a few virtual weekends of activity across the lockdown.
Q7: Over the course of 2020 how much would say you have improved?
At the beginning of the year I was trying to keep up the good run of form I had over the summer. Going to Spain gave me good navigational skills and I learned to read the contours very carefully, and to stay in touch with the map and surroundings all the time. As lockdown came I improved my physical fitness massively, however, getting back into orienteering lately has proven that you can be as fast as anything but you still have to keep up the navigational work to do well.
Q8: What are your aims for the coming years?
I am hoping to be selected for the England junior squad and represent my country. I am also aiming to join the British Trail-O squad, as over lockdown I have done some virtual events and at Scarborough for the White Rose event, I came 2nd in the junior category, just missing out on 1st due to a disqualified control.
Q9: What is your favourite terrain?
I can say without a doubt that sand dunes are the hardest terrain. Picking a favourite depends on the weather, as anything other than fog would mean moorland as you can see controls from far away otherwise. Forest is probably my favourite for rain as it shelters you more.
Q10: What advice would you give to anyone trying to get into the sport, or trying to get to the NWJS?
If you are new to the sport, my advice would be to keep at it, because if you go to an event and you don’t like it, then the next one will be in a different area. Also, at first try and go to events which are sunny as you will enjoy it more and not feel put off by the rain ( unless you like the rain of course). If you are aiming to get into the North West Squad, then you should persuade your parents to take you to events further afield, (preferably the Lake District) and try your best. You can also look out for the Newby Days for the North West Squad, which I will make announcements for when the time comes. Another tip for everyone is to try and find an area near you and give a permanent course a try, or mix it up, creating your own course using the permanent posts.
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