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UKOL wrap up

1 December 2023

Sandra looks at SMOC's performance in the UKOL league plus Ann reviews the last event of the UKOL season.
Find out more


Club training

27 November 2023

Following a morning of East Anglia Junior Squad training, twelve SMOCies enjoyed the same challenging training exercises at Rushmere on Saturday 18 November. Relocation can be a very useful skill and so the first exercise relied on the participants pairing up and taking it in turns to get each other lost! This gave them the opportunity to practise working out where they were and how to navigate to the next control. Lawrence definitely put a lot of effort into getting Siobhan very lost indeed. Next, the group had a look at options when considering route choices and had a go at taking different routes around the same course and comparing notes.
We also took the opportunity to award Sofia and Gabriel Mee with the medals that they won at the East Anglian Schools Orienteering Championships held at Ampthill Park in September – well done to both promising juniors!
Thank you to everyone for helping to collect the controls. The session finished with hot drinks in the café.


Dorien in front of Soave city walls

PWT Italia 2023

15 November 2023

Dorien and Ros travelled to Italy for the Park World Tour races attached to the European Orienteering Championships. Their story is here.


Winter MapRun Series underway.

2nd November 2023

A new initiative for this winter is a MapRun series. Each month a couple of MapRun courses will be made available based in a Milton Keynes estate. The courses will only be available to run for the calendar month. So long as there is sufficient interest there will be a winter MapRun league based on fastest times for the courses. So you can run them as many times as you like to improve your time. There will be a run course of about 5k and a Sprint course of up to 2k. Re-running the Sprint course for a faster time is to be recommended.

The first event was based in Wolverton and attracted a good level of interest. The Sprint course only attracted a limited entry and Freya Askham, on the last day of the month, was the only one to break the 10 minute barrier. There was a larger entry on the Run course with three of the nine participants breaking the 30 minute barrier. Fastest was Kaye Hawke at 24.04 closely followed by by Oliver Tomlinson only 7 seconds slower. No one took more than 40 minutes. Though if you just fancy a walk with a difference the Run courses should provide an attractive tour of the area.

Novembers event is in an area new to orienteering, Newton Leys, one of MKs newest estates, still a work in progress in places and about as far South as you can go and still be in Milton Keynes. For details see here..

SMOC at the Scottish 6 Day

20 August 2023

19 SMOCies made their way to the north of Scotland for the challenging biennial multi-day event. Read how they got on and a perspective on the appeal of multi-day events.


Ann Harris makes the podium at Euro City Race

10 July 2023

Ann Harris finished 2nd in the Viana do Castelo city race - one of nine urban orienteering events held across Europe
The races attract comptitors from Europe and further afield due to the attraction of combining racing with more traditional tourist activities.
Read Ann's report.


JK 2023

9 June 2023

Read Debbie's view of the recent JK multi-day event in the Lake District. The JK is held every year over the Easter weekend and involves a sprint, middle and long distance events plus a relay.
Next year it will be closer to SMOC, spread across Leicester, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.
Read Debbie's report.


Notice of our upcoming AGM and Summer Social

1 July 2023

Our annual summer get together and (brief!) AGM will be held on Saturday 1 July 2023. Join us in Hanslope for some orienteering fun, along with some great food and our Annual General Meeting. This event is free for all members.
Where: Woodley, Forest Road, Hanslope, MK19 7DE
When: 12 noon to 4pm (AGM at approx. 2pm)
Please rsvp to chair@smoc.info.


Stockholm Indoor Cup

22 February 2023

SMOC’s queen of the virtual orienteering avatars, Sandra Mather, tested her 3D-orienteeting skills at the Swedish Indoor Cup. Read her account of this brain scrambling event.


CompassSport Trophy Heat

20 February 2023

Our annual attempt to qualify for the CompassSport Trophy Final. Read more.


Clubnight Fog-O

5 December 2022

Our second nightclub event saw 15 SMOCies taking on less than ideal weather conditions. Read more.


SMOC success at the EA Championships

29 November 2022

Six SMOCies entered the East Anglian Championships which were held at Bromehill and Santon Warren on Sunday 27th November. Congratulations go to our new champions: Freya Askham in W45 and Helen Nisbet in W60. Read full report.


Clubnight Night-O

29 October 2022

Our first forest night orienteering activity, donning headtorches on a mild evening we found that it was quite an adrenaline rush! Read more.


Freya wins Bill Stevens Award

20 October 2022

SMOC's own Freya Askham was presented with the East Anglian Orienteering Association's Bill Stevens trophy at our recent Campbell Park event. Find out more.


5 days of top class orienteering in Sweden

1 October 2022

Read the first of three articles about SMOCies at this years's O Ringen in Sweden. Debbie Charlton tells us about her experience.


Back from the Dead

20 September 2022

Seven years ago, Club Captain Dorien had a near-fatal medical crisis. If you haven't already heard it, he tells the story of his survival and long recovery.


Keep Calne and carry on!

29 August 2022

Ian Byrne recently ran the urban orienteering event in Calne, Wiltshire, hosted by North Wiltshire Orienteers. Here are three lessons he learned while running in the 28°C heat.


On being more Swedish than ABBA

9 August 2022

Sandra writes about orienteering around Ikea in Uppsala on the O-Ringen rest day. Find out more.


Every Second Counts!

22 June 2022

Rosie Shaw won her W70 B Final at the recent British Sprint champs at Leeds University. Read her entertaining article about how she achieved this excellent result. It should inspire us all to step up our training.... and to keep going right to the finish line!


SMOC at the British Mixed Relay Champs

12 June 2022

Sandra tells us about her experience in SMOC's select team at the Mixed Sprint Relay Champs. This event is a relatively new format, but sounds like fun. Perhaps more of us will be inspired to give it a go next time it's in the schedule?


British Long Distance Championship

18 May 2022

SMOC has a British Champion! Debbie Charlton tells us about winning her course back in March. As one of a few SMOCies who retired due to the challenging combination of length and climb on their courses, and lack of options to mitigate the climb, I take my hat off to Debbie. Ann


Antwerp City Race weekend

24 April 2022

SMOC returns to international competition! Read Sandra and Ann's article about the recent Antwerp City Race weekend.


Club Championships Report

9 February 2022

SMOC held it's 2021 Club Champs last December. Ian Byrne gives us a rundown of the results. Entries were adversely affected by the Omicron wave, so the event was not as competitive as usual. We hope to see more members ... especially the younger ones ... out in the forest next autumn to stake their claim to the trophies.


Junior training weekend in Hawkshead

28 January 2022

Milly Askham tells us all about her junior training weekend in the Lake District with the East Anglian Junior Squad. It sounds like great fun, as well as a great chance for Milly to practice her orienteering technique on some complex terrain... check out her maps.


City Race Euro Tour 2022

5 January 2022

Sandra Mather is dreaming of orienteering trips to city races in Europe this year, assuming we get past the current travel restrictions. A band of SMOC Lionesses ventured to Spanish city races in Bilbao and Girona pre pandemic, and they highly recommend the mix of well organised orienteering events, cultural attractions, pleasant weather and excellent food. We might need to think about trying to travel by train, or, if flying, making the trip part of a longer holiday, given climate concerns? Still...we can dream too.... Read Sandra's round up of the City Race Euro Tour 2022


Portugal 'O' Meeting

28 February 2020

To remind us of happier times, read Freya’s report of sunlit forests, beaches and ice cream at the POM multi-day event back in February. We can all dream of where we want to run when we get back out there.


Lockdown orienteering

16 April 2020

Missing running in the forests? Yes!!! Read Sandra Mather's report on an international virtual orienteering event, held over Easter. This may inspire you to try virtual orienteering games and events to hone your map skills during lockdown.... alongside keeping your fitness up with the daily run.


Training to orienteering

9 February 2020

Ian Byrne reflects on using public transport and bike to get to O events... this should prompt us all to give it a go, especially where the alternative is a solo car journey.


Sandra wins in Madeira!

28 December 2019

Read Sandra's report about winter sun, good food, and excellent urban orienteering in Funchal.


The other SMOC

18 November 2019

Do you know that there exists another SMOC? In addition to the Southern Mini Owners Club, there is an orienteering club with the same acronym as us. Ian Byrne was in the vicinity so decided to find out more. Read about his findings.


SMOC training weekend

23 November 2019

Twelve SMOCies travelled to the New Forest for technical coaching by Coach of the Year Jason Falconer. Read Freya's report.


Strong SMOC showing in the UK Urban League

1 November 2019

Always wondered what urban orienteering is? Read Ian Byrne's informative article, and find out how SMOCies have been faring this year.


King Offa's Dyke Race 2019

20 October 2019

Ed Jones tells us about his latest ultrarun challenge, along the 185 miles of the Offa's Dyke Path. You will never be able justify walking during your 5k training jog! Read Ed's report


Race the Castles 2019

17 August 2019

Rachel continued her orienteering adventures closer to home in Yorkshire, at the Race the Castles events. Read more here


Scottish 6 Day 2019

3 August 2019

James Nisbet went to the Scottish 6 Days event in August. He tells us about his experience of testing out a gps tracking system. Read more here


Scottish 6 Day 2019

28 July 2019

Milly Askham and her Gran Sue Rae went to Scotland. They discuss how they got on, at either end of the age spectrum. Read more here


World Masters' Orienteering Championships 2019, Riga

5 July 2019

Rachel Thomas was one of six SMOCies who ran in the World Masters' Orienteering Champs in Latvia in July. Read her story


Venla 2019, Finland

15 June 2019

Three SMOCies - Helen, Freya and Debbie - plus SUFFOC member Sally Wilkinson travelled to Finland to take part in the world's largest orienteering relay event. Read their report


Robert Dove recieving the Chichester Trophy.

Robert Dove - obituary

23 July 2019

Robert had been battling a serious illness for many years. Whilst his passing was not unexpected it was still a great sadness to the very many SMOC members who had come to call him a valued friend. Read John and Keith's fond memories


SMOC awarded Clubmark accreditation

27 May 2018

Clubmark logo.

We are delighted to announce that South Midlands Orienteering Club has achieved Clubmark accreditation. SMOC is now nationally recognised as creating a safe, rewarding and fulfilling pace for our participants. Clubmark is Sport England’s nationwide accreditation scheme which stands for high standards of welfare, equity, coaching and management in community sports clubs. You can find out more by visiting the Clubmark website.


SMOC at the Scottish Six-Day

10th August 2017

This summer, 18 SMOC members competed at the Scottish Six-Day - a multi-day orienteering event that this year took place at Royal Deeside. The week offered varied and interesting terrain with both mental and physical challenges - rocks, heather, and a great many contours.

The SMOC contingent mostly coped well with the terrain, with Freya Askham achieving a podium place - third in W40S. Several other runners finished well up their age class table - while some of us were just glad to finish!

We also enjoyed a varied social programme, including a SMOC musical evening and a fiendish but fun quiz night.

To view a selection of photos from the week, click here:
Selection on Facebook
Day 4 on Flickr
Day 6 on Flickr

* The next Scottish six-day will be in Strathearn, between 28 July and 3 August 2019, but if you fancy having a go at a multi-day event, there's next year's Lakes 5, running from 29 July to 3 August 2018. For more information, click here.

Royal Deeside: multi-day results

NameClassPosition/total runners
Richard Askham M10B 6th/7
James Nisbet M18L 37th/41
Rob Askham M40S 28th/31
Todd C. Rae M50S 61st/70
Dorien James M55S 32nd/67
Ian Byrne M60L 76th/98
John Shaw M65S 34th/49
Milly Askham W12A 32nd/34
Rebecca Nisbet W16A 40th/42
Freya Askham W40S 3rd/28
Debbie Charlton W55S 9th/45
Helen Nisbet W55S 12th/45
Ros James W55S 39th/45
Ann Harris W60S 8th/35
Rachel Thomas W60S 24th/35
Rosie Shaw W65L 33rd/54

Keith and Sue tie the knot

22nd May 2017

Congratulations to Keith and Sue on their wedding yesterday at the delightful Shottle Hall. Attending SMOCies report that it was a super day and the bride looked radiant. The promised sunshine was in short supply but it stayed dry and mild.

Colin Nicholson

23rd November 2016

It is with great sadness that the club has learnt of Colin's sudden death. Colin, along with partner Rachel, was a founder member of SMOC back in 1986. He was a club stalwart until the onset of ill health in recent years, and remained the club archivist until his death. SMOC will greatly miss him. A full tribute will be included in the next edition of SMOC signals.

Colin's funeral will take place on Saturday 26th November at 11:15 at West Suffock Crematorium. Rachel has suggested that any contributions in memory of Colin should be made out to the Samaritans Bury St Edmunds branch as Colin was a Samaritan for many years.

SMOC Chair triumphs at British Championships.

30th April 2016

At the British Long Distance Orienteering Championships held on the technical terrain of Brown Clee in Shropshire Helen Nisbet, the current SMOC Chair, won her class (W55s) by a comfortable margin. Other SMOC ladies also managed podium positions: Freya Askham (W40s) and Rosie Shaw (W65s) both managing third in their respective classes. Well done Rosie, Freya and especially Helen!

Dorien runs for Wales at Veterans Home Internationals

4th October 2015

Dorien runs for Wales.

In the first international appearance by a SMOC member, Dorien James was selected to run for Wales in the M50 category in the VHI at Llynnoedd Teifi in Ceredigion.

Dorien says of the weekend: "I was very pleased to be selected, but slightly in awe of some of the competitors! England and Scotland usually compete for the trophy, while Wales has a private battle with Ireland for third. Llynnoedd Teifi is exactly my kind of terrain - marshy moorland with lots of contours and no trees - and I knew it having competed at Croeso in 2012.

"The first day was individual long courses. My watchword was 'don't mispunch'; you score at least 1 point if you get round at all, which is better than zero for a mispunch or DNF. After a good start, straight up 10 contours and hitting control 1 exactly, I then had a disaster at control 2 where I miscounted the marshes and lost time searching on the wrong ridge. The numbers show a 5-minute mistake, but it felt like most of the morning had gone, especially since there weren't many competitors and I didn't see another soul for 20 minutes. Not how I wanted to start my international career! However, I worked hard to focus on the next control rather than thinking about the mistake, and finally got round the 7.7km course in 76:09. To my surprise, rather than being last, I was still only 7th out of the 8 starters, and as the minutes ticked by, it became clear that I had beaten one Irishman, who was both slower and had mispunched - so that was 2 points earned for Wales.

"The second day was relays and went much better. The VHI format has four MWM teams and four WMW. After my poor run, I was the middle leg in the fourth WMW team. With three teams to count, we weren't expected to score. However, I focussed hard on staying in map contact - checking at least every 100m - and managed a clean run, with a speed of 9:04 per km putting me well into the top half of competitors. Together with very strong legs from Ann Darlington and Sophie Brown, this meant that we came 10th out of 16 teams, six more points to ensure that Wales stayed ahead of Ireland.

Next year's VHI is in Northern Ireland - training starts here to beat the Irish on their own turf."

Photo: Philip Baxter

Dick Denton

3rd October 2015

Some sad news for those of you who remember Dick Denton - Dick passed away on October 3rd 2015. Dick was one of the early members of SMOC and I'm sure he is still remembered by most of the longer serving members of SMOC even though he stopped orienteering some time ago. Dick was quite a pillar of the club while he was with us, and brought a lot to it.

Congratulations to Robert Dove

May 2015

for his map of Rushmere being Highly Commended in the Chichester Trophy section of the 2014 Map Awards. As Robert says "Many thanks to my fellow mappers Steve Hardy, Ian McDonnell and Antonio Franco who played an important part in the survey and initial drawing." Well done all!