Category Archives: Chairman’s Chat


Well this is my fourth Chairman’s Report to the Claro AGM and I’m delighted to say that once again I can report that the club is in a healthy position. Linda will explain the financial details but that’s only part of it. We’ve been able to sustain our reputation for competently organising a range of challenging Level C (sorry Regional) events, we’ve been active in competing around the region and further afield, we’ve run a regular series of Local events, whether the relaunched Junior League or our Wednesday evening LampOs and spring terrain events, we’ve kept our Weekly newsletter and website up to date. When I say ‘we’ I really mean ‘you’ because without the input from volunteers across the whole club there would be no orienteering and no Claro.

The new Club League was launched, focussing on Claro events rather than a more scattered larger number of events, and I’m pleased to say that not only has that shaken up the leader-board but it’s also led to us having 55 members who’ve scored points. It’s also led to us having 44 members listed in the BOF rankings list; the difference between those two numbers is due to members under 16 not ranking, nor Local (Level D) events counting towards ranking points. Our thanks to Allen Banister for looking after the League.

Our Regional (formerly Level C) events were well-supported even though we used some of our less popular venues for a couple of them. One particular success was the May urban event at Wetherby. A fresh map from Allen, a very experienced planner in Ruth, a very accommodating school assembly area, a qualifying round of the UK Urban League, the day before the popular York city event, decent weather, and a much trickier area than most folks expected, all led to an unqualified triumph. Our thanks to the planners, organisers, controllers, team leaders and particularly to Graham for delivering such a great range of events. Look out next year for the revival of a couple of venues that we’ve not used for a good while too.

Richard Kirk may be quietly spoken but he is clearly very effective in twisting arms to persuade folks to organise our Local events. The autumn and winter LampOs have ranged across most parts of Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon and have also provided good social opportunities as well as an intense 45 minutes of action. We can expect a couple of new areas to be added to the calendar next year. The summer evening competitions using proper O-maps and SI-lite were also well-supported and provided a chance for first-time planners to learn their dark arts. Thanks to all who’ve got involved.

Jemima and her team of helpers organised the Junior League, replacing the former Schools League, using a range of easily-accessible venues around Harrogate and Knaresborough and leading to a modest number of new members progressing on to our bigger events. Richard has done some valiant sowing of seeds with a number of mini-events run for scout and guide units. I’m delighted to say that during the year both Jemima and Richard qualified as Level 2 Orienteering Coaches.

A key part of many of our events is unseen and time-consuming and that’s the SI work. Boxes have to be configured and set for each event and transferred to the right planner at the right time. Particularly during the spring when we have two of our Regional events, a number of SI-based Local events, Junior League, etc, it can get a bit frantic. Only a few people are skilled to do that and to compound matters we currently have a pooling arrangement with Airienteers where we share SI boxes so have to switch them back-and-forth to mesh with their events. Tricky enough when our coordinator and Aire’s lived close to each other but harder now their SI guru lives near Huddersfield. Tim Moon has valiantly kept these plates spinning for many years now but has understandably decided that it’s time to stand down and the new committee will be considering the way forward. We have also decided that we need to be more independent from Aire so will be looking to divide the pooled stock and then buy more SI boxes so that we are self-sufficient for all but our biggest events such as hosting a CompassSport Cup qualifier or Aire’s Dales Weekend.

We are now very close to having two permanent courses up and running in our patch. Richard has patiently worked on reviving the Valley Gardens and Pinewoods course supported by working parties to place posts and templates enabling it to be relaunched recently. Allen and I have worked with the National Trust at Brimham to establish a course there; thankfully the NT rangers did most of the physical work but my thanks to Allen for sorting out the mapping. Most of you know that I struggle with anything resembling technology.

Last February 31 members made their way to a cold and exposed Cringle Moor above Stokesley for the north-eastern qualifier of the CompassSport Cup. The going was ‘soft’ but it seems that the 31 Claros all ran to the top of their game because we found that after many years as runners-up we had actually won the zone qualifier – by just 4 points. So we qualified for the final, now where would that be held? Only 300 miles away in West Devon, bah, and at half-term too so a lot of our able juniors and their families won’t be available. Nevertheless we felt that it was important that we followed through on this since for the vast majority of members this could be a rare opportunity to visit a CSC final. Historians like David Day go misty-eyed at recalling the time when Claro actually won the final and we know that realistically that won’t happen this year, but it won’t stop 16 of us going down to do our best. Thank you to Mike Hind for coordinating the team and thanks to Ruth for sorting accommodation for many of us.

I’ve thanked a lot of people during this report but let me end by thanking somebody who is standing down at this AGM. There’s no doubt that since Vince joined Claro on moving up to Harrogate he’s enabled the club to move forward. He’s done his share as a planner, organiser, or controller, SI man, and latterly delivered an Event Safety Workshop for ‘new’ organisers, but it’s as Secretary that he’s really made a difference. The website has been totally refreshed, Clarion edited until it was overtaken by ‘The Weekly’, our event signage completely renewed, scoring for our league reconfigured, and I won’t begin to think about the amount of work he’s done for YHOA and for JK2016 or the 2017 British Champs. Life in Portugal beckons, with a windsurfer and possibly a bike, but sadly no more running. Many thanks Vince, our best wishes to you and Sandra, with our grateful thanks for all you’ve done.

So, my final Chairman’s Report, but not the end of my orienteering. I may not be able to get to the multi-day events any longer but I still aim to get out as often as I can to more local events. Thank you all for your support over an enjoyable four years.



It’s not often that I’m lost for words but I was quite speechless at the end of my run at the CompassSport Trophy regional round up on Cringle Moor. I’d had a fairly average run myself, no big mistakes but nothing spot on either and my running was weak after an unexpectedly high mileage the day before. Things hadn’t started well when I failed to find the start; thanks Mark for putting me right and thanks to the CLOK start marshals for letting me start as they were packing up and having a punching start rather than me starting with a 20 minute time penalty.

Why was I speechless? I was sat at the club tent taking off my club shirt and putting on my new club windshirt (have you got one yet?) when our CompassSport captain Mike Hind comes across and says, “We’ve won – by seven points”. The last few years we’ve been close but never quite made it. We’ve been beaten by EPOC, by Northern Navigators, or by NATO by a tiny margin but this time we were there, numero uno. For once we weren’t penalised by being the host club, losing capable runners to plan, organise or control as at Guisecliffe or Timble. Despite the understandable absence of a handful of regulars we’d turned out 31 runners and they’d all performed to expectations.

Scoring for CompassSport is complex (Tim Moon has a spreadsheet if you can’t sleep) but it’s two competitions in one as the larger clubs (CLOK, Aire, Ebor) chase the Cup and the smaller clubs (Claro, NATO, NN and EPOC) compete for the Trophy. What matters is beating your rivals from the other small clubs. Getting beaten in your class by an Airienteer has no effect. It also helps if a club can spread itself across as many classes as possible. That’s just the simplified version of the rules.

Mike Hind had done a cracking job as team captain, twisting arms and encouraging as many of us to come out. He’d judged the distribution of runners to classes well and in so many ways he was his usual ever-competitive self. We had the semi-detached pair of club tents, the club flag and plenty of club shirts and jackets in view. A presence to be proud of.  There are plenty of CLAROs in Vince’s photos here and in Wendy Carlyle’s here.

The highlight of the Claro results to me was the performance of the under-14 juniors on the Orange course where we took all three podium places in a very large class. Well done indeed to Luke Fry, Lois Parker and Alexis Whitaker. Ewan Reid and Eve Whitaker weren’t far behind either. The Junior League is certainly helping to develop some fine orienteers. Looking at Claro’s results just against the other small clubs I reckon we scored three 1st places, four 2nd, four 3rd, three 4th, and six other top ten places across the spread of ages and both genders. Claro’s finest hour for a good few years and a credit to everybody’s hard work and effective performance.
So that qualifies Claro to compete in the final against the best of the other regions’ small clubs. The final is to be held on Sunday 22nd October down at Yelverton in west Devon. I don’t know the area but from the map and Geograph it looks like a mix of steeply sloping woodland, an open common and some early industrial or mining relics. It’s a long way to travel but our initial reaction is that we’d like to do our best to make it. Committee will be looking at the issue of a significant contribution to costs as well as the logistics of getting us all down there. In the meantime put that weekend in your diary; I think it’s probably the first weekend of school half term.

Changing the subject, I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally been able to present the Charles Lewsley Cup for 2015/16 to its deserved winner. We’ve brought the award of that trophy in line with our club championship trophies, normally presented at the AGM. The Charles Lewsley Cup is awarded for a member not on the committee who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to the activities or reputation of the club. I’m sure we all remember the Yorkshire JK (how could we forget) which was so well masterminded by Mike Cope. You may not be aware though that Mike also serves as YHOA regional fixtures secretary and chairs the national fixtures committee for BO; he has the job of persuading recalcitrant regions that it really is their turn to host the JK in 2020 or the British Champs in 2019. A combination of Mike’s well-earned sabbatical and my own absence due to injury has led to him not receiving it until Cringle Moor. I can’t imagine that we’ve ever had a more deserving winner. Mike retains the trophy until just before our AGM in September when it will pass to the 2016/17 winner.
Don’t forget we’ve got Lindley Moor coming up on March 26th, planned by Liz Potterton on a newly-extended map and organised by Susan Birtwistle. That’s a round of the Yorkshire Superleague so expect big numbers and the need for many volunteers. One of our regular car parking volunteers is laid up at present following a nasty hand injury competing at Burley and Ilkley last week that needed surgery; get well soon John Birtwistle. Meanwhile he joins the increasing ranks of Claro’s walking wounded which oddly includes three of the four club officers.

Now, where’s my map of Devon……


It’s a few weeks since we held the AGM and it’s also two months since the last edition of Clarion. It’s time to give members an update on a few things that have happened.

Firstly, despite what was said in the last ‘Pateley Prattlings’ column of Clarion, I’m still the club chairman. The club constitution permits me to serve this fourth and final year when the committee recommend it; this was endorsed by the AGM. I’m likely to be twisting arms later in the year as we seek a successor.
At the AGM we agreed to leave our own club membership fees unchanged for 2017. British Orienteering will be increasing their element of the overall fee to £10 for seniors, so that it will cost adult members £15 in total to renew their membership. Membership can be renewed now via the British Orienteering website and will need to be done before competing in any events after 31 December.

The AGM agreed to give a significant subsidy to the new clothing range, particularly the lightweight jackets, so that we can get the club name visible around assembly areas and elsewhere. You will have seen lots of publicity from treasurer Linda about this. The jackets really are good and will fit in Santa’s stocking very nicely too.
We received a substantial payment from the profits of Easter’s JK Festival in return for the huge effort that you all put in. The AGM agreed to support the search for new or revived venues that we might use and to spend funds on professional mapping if that was needed. While keeping costs under control we agreed that we would consider venues where a modest fee was needed for access.

Very significantly for this article, the AGM agreed that Clarion magazine would no longer be issued. We now have a modern website and a Weekly News in its place and committee will be looking to use these to good effect to keep you up to date. Thanks to Vince for keeping Clarion running for the last couple of years and to Tim Evans who has now taken over the collation and publication of the Weekly News.

Many of you know that on medical advice Vince has needed to stop competing and now divides his time between Harrogate and Portugal. I’m pleased to say that he’s remaining as club secretary (the joys of internet) and hopes to remain very much involved with the club. Speaking of medical matters, I’m sorry to say that I’ve torn a rotator cuff muscle in my shoulder and I’m likely to need surgery. While I expect to be out as a volunteer on club events I’m afraid that I shan’t be back competing until at least Easter. At my age when I fall I don’t bounce, I break.