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Magnetic Fluctuation unsettles plans for JIRCs Relays 2019 at Tankersley (April Fools!)

Tuesday, 02 April 2019 11:22

Preparations for the JIRCs relay at Tankersley on the 29th September are well underway, but have been thrown into turmoil this week after officials encountered a rarely-witnessed phenomenon.

TankersIey is known for its infamous Bell Pits, but what is perhaps less well-known is that these were created as a result of Iron Ore mining, which took place there over hundreds of years until the 1800s. It appears that because of a combination of earth movements due to forestry works, and extreme temperature fluctuations (such as this spring) causing exfoliation, there has been a significant breakdown of the outer layers of the ancient mine workings, exposing much of the remaining iron ore deposits. The Environment Agency is aware, but have assured SYO that this poses no health risk for wildlife or other users of the area.

As a result of this, magnetic north has effectively changed. This phenomenon was discovered only a few weeks ago, and this is the first ever case recorded in orienteering history. The change has been calculated currently to be 104.19 degrees from grid north, but there are fears this figure will continue to fluctuate throughout the summer, depending upon climatic conditions.

Whilst other parts of the world, such as Australia, are more familiar with the effect of Iron Ore on compasses, there has never before been a reported problem in the UK.

A geology expert within SYO commented “Polar wander is always happening, but this far more significant… It’s similar to a total magnetic reversal, but this has never been seen on just a local level in the UK.”

It has been declared today in a statement that SYO will be “monitoring the situation closely, with hopes that the magnetic instability will settle as we move into Autumn, and that a reliable figure can be obtained”.

This clearly will have significant implications for the map of Tankersley. After careful consideration, three options as to how to overcome this issue have been put forward:

SYO are carefully considering the options as we speak (All maps © South Yorkshire Orienteers 2019)

The first is to superimpose north lines on competitors’ maps on the day of the competition. Due to the nature of waterproof paper, it has been suggested perhaps the best (and fairest) way to do this would be for athletes to draw their own north lines on the map in the start lanes – sharpies will be provided. However, this has a major impact on Tankersley’s all-important undergrowth screen, with lines running roughly perpendicular to the north lines, with huge potential for confusion.

The other option would be to establish an accurate reading for north as close to the competition date as possible, and then produce the map accordingly. But this would be a very time-consuming adjustment, potentially with just weeks to go until the competition, with significant work to undertake particularly on the area’s many bell-pit depressions & pits and the undergrowth (all of which are orientated to north on a map drawn to the ISOM 2017 standard).

It is also not clear how a re-orientated map would fit on a standard A4 page, and so to keep costs down for the event it may be that the scale will need to be altered – causing yet more work for the mapping team.

A third solution would be to re-calibrate competitors’ compasses on the day of the event. This technique has been trialled in Australia, and SILVA confirm that this causes no lasting damage to the compass. It is uncertain as to whether re-calibration complies with BOF rule 19.4.1

A final decision on re-mapping vs compass re-calibration is expected to be confirmed later in the season.

Competitors who have previously run on the area may be faced with significant navigation issues, with some suggesting it will change the ‘feel’ of navigating on the area.

Concorde Model Flying Club, based on a field adjacent to Tankersley Woods, has also been adversely affected, with club members forced to ground all planes due to magnetic interference with their radio signals.

The event organiser raised concerns just yesterday that the re-magnetism of the area could prevent the use of SIAC enabled controls for the forthcoming event, due to unknown inaccuracies. SportIdent UK are yet to comment.

SYO would like to take this opportunity to reassure juniors that the JIRCs Relays will nonetheless still go ahead, and that every effort is being made to overcome these technical difficulties.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do get in touch.

Convincing victory for SYO at the Compass Sport Cup Heat

Monday, 18 March 2019 10:12

Over 100 members of the club travelled to Sherwood Pines near Mansfield to take part in the Compass Sport Cup Heat. Thankfully the day was mostly dry and sunny and, in contrast to last weekend, there was very little mud to be found anywhere. Conditions were quick and many members raced round their courses in very swift times. 

SYO won convincingly by 97 points over DVO. We had 7 course winners - Oli, Al, Kim, Tim T, Paul B, Dom and Freya - who scored the maximum 100 points. Our other scorers were Chris W, Charlie, Jenny P, Peter G, Euan, Jill, Pete T, Imogen, Martin, Jaimie B, Amanda, Alex C, Olmo, Isabelle H, Lucy, Jenny J, Alex R & Michael. (Ian and Colin S also scored 95 points the same as our last scorer). Well done to everyone who took part, even if you didn't score, as you all helped push down the score of other  clubs.

The final is on 20th October at Pippingford Park near Crowborough in the deep south! Please put the date in your diaries - we need as many members as possible to attend so we can hold off BOK and FVO to retain our trophy!

Related: view SYO's CompassSport Cup history.

The Spring (!) in Sheffield Weekend

Sunday, 17 March 2019 19:27

Control in the sleet

The name “Spring in Sheffield” clearly sealed the fate of the weather last weekend – there was no way it was ever going to be anything other than grim! Future weekends will be called “Stormy Sheffield” or “Sheffield in the depths of Winter” and the weather will be glorious! However despite the rain, sleet, snow, hailstorms and mud SYO delivered two fantastic days of competition in two very different areas. The weekend also formed part of Sheffield City Council’s Festival of the Outdoors.

Junior on the urban race

Saturday's Ponderosa urban orienteering race offered fast and furious orienteering through intricate areas of social housing and inner city parkland. The races, which attracted close to 500 entrants,  were part of the UK orienteering league and the Elite orienteering league. There were many positive comments on Colin’s tricky courses. The inclement conditions meant participants and helpers alike were very appreciative of Bill’s indoor event centre and the “SYO Junior Café” proved very popular.


The Elites were first out into the terrain with a challenging sprint race and then it was the turn of the juniors, veterans and non-elites. The men’s elite race was won by Will Gardener (OD), Dom was the highest placed SYO runner in 20th place. The women’s elite race was won by Megan Carter-Davies (MWOC) with Mary the highest placed SYO female in 4th place. In the other classes there were good results for Peter G winning the ultra vet class and Lucy taking 3rd on women’s open. SYO showed the strength of their junior section with Euan winning the junior men’s race and Matthew taking 3rd place. In the young Junior races it was a clean sweep for SYO with Robbie, James & Joseph taking 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the young junior men and Freya, Anna & Charlotte finishing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the young junior girls.


Sunday saw the turn of the Northern Championships. The race, with close to 900 entrants, was again part of the UK and Elite orienteering leagues. We are sure everyone’s hearts sank as the sleet lashed down and they drove through the grotty industrial tracks to the swamp that constituted the assembly area. It was slightly unfortunate that the lovely tree-lined assembly had just been felled prior to the competition but, on the upside, at least the building of 800 houses had been delayed to the end of March! Fortunately helpers and participants made the best of the grim conditions and were surprisingly chipper as they went about their business.

A junior

Wharncliffe is incredibly physically and technically challenging and Oli and Jenny’s courses tested competitors to the limit. While the challenge of competing and volunteering affected many members’ results, there were still plenty of hardy SYOers that performed superby. Well done to the following:

W10A 1st Charlotte, 2nd Alice, 3rd Ella
W10B 1st Ellen
W12A 1st Freya, 3rd Anna
W14A 1st Imogen
W16B – 1st Hannah D
W18L – 1st Isobel
W35L – 2nd Rachael
W40S – 1st Susan
W45S – 1st Emily
W50L – 3rd Janet
W70L – 3rd Jill
M10A – 1st Maxwell, 3rd Lawrence
M12A – 1st James, 3rd Robbie
M12B – 1st Ben A
M16A – 3rd Euan
M16B – 1st Alfie
M40L – 1st Kim (not a mistake!)
M45L – 1st Pete T
M50L – 1st Dave P
M70L – 3rd Peter G
M75L – 1st Brian

A huge thank you to everyone who braving the horrendous conditions while helping over the weekend but particular thanks to Lucy, Bill, Oli, Jenny & Colin who fulfilled our major official roles. A big thank you also to the two controllers – Steve Kimberley and Andy Yeates.

Helpers at the start

Interland 2019

Saturday, 16 March 2019 09:43

Ryan Interland

Well done to 6 members of SYO who competed for England at the Interland competition in France on Sunday 10th March. The star performer was Ryan who won the M20 class. There were good results for the rest of the SYO contigent too. Well done to Nick B and Tim T who were 2nd in M40 & M50 respectively, Alex C who was 4th in W14 and Amanda who was 7th in W40. Jamie also took part as a travelling reserve.

Read this excellent report by Ryan in the Junior News section

English Interland Team

British Night Orienteering Champs 2019

Saturday, 09 March 2019 11:01

Amanda British Night champs

It was a very small band of dedicated orienteers that made their way from South Yorkshire to the British Night Champs in Scotland on Saturday 23rd February . The competition was held in the very technically challenging area of Muir of Dinnet on Deeside. There was just one SYO British Night Champion - huge congratulations to Amanda for winning W45L. Well done also to Martin and Charlie A who both picked up silver middles in M50L and M55L and Pete T who won bronze in M45L.

SYO retain the Robin Hood Trophy

Friday, 18 January 2019 16:39

Robin Hood Trophy winners

It was a great end to what has been a fantastic year for SYO with a victory in the Robin Hood inter-club competition at The Dukeries event in Nottinghamshire on Sunday 16th December. Results were incredibly close, with SYO equalling DVO on points, but with 7 class winners against DVO's 4, we took the win. Well done to everyone who competed, particularly the course winners: Robbie, Ryan, Nick L, Charlotte, Isabelle, Amanda and Judy.


2018 Club Champs, Christmas Curry & Annual Awards

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 21:12

The 2018 annual club champs were held in the gloriously Autumnal Ecclesall Woods on Saturday 8th December. There were 4 different mass start courses with butterfly loops to split the pack. 67 adults and older juniors set off in waves to complete the super challenging courses.

It was a good performance for the club’s females with them taking victory in 3 out of 4 courses - Course 1 was won by Charlotte, course 2 by Conrad, course 3 by Jenny P and course 4 by Cat.  However, once Peter G's fiendish handicapping system had been applied and the results from all courses amalgamated the club champs prizes went to Max (first male junior), Claudine (1st female junior), Cat (1st senior woman), Colin L (1st senior man), Tim T (1st vet man) and Jacky D (1st vet woman).

Once the more experienced orienteers were out on their courses, it was time for our younger juniors to get out on the yellow course. Lawrence flew round the course in 13.20 and fastest female was Margeux in 17.45. One year old Evie completed the course in 53.46! Later at the prize giving, all the yellow runners received a prize for taking part!

The yellow course runners

Post-race members adjourned to HSBC for a delicious Christmas Curry. Lunch was followed by the very brief AGM before it was time for the annual awards ceremony, which honoured our members' best achievements:

Winning Junior Relay Teams

Best male performance at the CSC: Dave P
Best female performance at the CSC: Imogen
Best YBT performance: Charlotte
Best Junior Relay Team: JK mini – Freya, James & Robbie plus JK junior – Euan, Conrad & Sam

M40 winning relay team

Best Senior Relay Team: M40s – Pete T, Andy, Nick B & Oli
Best Individual Junior Relay Performance: Oscar
Best individual Senior Relay Performance: Kim
Best Male Junior at the British Schools: Jamie
Best Female Junior at the British Schools: Ella
Best Male Junior Performances: Robbie & Euan
Best Female Junior Performances: Freya & Anna
Best Overseas Performance: Cat
Best Senior Male Performances: Andy
Best Senior Female Performances: Amanda
Best Veteran Male Performances: Martin
Best Veteran Female Performances: Jenny P
Most improved junior: Conrad
Most improved senior: Simon H
Best performance in the UKOL: Peter G
Wooden Spoon Award: Lorraine!

Most Improved Junior

The final part of the day concentrated on thanking the club's volunteers for the hundreds of hours they dedicate to orienteering. All the major officials and coaches received a small prize and the club's mappers (Ian, Pete T, Peter G and Charles) were presented with a framed copy of their maps. Nick L and Kim were thanked for their coaching commitment to club night and were presented with a small award. The Junior volunteer of the year award went to Dom, while  Jacky D won 'Senior Volunteer of the year' for organising the Peter Palmer relays, regularly coaching at training sessions and club night, keeping tabs on everything to do with membership as membership secretary and organising the hordes of juniors into competing at junior competitions in her role as SYO junior club captain.

Senior Volunteer of the Year

Charles was awarded the trophy for the 'outstanding contribution to orienteering’ for his long term services in mapping to the club alongside the many roles he has fulfilled as planner and controller. Finally thanks were given to the planning and organising team of Kris, Peter, Louise and Lynden for the fabulous job on this year’s club champs.

World Schools Orienteering Championships

Friday, 23 November 2018 15:07

BSOC logo

Congratulations to all the SYO juniors selected to represent England at the World Schools Orienteering Championships, which will take place in Estonia in May 2019. The boys from High Storrs (Jamie, Olmo, Euan, Alfie, Benjamin & Dylan) have been selected as the English Schools Junior Boys' team whilst Dom, Alex E, Isabelle H, Sam C, Max, Imogen and Alex C will be part of the English Select Teams.

Medals galore at the British Schools Champs

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 15:01

2018 11 18 14 34 10 I5D 5730

Wow – what a day!  Over 100 Sheffield School pupils travelled to Witton Country Park on Sunday 17th November and took 31 podium positions across the whole school, team and individual competitions at the British Schools Champs!

In the whole school competitions there were 4 podium positions for Sheffield Schools. In the primary category Nether Green and Hunters Bar scored the same number of points but Nether Green took the trophy on a count back to the 5th runner, knocking Hunters Bar down into 2nd place. In the Large Secondary category High Storrs took 3rd behind Ulverston and Cockermouth, knocking Torquay Boys Grammar down into 4th. In the small secondary category Birkdale picked up 3rd spot.

There were also plenty of medals and sweets in the age class team competitions with Hunters Bar, Nether Green, High Storrs, Sheffield High School, Notre Dame and Tapton all gaining podium positions.

In the Individual categories there was plenty of success for SYO members; well done to:

G5 1st Ella, 2nd Charlotte, 3rd Alice
B5 2nd Lawrence
G6 1st Anna, 2nd Sofia
B6 2nd Robbie
G7 1st Freya
G8 2nd Imogen
B8 1st Jamie, 3rd Conrad
B9 1st Euan
G11 3rd Alex E
B13 2nd Ryan

Check out the SYO facebook for photos of the day. Next year’s British Schools Champs will be held on Sunday 17th November in the South Central region. 

SYO win the Compass Sport Cup

Saturday, 17 November 2018 17:23

The winning SYO Team

Late on the Saturday afternoon before the final a DVO Facebook post popped up predicting a win for SYO. Not convinced, I questioned this prediction but the source was adamant, SYO would win based on analysis of the ranking points and the strength of our juniors. I started to believe the unlikely…..just maybe we could reclaim the trophy after 6 years away from the top spot?!

ColinBronwenA junior map reading

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny and it was an optimistic team of 90 members that set off from Sheffield to Haywood Warren at the northern end of Cannock Chase. Early finishers reported challenging courses on the classic spur /re-entrant terrain with the remnants of the summer vegetation causing some long times. As our later starters returned course times speeded up, thanks to the elephant tracks created by the early trailblazers and SYO were starting to record some good finishing positions. Scores were incredibly tight over the final hour with the top 3 spots changing by the minute. Eventually though the final scores were confirmed; SYO were in first place with a score of 2354, 21 points clear of FVO in 2nd and 42 points ahead of last year’s winners BOK.

AmandaA junior runningBrian

Well done to our top 25 counters, which included 3 course winners in Euan, Imogen and Dave (100) and also Kim (99), Martin (98), Jenny P (98), Peter G (98), Nick B (98), Amanda (97), Freya (96), Andy P (96), Laura (96), Dom (94), Max (94), Mary (94), Pete T (94), Ian (92), Charlie A (92), Paul B (91), Lucy (90), Alex E (90), Colin S (90), Ryan (88), Brian (88), Michael (84). However, it isn’t just about the counters as absolutely everyone plays a part in pushing down the scores of other clubs. Having a huge team of 90 people was a massive part of our success so well done everyone.


Special mention should go to Sam C, Richard and Paul T who despite scores above 84 didn’t count as we had reached the maximum number of scorers allowed on their courses. It was also fabulous to see no less than 6 M/W10s (Oscar, Caspar, Alice, Charlotte, Ella & Anna) running on the orange course, which bodes well for the future.

In the Golden Boot fastest run in competition new member Tom E was the fastest SYO member in 31 seconds. Top veterans were Simon H and Martin and fastest junior was Dom; all in a time of 34 seconds. Fastest SYO female was Imogen in 36 seconds.

Junior OrienteeringIanPeter G

Post event Peter Gorvett analysed the results to understand why we won this year. His conclusion was that compared to last year, on the whole, those that ran both years performed roughly the same so victory was down to the addition of lots of extra runners this year. This means it’s vital that you all run again at next year’s final so we can retain the trophy – it’s at Pippingford Park (part of the Ashdown Forest) near Gatwick on 20th October 2019. Please put the date in your diary…..