Recently, the grounds of the Windermere School ‘s Elleray Campus were transformed into a challenging orienteering course, as over two-hundred pupils and staff from schools across the South Lakes took part in the School’s inaugural Inter-Schools’ Junior Orienteering Event.
Pupils from Elleray, St. Oswalds, St. Marks, Staveley and Levens were allocated time slots ranging from 11.00am to 2.30pm, as they set about testing their map-reading and cross-country running skills.
As this was a new event, two separate courses were set up. The ‘Star Course’ was the beginners’ course, designed to give those who had little, or no, experience in orienteering the opportunity to get to grips with the basics of the sport. For many, it was simply a stepping stone to the more intricate ‘Map Course’, where pupils ventured solo into the extended Elleray grounds, as they searched for seventeen different stations.
Despite the drizzly conditions, the pupils threw themselves into the challenge. Armed with maps and electronic finger devices, for recording their arrival time at each station, as well as their overall course time, the pupils were given approximately three-quarters of an hour to find as many of the seventeen stations as possible. The course proved to be a tough one as pupils ran up and down several steep hills, negotiating wooded areas, gates and muddy fields, with only a map as guidance. However, they returned to the main marquee with smiles on their faces, eager to share their experiences with their friends.
On their return, each pupil was rewarded with a drink and a snack, as well as printed copy of their exploits – their arrival time at each checkpoint, as well as their overall time. For many, this was their first taste of orienteering, but the event was a huge success and one which Mrs Whitehead, Head of Physical Education at Elleray, hopes to repeat;
“The children have had a fantastic time taking part in today’s orienteering challenge. It is a tough course, but they’ve navigated it well and many of them have found most of the seventeen stations.
“A huge thank you must go to Mr Reedy for organising the course, as well as for providing instructions for the pupils and for helping them to evaluate their success rate. This was the first year we’ve hosted an Orienteering Challenge, but it’s been a great success and hopefully we can host it again in the years to come.”
Mrs Whitehead’s sentiments were echoed by Kirsten Hardy from St. Marks CE Primary School, who said; “We attended the event with twenty-seven children from Year 6 who chose to do the longer route. They had a fantastic time and our staff were very impressed at how organised and well run the orienteering was. Thank you so much for an excellent event and we would love to do it again please.”
Rachael Thomas, Head of the Elleray Campus at Windermere School, also asked for special thanks to be passed on to all those involved in the event. The grounds staff, the catering team, the first aiders and the marshals – their involvement was invaluable in making this event such a huge success.