Welcome to the Cambridge University Orienteering Club (CUOC) website.
If you're looking for a list of upcoming training sessions and races - see the calendar. Beginners always welcome.
For more information about the sport and the club see the about section or email the captain with any questions.
CUOC is delighted to announce that entries are now open for the Cambridge City Race on Saturday 30th October 2021. We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge for the seventh edition of our Urban Race around one of the most famous city centres in the country.
Entries are available here through the SIentries website.
More details are available on the event page
Thetford forest has been much maligned by CUOCers over the years. This article will extend that rich heritage. Common descriptions of the forest include "substandard, "sordid", and "soul-destroying". And that's just the PC section of the adjectives listed under "S". Nonetheless, there's sod all else to do, so we went there to get better at the thing that we do. Fortunately, it was a beautiful spring day in East Anglia, sun beaming but not unpleasantly hot, so spirits were high as Luke, Aidan and James set off from the car, which had been parked in the wrong place thanks to the same navigational skills that were about to get savagely exposed.
Luke had planned 4 'short' (this turned out to be a barefaced lie) loops, starting from the furthest possible corner of the forest from where we had parked. This actually wasn't as bad of an idea as it sounds, because it meant we only had to go through the forest one way. Many controls were found, many more were missed, but as is the beauty of flag-free training, several mispunches were left entirely unidentified until the post-training analysis. Most of these disqualifying offences were provided by James, who thought he was orienteering okay, but wasn't. Aidan meanwhile was having a somewhat more competent time of it, although also MP'd at least once, while Luke split the difference in ability, placing him at a solid 4/10.
Everyone spent a lot of time faffing around in the vague, vapid white forest, with a few moments' respite in the vile green (that's the "V" section). So much time was lost to mistakes and mispunches that the map apparently got further and further out of date as the training proceeded, with the initial "oh where's that path gone?" developing into more complex cartographical discrepancies, like "oh where's that entire block of forest gone?" and, by then final loop "oh, why is that formerly runnable forest now the arboreal equivalent of a concrete wall?". The indisputable highlight of the map, however, was saved for near the end. A single holly bush of relatively unremarkable stature, but mapped as a distinctive tree, in a clearing, surrounded by a different colour of forest, with a distinctive vegetation boundary around it. Thetfore is bare of features, but that's a whole new level of excitement. On arrival, Aidan expressed his desire to hire that bush's hypeman, while James asked "is this the right place?", and Luke said nothing, because he hadn't caught up yet.
By the end, much knowledge had been acquired by all, although mostly about Aidan's suboptimal nutritional state. Discovering a rather bored housemate back at the car, we made a hasty retreat to the comfort of Cambridge. Unfortunately, though, not before it was insisted upon that photographic documentation be made of the matching, and frankly unacceptable, new CUOC shirts. Such evidence is, against my better judgement, presented adjacently. We're sorry.
This weekend marked the first orienteering action by current CUOC members (as far as I know) for *checks notes* a very long time.
On Saturday, Nottingham beckoned. Ranking among the top 7 nondescript midlands cities, Nottingham impressed with it's railway station architecture and multi-modal public transport system. Aidan took the tram because he likes that sort of thing, while James had brought his bike all the way from Cambridge in a moment of inspired penny-pinching. In spite of it's infrastructural diversity, Nottingham's cycle paths proved the faster route to the area - Clifton campus. On arrival, we both remarked on the same start list we had been gawping at all week, in much the same manner. Still stacked. Yikes. The race itself was a technical campus sprint - nothing impossible, but plenty of finicky routechoices and chances to throw away tens of seconds. In the end, Aidan came 8th in 15:30, with James 49 seconds and two places back. On the way back, James snuck onto an early train for which he didn't have a bike booking, but managed to evade the watchful eye of any veloskeptic train guards. Aidan, for once, was slower, but as far as I know also made it home uneventfully.
On Sunday, TVOC put on an ewent at Bradenham, site of BUCS individual 2018, where then-captain Fiona Bunn had taken a handy silver in CUOC colours. As it turns out, Fiona is something of a local celebrity in the South Central region, appearing not once, not twice, but (at least) six times on the junior squad poster hung proudly in the assembly area. We are assured that SCJS has some other notable alumni, maybe they're just photo shy?
Today's CUOC representation was somewhat less decorated on the international (okay and national... and regional... and local) stage than it had been 3 years earlier. But James and Luke had high hopes for a post-lockdown renaissance of orienteering ability. They were wrong. James was dispossessed of his clean run on the way to the first control, drifting right through some surprisingly unpleasant skog to lose a minute or so. Luke is twice as good at orienteering as James, so he [CENSORED] it up at number two instead. Little joy was to be found for either from then on, each limping home far from gruntled to finish 12th and 7th respectively. A rather quiet drive home followed, punctuated briefly by a further navigational blunder on the M25, leading to a quick visit to Hemel Hempstead (birthplace of Harry Winks, don't you know) before the mournful silence could resume.
The return of orienteering is of course welcome, but CUOC are especially encouraged by the familiar embrace of bang average runs all round, and look forward to continuing in this vein throughout the delayed season.
Older news is available on the news page