2023 Autumn shenanigans and selections announced for Scottish Juniors

Autumn is a busy time for the Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad (ScotJOS) as we bid farewell to those heading off to University, welcome in the new squad and compete at the Junior Home Internationals (JHIs) and Junior Inter Regional Championships (JIRCs). With the JIRCs in Wales and 2 weeks later the JHIs in Birmingham –  the Scots were on tour.  Read on to catch up with all the ScotJOS news …

Junior Inter Regional Championships

The Junior Inter-Regional Championships were held in South Wales at the end of September. This sees teams of juniors from all 12 British Orienteering regions compete against each other with individual races on the Saturday and relays on the Sunday – and lots of time for fun and games in between.

Junior Inter-Regional Team

To make the loooong journey more bearable for the juniors (and accompanying adults!), they set off by coach on the Friday afternoon with an overnight stop in Birmingham planned. In the spirit of the event we even allowed a few North West, Yorkshire and Irish juniors to join us on the coach as they were now based in Scotland.  With lots of quizzes and singing (and food!) to keep us going we arrived in Wales in good spirits to some lovely sunshine.

The Individuals were held at Kenfig Burrows – a complex area of sand dunes on the South coast. After the application of the necessary war paint (and the adults attempts to build a  better flag pole than the Welsh team’s)  there was time to meet up with friends, play some football – oh and do some orienteering! 

The team all performed fantastically with Scotland securing a strong lead (27 points) over the other teams. There were medals for Douglas MacDonald (INVOC) who was 1st in M14, Laurence Ward (INT) 3rd in M16, James Hammond (FVO) 1st in M18, Ruth Gooch (MAROC) 1st in W16, Emily Atkinson (ELO) 3rd in W16, Isobel Howard (MOR) 2nd in W18 and Daisy McNamara (AYROC) 3rd in W18. Ruth Gooch also won the award for Best Individual Performance thanks to an impressive four and half minute lead on the W16 course. 

Ruth winning the Best Individual Performance Trophy

The teams all retired to Rougemont School in Newport for the evening for food, football, prize giving, more quizzes, a quick moonlit Strip the Willow and then bed on the gym hall and dining room floors. 

The weather changed for the Sunday and we set off in the rain for Llantrisant forest for the relays.  This was a steep wooded hillside crossed by forestry tracks, and mountain bike trails. The arena was towards the top of the area and there was lots of climb in all the courses. The woodland was also very “green” in places.

The boys relay set off, followed by the girls to lots of noise. The teams run with a 16, then a 14 and finally an 18 on the last leg. A run through mid-course gave us a chance to cheer on further before we waited expectantly for them to appear back out the forest and run up the track to the handover area. The Scottish teams set off strongly with our juniors leading the packs but then the dreaded miss punches of relays started to appear. With the two hotly tipped men’s teams (Scotland 1 and South Central 1) disqualified, the race was open. The Scotland 2 team of Finn Duguid, Calum Robertson and Adam Barrie successfully brought the win home for Scotland.  In the girls race Daisy McNamara had an excellent 3rd leg  overtaking several teams to return first only to discover their team was disqualified due to an earlier miss punch. However Scotland 1 returned next picking up Gold for Ruth Gooch, Esme Kelly and Isobel Howard.

Winning boys and girls relay teams

Overall Yorkshire and Humberside took the win the relays with 261 points with Scotland 2nd on 258 points. However with the strong win on the individuals, Scotland retained the Junior Inter-Regional Championship trophy. As well as the trophy’s for the men’s overall and women’s overall.

A tired but victorious group of juniors boarded the coach for the loooooong trip back North.

Huge thanks to Swansea Bay Orienteering Club for organising the event. For a small club to put on both the individual and relay events was very impressive. The juniors were delighted to see Megan Carter-Davies and Ben Mitchell running the computing – it’s not often you turn up at an event to have a current World Champion running the download! 

Full results for both races and the points are available at https://www.sboc.org.uk/results

Two weeks later the juniors hit the road again to head to Birmingham for the Junior Home Internationals. Armed with more quizzes for the journey and plenty of food we headed south by coach again, picking up some of the English team from the Lakes on the way.  We did draw the line at them trying to display the St George’s Cross on our bus though!

Both days of the competition were held at Sutton Park in Birmingham, with the juniors staying overnight at Beaudesert Scout Camp. Whilst Scotland was battered by rain, we headed to Sutton Park in glorious sunshine ready to take on the other nations.  With face paint applied the juniors headed to the start whilst the adults waited for them to appear at the spectator control and bemoaned the fact they had forgotten the binoculars again as they tried to identify who was approaching! There was a lot of fast running on paths but lots of vegetation to catch out the unsuspecting. Although the running was fast, mistakes were costly with relocation difficult.

Junior Home Internationals

The team all performed fantastically with Scotland scoring 72 points – only 5 points behind England. There were medals for Douglas MacDonald (INVOC) who was 1st in M14, Finn Duguid (TAY) 2nd on M16, James Hammond (FVO) 1st on M18, Adam Barrie (MAR) 2nd on M18, Lucy Ward (INT) 3rd on W14,   Isobel Howard (MOR) 2nd in W18 and Iris Macmillan (ECKO) 3rd in W18.

It was then time to head back to Beaudesert, with an ice-cream stop on the way, for more fun and games in the sunshine. The weather was so pleasant that the evening’s ceilidh was held outdoors in part of the walled garden illuminated with floodlights. Although not traditional Scottish dancing, we were treated to a hilarious mix of fun dances which everyone managed to find the energy to join in with.

On Sunday – after a slightly belated start due to mechanical problems with the coach door we headed to the southern part of Sutton Park for the relays. The girls headed off first with the boys start 10 minutes later. From the start they disappeared straight into the undergrowth and we were left with an anxious wait for the 1st runners to appear at the spectator control.

Finn Duguid had a great 1st leg for the boys returning in 1st position, and handing over to Douglas. Rory Black then appeared chasing the England’s Tommy Rollins. The English however overtook on the 2nd leg and James Hammond fought hard on the final leg to take the silver for the Scotland 1 team. The Scotland 2 team of Finlay McLuckie, Calum Robertson and Adam Barrie finished in 5th place.

The W16 and W18 1st Leg Juniors

Finn Duguid had a great 1st leg for the boys returning in 1st position, and handing over to Douglas. Rory Black then appeared chasing the England’s Tommy Rollins. The English however overtook on the 2nd leg and James Hammond fought hard on the final leg to take the silver for the Scotland 1 team. The Scotland 2 team of Finlay McLuckie, Calum Robertson and Adam Barrie finished in 5th place.

The W14 and M14 second leg runners
The W18 and M18 3rd leg runners

In the girls relay Ruth Gooch had a strong 1st leg handing over to Esme Kelly in 2nd place. Isobel Howard then set off on third leg with a mission to catch the English runners, but was thwarted by some badly behaved dogs who made access to one control difficult. However, the Scots 1st team still finished in 4th place, with the team of Ellie Darlow, Eilidh Connor and Daisy McNamara in 5th.

The final scores for the relays were England 58 points and Scotland 46 points, meaning that England took the victory in the Junior Home Internationals. Congratulations to England.

A special mention to Ruari Cottier who brought his bagpipes and piped back all the final leg Scottish runners, helping to give them the energy for the final sprint to the finish.  We may not have won the JHIs but Scotland certainly won on team spirit and determination. Well done to a great team. Full results for both races and the points are available at https://wmoa.org.uk/wp/junior-home-internationals-6th-8th-october-2023/

Selections for ScotJOS 2023/24

With the 2nd year 18’s heading off to University, the new squad for 2023/24 has been selected. Congratulations to everyone selected – we hope that you will make the most of the opportunity to improve your orienteering whilst having lots of fun on the way. There are 6 camps planned throughout the year, as well as a summer tour to Scandinavia to look forward to.

Congratulations to the following juniors:-

Alexander HuntFVOLucy WardINT
Angus LairdINVOCMaja RobertsonESOC
Anna HowardMORMatthew InmanFVO
Calum RobertsonESOCMegan BrownESOC
Charlotte BurtonINVOCMichael BishendenMOR
Douglas McDonaldINVOCPeter OwenFVO
Eilidh ConnorFVOFinn Selmer DuguidTAY
Ellie DarlowRRRebecca HammondFVO
Emily AtkinsonELORona LairdINVOC
Esme KellyFVORory BlackINVOC
Finlay CottierECKORosie McNamaraAYROC
Finlay McLuckieMORRuari CottierECKO
Hazel CloadINVOCRuth GoochMAR
Henrik BorrowmanINVOCSam HuntFVO
Iona ScottINVOCScarlett BritainMOR
James HammondFVOScarlett KellyFVO
Kate McLuckieMORSophie HowardMOR
Katie HensmanFVOYann NeweyMAR
Laurence WardINT 

Selection for Talent Scotland

In addition to the Scottish Junior Squad there is also the British Orienteering Talent Scotland Squad, which in conjunction with Talent North and Talent South from the tier 3 of the British Orienteering Performance Pathway.  ScotJOS aims to provide a friendly supportive team in which to develop as an orienteer, with the Talent Squad helping the juniors to develop towards being an elite athlete. With a stronger focus on athlete development, it works with a subset of the ScotJOS juniors, providing additional Sports Science and Race Preparation camps as well as a series of online workshops.

Congratulations to the following juniors who were selected to be part of Talent Scotland for 2023/24

Angus LairdINVOC
Ellie DarlowRR
Emily AtkinsonELO
Finlay McLuckieMOR
Iona ScottINVOC
James HammondFVO
Kate McLuckieMOR
Laurence WardINT
Maja RobertsonESOC
Michael BishendenMOR
Finn Selmer DuguidTAY
Rebecca HammondFVO
Rory BlackINVOC
Ruari CottierECKO
Ruth GoochMAR
Sam HuntFVO
Scarlett KellyFVO
Sophie HowardMOR
Yann NeweyMAR

Thank You

Finally a huge thank you to everyone who helps support the Scottish Juniors – parents, clubs, coaches, cake buyers! –  we couldn’t do it without all your support.

In particular a huge thank you to Marjorie Mason from MAROC who has been the ScotJOS treasurer for the past 10 years, and does the most amazingly efficient job to support the ScotJOS team. She has however decided that it is time for her to move on and we are seeking a new treasurer. Marjorie had kindly offered to shadow them for the 1st year to help settle into the role. If you feel this role could be for you, please get in touch. 

If anyone is interested in helping ScotJOS but feel that accounting isn’t for them, there are lots of ways to be involved – planning exercises, coaching in the forest, hanging controls, shadowing, cooking, driving, herding, ordering kit, organising fundraising. If you would like to volunteer or find out more please get in touch with Judy at scotjos@scottish-orienteering.org.