O Ringen Sweden 2014

My O-Ringen experience by William Thomas

I went to the 50th anniversary O-Ringen orienteering festival in Sweden and it was also Kate’s 50th birthday on the day we arrived. I went with my Dad on the ferry so we could take the car over from Harwich to Esjberg in Denmark and then drove across Denmark to pick up my brother Joe, Gabriella and Fay who had flown to Copenhagen. we drove to Kristianstad and met up with Kate, Daniel, Dafydd and Hannah. The campsite was really well organised and we were camped with mostly British Clubs. The campsite was like a town but with tents and caravans instead of houses. I made loads of new friends from MDOC, Yourkshire and Germany and we played one bounce and mob and cricket. The campsite is so big theres is an O-Ringen village in the middle with a huge cafe and orienteering shop. We had a buffet there on the last night. I liked the pytta panna which was squares of potato and onion and meat with olive salad, Joe liked the stew and lingonberry sauce. I bought some new O kit at the shop with the money I was given at the Ceredigion International Awards Ceremony for representing Wales in orienteering.

Day 1&2 were based near Vanga. My first run I was getting used to the detail in the map and had a better run on the next day. The forest was really well mapped with lots of walls, not much fight and very runnable, the stone walls were useful as long as you made sure which one you were on. I had a good run and I came 66th. Day 3 was in forested sand dunes by the beach and we had to catch buses from the parking to get there. it reminded me of Roseisle in the Scottish 6 days last year. My Dad and brother had to clear and then walk to their starts along the beach which was very crowded with orienteers swimming and sunbathing after their runs.  The busiest day had 22,000 competitors.  Each start was sponsored by a Swedish Company, mine was sponsored by ICA MAXI which was the big supermarket in Kristianstad. I had to look out for the ICA MAXI sign to find the right start and make sure I ran down the right lane at the finish as there were eight different lanes. On Day 4 I had to wake up at 5.30am because we had early starts with Fay starting first at 8.33. I liked running early because it was cooler. The forest was a long ridge and really rocky in places. There were shooting toweres in the forest which were really helpful to use for navigating It didnt rain all week and was 25-31 degrees everyday which was almost too hot when running but the afternoons were really good as we went to lots of lakes near the events to swim. The first one was my favourite because it was an old quarry where you could jump off the cliffs. The lakes were really warm. On the rest day we went to a lake at Imelm. It had three levels of diving boards so you could choose which one to go off. We swam across the lake to visit a summer house and had to dodge the boats and canoes on the way back. We turned up at one lake to find Thierry Georgiou, the orienteering god aka world champion and overall O-Ringen champion swimming in the lake, stretching and studying his map. On the last day I met him and he signed my map and bib. The last day was a chasing start and I started in 66th place out of 211 and caught up 8 people to finish in 58th place. It was my best run of the week because the very beechy forest was really open and runnable. I really enjoyed O-Ringen and hope I can come back again soon.

27th Aug 14  by Terry Smith