Louis in Stockholm
Louis MacMillan was chosen by British Orienteering to attend a two week orienteering tour to Sweden this summer. This is his report.
This August I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to spend two weeks on the Junior Regional Orienteering Squad’s tour to Stockholm. Myself and twenty other 17 year olds from around Britain stayed in the OK Ravinen club hut, which was only 20 minutes south of the city, but still surrounded by lush forest.
We became members of the club while we were there so they could enter us into several races. Our first competition was Sweden’s version of the JK; a weekend held within sight of the country’s biggest airport. On our warm down we jogged 500m to the runway to watch planes landing. Still, the forest was lovely with dry marshes and rocky ground. However it was super vague, and the fact they used 2.5m contours and there were no hills didn’t work in my favour. Hitchhiking back with some Swedes, we were told that it was the same sort of terrain for O-ringen next year, which will make it interesting.
One of the highlights of the trip was taking the boat out west from Sweden to a wee island called Rånö, in the Swedish Archipelago. They had a small event there on a new map with big open rocky hilltops that went all the way down to the sea. They called it a ‘virgin area’ and apparently there were moose running about the place. Although the area was very detailed it was impossible to relocate if you got lost and there was a few of us, myself included, who took a while out there. But on the upside, there are definitely worse places to get lost in than a wild island forest.
For a few days of training we were joined by Ruslan Glebov, a Ukrainian o-star who was fresh from a 5th place in the WOC long. I took the opportunity to get shadowed by him on one of the local races. I managed to not embarrass myself too much and only made a few mistakes, but he still grilled me on my errors. He gave me good advice on reading fine detail and staying on top of everything to avoid getting lost. I redeemed myself later on back at the club but by getting the pipes out and playing a few tunes for him and Gustav Bergman who both seemed to enjoy it.
We also experienced a really cool race format: a two man sprint relay, set on a small hill. I went in a team with my friend Fin, but rather than just running one leg each we had to do 3x 1km courses, so there were 6 legs in total. There were 200 people out there so it turned into chaos pretty quickly, but it was good fun.
Aside from the orienteering, we swam in Swedish lakes, saw the sights of Stockholm, and even got to see a Bastille gig in a theme park.
All in all it was a fantastic trip, an opportunity that I’m really grateful for, and I’d like to thank EckO for helping me fund it. I’ve taken lots away from it and will try and use the advice I got to keep improving into the future.