Monday, April 30, 2018

Day 10 South African Youth Tour (final day)

Our final morning! A mad dash around to clean the clubhouse and then we popped across the road to do a quick race on a micro o map. Starting ordered was decided via Ching Chong Cha, and then some chaos ensured as some teams had chosen the same objects to put out in the KEPS-OL style race. Carl also nearly dropped his cellphone (the timer) as people rushed to be clocked in) All were rewarded with our final Swedish pastry

In closing, we asked our squad members to give a response to the following three questions.
1. Memorable moment
2. Favourite area/ map
3. Orienteering lesson/ what you learnt


My most memorable moment was probably when I had to start the youth relay with another 330 people. I can describe it as being very overwhelming and stressful with that many people going pretty fast.
My favorite map/area was the short open black course at the 10mila because I actually understood the contours!

I mainly focused on identifying features and contours. I think I am now much better at doing that, so we'll have to see if it is really easier in South Africa like everyone says


My most memorable moment was playing ultimate frisbee together until the sunset and listening to music.

My favorite map was when we did the Tuesday technical training with OK Ravinen. I really enjoyed that course because it went very smoothly for me. The terrain was very beautiful and I saw lots of deer.

I focused mainly on compass work and learnt how to use exit angles and attack point properly and how to visualize the features on the map.


A few of my memorable moments were the first time we did a course which was for under 12's and how different everything was. We all struggled a lot but as the days and trainings went on it became easier and easier. Another memorable moment was that big bird that always came to visit us that was so tame we could pat it. Finally I will never forget the huge drop from the highest ride at the amusement park.

My favorite map and area was when we went to go train with the gymnasium school (this is club the same place Paul cut his leg). The terrain was awesome and I had a really good run.

I think one of my main lessons I learnt was using contours more as a guide and the fact that you don't have to know exactly where you are 100% of the time because it wastes a lot of time. As long as you have a good compass bearing and a few collecting features you can trust your skills, but never be afraid to admit to yourself that you lost.


I really loved going to the science fiction shop. It had all my favourite things in one place! I wish that we could have spent more time there and I wish I had more money to spend in the shop.

I loved the 10mila area. It was a map where I had very good map contact  I only ever lost contact a few times in the circle but then you  had all the people around to show you the way in.

I had lots of practice with my contour work. I also got to work on orienteering at speed in complex areas.


I liked helping with the luffarligan event, making the food and the orienteering was also fun.  The theme park: I tried some rides that I usually would not and it turned out that i enjoyed it more. I also liked the micro orienteering as it is something different to what we are used to. Another memorable moment was the 10Mila as it was the biggest event I have been to before and it was good fun watching it.

My favorite map was the map we did the relocation on  just next to the clubhouse as it was quite technical but I was able to orienteer relatively accurate. Although some of the paths were confusing it was good training to try and ignore insignificant paths and elephant tracks. It tested our ability to read contours and other earth features.

I learned a lot about contours and feel much more confident navigating in this complex terrain. I learned to look at smaller features on the map as it helps a lot to keep you on track. I also learned to simplify long legs in technical terrain in between controls, breaking the long legs up by using collecting or ticking off features.


Asking me to choose a favorite moment of the trip is like asking my to choose between peanut butter and jelly, you just can't. There were so many moments that were funny, educational, heartwarming and yes memorable. Seeing the Swedish stranger's reactions to our friendly South African behavior, countless funny moments and jokes that were made, running in the 10mila and many more.

Running in Swedish forests is by far a lot more challenging than what we're used to in SA. That being said, running through the architecturally gorgeous old cobble stone streets was easy, fast running and a hell load of fun. This is why Thursday's map in the old part of Stockholm called Gamla Stan was by far my favorite map of the trip.

Again countless to choose from. Basically everything. Not sure about the others, but I had to teach myself from scratch how to orienteer. It was especially tough to accept that I am not as good an orienteer as I thought I was. If I had to choose from one of the simpler one phrase answers it would have to be learning to read the contours. Understanding that contours are what actually make up a orienteering map and not rocky ground and vegetation. 

Sarah E

This is quite hard to choose as I have had so many memorable moments, but I think one of my favorite memories will be running down the ramp at the end of my 10 Mila relay leg. You are sprinting into a stadium filled with hundreds of people and it was really amazing and reflects how big orienteering is as a sport in Sweden and the rest of Europe.

My favorite area was probably where we did the 4,7km black open event for 10 Mila as it was technical but at the same time I was able to see the contours easily and take bearings and use offensive orienteering techniques easily.

I improved my offensive orienteering techniques and started visualizing the control circle a lot better. Both of these techniques helped me for the last few events especially the more technical 10 Mila courses.  

Sarah W

My most memorable moment was the 10mila event. It was huge and very nerve racking, but I actually got to run in it. This was a once in a life time opportunity and was definitely worth it.
My favourite area was the event we did on the Monday with the gymnasium. I loved the forests and I also had a very good run.

The thing that I have learnt is distance judging. I hardly used it before, because the forests in South Africa are so simple, but it was very important for me in Sweden. 


One memorable moment will definitely be the 10 Mila event. It is one of the biggest orienteering relay events in the world, was totally something new to me, and different experience than that i am used to.

My Favorite map will be the 10 Mila 4,7km black course, because its was quite technical but was also fun to run and challenge yourself.

I have learnt that the forests in Sweden are more difficult and challenging than in SA, but i have learnt how to use contours and attack points to find my way.


When it started raining with a bolt of lightning ‘(in the far distance) and the OK Ravinen Thursday club practice and then, to make it worse it started hailing. Yet everyone just carried on running and finished their courses. This shows everyone’s commitment to Orienteering.

Gamla Stan aka the old town was an awesome experience as you ran through the history of Sweden and got to see the old-fashioned building styles

I learnt that Sweden has a next level of difficulty in terms of forest. I started to read contours better and to visualize where I was. As a result the Swedish forest became easier to navigate in.

Our thanks go to our gracious host, Nick Barrable and to OK Ravinen, for opening up their facilities to us and including us in their various orienteering activities.



Day 9 South African Youth Squad

Sunday finally came, a day where we could just relax and have fun. After having a little bit of a lie in, we got ready and took the 401 to Slussen. This time, however we walked over the bridge to Gamla Stan and then caught a ferry across the water to the amusement park, Gronalund.
Everyone was so excited and once we had bought tickets, we split into two groups. I was with Ryno, Luan, Heather, Sarah, Carla, Carl, Tania and Paul. Dylan, Tristan, Tinus and Cameron went off on their own mission.
 The first ride we did was a purple rollercoaster with spiraled up vertically. None of us had ever seen a ride like it before and there was much anticipation. The ride was a hit and we rode it twice.
We then went to the fun house, which was filled with many laughs as we made our way round a house filled with illusions. It  ended with a ride on a carpet down a tunnel. After that, the group went on Ikaros, which is a ride that drops you face first 95m down. Luan, Sarah and I did not do that one, so we went around the fun house again.
Tania then called us back and we all rode the Katapulten, which is similar to the tower of terror at Disney. You go up and down a 55m tall tower and then at the end you wait 15 seconds at the top and get plunged back down.
After that we went to the tallest swings in the world. Going up 120m high, it was terrifying at first, but it was so cool. It was also freezing cold, but luckily, I had my gloves.
 We tried the blue rollercoaster next called Jetline, this was another favourite and we came back and did it again later. We also did a wooden rollercoaster, which was a bit terrifying as it did not sound very safe as we were going around.  We stopped for donuts and a cup of coffee and then went straight back to the rides.

After that we did the Ghost train. This went around showing spooky images and models and also had chairs that poked you in the back. Everyone thought that the person behind then was poking them. Pop expression, another fan favourite. This was a ride similar to the teacups, but way cooler. Carla and I were dancing to the avicci music booming around the ride. We then did the magic carpet ride (similar to the boat ride) which looks so calm when you watch it, but was so painful, because when you when from one side to the other you got flung forward and backwards, bruising your ribs and back. After all of these rides we started making our way back to Tania to have lunch.
There we met up with the boys and decided that we would all go do the bumper cars together. They were so much fun, especially because if you turned the steering wheel lots, then you would start reversing. Half the time, I had no idea what I was doing. 
 We had 20 minutes until the ferry back home and decided that we would do one last ride on the purple rollercoaster. When we got there we ad to wait in a queue for 15 minutes and so afterwards we had to run to the ferry. Once we had regained our breaths, we could relax and enjoy the ride home. On our return we had some fun tour award, the funniest being awarded Dylan- something to beef up his Ninja outfit (from the KEPS -OL) and also to help him improve his cooking.
We had some delicious pork chops with stir fry and noodles for dinner made by Tristan and Heather. Finishing it off with a chocolate pudding made by me (which totally failed as I have never done it before.) All in all, the day was filled with many laughs and friendships were strengthened.

Written by Sarah Wimberley

Day 8 South African Youth Squad (TioMila-part 2)

The other half of us had a late start as our races were later on in the day. We dashed off the public transport again to get to our long walk to get to the TioMila event. When we got there, there were already a lot of people everywhere from runners to supporters. Over 6500 athletes took part in the 3 different relays (youth, women and men). We finally found the OK Ravinen tent where we kept all our bags. The people who didn't participate in the Relay got ready to run the open courses on the day. People not running could watch the relays on a huge screen, with a live camera and maps of the runners route choices. The screen was over the finish so you could see peoples sprint finish.

(Sarah running in a 'pair' with her OK Ravinen team-an interesting/ fun concept)

(being spectators before/ after running)

Christie, Tania, Heather and Sarah E participated in the Women's relay and found it very tough, including the long wait in the cold for the handover from their team mates. Christie and Tania ended up doing the 7pm mass start, which they told us was crazy running, with so many people out in the course causing traffic jams, lots of confusing forking and muddy elephant tracks getting deeper and even more dangerous. It was also a race to get home before the dark set in.

 Meanwhile Luan, Cameron and I joined in a ball game with fellow Orienteers from Norway. Luan left and Cameron and I ended up having a long conversation about South Africa with them. It started to become time to watch the Start of the men's relay so we all walked down to the start to get a good view. When the timer hit 0 (20h30), there were about 350 men starting the relay all at once. It was a mad dash of men with huge head torches as it was becoming dark.

After the start we all gathered together again -the ladies having finished their races and made the journey back home in the middle of the night . the mends  relay carried on throughout the night finishing at 8am on Sunday.

Written by Tristan Malherbe

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 8 South African Youth Squad (TioMila Youth Relay experience)

Getting up early is never fun, but this particular morning we were all very excited as we were about to run in the most exciting event we've ever been a part of. Or at least Sarah, Carla, Cameron and I were with Paul and Tania accompanying us. The rest would be joining us later that day. After the Long train ride and 2km walk , we arrived at the event arena that was completely packed with people. A lot more than we were used to back in SA!

( a constant stream of people walking from the rains and their cars)

(the field that was empty the day before-jam packed with club tents) 

We were divided into our relay teams after which a two friendly folks named Max and Martin briefed us on how we would go about the event. The stress was piling up as we had never run an events of this size before...and I had the home run. NO STRESS! A quick T-shirt change and Superman-pose (the photo that went viral among the bunch of orienteers) later, we were ready.

Cameron was the first to get going and started with the masses in the mas-start. A very scary and overwhelming experience according to official reports that came from Cameron.

Nearer to the end of his loop Cameron bought a piece of Swedish ground as he totally lost his footing and fell over a "tree stump" as he reported. I can't really put it into words in the way that does it justice - long story short, but from where we were watching it was extremely funny. In the end Cameron and Carla's team sadly got disqualified, but the team Sarah and I ran in finished 153rd out of  325 teams (of 4 to 6 runners) that started. We were all happy with our results, especially as the amount of fun we had trumped everything else.

(Cameron trying to find the correct map to hand over to Carla!)

(Carla now knew where the map was, so had a much smoother handover)


(the finish sprint, after negotiating the high metal bridge into the arena)

 After our races we found the rest of our youth squad in the OK Ravinen tent. Some of us went out on the open courses while others just relaxed. The guys and I then befriended two women named Hannah and Victoria whom we had a long discussion with about the pros and cons of both Sweden and SA. I'm sure the guys would agree with me that we learnt a lot from these women and hope to see them again in the future.

As the day got late some of us went back to base while the others stayed for another race, that they again enjoyed thoroughly. The trip back was once more long and was made worse by our grumbling stomachs. Upon arrival Tinus and I threw together a Chicken Ala-king. Tinus admittedly did most of the work and everybody found it very delicious- so well-done and thank you Tinus! The rest of the evening we spent playing cards and having random, and loud conversations until the rest of the squad arrived back at 23h30 and sent us packing for bed. Altogether a very much enjoyed and educational day for us all I would say.
Written by Ryno GrovĂ© 

Day 7 South African Youth Squad

Friday 27 April, our day started off with the treat of sleeping in a little later, which was very nice after all the early morning trainings. When we woke up we had to make our lunch to take with because it was going to be a long day out. We then took some photos in our youth tour race kit (plus some fun jumping ones).

With photo's taken, we quickly caught the 11:00 bus and then a train for our 2 hour journey to our destination. After climbing off the train we had the another long walk to the event center. But this wasn't just any event, this was 10 MILA - one of the biggest orienteering relay events in the world! Today we weren't going to take part in the relay, but in the open courses that are used as practice for the main events the next day. The 10 MILA is something in size and atmosphere that we never have experienced before. The setup is so large that I am sure it shocked most of us there.

(these are the empty fields that were filled with club tents the next day)
There were 9 open courses to choose from and the group took either the 2,8km Blue or the 4,7km Black course. Just to make it a little bit worse on the tired legs and feet, there was an another 1.5km walk to the start. The terrain was quite technically and challenging so we did struggle a bit, but overall it went well for everyone.

Below is what the terrain looks like leaving the circle of # 2 going to #3

After our runs we had some time to spend in the O shop, where everyone treated themselves to some sort of special kit. Lucky after the tiring day we got to go to Nick's apartment where he and his wife, Sarah-Jane, made a nice hot meal for us. Afterwards we were treated with a mug of warm Gluhwein ( which is warmed up non-alcoholic red wine) with raisins and ginger snaps.
Written by Tinus Swanepoel

Friday, April 27, 2018

Day 6 South African Youth Squad

Today we woke at 8 with the intention to leave at 9 . Everyone had breakfast (cereal or Swedish bread). Cameron was cutting it fine and only woke up at 8:40 but still managed to get ready in time. At 9:05 we rushed to the bus stop but missed the bus with about 30 seconds and then had to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus.

We had some early morning training in the forest we went to yesterday.

We decided it would be better to take the bus instead of running back and forth as we are doing a lot of running during the day. Ryno decided to race the bus from one of the bus stops and ended up winning back to the clubhouse. After we got back from the relative quick early morning training we had to pack our bags to go to the old town for some sprint training.
We took the 401 to the Slussen station and a very short train trip to Gamla Stan (Old Town).
We had 3 different sprint training courses in Gamla Stan. We ran through the town's narrow streets and had to watch out for the pedestrians whilst navigating.

 We ran passed the royal palace and some of us saw the royal guards parade. The orienteering in the old town is different than the normal sprints we have done before. The layout of the old town was something to get used to with all the little pathways and underpasses. We also had to put out the controls, aka the chalk rectangles we drew on the ground or walls.

After our training we toured the town like normal tourists and entered a few souvenir shops. We headed to a souvenir shop Cameron spotted whilst running. Everyone bought something from the store and Paul was especially happy with his sheep shirt that he bought .

Another notable shop was called 'Science Fiction Bokhandeln' which seemed to attract all the athletes with it's extensive collection of Harry Potter, Star Wars etc themed souvenirs. We spent more time in this shop than the actual souvenir shop.

After we walked back from the old town to Slussen we took the 401 back to the clubhouse for lunch and a restful afternoon. We also did some cleaning to keep the clubhouse neat for the 200 or so club members that will pass through during the club's evening training session which we will join in on.

We split up into two groups for the training. The braver ones decided to go out on the violet course in the Luffarligan area(which involved a 1.5 km run back and forth).

It was a rather eventful training session as it started raining, and then hailing on us!

Dinner was late as we had to wait for the clubhouse to clean out. Christie has now joined us and was treated to her first youth tour home cooked meal!

Written by Luan Swart