Orienteering In Nottinghamshire - A History
The History of NOC (draft)
It appears that the first event in Nottinghamshire was organised
by Terry Hamilton from People's College and held at Budby.
The Scandinavians originally tried to start UK orienteering in 1958
and then later in 1962 en route to the first event in Scotland,
through youth groups via the County Council, but this did not
succeed. One of the Scandinavians was Baron Lagerfelt. They succeeded
in Scotland which is why the Scottish Orienteering Association
predates the English. A second attempt was made by a group of
athletes which included John Disley, Chris Brasher and then Gerry
Charnley (who was to found Karrimor). Bert Bradshaw was persuaded
to try orienteering by Gerry Charnley who told him of an event
being held at Budby.
A second event was held at Budby which was described as the first
North Midlands Championship. This was organised by John Martin
who was a teacher at Greenwood School. John ran out of markers
while putting out the controls, so he used a pair of red bathing
trunks for the last control.
There appeared to be two groups of orienteers in Nottingham at
that time, about 5 members of Nottingham Nutters, who were mostly
also members of Notts Athletic Club, and about 5 Crazy Paviors,
who were past and present pupils of High Pavement School. Bert
Bradshaw, Tony Taylor and Keith Picksley were members of Nottingham
Nutters, while Peter Kelbe (who later moved to South Wales) was
a Crazy Pavior, along with Mike Wingfield and David Higgins.
In approximately 1967 a joint meeting was held at Keith Picksley's
house at Ingram Road, Bulwell where it was decided to amalgamate
Nottingham Nutters and Crazy Paviors to form Nottinghamshire Orienteering
Club. It was not called Notts Orienteering Club so as to avoid
confusion with Notts A.C.
Other early orienteers in the club were as follows:
Rich Kettlewell - a prison officer at Lowdham Grange
Dennis ? - also at Lowdham Grange
Ken Harlow - a P.E. teacher at The Dukeries School
Andrew McKinnon - The Dukeries School
Jonathan Richardson - The Dukeries School
Dick Shelton - partner from Harlow
John Ware - lived in Ravenshead
Early club meetings were held at the Oxford pub at Highbury Vale.
NOC organised the individual event of the JK in 1970 held at Clumber
Park using one of the first colour maps. It was drawn, and also
planned by Bert Bradshaw, and was attended by about 300 runners,
running on 6 courses.
The relays were held at Shining Cliff on a 1:20,000 map drawn
by Robin Harvey and Jenny Tennant, and planned by Keith Picksley.
The event was slated by "Silas Wagg" in The Orienteer
which caused a lot of ill feeling locally. The criticism was
that one area was flat and the other was the opposite.
By 1972 the active club members were Bert, Keith, Dave Roberts
(secretary), Ian and Sylvia Warburton, Tony Farnell, Tim and John
Phillips. Ian Warburton was a maths teacher at Nottingham High
School, as was Jill Hunter, who was a member of DVO. Ian and Jill
encouraged a number of High School pupils to try orienteering
including Mick Lucking and Michael Peat.
At the time the club had very few members, but were very competitive.
Bert, Keith and Tony Farnell nearly won the British Relay Championship
at Puddletown Forest. The top three teams including Tony Farnell
for NOC all arrived at the last control together but Tony tripped
and fell from first to third. The junior team of Mike Peat, Tom
Phillips and Mick Lucking also got into the top three. Tony Farnell
was the club's top athlete, and was later to be asked to run in
the selection race for the British Team at the World Championships.
NOC organised the British Relays in Clipstone on a map drawn by
Bert Bradshaw in 1973? where all courses started at once from
a circle drawn in sawdust at a road crossing. Few people left
immediately after the starting bell was rung because the courses
had been hand drawn in dark purple on the map that resembled graph
paper. As a result many competitors had trouble finding the start
In those days in the UK there was the JK, British, Scottish, Northern,
Midland and Southern Championships and then badge events. NOC
organised the Midland Championships at Annesley and Clipstone
in the late 1960's and again in Annesley in 1972 on a colour map
drawn by Dave Roberts which included Byron's Walk through which
a road had just been built. It was one of the biggest events held
in the UK at that time with nearly 800 competitors. Very few other
NOC events were organised at this time although DVO were putting
on an event a month in the season, and LEI held events on Saturdays
also once a month.
In 1975 LEI organised a badge event at Clipstone with NOC's permission
on a new map drawn by Peter Leverington. Peter was unlucky because
large areas of Clipstone were blown down in the January gales
before the map was used. Peter's map used "cairns" as
features for control sites which were made out of Police "No
Waiting" cones painted silver. More recently we have used
tripods. The planners of this event were Liz and Dave Hale who
lived in Cotgrave where Stephen (who is now Britain's No. 1 Orienteer)
was born. The Hales were always members of WCH because of their
connections with Walton High School and Peter Palmer.
NOC struggled at this time to hold a quorate AGM because at least
6 members had to be present. It was only the bribe of a dinner
cooked by Enid Bradshaw that got six members together in one room.
Chris Sweetman was elected as Chairman of NOC at this stage and
he endeavoured to get a number of "Come and Try It"
events organised. He was helped by Len and Heather Sparrow and
later by Stuart Collins who spent an enormous amount of time mapping
many NOC areas. Some of these maps were produced on a duplicating
machine while larger maps of Budby and Thieves were professionally
Through these CATI events the club grew
and more families joined the club. David Haydon became chairman
of the club and his son Andrew was one of the top juniors in
the country. David George was the club's equipment officer, keeping
it in a garden shed at his home in Ravenshead.
Nottingham University OC was very active in the late 1970's with
some of the top runners in Kevin Lomas and Simon Elliott, and
a budding mapper in Alan Gould.
Chairmen of NOC in recent years:
David Heydon (1979 - 1982)
Peter Bourne (1982 - 1985)
John Orton (1985 - 1988)
Janet Evans (1988- 1989)
Tim Hills (1989 - 1992)
Andy Jones(1992 - 1995)
Ray Barnes (1995 - 1998, 2004)
Tony Donaldson (1998 - 2000)
Helen O'Neil (2000 - 2003)
Dave Cooke (2005 - 2007)
Steve Green (2007-2010)
Tony Horsewill (2010-2013)
Andrew Breakwell (2013-)
found on the BOF Web pages ...
Possibly the first mention of the sport in Britain was an article in the Observer newspaper in 1957 by Chris Brasher, who had been gold medalist in the steeplechase in the 1956 Olympic Games. Brasher began: I have just taken part, for the first time, in one of
the best sports in the world. It is hard to know what to call it. The Norwegians call it 'orientation'..... (It was, in fact, a night event.)
Brasher's article was followed by a letter from the Norwegian Embassy in London, pointing out that 'orientation' was not as
completely unknown in the UK as Brasher implied: a Norwegian instructor had given a course 'in this typically Norwegian sport' at
'one of the most famous public schools in the country'. Brasher replied that several readers had writen to him to say that
Orientation (or Orienteering) competions had already been held in this country, including one of 20 miles and 9000 foot of ascent
in the Lake District, and a street event in Greenock, Scotland. Later in 1957 Brasher himself took part in an event organised by the
Nottinghamshire Association of Boys' Clubs.
Notes taken by Mick Lucking when reminiscing with Bert Bradhaw