The weekend saw some of the country’s top elite orienteers compete in the UK Elite Orienteering League events on the Graythwaite Estate in South Lakeland. The area is renowned as top class for orienteering, with challenging, complex terrain, crags, rocky ground and steep slopes.

There was plenty of interest for West Cumberland Orienteering Club, with member Alastair Thomas one of the pre-race favourites in the men’s races.

Saturday saw the middle-distance event, and in the men’s race Thomas, who is in his last year as a junior, had a great run to take the win in 34:32; over a minute ahead of his nearest rival and beating a clutch of the UK’s top senior elite orienteers. Joe Hudd who still has a few years in the junior ranks had a strong run, finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.

In the women’s race there was another strong line up and club member Niamh Hunter had a clean run navigationally but was a little off the pace, but still managed a top-10 finish, coming in seventh.

Sunday saw the long-distance race and on the men’s course, Thomas had another strong run but was beaten into second place by the experienced Graham Gristwood. Joe Hudd had another good run to finish ninth and his brother Zac was 11th. In the women’s race Hunter was again a bit off the pace but came in fifth.

Younger club juniors were also able to make use of the middle-distance courses as part of their North West Junior Squad training. On the 5.2km long course, Herbie Ashworth was top club finisher in fourth. On the 4.5km short course, Emma Crawford finished third, with Daisy Rennie sixth and Dan Heppell 11th and on the very short, 3km course, Danny Winterbottom took the win, seconds ahead of Myrtle Ashworth and Isaac Hunter was fourth.

The club’s short Autumn series concluded with an event around Cockermouth. First and second on the long course were also first and second in the overall standings, with Joe Sunley taking the win from Jamie Rennie. Others in the top five overall were Ben Breeze 3rd, Herbie Ashworth 4th and Mike Billinghurst 5th.

In the women’s competition, Caitlin Pearson took the overall win, with Kate Charles 2nd and Lynne Thomas 3rd.

On the short course the top five overall were Issy Sunley 1st, Dan Heppell 2nd, Daisy Rennie 3rd, Carl Humphreys 4th and Isaac Hunter 5th and on the novice course, the overall win went to Hannah Birkinshaw, with Hiroki Holmes 2nd and Stefie Stein 3rd.

The Club’s next event is on 16th October in Keswick, when the winter league begins. Competitors must be members of British Orienteering and pre-entry is mandatory. For details visit