TrainInStation Photo: Saturday's Assembly. Credit: Lakeland Orienteers on Twitter

It was the Red Rose Classic* - the second weekend of the five that make up the main domestic open class series - the UK Elite Orienteering League. On Saturday there was a middle distance at Haverthwaite, and on Sunday a long distance at Hampsfell.

*A Red Rose is traditionally associated with the County of Lancashire, as the White Rose is with Yorkshire. Wikipedia - Wars of The Roses

On both days Megan Carter-Davies and Will Gardner won the races. Will cut the second day quite fine though, having an identical time to that of Ben Mitchell at the last control.

The leagues's remaining weekends are Scottish Spring, the JK and the British.

Scottish Spring includes a middle distance race on Tentsmuir planned by Kris Jones - the same area Kris filmed the Intricate Contours video.

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Ben Photo: Ben Mitchell in the colours of Swansea Bay OC (2018 British Champs)

March 17th was the day of the CompassSport Cup Matches round the country. All were National Events. Club teams can be of any size and involve individual runners tackling their own one of 12 age group courses ( or "running up"). The highest scoring runners from a club count for the team score: 25 in the case of the Cup (for larger club teams) and 13 in the case of the Trophy (for smaller club teams.)

As less than a third of a team's counting runners can be in the open classes (and for successful teams it is typically fewer) there is no particular focus on these. But it is a big weekend for the clubs and they like to have their top runners joining the team. So here's a table of who won the open class races around the country.

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W21E Sprint Photo: Cecilie Andersen ahead of Megan Carter-Davies and Kirstin Maxwell, leading three in the Women's Sprint, towards the end of the course (credit: Steve Rush)

South Yorkshire Orienteers - terrific job, thanks - organised both events for the Northern Champs Weekend, 9th-10th March. The (Long) Championships were on Wharncliffe on Sunday. On Saturday, as the majority of orienteers attending the weekend ran an urban race, there was a sprint race to start the UK Elite League.

On The Red Line article about the League.

Saturday was wet and the terrain of Ponderosa, a mixture of parkland and estates with intricate alleys, was slippery. Sunday was wet and windy too, with snow on the moorland for earlier runners. The sprint races were longer than usual, and the championship races a bit shorter.

In the women's Megan Carter-Davies won both the sprint and the Northern Champs race. Megan, of Mid-Wales Orienteering Club, is not eligible for the Northern title, which was won by Charlotte Watson of West Cumberland O.C..

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Will Photo: Will Gardner at Portugal O Meeting 2019

The Portugal O Meeting traditionally attracts large numbers: 2.600 this year. The top open classes, have large entries. This year over 100 in the women's, and well over a 120 limit in men's meaning there is a split to "super-elite" and "elite" based on world ranking position. The races see many of the world's best having their first competitive races after the winter. Several top clubs such as Halden and Kalevan Rasti are there in strength, and the Swiss National Squad ran Sunday and Monday's races.

  • Friday March 1st - Sprint Relay Competition and Open classes.
  • Saturday March 2nd - Middle distance
  • Sunday March 3rd - Middle distance
  • Monday March 4th - Middle distance World Ranking Event
  • Tuesday March 5th - Long distance, chasing start for elite classes.
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BritNightsPrizegiving Photo: M21 prizegiving, British Nights, from Scottish Orienteering Twitter (L-R Hector Haines, Graham Gristwood, Thomas Wilson, and in background - controller Richard Oxlade)

For most of the athletes the winter is mainly about training for the big events to come. And for On The Red Line it has been quite a quiet time with mostly background updates - such as to athlete profiles. There have been happenings, but we have been content to use Twitter. We have also been taking in the eight skills videos produced by South London Orienteers. The primary target for these is teenagers as they take on harder courses, but we think all orienteers can enjoy them. They were released through January and February, and are each presented by a different member of the squad.

Now, as February ends, after the hottest ever temperatures for this month in Britain, here is a roundup of some of what's happened through the winter months of December, January and February..

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