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Event 14: Balmoral Showgrounds (Belfast)

DateWed 31st Aug
Registration from18:15
OrganiserHelen Baxter (e-mail)
PlannerPhilip Baxter (e-mail)

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Post-Event Report

The Baxters departed from Balmoral to pack their bags and flee the country, but not of course because the final WEE of the season was a flop. On the contrary their commitment to our sport is such that they arranged their holidays around planning and organising the final event and indeed coordinating the series.

A return to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park was on the first draft of the fixture list for the final event, but an inquiry of Royal Ulster Agricultural Society revealed that the Balmoral Showgrounds should be quiet on the evening. The map had been drawn last year for a demonstration event for the ladies of ChristChurch Belfast who have a church centre on the map and meet in the Octagon on Sunday mornings. Given that the showgrounds are facing major demolition next year, it did seem a pity not to give an opportunity for a sprint event on the area. There just might be another opportunity to access the area again, subject of course to permissions etc, early on the 2012 WEE calender.

Philip's idea to have mass starts by age group certainly provided a great buzz by the front steps of the iconic King's Hall on the fine late summer evening. The butterfly loops reduced opportunities for following and were certainly worth the wait at the download, compounded by the fact of course that the majority of competitors were finishing within a short time window.

Runners darting hither and thither in the relatively small area and in and out of the labyrinth added to the atmosphere of the event. 17 out of the 91 competitors mispunched which certainly proved that sprint orienteering requires full concentration. Even yours truly, running non-competitivey having mapped the area and assisted Philip to build the labyrinth and transport the trestles around the site managed to mis-punch. I did know where most of the controls where, but not the order!

And so the ever popular WEE Series draws to a close after 7 successful seasons, but that doesn't mean an end to orienteering until next summmer! As part of the Hillsborough Oyster Festival, Lagan Valley Orienteers will be staging an event at Hillsborough Forest this Saturday 3 September. Yellow, Orange and Green courses will be on offer (with Yellow equating to the WEE Short course and Orange to the WEE Long course). Full details are on the main LVO website www.lvo.org.uk/.

Thanks to all who have made WEE 2011 happen, particularly those who have cut their planning and organisation teeth as well as the club stalwarts and our resident backroom boys and girls especially Susan, Davey and Declan.

Stephen Gilmore


The Final WEE of 2011 will be an inaugural LVO event in the Balmoral Showgrounds on a new map!!

The courses will be sprint in style but of the usual WEE length and will include a couple of labyrinth sections. Full leg cover is not required. The map is drawn to ISSOM (sprint standard) at 1:4000. The Long Course 3.6km, Short Course 2.3 km.

Competitors will be released in a series of mass starts, according to age class and course. The youngest and oldest competitors will go first, the M21s last. The interval between mass starts has been calculated in accordance with the WEE handicap factors, and the hope is that the first person to the finish on each course will turn out to be the overall winner.

The first mass start will be at about 7.10pm, with the M21s away at 7.30pm. Registration from 6.30pm please be as early as possible to ensure that all entries are in the computer before the mass starts.
The prize giving for the 2011 WEE leagues for May, June and July will be held immediately after the race. There will also be prizes for the finale races and spot prizes for those there on the night!

We will assume a full turnout for map printing purposes but if extra groups are being brought or non-WEE regulars intend to come, we could do with a warning email. Maps will be printed on Wednesday to ensure that any last minute changes are included.


Parking will be at the front of the Balmoral Conference Centre at the Kings Hall. Enter by Gate A off the Upper Lisburn Road. Registration at the Mobile Orienteering Office will be close by.

The Kings Hall is signposted from Junction 2 on the M1 and is located on the A1 Upper Lisburn Road approx 4km SSW of Belfast City Centre. The Kings Hall is opposite Balmoral Station. Metro Service 9 stops right outside.

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Event details last updated on 31st August at 23:06
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