Recent outings and activities...

To Holland and Back Again

At the beginning of 2014, I went back to live and work in Holland. Why? Please read on.

I said goodbye to my English dance school, which I ran for 15 years, I said goodbye to my whole family. I said goodbye to the good friends I have known in England for many years. I said goodbye to my Epping Forest Outdoor Group friends. Why? Because I felt I needed a change of scenery and a change of work.

Returning to Holland, where I had previously lived for 20 years, revisiting my old life and old friends seemed to be the way forward.

Maz”, I asked, “Could you please continue sending me the weekly EFOG emails with all the activities. I want to keep in contact with The Epping Forest Group and their members and all the club news!"

Once I was settled in Hilversum, (the Dutch centre of radio and television), with my own apartment and garden (for my dog Serena), I wanted to do some exercise (a second nature to me) but what should I do? Should I join another outdoor group in Holland? Instead I chose tennis, which I played four times a week. Also I had extra tuition from my coach, Ingrid, as I wanted to go back to playing competition. By joining the local gym I could build up my fitness level quicker. Twice a week I trained in the gym.

I was quite happy with all of this for a while, but noticed how I missed my outdoor group and its activities. Paul Ferris and Val Shepherd and I are qualified RYA Canal Boat Handlers. We were so excited with the canal boat trip in Wales organised by Peter Gamble that we had to take it a step further. I trained further to become a helmswoman for Canalability in Harlow, taking groups of disabled people on day trips along the river.

gill en serena artAlso my dog Serena, who was used to regular group walks with EFOG, did regular weekly dog group walks. The big dogs always leapt out in front whilst the small dogs like Serena - my Shih Tzu -  and Marvin the Chihuahua, always followed in my footsteps

The forest walks with Serena in the area were delightful. Serena loved that, but it still wasn’t the same as the walks we did with the Epping Forest Group. Serena missed all the attention she received from the adult members and I missed all their friendly chats along the way.

As time went on, I realised that I was not happy in Holland - all my good Dutch friends now had families and therefore had little time for anything and anyone else. That is what can happen when you are living alone, unfortunately. That made life pretty lonely for me. When I caught a nasty bacteria in the spring of 2017 and felt very unwell I realised the importance of family and friend support, so I decided to return to England for good.

So back to:

Thursday EFOG club evenings – full of quizzes, bring and buy sales, various themed parties, dance events and guest - or club-member - speakers.

Weekend walks; visits to places of interest; foody evenings in our favourite restaurants; bike rides through the forest; boat trips.

I love it.

Wow, I am so pleased to be back with the Epping Forest Group!! And I am building a happy life now which is full of family involvement plus plenty of Epping Forest Outdoor Group activities.

Gill L,  5th February 2018

Swimming at Walthamstow

As planned, the Sunday morning swimming session at the Walthamstow Feel Good Centre went ahead. I was delighted that Lynne joined me.

When going through the barrier from reception Lynne got through, but a mug shot of me came up and denied me access. Apparently I had not flashed my receipt, but the problem was soon sorted out and it made us both laugh; I looked like some criminal!

This was Lynne's first swim since her accident and she did very well. We were fortunate to have the small pool to ourselves and really enjoyed it. We then went to Weatherspoons at Chingford Mount for a very enjoyable breakfast.

Jenny J.  4th February 2018


Walthamstow Wetlands Visit

A big thank you to those who joined me on a visit to the new Wetlands Centre at Walthamstow.

Marilyn, Amina, Jim, Sue,Trevor, David, Eileen, Louise, Ian, Val, and  Ken.

We did have a very nice time despite the weather and enjoyed nice chats in the lovely warm cafe after our fairly short walk.

I think most people would like to come again maybe in the spring when hopefully the weather will be much more pleasant.

wetlands walk 2754c

Jenny J.   2nd February 2018








Photo by Sue. U.






Wanstead Park Walk

Looking out of the window on Sunday 10th December I wondered if the walk was going ahead as the snow fell down. I already had a text from one person pulling out. But there is Ken at the door so we slither out in the car and slip and slide our way to Wanstead Park.

efog grotto brian 20171210 114244cIn total there were 5 hardy souls who braved the elements, all well wrapped up. We met at Wanstead station and walked through the streets to the Park, passing Wanstead golf club whose building used to be the stables of the once grand Wanstead House. Into the Park and there still are traces of the grandeur that it once was, with a broad avenue immediately in front of us. We followed the City of London walk and went up the side of the Ornamental Water, round the top and came down between the River Roding and the lake. Rounding the Canal (another remnant of the old House) we pause for a photo in front of the Grotto.

Stopping at the Perch Pond we fed the birds with proper duck food, not bread, as supplied by the visitor centres in Epping Forest. On to the tea hut and the Park is very busy all of a sudden. We had seen few people on the walk and this was a surprise. Children had been busy and the area looked like the Terracotta Army, with snowmen all over the place. We had a warming cup of tea and moved on to walk around the Heronry Pond. We didn’t see herons but saw nests high in the trees which at first we thought were heron's, but were probably crow's nests or squirrels dreys. Herons haven't apparently nested in the park since early in the 20th Century.

On to the Temple visitor centre where we warmed ourselves and looked at the information regarding the history of Wanstead House. Downstairs there was a photography display including an offering from our own Sue Carroll.

That was the end of the walk and we returned to Wanstead station and home.

Brian U. 13th December 2017

61st RODINGS RALLY (2017)  Report

Saturday 18th / Sunday 19th  November


Dear Competitors,

Thank you all for entering the 61st Rodings Rally and well done to everyone who took part on what became was a particularly cold night – almost a case of frostbite trying to dismantle the checkpoint tents the following morning. Though it could have been worse looking at the forecast for this weekend… .

Numbers overall were down this year, possibly because people believed that last year’s 60th Rally was the last one. Our Chief Marshall, Peter Gamble decided that this was not the case, so off we – or rather you – all went again.

Thirty-six teams entered the ten-checkpoint event, and 13 found all ten checkpoints. I don't know whether it was the manned or the unmanned checkpoints that proved the problem, although if you read the feedback section, checkpoint nine may have been a bother. The stamps on the cards caused me some amusement, as despite our Val’s best efforts to build a proper section for each stamp, some of the cards came back with imprints all over them, fronts and backs. So long as they were on the card though, they counted.

Last year’s winners, the South London Orienteers won again this year, to the non-surprise of anyone manning a checkpoint, as they shot round the course in 3 hours and 16 minutes. This year the Dartford Scouts gave them a good run for their money, being only 14 minutes behind on the clock. Can SLO make it three in a row?

SLO team compatriots, SLOW Italians (who weren’t) and Isotopes came in 9th and 11th, making them the fastest group overall, and the only group of three teams to find all thirty checkpoints. Todd Fallesen, of the Isotopes asked before the event if they could all be entered as a group again, as for a few years they had all competed separately. It was a good thing he asked and the SLOW Italians were able to make up the numbers. What does the W stand for by the way?

In the short event, much to everyone’s surprise and delight, this year’s winners were Gyppes Guys, father and son Goff and Steve Hill. Goff has been competing in the Rally for donkey’s years with the Suf folk team in the ten-checkpoint event and finally conceded a bit to age this year, hoping to “prove I can still be competitive”. As his team shot past checkpoint two with a team number of 91, the last team out, somewhere in the midst of teams with numbers in the 30s and 40s I already had a good idea from inside the tent who had won the short event and so it proved. There is life in the older runner yet!

The five-checkpoint group event was won once again by the Creatures of the Night, a collection of teams with such delightful names as Is that a Torch in your Pocket or are you just happy to see me? (hell to squeeze on a checkpoint card and certificate though), Good things come in Trees, Mighty Morphing Epping Rangers and Midnight Slutdroppers (!) Morning Woods and The Night’s Watch. My favourite team name though came from the very enterprising Russell Stebbings of the Insect Room at the Department of Zoology in Cambridge – The Arthroplods!

Advanced warning to any younger competitors thinking about the 2018 Rally – you have a team to beat. The “Not Duffers” struck again this year, and are on a hat trick if they win in 2018. Kaitlin Lovell aged 12 and her friend Carys Bonnell also 12 plus dad Alex Lovell galloped round the course in the kinder but colder conditions this year almost twice as fast as the next team along. Not only that, but they were sixth overall in the five checkpoint event regardless of age. Hopefully the drier conditions made it the equivalent of last year’s ‘solid 8 out of 10’ experience for the girls and they will be taking on all comers next year.

Trophy winners will be contacted shortly. I am not sure that all of the trophies came back to us this year – we certainly have two of them and need to track the others down. In some cases, the holders may also be this year’s winners, who will then be invited to hang on to said trophy for the while to save postage all around!

Rounding off, I have to uphold a complaint made by one of our teams because it is an issue that we were not aware of before. Goff Hill, of Gyppes Guys reported to us that one of the teams in the forest was using a laser pointer to highlight the compass direction in which they were headed. Not only is this not in the spirit of things, but, with so many other people about in the forest especially at night, it is also quite dangerous. Lasers can damage people’s eyesight and that is something we absolutely do not want. I will be making it clear with next year’s entry forms that these items are banned and anyone using one will be disqualified.

And Finally:

Before we go, we do just want to let everyone know that the 2018 Rally is likely to be the last one that EFOG will be involved in. It's a great event and we all enjoy it and the responses from you all over the years have been great. However, time marches on and frankly as a group we are getting too old. Our Chief Marshall, not that he will thank us for saying it, is 75, and we have a large group of people the wrong side of sixty many of whom can’t do a night out in a tent any more, or indeed stay up all night in the Village Hall (thanks Jenny for doing this task for several years running, you deserve to bow out gracefully). As a result we have very few drivers to transport people and materials about, and this combined with a limitation on access to car parks (caused by a severe fly tipping problem in Epping Forest) all puts too much of a strain on resources. I have also decided that next year will be my last rally because apart from all of the administration duties, I am also number two marshal and planner, so my Rodings year now stretches from June to January. There is only one of me and its not enough to go round and more! The decision is going to our AGM next January but its pretty certain that it will be confirmed.


If anyone from a group or knows a group who might be interested in taking over the franchise, do please get in touch. We would be happy to hand things over and give you as much help and information as possible if you would like to continue the event on your own terms.

Thank you

Susan Carroll, Rally Administrator

RODINGS RALLY CLUES 2017 – The Answers: (grid reference with asterisk)

1) Holy Jet (Church Plain)

a) 7720 1945 b) 7695 1965 * c) 7690 1955

2) Dark, hold back H2O (Blackweir Hill)

a) 7870 2010 b) 7885 1985 c) 7870 1985*

3) Push a fire over (Tippa Burn)

a) 7955 2125 b) 7965 2135 * c) 7935 2120

4) Not half Tom (St. Thomas’s Quarters)

a) 7925 2235 * b) 7990 2110 c) 7940 2245

5) F1 tyre change area (It’s the pits)

a) 8070 2215 b) 8095 2230 c) 8075 2235 *

6) A little jewel of a checkpoint (Gemini)

a) 7870 2055 b) 7875 2065 * c) 7910 2080

7) We have high standards (Flagstaff Hill)

a) 7725 2125 b) 7765 2105 * c) 7760 2085

8) Most likely for this time of night (Black Bushes)

a) 7790 1930 * b) 7810 1945 c) 7820 1925

9) Bottom’s up (Fairmead Bottom)

a) 7685 1895 * b) 7695 1915 c) 7680 1885

And finally:


Only two items of lost property this year, a grey woollen hat with Vitality Parkrun on it and a clear compass. If either of these items belong to you, please let me know so that we can rehome it.



Two items of missing equipment were also reported, both oddly in the vicinity of checkpoint one. If you saw either can you let me know and we can try and rehome these also:

A red wristband

A R7 torch


If you are looking for the results tables, please see the links below for the five and ten checkpoint events. They are in excel, so if this is a problem, let me know and I will mail a copy to you.

Results for the 2017 Rally are available as downloadable .xls files (about 50Kb)

for 5-Checkpoint results Click Here

for 10-Checkpoint results Click Here


Thank you once again to EFOG for putting on a great event, I enjoyed the short course this year because it shows I can still be competitive at that distance! I have a few points to mention.

First, did anyone hand in a P7 torch after the event? Steve dropped his on the way to the first control. We went back to search but it was like searching for a needle in a haystack with all the leaves. Probably not, but it’s worth asking.

Second, some feedback for the planners. The short course was excellent, fair and accurate. The plotting was straightforward with grid references close together. The clues were easy compared to some years (no codes, anagrams or patterns to solve – though of course these may have been used on the long course). The position of the first control was excellent, giving some good route choice and needing careful navigation. The second control too offered good route choice (but one of the routes was along the road). Other controls didn’t offer so much route choice but the fine navigation to find controls 2, 3 and 4 was challenging. We found all controls to be accurately positioned.

Thirdly, one of the teams was using a laser pointer to help them navigate through the forest. We found ourselves running towards that team on the way out from control 2: you don’t have to look towards a laser beam for very long to cause eye damage. We think you should be aware of this, as it does seem to be a safety hazard.

Thank you again for a great event and best wishes for Christmas,



We just want to say a big thanks to you and the rest of the organisers /volunteers for yet another superb Rodings Rally!

We realize a lot goes into this event and appreciate all the hard work.

It is such an excitement finishing the checkpoints but then a sad feeling knowing we will have to wait another year to do it again!

Best wishes to you all.

Ruth (and the Forest Foxes)


I hope you guys get a good day’s rest, but thank you again for a great event.  We had a great time, and it was as always a lot of fun!  


Todd Fallesen


Many thanks to you and the team for another excellent Rodings Rally. We appreciate you persisting despite the diminishing volunteer pool. To show how much we appreciate it, I am prepared to volunteer to man a checkpoint next year (in a tent), so please do contact me nearer the time.

We had an excellent event and revelled in the dry weather (compared to Storm Angus last year!).

Any chance of the results soon? We are hoping we crawled in to the top ten of the 10 checkpoint event this time! (They came sixth!)

Many thanks,

Mike Pinnock

The Ousers (team 14)


Where did you come? The results are available as downloadable .xls files (about 50Kb)

for 5-Checkpoint results Click Here

for 10-Checkpoint results Click Here