60th RODINGS RALLY (2016)  Report

Saturday 19th / Sunday 20th  November


Dear Competitors,

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s event, our 60th Rally. Who would have thought that it would still be going when they first started, way back in 1956?

Perhaps one person. As a wee nipper of 14, Peter Gamble was about for that first Rally and he is our Chief Marshal now, so a man of enormous faith or a complete glutton for punishment! Peter and Marilyn did have a bit of a break from EFOG when they got married and raised a family, but they came back and without them I very much doubt the club would be in existence.

Time does catch up with us though, and unfortunately three days before the Rally Peter was hospitalised with an infection which caused a major panic as not only is he chief marshal but he knows where everything is! Luckily the route had been planned and marked, but who had what equipment was a bit of a problem. Everything we had we took with us and sorted it out on the hoof, but inevitably there were a few humps in the road, not least with the tea tent, so if you were amongst the unfortunates who arrived there before the milk did, our apologies!

A big thank you also to Duncan, another stalwart, who knows the forest like the back of his hand and who made space in a busy schedule to help out with putting people out, finding markers and generally being a big calm presence, and to our actual Chairman, Brian, who was cruelly snatched from a night in a warm tent to run people around and get marshals out and about and did so with good grace. He did get to go home and spend the night in his own bed, which he wasn't expecting but I am sure made up for missing the tent.

At the village hall the tea time crew sent us off with a last meal in excellent style, and as many of you will have had the benefit of, the breakfast ladies, who get up at 3.30 to come in and start cooking did their usual life saving task of feeding the wet and starving masses. Throughout the night the two Marilyns and Jenny kept the drinks coming and kept you all in check for the fact checkers and our computer man Alan, and made sure all the muddy boots stayed in the doorway. It's a hard task as they are up all night unlike us in the tents as we can nap in the warm, so a big thank you to everyone both there in the village hall and at the start, who stay sane while 300 people come at them for three and a half hours!

Last but not least a big, big thank you to all of you who took part. The cold weather that we had been promised didn't materialise, instead you were all subject to a constant downpour that left everyone looking like drowned rats, and defeated a number of teams who retired out, and I for one don't blame them. It always amazes me how much people enjoy banging about in the forest at night and as you can see from the comments section, some of you really do!!

The bad weather was reflected in the times competitors took to get round the course, and experience very much showed. The South London Orienteers, who won a couple of years back took 4 hours and 17 minutes to complete the course, about twenty five minutes slower that last year’s winners. ELR, who won the five-checkpoint event, were bizarrely faster than last year by 16 minutes, much to their excitement – see Edward Barnard’s comments below.

Can anyone beat the Rayleigh Rockets? The 10-checkpoint event Group Trophy, awarded to the Group or club with the three highest placed teams in each event, went again to the Rayleigh Rockets though they clearly had troubles as they found a total between their three teams of 22 checkpoints in 18 hours and 38 minutes. The best five-checkpoint group was a surprise though, certainly to their organiser, Satinder Sohel:

I haven't seen anything on Facebook or the website so I wasn't expecting to see anything relating to a trophy!

What trophy are we in contention for and what do you require on our side?

After doing the Rodings Rally for almost 10 years this is the first time I've got an email about a trophy so just a little shocked!

Upon being told which trophy they had won:

That's great news - something we weren't expecting at all! I only entered 3 teams so I know who to congratulate... I've already spread the good news. 

Regardless of the poo weather we always try to participate because it's such good fun every year. Thanks for putting on such an enjoyable event every year.

Best regards


(Poo weather probably sums it up very politely!)


Trophy winners will be contacted shortly to confirm delivery arrangements if not already received.

As stated on our information sheet, 50p from every entry is donated to a charity nominated each year at our AGM. Those of you who entered the 2015 Rally may be interested to learn that your donations went to the St Clare Hospice. (see here)


This year, the Rockets Under 20 team trophy went to a surprise team (Scouts watch out, your invincibility is hereby challenged!) called Not Duffers. The team consisted of dad, Alex Lovell, his daughter Kaitlin aged 11 and her friend Carys, also 11. The girls were quite damp by checkpoint 4 (my tent) so it was very encouraging to hear dad talking to them, saying that the tea point was coming up, that checkpoint 5 was not far behind and to see how they felt by then. Checkpoint 5, our finance lady Val, reported that by then the girls had perked up and were prepared to go to the end. Alex described the experience for the girls as ‘life changing’. Here is what the girls had to say:

When my dad suggested we might go on a walk through Epping Forest I didn't expect that it would be in the dark, in the middle of the night, in the freezing cold and the pouring rain, looking for things that are almost impossible to find with only a map and a compass to help us!  Apart from that, it was an amazing time.  Everybody at the checkpoints was really nice and friendly and this helped us a lot to get through the night - as did the people on the tea tent who were also really kind.  Some of the checkpoints were really difficult to find - we spent nearly an hour looking for the third tent!  But we saw muntjac deer and lots of stars while we were looking.  Overall I really enjoyed the rally.  I felt a real sense of achievement when I finished and I'm glad that we did it.  Overall I would rate the whole experience as a solid 8 out of 10!

    - Kaitlin Lovell (age 11)


It was amazing, but very wet!  I loved every second of it.  It was quite hard, but also totally fabulous.  It's incredible how much effort the organisers and volunteers put into running the rally.  All the checkpoints were /SO/ well hidden (especially tent no 3).  I'm really proud to have made it all the way to the finish line. The ladies at the end were especially nice - thank you so much for the jaffa cakes and the lemon tart.

    - Carys Bonnel (age 11)


Yippee!  I can't believe that we've done it again!  It was so wet and

it was cold, but I don't think we'll ever beat that time - we found

each tent really quickly, something that's never happened before.  I

guess experience helps?

I'm so grateful to the volunteers who help run this event, I really

look forward to this each year, and our team is assembled from across

the UK for it (OK, they've moved to Kent and Somerset in the years

since we first competed!).

   -  Edward Barnard of ELR


Thanks for another enjoyable event.

Great effort by all the volunteers inside & outside, especially in the conditions.

Amazing to think it's been going 60 years.

 - Pete Huzan, South London Orienteers


Thank you to you and everyone at EFOG for arranging another excellent event.

It's a pity that the weather forecast seemed to have put off some of the

teams as I don't think it turned as bad as had been predicted.  Both

Scansorials teams enjoyed themselves.

The marshals will probably spot that both our teams were at the later

checkpoints at about the same time but this was completely coincidental.

Having started twenty minutes later we caught up with them at the tea point

but then went our separate ways - we just kept running into them at the

checkpoints even though we had used different routes to get there.  There is

now a good rivalry between the teams, particularly as this year's result

reversed the relative positions from last year.

Hope to see you again next year.


Kevin Cahalane


And from our side of the fence:

This was my first Roding Rally experience and although I’ve camped out several times over the years, never in such conditions as Storm Angus.

Luckily, my checkpoint partner had made a recce visit during daylight so once we had parked the car in Gilwell Park, I just had to follow through a small wooded area to find the marker for our pitch. As I had not been involved in the planning process, I had no idea where I was. Storm Angus was brewing, so as well as very strong winds, there was driving rain too.

Our tent (no. 7), was positioned in a very exposed spot on Chingford Plain, just in front of the ridge overlooking the Lee Valley. Once inside, we waited a few hours for the first of the competitors to come our way. Once the runners started to arrive, there was no time to relax as we were busy marking cards. The inclement weather affected the state of the cards, making it difficult to write on them.

Despite the awful conditions, the competitors were all very cheerful and positive. Many said they felt sorry for the markers on the checkpoints, but we were feeling sorry for them in their windswept and bedraggled state.

When morning came, the storm was subsiding and we saw the sun rise over the plain. The ground was very muddy but I felt that all this added to the atmosphere.

Being served breakfast after arriving back at the hall was very much appreciated, as was the meal the previous afternoon. What struck me most among the volunteers, was the camaraderie and willingness to help and offer advice.

In spite of being out all night in the cold, damp and wind, resulting in a stiff and aching body, I look forward to my next Roding Rally experience.

Eleanor Bloom


And finally:


Probably because of the weather there was a great deal of stuff left at the village hall or retrieved en route. If any of the following items belong to you, please let me know so that we can rehome it:

Grey mans scarf

Compass on a yellow string

Small torch

Black woollen hat and one black glove with dimples on palm

Petzl head torch that looks like a miners lamp!

Map pouch and pencil

Pair of quechua black gaiters

Two Oxford accessories soft cloth tubes for scarf wear or similar

Pair of grey and bright pink laced adidas trainers size 7 ½




Where did you come? Click Here and look for your team’s number in the event down the left hand side in the distance you covered.