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A short history of LOC

This is a condensed history of LOC.  It omits large amounts of detail, but there is (hopefully) enough information to let you know a bit of who/why/when the club was formed, and how it has become what it is today.

In the latter part of 1969, when orienteering was still in the early days but growing fast, South Ribble O.C. was considered too remote to serve the interests of its members in the Lake District.  As a result of this, a Northern Section was formed consisting of 7 members.

On the 29th June 1970, these 7 members of SROC (Northern Section) formed Lakeland Orienteering Club, with the best wishes of SROC, and a generous donation of £5.  The chairman of the newly formed club was Mike Kelly, with Brian Barden as Treasurer and Chris Wright as Secretary.  Full membership to the club cost £1, and this included your BOF membership too!

It would appear that the first LOC Annual General Meeting was held on 12th January 1971, and the functions of LOC were outlined thus:

  • 1.  To have competitive orienteers to achieve results

  • 2.  Plan and organise events to Scandinavian standards

  • 3.  Social gathering of like-minded outdoorsmen to have fun

As there were no women in the club in these early days, most of the articles and activities were very biased towards a men-only sport.  (thank goodness that changed!!)

The first club colours were easy to remember - black!  The main object in the early days of 'O' was to try and blend in with your surroundings - this idea has now ceased and it seems that the more bright and obvious your club colours, the better! 

The first event staged by LOC was at Tarn Hows.  

Tragedy was not long in coming to LOC, with Bryn Jones (one of the founding seven members) dying in a snow gully in the Cairngorms on April 1st 1971.  Bryn was the Principal Lecturer in Outdoor Pursuits at Ambleside College, and he died whilst taking a serious risk in order to prevent further injuries to one of his students.  An obituary was printed in Compass-Sport.

In July 1971, an LOC report described how the first year of the new club had gone.
Within a year the membership had grown to about 40 (presumably some women).  Twelve events were entered in the first 6 months - LOC had won the team prize on 6 occasions, Brian Barden had won 4 events, Mike Kelly 3 event wins and 4 second places, and Bryn Jones had 2 victories.
Three significant events were staged during the first year, and were 'universally acclaimed and set new standards in mapping and organisation'
Regular meetings were treated as social events (no committee considered necessary) and about 100 attended the first annual dinner dance (with entertainment).

In short - the Club's 'Functions' were quickly, and most effectively, achieved.

Fund-raising was a major part of the sport  in the early days, and on 11th January 1972, Mick McGill (one of the founder members of LOC) organised a four-event special.  It started with a 3-mile run, then a swim in Grasmere, a fell-run up Wansfell, and finally drinking pints on beer with a table-spoon.  It is not recorded how many took part, and they raised the princely sum of £10.  Even in those days, a swim in Grasmere in January must have been worth more than that!!

In early 1977, the North West News had an interesting report:
Watch out for a fiendish new activity from the North. Lakeland O.C. although a small club, now has a former international cyclist (John Bettinson) and a former international rugby player (Bill Proctor) among its members.  They are at present developing a specialised event which involves orienteering on bicycles while kicking along a funny shaped ball.  Rumour also has it that there will be power of sending off in the hands of the Controller of an event.
That actually sounds like quite good fun - any offers to stage the first event!!!