N.E. Score Championships: Dukeshouse Wood, Hexham

    • Date:
    • Location: 1st Hexham Scout Hut (Lookwide Centre), NE46 1DR

    This year’s North East Score Championships will be held at Dukeshouse Wood. Located on the south-east outskirts of the market town of Hexham, this is one of the North-East’s premier areas for orienteering. The area was used for the Northern Championships in April 2022.

    The event is open to all. To enter the North East Score Championships, see the Championship Rules and Eligibility and enter your age category.

    Terrain: Undulating mixed woodland with some steep slopes and an extensive path network. Runnability is variable. The northern slope suffered extensive damage from Storm Arwen with areas of windblown trees and rough undergrowth making for relatively slow progress in this part of the area. The southern part of the area is generally more runnable although some undergrowth is present. The worst areas of windblown trees have been mapped but pockets of these may be encountered anywhere in the area.

    Note for newcomers: If you are new to orienteering, you are welcome to try our White and Yellow courses. These involve finding controls in a particular order, and you won’t need to leave the paths.

    You are also welcome to try a score course: enter ‘novice score’ for a 45-minute course with some easy-to-find controls. See here for more info. on starting to orienteer. The age classes listed below are for experienced orienteers entering the championships.

    In a score event, all control sites are shown on the map and you choose which ones to visit – in which order. Each control has a points value (from 5 to 30). You try to score as many points as possible within the time limit (60 or 45 minutes according to course). There is a penalty for returning late (in this case if you are up to 1 minute late = 10-point penalty; 1-3 minutes late = 20-point penalty per minute or part-minute; >3 minutes late = 30-point penalty per minute or part-minute).

    Bus 685 Newcastle > Hexham > Carlisle
    Bus Tyne Valley 10 Newcastle >Hexham
    Alight at Hexham Bus Station (250m walk to assembly)
    Rail: Tyne valley line between Newcastle, Hexham and Carlisle (700m walk to assembly)

    Driving: Please note that roadworks mean a one-way system is in operation through the centre of Hexham west-east along the Battle Hill/Cattle Market/Priestpopple corridor.

    Parking: In Hexham as appropriate. Free parking (time-limited, with a disc) is available in the small car park at Loosing Hill (behind the bus station) and the larger Wentworth car park. The car park near Marks and Spencer is Pay and Display. See here for further details of parking in Hexham.

    Assembly: Enquiries and download at the 1st Hexham Scout Hut (Lookwide Centre), Maiden’s Walk, Hexham NE46 1DR.

    Clothing: Full leg cover is required. Waterproof jackets may be compulsory in very wet or cold weather.

    Equipment: On the day dibber hire is available for £1 – choose this option with SIEntries. You’ll need to pick up your hired dibber from Assembly before you go to the Start.

    Facilities: Toilets and First Aid at Assembly. Bags may be left at the owner’s own risk.

    Refreshments: Tea, coffee, squash and cakes will be on sale at Assembly in aid of the North East Junior Squad. Please bring cash.

    60 minute score: MO (Open), MV (M40+), MSV (M55+), MUV (M65+)
    60 minute score: WO (Open), WV (W40+), WSV (W55+), WUV (W65+)
    45 minute score: MJ (16-), WJ (16-), MYJ (12-), WYJ (12-), novice
    White (1.4 km.)
    Yellow (2.9 km.)

    Entry: Now open via SI Entries, close at midnight on Sunday 18 February. £7 per adult and £2 per junior or student. Entry on the day for White, Yellow and Novice Score courses only, subject to availability.

    Map: Score courses 1:10000 scale, White and Yellow courses 1:7500 scale; mapped by Francis Shillitoe in 2019 with selective updates by the planner for this event.

    Control descriptions are printed on the map and available loose on a separate strip of paper at the start. The number of points per control and the control numbers (identifying each control) will be shown on the map.

    Starts: Follow taped route to the start from the Scout Hut. Distance 1.5km, Climb 100m. Start any time between 11:00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m (punching start). Courses close at 1:45 p.m.

    Finish adjacent to start. Clothes can be left near the finish, bring a suitable bag to leave them in. A tent will only be available in bad weather.

    Officials: Organiser, Kim Sanderson, sandersonkim@hotmail.com
    Planner: George Hare
    Controller: Tricia Davies (BL)

    Safety: A whistle must be carried. Some competitors may go as far as Devil’s Water (a river) where there are dangerous crags. These are avoidable but a path goes quite close to the top of them. They are not taped off.

    Be aware of other pedestrians, dogs and mountain bikers in the woods. Vehicles may use a road/track near the start/finish.

    There are 2-3m deep man-made holes/shafts in the competition area which are either fenced or taped off or covered by wooden logs: avoid these!

    If you get completely lost there is a road at the western edge of the map; following this to the north will take you down the hill back into Hexham town centre. There is also a wide track running east-west through the centre of the map, which you generally hit if you head uphill from any direction.

    Orienteering is an adventure sport.  A comprehensive risk assessment for the event will be prepared and identified risks mitigated. However, please be aware that participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

    Please upload your route to Routegadget: https://www.nato.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#170

    Guidance available: “How to upload a route”

    Planner’s notes: Thank you to everyone who turned out today for the NE Score Championships at Dukeshouse Wood. Thankfully we had some slightly drier weather for the last couple of weeks as the area has been sodden for most of the autumn and winter making conditions underfoot better than they have been for a while. Looking at the results some really impressive runs from competitors in all classes.

    In planning the event I had a few objectives in mind. I tried to ensure that even the strongest competitors would not get all the controls, as it then becomes an exercise in picking a route rather than picking which controls to visit. 

    I tried to spread the controls across the area but with a reasonable proportion quite close to the start/finish. This was so that competitors in more senior age classes would have a chance to visit a decent number of controls, noting that away from the main paths the area is quite rough in the most part. I also tried to position controls in a way that the sequence to visit them was not obvious, with a few awkwardly positioned ones that involved backtracking or zig-zagging to visit. Generally points increased with distance from the start/finish but I mixed things up slightly, hopefully to make competitors think more carefully about which controls to visit and to reward visiting some of the awkwardly positioned controls or ones where navigation was harder.

    I deliberately made the penalties harsh for significant overruns of time. The aim of this was to ensure that good timekeeping and judgement of distance and speed were rewarded over ability to simply run further and carry on regardless of time! I hope no-one felt they were too hard done by as a result of the penalties applied. A few people ended up in negative territory – I hope you still got pleasure from being out in the woods on a very decent winter’s day.

    Many thanks to Tricia and Kim for controlling and organising respectively and to everyone else who contributed to making the event run smoothly. 


    Well done to all competitors on completing some challenging courses in the woods. Congratulations to the North East Score Champions for 2024!

    WJ Katie Jones
    MJ Oscar Sanderson
    WO Scarlet Heap
    MO Julian Simpson
    WV Joanna Abbott
    MV Nick Green
    WSV Kate Hampshire
    MSV John Lonsdale
    WUV Ann Cranke
    MUV Allen Banister

  • View the Results