Adventure Club brings a new twist to Orienteering
The Adventure Club was formed 10 years ago to bring together people who enjoyed orienteering with the added adventure of personal combat. The club has coined the term “Combateering” to describe its activities. Dr Steven Adams, his wife Valerie and eight friends formed the club. Dr Adams was elected Chairman, a role he still holds today. The club runs competitions over rugged terrains, with the objective of getting to a pre-marked destination in the fastest possible time and with the minimum of damage from the other competitors. Paint guns are used, together with special suits which can be read electronically, using a hand held scanning device. A computer then judges the disabling impact that the hits would have had and imposes a time penalty to reflect this. There is no reward for scoring hits on other opponents. As well as being hit by other opponents there are hazards placed on the course by the competition organisers, eg trip wires and anti-personnel mines that fire paint.
When the club started it met in member’s houses and operated on public property, eg moors and woodlands, or it hired courses from the army. It proved to be far more popular than the founders ever thought. Within a year it had a hundred members, and started organising events nationally. In five years it had 500 members and is expected to top 1000 this year. The club set the policy that it would charge high subscriptions and competition fees to allow itself to expand and purchase its own land. The policy paid off; two years ago it acquired its own property in an isolated, mountainous region of Norway where it sets up a lot of its courses. Last year it employed Jed Eames as the first professional steward for the club. He came on recommendation of Jan Cotter. Jed has organised competitions and runs the clubs thriving mail order business selling up market survival kit. The club is definitely for the well healed, but it also likes to attract the best competitors in the field. It therefore offers high prizes in its competitions with the intent of attracting the best, who have to be members before they can enter.
This year’s Founders’ Competition is the first to use the new location in Norway. It is being used for the finals of the competition. There is a base camp from which the contestants start. A Finishing Hut, located near the top of the ground was built last year. The actual finishing point varies, but is always located somewhere near the Finishing Hut. At the finish point are four position markers, which the competitors take when they arrive. They then make there way to the finishing hut to register their times and hits.
A cable car links the base camp to the finishing hut. It is used to bring supplies up and take competitors back after competitions and for the Contest Marshall to observe the competition. Jed Eames is the Contest Marshall for this competition. He is equipped with a telescopic sight paint rifle to fire at competitors who attempt to gain advantage by using the cable car clearing, which is out of bounds.
This year’s four finalists are:
• Dr Steven Adams
• Ann Barnes
• Jan Cotter
• Flo Davis
Reprinted by kind permission of “The Sunday Telegraph” from its article printed on 7/1/96