The History of Swansea Bay Orienteering Club

History by the founder Secretary & Treasurer Arthur Bourne, and previous Secretary John MacKenzie.

In the late 60’s there were only ‘closed’ orienteering clubs, (ie those set up by schools and universities) and a recently formed club in North Wales. South Wales OC had been set up, but due to lack of support it ceased to function. In an effort to improve the situation the British Orienteering Federation held a seminar for all interested parties, in particular heads of P.E. Departments in schools. From this seminar Olchfa and Dynevor started taking their pupils to events. Most of these events were held well away from Swansea, so as taxi drivers the parents were drawn in to the sport and became involved.

The Welsh Orienteering Association noticed this interest and urged the parents and other local orienteers to form a club in Swansea. An inaugural meeting was held in the Woodman Hotel, and at that meeting it was agreed to form S.B.O.C. In 1972 because of the changes in boundaries, there were plans to form a large conurbation around Swansea Bay, from Port Talbot in the East to Gower in the West. The Club founders, being forward looking people, decided to call the club Swansea Bay Orienteering Club, as the catchment area of the club was almost identical to the Government boundaries.

Three or four experienced orienteers attended that first meeting, John Pearson, Adrian Barnes U.C.,Peter Kelbie U.C. Cardiff, so with the help of these three, events were organised. It was hard work, as sometimes we had as few as ten attending. The members ran the event, ran in the event and worked out and sent off the results later on Sunday evening - there were only about six members. We felt we had ‘made it’ when we had seventy people attending. Nevertheless it was so much fun that everybody kept going, as slowly the Club enrolled more members - the rest is History.

1972: First event organised on Swansea University map.

1973: First event organised on map produced by the Club Cartographer Peter Seward, snr. Stephen Kirk represents Wales at International Events in Germany.

1974: First Badge event organised by Club at Glencastle.

1976: Catherine Bourne selected for British Junior Team in Norway. Club members acted as controllers for the World Championships in Scotland. Regular weekly training meetings start at Bishop Gore.

1978: Brian Bullen becomes British Champion.

1979: Brian Bullen represents Great Britain at the World Championships.

1982: First Club-organised trip to Ireland.

1984: First JK held in Wales at Beddgelert/Capel Curig. Members run the starts.

1985: First Dragon Hunt at Ogof Ffynnon Ddu at the newly introduced National Events.

1986: Permanent courses open at Afan Argoed. Members sported a new club O-suit.

1987: Harvester Night Relay event held at Pembrey.

1988: Ogof Ffynnon Ddu hosts the first Croeso event. Runners-up in the CompassSport Cup for small clubs.

1989: First publication of the Club newsletter, The Spur.

1990: Inaugural Veteran Home International at Pembrey.

1992: 20th Anniversary of Club formation. Computer software for maps.

1996: British Night Championships held at Pembrey.

1997: Club Silver Jubilee celebration.

1999: The Spur becomes 10 years old. Club webpage born. SPORTLOT funding for maps.

2000: Our first electronic punching event at the Pen Rhiw Wen National. Club Committee restructured.

2002: Club 30th Anniversary celebration.

2010: Kris Jones wins SILVER in Sprint at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Ålborg, Denmark.

2012: SBOC Celebrates its 40th Anniversary with a great weekend of orienteering at Pembrey Country Park.

2014: SBOC organises the JK sprint at Singleton with the other days held in the Brecon Beacons.

2016: Kris Jones earns 3, 4th places at the World Orienteering Championships in Stromstad, Sweden.

2017: SBOC finish 3rd in the Compass Sport Trophy Competition.Club also hosts the British Night Championships on Merthyr Mawr.