In the early 1980s one of Wrekin Orienteers’ most enthusiastic members, Dave Gittus, suggested the possibility of a 2 day weekend event as a means of attracting orienteers to Shropshire and opening up new areas in the more sparsely populated West of the county. This idea was quickly taken up by Paul Graetz (then of Harlequins) and it was suggested that the two clubs each hosted a Badge event on consecutive days of the weekend. At that time such weekend events were a rarity and the idea of two separate clubs organising it, a novelty.
Ant Clerici creator of our little SinS men
In 1983 the first ‘Springtime In Shropshire’, as the event had become known, was held on the second weekend in May. The event was to be held biennially which would allow new areas to be sought and mapped without putting too much pressure on the relatively small memberships (particularly in Wrekin’s case being the smaller of the two clubs).
In 1985 SinS II moved to its more familiar position of the Spring Bank holiday with the Badge events being held on the Sunday and Monday. On the Saturday Wrekin held a Training event which took the format of a number of controls being set out and several courses being suggested on a very informal basis.
In 1987 SinS III saw further expansion to the two Badge Events plus a full Colour-Coded event held on the Saturday by Octavian Droobers, a club with a large reserve of manpower and a paucity of terrain. Due to their geographical location it was necessary for both Harlequins and Wrekin to provide terrain and maps for this additional event.
For ‘89, 91‘ and ‘93 both history and memories fail to recall anything of note. Naturally, all who came would have thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
In 1995, following their successful staging of the 1994 JK, Wye Valley Orienteers joined the fold and added a third Badge Event to the weekend.
In 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease hit the country and the SinS event had to be cancelled at a very late stage in its organisation causing heartache, inconvenience and financial loss to all the three clubs. However, nothing like to the same extent that these were felt by our Shropshire farmers!
For 2003, now that Wye Valley Orienteers sadly no longer exist, Wrekin and Harlequin Orienteering Clubs were your only hosts. The novel burden of WRE running two events meant a reversion to the Saturday being a low key training event.
In 2005 SinS coincided with the JK also being held in this region. All HOC members were heavily involved in the JK as were many of WRE members. This added considerably to our workload during the SinS organisation and planning period. However, by having one assembly area for two of the days we managed three badge events.
2007 Saw for the first time a day jointly staged by WRE & HOC. We also saw on Day 2 some of the worst rain SinS has ever experienced!
2009 A difficult event with the late loss of two of our chosen venues (Bucknell and Nash Woods). However, falling back on Corndon it severely tested our navigation. Fortunately we did have a beautifully sunny weekend (doesn’t always happen at SinS!). We added the social activity of SSinSS (Secret Summits in South Shropshire) but also lost the camping facility at Ludlow School.
2011 A year of experiment. We used two co-ordinators (HOCman and WREman) to improve inter-club communication and harmonic approach. A new and additional event was added to the program by way of an Urban Street event around Ludlow. 430 runners booked in for it and most turned up to enjoy themselves around the town. Day 3 saw a little rain and our first ever ambulance casualty. Nearby orienteers terminated their runs immediately so that a rescue using our walkie-talkies, was swiftly executed.
2013 One of the best SINS yet. Although the run up to the weekend was accompanied by heavy rain, and occasional snow, the weekend itself was dry and mercifully all the car parking went ahead without a hitch. The first day at Croft Castle will be remembered – by the officials at least – as the event of the goshawk, who decided to nest in the exact centre of the already planned courses. The initial exclusion placed around the nest was so large that the two ends of the map were totally isolated from each other. Thankfully as the chicks aged the exclusion zone became smaller and with some helpful work with the staff of the local Forestry Commission the event went ahead. The sunshine stayed for the weekend and many people enjoyed lounging around the assembly areas and Monstay Farm campsite. The Urban event in Ludlow was again very popular but hard work for the Organisers after a day some distance away at Hopton. Almost 950 runners participated on the third day at Brown Clee.