East End Orienteering: Beckton District Park

Well I never thought I would be orienteering in true Eastenders country, but CHIG (Chigwell & Epping Forest OC) launched their new permanent orienteering course at Beckton District Park last Saturday with a score event, held in conjunction with Newham Fit Club – a collaboration between the borough council and the local NHS trust. This must be the best value orienteering event I’ve ever been to – free, with free map & pencil, free water at the end, a free goodie bag with “runner’s” water bottle, free medal and certificate of completion, and, apparently, for earlier runners – a free T-shirt. The only other event with this kind of value is the Bushy Park Time Trial (and the other UKTT events.)

The event was a one hour score around all 23 of the permanent markers. I ran around in 21 minutes, covering 4.3km according to my GPS. I thought it was a good time, but a couple of others also clocked 21 minutes, so I ended up first equal. Results here and my writeup here.

The area is never going to compete with CHIG’s prime area, Epping Forest, but it’s a nice enough little park, the area around the pond is probably very pleasant on a hot summer’s day, although the A13 thunders by just to the north.

Beckton District Park orienteering
The interesting middle section of the course. Yellow arrows show locations of the permanent control posts. My later long run back to the north part of the map for the final controls, is also shown.

My GPS curiously recorded about half my run as being under sea-level. While the park is certainly only a few metres above the Thames Estuary, it isn’t flooded yet. GPS altitude calculations are so inaccurate…

Beckton area
The park in relation to the Thames and other major landmarks in the area.

Beckon District park is my nearest “active” orienteering area – it’s a short cycle away along the Greenway. Victoria Park is closer, but there hasn’t been an event there for many years, due to, I think permissions problems. I would love to approach Tower Hamlets borough council and suggest a similar kind of collaboration with my club SLOW for “Vicky Park” although it would be a lot of work to put the pieces together and the map would need quite an update – and it’s an LOK rather than a SLOW map anyway.

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