Yes – the JK is coming back to the South West again. It will be 31 years since it was last held in Devon in 1979. Then it was a two day event with the Individual held in Fernworthy Forest on Dartmoor and the Relay in Bramble Brook (now called Bullers Hill) on Haldon Hill near Exeter.
In the intervening years, the event has developed. Now we are offering you four contrasting events in three different locations.
The stately house at Bicton College with its surrounding parkland is host to the Sprint Event on Day 1. Bicton is some 15 miles SE of Exeter, the county town of Devon.
Day 2 moves to the darker plantation forest at Cookworthy near Holsworthy in Tarka country. Here the elite will have a Middle Distance race whilst the rest will have the more usual long distance event.
Days 3 and 4 are in the open sand dunes of Braunton Burrows just west of Barnstaple. Here we can guarantee you some high pressure map reading. Day 3 is the Long distance day for all classes. Day 4 is the JK Relay.
Devon is not the furthest south west county of Britain - that honour goes to Cornwall. Neither is it difficult to get to. There are good road, rail and air connections to the rest of the UK and the world.
Make JK 2010 your destination at Easter and look forward to four splendid days of orienteering.
Organiser JK 2010
Jan Kjellström was killed in a road accident in January 1967. Much of what the pioneers of orienteering in this country knew was taught to them by Jan, and the Jan Kjellström international competition was instituted in his memory that year, by the English Orienteering Association.
Jan was the son of Alvar Kjellström, one of three top Swedish orienteers in the 1930s. Alvar, with his brother Björn, ran Silva Compasses. British orienteers first met Jan in France in 1964. He visited this country in the summer of 1965 and 1966, never sparing his energy and enthusiasm in helping those who were trying to get orienteering established as a sport, teaching them both competitive skills and better methods of organisation. He also acted as mentor to the British team abroad.
Jan was only a 3rd team member of his club Rotebro IS. Yet his skill and speed in the forest gave British orienteers a vision of what they themselves could attain.
The early JK weekends were not quite so complicated to stage as the one you are about to enjoy. The area for the first one was decided one week beforehand, after another area had been rejected on the previous Wednesday. For the first two years there was no Relay as such, the Jan Kjellström Trophy being given for a team competition based on the senior men’s race. In 1969 the sport had changed somewhat. There were now four individual courses instead of just one each for men and women, and redrawn maps had appeared. Three colours were used, the scale was 1:25,000, and forest rides were omitted with the intention of increasing route choice. A proper relay was organised but it was remarkable that it took place. The intended forest (Slaley in Northumberland) was snow-bound and the event was re-planned overnight in another forest, on OS 1:25,000 maps which had been hurriedly driven up from Southampton.
The sport is different now. But the enthusiasm of orienteers has not changed, and the JK weekend is now the social occasion of the year for British orienteers.
It is a fitting memorial to Jan that his trophy is given in a relay competition, in which club spirit plays so great a part and the ordinary orienteer has a chance to shine.
Arthur Vince (written for the 1989 programme)