UNOC is the orienteering club for Newcastle University. We offer orienteering events and training, both locally and further afield. In recent years the club has branched out to other similar outdoor sports, including adventure racing and fell running. Currently fell running is offered to complement the navigation training that forms the main part of orienteering.
UNOC was formed in the early 1970’s soon after the sport of orienteering arrived in England from Scandinavia. The club quickly made a presence on the national scene, becoming the women’s British relay champions at the first staging of the event in 1972. Throughout the following decades world class orienteers continued to pass through the clubs ranks, with the club hosting the British Universities Sports Association championships (BUSA – now BUCS), and also winning them. This fine form continued with the club becoming the men’s JK relay champions in 2000.
Today the club continues to function, albeit with a few less elite orienteers. The introduction of Newcastle University as a trading name for the institution has meant that the club acronym is seemingly no longer correct, but has been kept due to the long standing history of the club within the orienteering community.
Alumni of UNOC are entitled to join the exclusive Kings Newcastle Old Boys Orienteering Club (KNOBOC), with the name referring back to when the university was called Kings College Newcastle. Alumni from various points in time have run for KNOBOC over the years, with a notable highlight being Ed Nash becoming the British champion in 2003 and 2004 over the long distance course whilst running for the club, and also the British night orienteering champion in 2004.
On the fell running side of things, former UNOC member Steve Birkinshaw has since become a prominent figure in the mountain marathon scene, winning the OMM several times. However in 2014 he topped this by setting a new record for visiting all 214 of the Wainright summits in the Lake District in 6 days and 13 hours – a truly inspirational piece of running.
Currently members still reconvene at major orienteering events, which happened most recently at the 2015 World Orienteering Championships and Scottish 6 Days event held in the highlands.