Sunday, March 12, 2017

Well That Was Hard Work...

but I'm glad I did it. I struggled. I expected to struggle but I navigated okay considering I'm a bit ring rusty. I didn't have any major 'headless chicken' moments and although I steered off a bit too far on one or two controls, on the whole I did alright.

So despite the threat of some rain in the lead up to today's Compass Sport Orienteering Qualifier, the actual conditions were good. There was a lot of cloud cover but it didn't rain and it wasn't cold. I made my way to the start early to espy in which direction the early starters headed out - turned out to be a bit of a waste of time as there was only one way to go. Down the path, round the corner and out of sight....

I got off to a reasonable start. Found controls one and two accurately before steering off too far for number three. Four, five and six were all okay with a small wobble on seven where the map detail was confusing but I stuck to my guns and despite taking my time, headed into the control accurately.

I mucked up eight a little but quickly corrected myself. On the climb to nine I started to die. Across to ten, eleven and twelve I was sllllooooooow. The terrain was hard going with lots of dead bracken and shit like that to climb across. With no stamina left that was hard going.

Thirteen and fourteen were good but I stayed too high to fifteen and overshot the crag. It was a longish leg to sixteen and I went far too high but knew what I'd done and got back into it okay. Then it was down to the last few controls and the finish.

Best of all... I wasn't last (16/27) but with a few more on the course that'll change a little bit. I believe I might sleep like a log tonight - just hope I don't wake in the fire place - BOOM BOOM!

Thursday, March 09, 2017


found a bit of mojo. A short and very slow run over at Bixslade in the Forest. I have a feeling Sunday's orienteering might be a struggle...

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Pure Green

I was planning to go 'run' the orienteering taking place in the Forest today but I've been coughing and spluttering since Friday and couldn't face it. It's all being going a lot pants on the running front of late but hopefully I can get going soon. I've been looking through the race calendars to pencil in a few possibles.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Time For The Big Guns...

Yep, it was time to take the wraps off the ex-german army mittens for the first time this winter as I headed out for another run. I started with a quick spot of recycling at Broadwell - I say quick, but I think practically everyone in the forest had the same idea so it wasn't quite so quick as I'd hoped.

Anyway, with that out the way I parked up just down the road. With the temperature hovering around zero I wasn't going to get cold hands today, donned the mittens and headed out. It wasn't the longest run in the world but quite enjoyable in the bright sunshine. Still bloody cold though - but the hands stayed toasty warm. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

A Slightly Inauspicious Start To 2017...

It was wet and cold. Oh so cold. And wet, did I mention that? The rain was sleet like as it hit the windscreen on the drive over to Ninewells for the orienteering. Not my most favoured conditions. I don't really mind the cold or the rain for plain old running because of a thing called gloves - and when it's really cold, my ex-german-army mittens. For orienteering in the wet, my current gloves don't cut it. I guess I should invest in a good pair.

Anyway, suffice to say, my hands got really bloody cold, really bloody quickly and I wasn't long into the hour long score event before I was struggling to manipulate the map. In the end, the discomfort in my hands was too much and I headed back in early without reaching all the controls. I think I would probably have been there or there abouts on getting them all if I'd continued but it wasn't much fun out there. Still, I'm glad I went. Maybe get some better weather at the next one...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Almost Time Up For 2016

and it's time I start gaining a focus.... That's what 2016 lacked. Firstly I am going to try and do more orienteeting - after all, I do have to try out my first pair of orienteering gaitors! (Thank you Santa). Strong possibility that will be kicking off at tomorrow's Ninewells Score event...

Furthermore, this year I did not get away to the Lakes or Snowdonia even once! I am going to put that right next year. Dates are going to go in the calendar and holiday time will be booked - fact.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Not Been A Good Boy

I've dodged a lot of runs of late. An awful lot. If I'm honest, way too many but I got over to my new favourite woods again today. Dymock Wood. Or Oxenhall Wood - depending on which map you look at. It was an enjoyable run - if somewhat not quite what I planned. The lie of the land is a little different to the map...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Not A Good Sign...

When your legs are sore after a paltry 10k through the woods. It's an Omen. A portent of doom. DOOOOooom I tells ya! .... That or the fact I've been a very lazy boy.

I did enjoy Saturday's run. It's nice to run in places new so I'm going to start planning some more new routes.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Crisp Autumnal Afternoon

Just the type of day to go for a jog in the forest - except I didn't. Today I ventured over the border into Hereford and delights of Dymock Woods. It was really rather pleasant - apart from the really slippy, muddy section where I slipped and mudded my shorts [snigger, snigger].

I followed a clockwise loop, starting and finishing inside the border, crossing under the motorway on the way out and over it on the way back. There were some really nice meandering single tracks along the northern edge. Although a couple of the little bridges were a bit suspect.

And the best bit, that bit when you standard under a piping hot shower once you get home. I didn't feel cold but you realise you where and you just stand there kind of just ahhhhing. I shall definitely be heading back there again to try a few other routes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I've been a tad awol from things of late. The mojo has waned but not entirely. I'm in a better place than this time last year and looking forward, with the new wheels, to finally getting back to Snowdonia and the Lakes in 2017

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's Gonna Be A Slow Llyn y Fan

but hopefully dry (ish). This is, of course, based on the fanciful notion that the forecast might be somewhere close to accurate. [crosses fingers the forecast rains blow through ahead of high noon].

The Llyn y Fan fell race is one of my favourites mainly on account that it is over in the west Black Mountains - which as everyone knows, is the best bit

I won't be quick but hopefully not last and I'll enjoy it come what may - once I stop coughing, wheezing and warm up after I've finished, of course.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I knew It

I knew my something would be aching today. My neck and left shoulder is somewhat cricked. I took a couple of trips during yesterday's orienteering. I recovered myself without fully going to ground but I did wonder if I'd be aching today because of the jarring. It has eased through the day so all's well that ends well.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


of three - with another twenty six out running. So by the time the last orienteer is in that could well turn out to be 27th of 29. But still, it's the only time I've a first place on the score printout - even if it did only last a few minutes.

Overall I had a pretty decent run out. True, I was not quick over the ground but I was focused on the navigation and I was pretty accurate - most of the time. There was a little hiccup at control eight. I sited the wrong group of track junctions and ended up east of where I needed to be so lost a bit of time tracking back and then I dilly-dallied at ten. I was very close but just didn't quite have my location bang on with the map. After that I was back on the money - the slow money, but never the less the money - and finished the course without further issue.

Pretty pleased with the days effort and for once my GPS route plot does not look like a spider has crawled all over it!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Returning To The Scene Of My First Crime...

Cleeve Hill Orienteering, based out of the south east corner. I've been back to Cleeve for orienteering since then but never from the South East. Starting there is going to bring back some traumatic memories. To say it was not a good day is a slight understatement. In my defence it was my first time. For the prosecution I was a bloody nobber for selecting the blue (hard) course for my first time out - but I was young and care free back then..... and some might say I'm still a nobber for continuing with the blue courses!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a spot of orienteering tomorrow. I will no doubt be a bit rusty but hopefully I'll go a little better than I did back in 2011.

For a little nostalgia I've copied my blog post of the fateful day from back in the day....

Not Quite How I Had Envisioned It...
In truth, it was what can only be described as 'a piss poor effort'. My first proper route class orienteering race - not sure of the official terms, but my first one where there is a route of check points or 'controls', as I'm told they're called, to follow. It did not go anywhere close to how I thought it would. I was, quite literally a disgrace to all fell runners everywhere. I hang my head in shame. I, in no way, upheld the honour of fell running - I only hope I don't get excommunicated from the fra.

It all started brilliantly - I found the start - but from there it was all downhill. There were multiple courses available on entry ranging from easy (beginner) to hard (someone who knows what they're doing) - can you guess which I chose, me being a cocky sod? You'd have thought, being my first time, I'd plump for the easy end of the spectrum, but oh no, not I - nobber.
The blue course (hardest) consisted of twenty one check poi.., scratch that, controls. Each control is numbered and you have to make sure you don't stick your dibber - stop it - in the wrong hole - I said, stop it. So it can be confusing when you come across one that isn't on your route. Also, as the difficulty of the course increases the controls are more and more hidden. You almost end up checking under every goddam stone to see if the bloody thing is hiding there.
Anyway, less of all the talk of rules and regulations. Basically my course was 8km long and if I was running a marked route it would have taken me thirty five to forty minutes. Suffice to say, it took me a bloody sight longer. Quoting from the good book of Tony, FFS it took me forty five minutes just to find control number one! Some perspective on that, the winner only took forty one minutes for the entire bloody thing. And with a three hour cut off I almost packed it in on account of having no sodding chance of making it round. But I've never not finished a race I've started and I didn't intend to start then.
Slowly I managed to acclimatise to the stupidly high scale map - I'm used to OS Explorer and the orienteering map is a much higher scale so it puts all your timings out and the contours become much more detailed. What, on the OS map, would be contour-less and flat is filled with bloody millions of tiny contours on the orienteering map. All very confusing to a beginner.
So having eventually got to grips - partially to grips - with the map I started to get into the swing of it. It took me another twenty one minutes to get to control four so it was still looking doubtful I'd get round. But then it kind of all clicked into place. I got into the grove of the distances and timings and I was off.
Controls five, six, seven and eight were ticked off in rapid succession. Nine was tricky. Hidden amongst a myriad of tiny dimples and bumps. Ten was equally hidden. Mind you, it would help if I knew what all the control symbols meant, as the little icons in the instructions show you the way the control is hidden, ie in a dip, behind vegetation, on a rise, stream crossing etc. Knowing where to look would probably help a little - I'll have to do some homework to find out the meanings of the icons. 
Then I was onwards to eleven through nineteen in pretty quick order. Twenty was a bit of a faff as there were bloody hundreds of clumps of gorse - I had learnt the symbol for vegetation from a previous control so knew where to look, clever eh? No, didn't think so. And I got my bearing slightly wrong towards twenty one but didn't lose too much time. From there it was just a short run in to the finish.
In all I took just outside two hours and I ended up clocking 16km instead of the optimum 8km - bonus mileage - toot toot. The most annoying thing though is that I took more time to complete controls one to four than the entire rest of the course. If the course had started at four I might have done well.
So as I write this post and reflect - and despite an extremely poor showing - it was a bloody fun day out. And you can mark my words, 'I'll be back'...
Saturday, 22nd January 2011