Night Orienteering and a Fell Race - 10th/11th November 2012

Devon Orienteering Club - Night Orienteering 10th November 2012

This was the first event of the 2012/13 Devon and Cornwall Night League, held on Whitchurch Common one of the more technically demanding areas to be used this year.  So no real time to get your eye in, we were straight into it.    It didn't start really well with a miss at #1, missed the path junction then scrambled around for a bit, before finding it just as I was about to relocate.  Messed around at #2 trying to find attack point, many other path visible at night!  Down to #3 found wall track crossing to NW but then couldn't locate depression in amongst bracken!  Clean to #4, probably through luck more than judgement as ran on rough compass and counted paths.  Knowing tree are marked on map as white circles would have helped at #5, but unable to see that under night O conditions.  Now caught by Will Hancock, through #7 and #8 OK, then over the tor to #9 and into an area that had much more going on  than on the map.  #10, #11, #12, #13 and #14 all felt like more suitable night O control sites, still challenging but in less vague terrain.  Slight miss on #14 by dropping between the tor and the quarry.  All in all a pretty average performance.  3.9km 180m - 45min 11secs 

Dartmoor Runners - 11th November 2012

Now for something completely different!  A 15km fell race over Dartmoor from Scorhill, Gidleigh.  Due to some hasty reading of the final details I managed to get to the start later than planned, this did mean that I was almost at the back of the pack with only Adam Forrest behind me.  My game plan for the day was to run more direct lines as I can sometimes over navigate, and as I am running strongly, taking the direct route does seem to be paying off for me.  I started strongly and was soon setting a good tempo, I got lucky to the first control hitting it straight on, but wasn't expecting it to be in the reentrant but on a gate on the fence line behind.  (Note to self: Must make better note of the control descriptions!).  Felt in good nick and was enjoying my running on a beautiful autumn day on the moors, blue skies and stunning views.  Made up some good time to #3 by running the direct line from the river west of Watern Tor to Wild Tor, and enjoyed the fast decent down to the trod heading to #4.  Managed to get into some knee high heather and gorse crossing the hillside below Buttern Hill, heavy going some 13km in.  Enjoyed the run into the finish and was very happy with my time of 1:44:05.


View Dartmoor Runners 11th November 2012 in a larger map

The OMM 2012 - Howgill Fells

This was 16th OMM/KIMM start, and one of things that attracts me year after year is going to small pockets of wild country that often you wouldn't visit.  Year after that has been the case, until this year when I would be returning to the Howgill Fells for a second time.  However my last visit was just a fleeting experience during the 1998 event commonly referred to as the "Howling Howgills".  We had a very late start time, by which time the the weather was already deteriorating, we headed for our first control but soon turned back when we looked at the river we had to cross to the first control.  1hr 20min after starting we were off the hill and on our way back to the event centre.  

So I was really looking forward to having another go.  The journey up as usual was a pain and we didn't arrive at the event centre at Sedberg until 2100.  We registered and quickly headed for the camping field for an early night.  Clear skies meant that it was going to be a cold night.  

Saturday dawned crisp, clear and very cold, we had breakfast and soon, myself and my partner Steve were off for the 2km walk to the start.

At 9.05 we were off up the hill, through some farmers fields giving us time to plan before the compulsory control saw us out on to the open fell.  A quick valley crossing and climb saw us at #2 before continuing the climb and descending into #3.  Underfoot it was amazingly fast going and it was obvious the faster teams were going to cover long distances.  Contouring into #4 was more of a pleasure than usual, although I did have to stop to make a sock adjustment to prevent a small blister worsening.  
Steve contouring to control 4.

Graham coming out #5 where our plans split
From control #4 we had our first really tough climb of the day, I was feeling quite strong but Steve was finding it tough.  Soon we were up on the tops and dropping into control #5.  We met Graham Pring coming out of #5 and were aware he had a different plan to ours.  I took a look at the map to see what they were up to but we decided to stick with the plan.  A quick run down the valley to control #6 I had time to film a demonstration of how to descend a hill.

Two big climbs on the way to #7 and 4.5 hours gone.  All that was left was to head for home and start the preparations for Day two.

Day One -  19.5km 1500m  5.54.37 170 points 124/209

Rob and Jamie Parkinson 12th Long Score

Steve in our massive tent!!

The dry weather passed through and the rain came to the overnight camp at around 9pm.  

Day 2

The first decision was to whether to go east or south.  We opted for south which turned out to be a good move.  We picked up 4 controls before two at the road crossing.  Then it was a the big climb of the day up to #7 Steve was still finding the climbs tough and the weather wasn't helping cold, wet and windy!  But we knew that once the climb was over we had just one short climb left for the day.  I was glad to find the control at the foot of a crag cleanly and headed off south picking up a contouring path which took us to above #8.  Chris Moncaster came past us here going well on the B course
Chris Moncaster enjoying the day 2 weather! 7th B Class

 We contoured out of #8 before a short climb to #9.  From #9 we had a short but steep climb to #10 before descending into the finish.  It didn't feel like we had done very well on day 2 but it turned out we had made good choices and executed them well and had climbed from a disappointing 124th on Day 1 to 80th overall, so not a bad effort.  Many teams were enticed out east and left themselves with to much to do at the end.

Day Two - 14.3km 650m 4:37:43 65/205