Mendip North - Bristol Orienteering Club - 24th November 2013

A 1.6km walk/jog to the start meant that I was raring to go once I got there.  The remoteness meant that we carried our own rolled and taped map to the start.  I had difficulty folding the map to start with and ended up setting off up the wrong path.  I soon recovered, but my legs felt heavy as I started up the hill, was I paying the price for the previous nights blast around Davidstow? The leg to #1 was a long one, not the norm in orienteering races but I quite like the challenge of getting into the map on a long leg.  I made a pretty good job of it but as I thought the splits suggest I wasn't moving very quickly.  Clean to #3 and making good progress to #4, I impressed myself by checking out the attack point one the way to #1.  I lost confidence from the attack point and avoided the wooded area looking for the depression.  Then I realised the depression was in a wooded area and I was straight onto it.  Blast down the path to #5 and quickly I was through #7 and off down the track.  Overshot #8 didn't notice the parallel track.  Fell short to #9 entering the wood to early.  Went direct to #10 but track option quicker.  Took the track option to #13, then back onto the track along the valley, pace counted 300m then climbed diagonally to #14, took a deep breath for the nasty climb up to #15, 54mins gone.  8 controls left, decided to push the running speed and was happy not to make many mistakes just a slight miss at #20, through the final control and pushed hard on the 350m run in to be greeted by Jamie Hayward with his camera!! Really enjoyable race 7.8km 310m in 71:21 and 10th/26.

Night League - Davidstow 23rd November 2013

Excellent run around Davidstow on a clear and cold night, a total contrast to the stormy and epic conditions of last year.  This year we had the added bonus of an extension to the map to include the wooded area to the south.  This was to be my downfall, with two misses, it was a case of get the wrong ditch and pay the price.  Still managed to get around in 53.20 for the 6.2km (although the GPS tracked 8.2km!!)  The even better news is that this map can be extended into a massive area that stretches all the way to the A30!  That is what I call potential!!

Night League - Lanhydrock 16th November

Second Event of the Devon and Cornwall Night League - 4.4km 90m 39:45

Penhale Sands, South West Orienteering League - 10th November 2013

It's unusual to get a second run on Penhale in the same year, that doesn't however make it any easier!  I love Penhale the orienteering is incredibly absorbing and at the same time very physical.  I had in the back of my mind the 2hrs 5mins it took for my 11.8km course at the Southern Champs.  It was important get the pace right early on and as I was feeling pretty average to get the navigation right.  I started off well and was clean through to #3.  Got dragged south by better terrain and lack of concentration to #4.  Long leg to #5 Ok but got confused by lack of veg changes near to control which are usually so obvious on this map.  Slight miss at #7 but nothing major.  At #10 had it spot on but failed to spot the last climb to the control, lost confidence and went west down the valley until I realised.  Major mistake of the day to #15 ran confidently into fast run section but entered to far west and tried to make it fit, stood by large knoll scratching head until I worked it out.  Decided to loop north to #16 and run down veg boundary but probably good running took me too far north.  Really tried now and struggling, lined up #17 after cresting the hill after #16, and concentrated on keeping moving.  Got to the control to find it was wrong code!  Luckily it was my #18 only 200m away so over to #17 before doubling back to #18.  Last long leg to #19 decided to run on rough bearing and relocate off fence.  Ben Chesters charged past, thought about asking for a lift, but he was gone before I got chance.  Managed to keep it going through #20 and was happy to get onto the path for the run to #21 and the finish.  I was happy to finish the 8.9km course in 87:48 and lay on the soft grass the planner provided at the finish to celebrate.  

and finally........


Night Orienteering Season is Here

Burrator, Natrator Brook to start the night orienteering season!  That's an interesting call I thought, but hey who needs to ease themselves in!  The rain set in as I was leaving Plymouth just to make things even more interesting.  I picked up the map and set off 3 or 4 mins after Nigel Worsley.  I knew the area quite well from previous orienteering events, so decided to slow it down to #1, hit the river got slightly confused by wall not seen on the map.  It's always difficult to read the map at night, but add a plastic bag and rain it ramps up the difficulty.  Pass Nigel just before #2.  Locate #2, #3 and #4 clean but cautious.  #5 going to be difficult, I cross the wall and straight into boulders, try to keep on a bearing but which boulders are mapped?  (Post event I question if you blow up a 1:10000 map to 1:7500 do the features retain the correct position?)  I relocate on wall corner and eventually stumble on control, pit some distance from boulders! Out of control #8, make big error by deciding on wall option over path option and then get confused by where I have crossed the wall.  Try to relocate but, can't, on brink of retiring. Eventually see Nigel on the path south of me and join him. (Nigel was retiring as he had taken his map out of the bag as he couldn't read it and it had disintegrated.) Path through bracken takes me too high, follow the wall south come to another path which is the one marked!! 20min split to #9!! Follow wall to #10 (At night the earthwall symbol blends with the contour lines making reading this map all the more difficult).  From #11 I follow the gully north, over the path, over the wall, back over the wall to hilltop then down the hill north!!  Think my brains gone!!  Back up to large path, down path, then NE on wall to control.......  Clean through to the finish but disappointed by number of stupid mistakes!  The good news is it can only get better! 1:00:15 for 3.1km!!

Next Night Orienteering Race - Lanhydrock 16th November more details at

Odds and Evens - Devon Orienteering Club Championships

I thought the opportunity to have a run on this dual map had disappeared, when I took up the challenge of planning the 2011 Tamar Triple event on these maps.  Fortunately the wheels of change turn slowly in Devon and the mining company have yet to start dumping the waste from the proposed Tungsten mine.  I was determined to get a run even with the remnants of a lingering annoying cold.  I knew that however big a task it looked on the map it was going to be possible to clear the lot for the top runners, but would I be able to scrape in under the time limit?  I started on evens and the big decision was soon upon me at #58, could I justify going out #60. I was only 8 minutes in and running OK.  I made the decision not to, but would I regret it?  I turned back to collect the remaining evens on the Wheal Florence section and was happy to be pretty accurate all down the map.  At #40 I actually started out to #35, before remembering the transition control that had to be visited, 21.55 gone.  Feeling pretty rough now but determined to clean up the rest of the controls, off I went on the 1:10000 map, which plays with your head a bit after the 1:2500.  Again clean, but slowing badly by the time I hit the 1:2500 map for the last time.  Happy to finish in 57:21 missing only one control and 6th/44, 4 runners cleared the course.

Scottish Six Days: Day 5 - Roseisle

Well what can I say what an amazing race.  Certainly my favourite area of the week.  Parked at RAF Kinloss and had a 3km walk to the start in the heat.  Happy to have an early start as it was already very hot for my 10:46 start.  Looking at the map I find it difficult to draw my route so this entry might be shorter than normal.  What I can say is that #1 came up very quickly and if I hadn't noticed a fellow Cornwall member punching I might have run right past, thanks Bernard!  Took the beach option to #5 but couldn't find the path off the beach as it turned out I cut in early straight to the path junction and into the control clean.  The whole course was very technical and there was no time lose concentration. It was good to find a breeze as I turned out of  #11 28 mins in and no major problems just a few hesitations.  This forest was super quick under foot and there were defiantly going to be some fast times.  Really nice plan to #17 and really well executed.  Misread the map at  #20 for the only major mistake of the day, expected the Reentrant to be on the west side of the hill.  Eventually relocated off the open area near the path to the east, 53:49 gone.  Went direct to #25 but dropped short to control in depression, really hot in this open area so glad to get back in the forest.  Slight miss to #26 ran hard to #27 but legs and lungs complaining a bit now 77:25 still a slim chance of dipping under 80mins.  Pushed through the last 3 controls and went as hard as I could down the run in.  8.6km in 80:03 in 33rd place.  Overall 39th with best 4 results to count.  Still possible to push up the results if I have a good run tomorrow!

Last day 9.2km 485m on Coulmony and Belivat

Mark Lockett

Scottish Six Days: Day 4 - Loch of Boath

So how were my legs after a rest day, stood on the start line I wasn't sure.  My goal for the day was to have a clean, well paced run.  Going off to hard was not  an option today on my 8.2km 230m course.  Took the safe path option to #1  then used fence and hill to guide me into the control.  Good running pushed me to take the straight line option to #2, #3 and #4.  Thought about the track option to #5 but decided against it.  Crossed the ditch in the open area but drifted left and didn't cross second path.  Decided to relocate to fence line to the west, saw the fence and track before I got there and was able to pick new knoll to south of track as new attackpoint.  Cut through light green on the way to #7 which wasted a bit of time .  Clean through to #13, but fell waist deep in water crossing ditch in open area, girl in front only went knee deep, she must have special powers or could it be my lead lined shoes? Couldn't get the ground to fit the map after the fence on the way to #14 and drifted past.  61min gone at the road crossing decide to push and be confident looking for a sub 80min run.  Slight hesitation at #18 but clean through the rest to the finish. 79:18 and 33rd/52, best result of the week and the legs are feeling good.

Abbie walked around her course in the rain and blasted down the finish run to beat her daddy.  

Tomorrow the forested sand dunes of Roseisle.

Mark Lockett

Scottish Six Days Day Three - Culbin.

First we were off to the string course and Abbie decided to go around on her own, it is great to see her grow in confidence as the week has gone on.  She also enjoyed her White course and manage to beat me on the finish split! She spent the rest of the time playing with Mazie in the Asembly field.  I am glad she is enjoying her first taste of a big orienteering event.

Now to my run! Drifted left to #1 and onto path but didn't waste too much time.  
#2 really set the tone tough going but looking forward to hitting the ride, never saw it eventually made it on to the path and turned wrong way, realised, turned back and hacked across to other track.  Took easy option of veg boundary as attackpoint and bearing in.  Met Will Hancock at #4 unfortunately injured and retiring.  Some relief of the hard going to #6 but once in the open area things got tough again so opted for path run to #7.  Nice run along the coast to #8.  To conservative to #10 hit veg boundary further SW than I wanted.  Energy going on the way to #11 but happy to see competitor speed pass 10m to my left, obviously on a track, switched to join it but nothing there, how do those guys run so quickly over this terrain.  Tiring big time to #17 but managing to keep it clean.  Tom longer track/ride option to #18 but ride did not provide the good running I hoped for.  Missed large ride on the way to #20 stood scraping head for a time but managed to get it back together.  Glad to get over the finish line cheered on by Cornwall OC club mates.  8.2km 80m climb 84:42. (Actually distance run 9.8km)

Next up a rest day and a spot of Dolphin spotting.  I can hear my legs saying thank you!

Scottish Six Days Day Two - Carse of Ardersier

Into overdrive!  Early start today so no tracks established early on.  Came off the track to #2 and quickly realised today was going to be tougher under foot than yesterday and with 9.2km and it being hot I needed to get the pace right for the whole run.  Major hill of the day at #5 all 15m of it but a steep little thing.  The technical side of things ramped up at #8, and the tough terrain and complex nature made for a slow split.  Made up for it to #9 and #10 with well executed nav.  Off track to #13 but came out of the light green and saw fence crossing in front of me. Phew! (not as route on map extract) #14 follow unmarked ditch from south all the way to control.  Caught a break going towards #20 picked up unmarked track from man made feature which took me all the way to path south of the control.  Scrabbled around a bit at #24 but nothing major and was happy to make it home in 87min 53sec for 9.2km (actual distance run 11.1km)

Abbie mean while completed her White course in 19.51secs, did the string, cheered in all the runners from Cornwall Orienteering Club and got a mention on the run into the finish from the commentary team. Way to go! 

Tomorrow the challenges of Culbin and 8.6km, it gonna be technical............ 

Scottish 6 Days - Day One Lossie

I must admit that I wasn't looking forward to getting out of the van into the rain to make my way to the start.  However right on cue the rain stopped and I made my way to the start picking up Kerno members on the way for a quick chat.  Keep it clean was the mantra for my run.  Slow and steady to #1 Glad of the veg boundary to the south.  ran slightly past #2 but nothing major.  #7 pace counted from veg boundary, first use of a new skill, found it bang on, still need to practice more but starting to think why haven't I done this before...... Fool! Safe path option to #9 and #10.  Bearing and paced to #11 but out, but bearing good and straight to it.  Keen not to make mistakes to #12 but mistook ride to the south for top path!! Came off path bend to #14 but must have been extra path, relocated.  Brain dead to to #16 which seemed to take an age from veg covered ride.  Clean into #17 then the run for home glad for the well established elephant track.  Thumbs up for my first day of Scottish orienteering.  

Tomorrow 9.5km on the Carse of Ardersier....... Bring it on!

Small Area, SI punching and a lot of head scratching! - Mylor Bridge Street O

Off to deepest darkest Cornwall with the offer of a BBQ, Street O, and swimming in the creek at Mylor Bridge, Nr Falmouth.  Always happy for an excuse to run map in hand so off we headed.  Cornish holiday traffic meant that we arrived close to the 2pm start, so we quickly changed and headed out of Phil and Adele's beautiful house.  We were presented with a map, which had the rules of the game on (See below).  This is a format that they have used a number of times at the Cornwall OC summer series but one that I had not previously experienced.  So I was trying to get my head around it and explain it to Helen who has going out with Abbie to have a run (and hopefully an Ice Cream!).  When I turned around most runners had gone and I was getting pressure from Phil to get out there!!   

Mylor Bridge

So off I went, still trying to get my head around what the hell I should be doing.  No brainer at 191 just punch and go, ran past 192 thinking I should get some more 10 pointers first! Mistake.  At the 6 road junction I took the wrong road but quickly realised my mistake mostly because of the jeering from others!  #201, #211 this seems pointless so quickly moves on to 30 pointers.  #213, #203, #223, #233 the bonus really hot now!  Wondered where Roger H was off to then noticed #214 over the fold in my map.  Dunked my head in the estuary just off the quay at #204, was offered a hose down by a local, but declined.  20 mins in, up the hill passing #232 but not punching....... #224, #234.  Back down to #215, killer hill up to #225 really hot now.  #205, #235, #195 40 mins in (shortest stretch of the creek might come back here!) #216.  Didn't fancy going around so asked some locals on the quay at #204 how deep it was.  They said there were stepping stones across at #195.  Stepping waist deep, but much deeper when I fell off them so swam the last half.  #206 47mins gone.  Cruised back past the finish picked up #196 then back to the finish.  53min 7.8km now time for a swim..........  Abbie and Helen got their Ice Cream and won the best junior prize.

What great format, on a map that Phil prepared which did the Job perfectly. 

Thanks all, and a great party afterwards. 

The Rules of the Game

Harvester Relays 2013

We arrived at Longmoor Army Camp around 2130, and quick set up our tents.  As I was on the third leg I quickly got my head down for a couple of hours kip.   I was awake again at around midnight I watched as 18 team runners went out on the mass start.  Phil Newall was out first with just over 8km's.  The advantage of being on the 3 leg is that you can pick up good advice from the incoming runners as they hand over.  I seem to pick on the theme that runners were telling their team mates to keep it simple, something I tend to do well on night events. Phil came in and handed over to Graham Pring in 15th place but with 4 other teams within 6 minutes.  But Phil's efforts came at a price he had done some damage to his knee early on but hadn't wanted to give up, his run was looking better by the minute.  Graham didn't hang around and came in 11th.  So it was around 0300 when I ran out into the dark for my 9.3km 265m 22c.  On the way to #1 I tried to cut a corner through some runnable woods, but it was a big mistake and I ended up head high bracken, lesson learnt.  I took that on board and opted for track options most of the way with solid attack points.  Slight miss at #5 couldn't locate indistinct path but hit contour feature to the north of the path. By #10 dawn was beginning to break, which was stunning.  But still needed the light of the headtorch in the woods.  #14 didn't find small path as I cut across to it so didn't have firm attackpoint.  Second fastest split to #17!!  I handed over to Steve Eastley in 14th place.  Steve had a solid run and brought us back in 16th place.  Then Club Captain Gavin Henderson had a stunner and back up to 14th.  At 0730 Andrew Campbell-Howes (his first event for Kerno) and Scott Collier went out in the mini mass start, and even though it was only 0730 the day was really hotting up.  Scott had the longest leg of the event 13.5km and got around in an amazing 121mins (Don't mention Anne's time!) Andrew did well to get around, having only just returned to orienteering and apart from 1 disastrous 49 min split had had a good run.  We eventually finished 17th/18, but in good spirits determined to return.   Congratulations to BAOC for putting on an amazing event.

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Harvester Relays 2013, a set on Flickr.

Cornish Gold - 13th - 14th April 2013

Urban Race - Saturday Evening

St Ives on a moist Cornish evening, from the car park you could at times you make out the wind swept headland "the Island".  What to wear was the first dilemma, but the heavy rain as I was about to go to the start persuaded me to put on a cag.  I had an open start time so I slotted in on a vacant space to find James Hargreaves queuing behind me, with a two minute gap I wondered how long it would be before he went past.  My time came to start and on opening the map, my first thought was where the hell is number one, my eyes scanned north up the map and finally arrived at the site of the control and off I went no plan just making it up as I went along! Not the best route choice but moving well.  Simple route choice to #2 enjoying the music and confused looking public on route.  I have to confess that I don't remember all the route choices, as they blurred a little bit and my GPS track wasn't the best.  Into #5 decision across the beach, or a convoluted route on the road.  Took the baywatch option! Half way to #6 I regretted it, soft sand was slapping my will to live, but you make your choice you have to live with it.  Also regretting wearing a cag, it hadn't rained since leaving the car park? Into #6 and James is punching ahead of me, surprised it took him that long! Breathing hard I opt for the up and over option to #7, what was I thinking! Pass the Tate, just before #12 but even being the great art lover decide not to stop.  Take the windiest back street option to #13, well might as well see all of the town now I am here.  The wind is howling as I approach #19, stay high to #20 long grass makes me wish I dropped straight down to the lower path.  The control at 20 is out of control, I catch the box, punch and get out of there, wonder if it will survive the night.  Back into town now and steepest steps yet before #23 nearly finish me off, was tempted to have a rest but someone's was waiting for me to get to the top! More steps at #25/26, speed really ebbing from my legs, through last control and push up the final set of steps.  Knackered, but grinning from ear to ear, that was brilliant.  The navigation is easy on these events, but making good route choices at speed, thats the real skill.  I got around the 6.6km 230m in 55min 03sec, 15th/22.  

JK2013 - 29th March - 1st April 2013

The JK2013 was a true festival of orienteering and had everything you could want from a big event.  Its been a while since the event but reflecting back on I had a three good solid runs on the classic events and relay, but was disappointed with my sprint run.  I had decided to go for bust but never really recovered the confidence needed after a poor first control, and even slight hesitations cost you in this format.  However I still enjoyed the format and the race, but left a little jealous of Reading University who have an amazing campus.  

The classic races were really enjoyable although I stood on the start line with trepidation as I realised that I would be running on a 1:15000 map, something I haven't done for some time.  I shouldn't have worried as it was a really clear map and once into the scale and had no problems over the two days.

The JK relays are always a bit of fun, this year more so as the Kerno 'B' Team took on the might of Kerno 'A' in the Men's senior relay.  I was on the lead leg and was surprised to bring the B team back in the lead, was an upset on the cards?  Graham Pring kept the lead on the second leg and at the spectator control on the last leg Steve Eastley still had a slim lead.  At the finish it was Kerno A's Phil Newell who appeared out of the forest first to take the glory, just over a minute and half in front of Kerno B. A great weekend of racing, in some beautiful countryside.  Now working on getting permission for next years JK in South Wales.          

2.2km 15m 20min 29secs 43rd/61
11.3km 495m 97min32secs 39th/57
10.5km 275m 97min9sec 29/51

6.5km 285m 47min 58secs 28th/50

JK 2013 - Day 1JK 2013 - Day 1JK 2013 - Day 1JK 2013 - Day 1JK 2013 - Day 1JK 2013 - Day 1
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JK2013, a set on Flickr.