Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Orienteering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orienteering. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Saturday January 2010 – Orienteering – My Second Attempt

Trees, with crow, in Wythenshawe Park

After an enjoyable first attempt at this sport, I headed along to Wythenshawe Park – very close to home – where Manchester and District Orienteering Club (MDOC) – were putting on another Saturday morning event suitable for beginners.

John Jocys, esteemed fellow resident of Timperley, and veteran of several TGO Challenges and numerous orienteering events, joined me on this occasion, and we set off together on Part 1 of a two part ‘Sprint’ event.

At the start

We had to ‘dibb’ 13 controls over a snowy 3 km course.  Here’s John, being ‘downloaded’ by Sue Birkinshaw.  He claims the sweatiness, on this cold day, was due to his mounting sense of terror and despondency as he traipsed through the snow looking for control number 12, having been long abandoned by his mate.

John at the end of Part 1, with Sue Birkinshaw

The second part was over a further 3.5 km route, with 13 more controls.  We started in the exact order in which we’d finished the  first part, with the same time differences.  So I thought I was lucky to be starting just 6 seconds after Alice, who had ‘Orienteer’ written on her back, so she must know what she’s doing (I thought).  I tracked her to the second control and without really checking the map, on through a dense thicket to the third.  Or so I thought, until she appeared looking a bit flustered and headed off in the opposite direction through deep undergrowth.  She’d fooled herself and me.  So I went back to the path and navigated my own way round, losing about 3 minutes to fleet of foot teenager Alice.  Failing to locate control number 7 until a chasing group caught up with me didn’t help.  It was good fun though, despite the long wait for John to finish.

JJ - relieved to have reached the final control Martin at the finish, looking as if he'd visited Lilo Lil's mobile hair salon whilst waiting for JJ

21 people started the sprint, so I was delighted to come in 11th place, second (out of three - 10th, 11th and 12th) in the ‘M60’ class. I’m even more pleased now that I’ve browsed the MDOC website and discovered that Alice, who skillfully shook me off by leading me completely the wrong way, has represented England and that various of the other people who finished ahead seem to have done quite well in an array of British championship events.

Great fun, rounded off with a welcome pint with John at the Gardeners Arms.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Saturday 19 December 2009 – Orienteering – My First Attempt

The Registration Desk

Back in the summer, in the Maritime Alps, we met some orienteers.  They enthused about the sport.  Today I decided to try it out for myself.

I’d discovered that my local club - Manchester and District Orienteering Club – organise a series of Saturday morning meets, suitable for beginners, so this morning I headed off to nearby Woodbank Park in Stockport.

The registration point was manned by a lady called Sue, and everything was friendly, welcoming and relaxed.  I paid my £3 and borrowed a ‘dibber’ – that’s a little electronic gadget that you insert into a device the size of a small GPS unit at each ‘control’ point.

Then I wandered off to the start, where my 45 minutes of searching for ‘controls’ started with my first ‘dib’ of the dibber.  I was then handed a 1:7500 scale map showing 21 numbered ‘controls’.

I strolled off, alone, as everyone starts individually – after the person in front has disappeared.  Where the **** was I?  I was completely disorientated!  It took me a good five minutes to get sorted out, my whereabouts being confirmed by the discovery of control number 113.  Great.  I ran off and soon found control number 104, but looking at the map I realised I’d missed number 126.  I’d gone right past it.  This was harder than it looked!

So I went back and dibbed that one, then set about taking a bit more care to visit as many of the remaining controls as I could, by way of an anti-clockwise circuit.  Most were easy enough to find, but eyes in the back of the head would have helped, and some markers seemed to be placed at the very edge of the 50 metre diameter circles that indicated their presence on the map.  The conditions were lovely – cold and firm – and I soon found myself a little warm, having inadvertently dressed for a slow winter hike.

With 15 minutes left, I found myself at the far end of the map, so I jogged back to the start/finish, visiting whatever controls I could find en-route.  I even found an extra one not on my map.  I’ve now checked the web site and have discovered that there were five such extra controls – indicated on maps at certain control points.  This had gone completely over my head.  Anyway, I got back in just under 47 minutes, so I received a time penalty, but I had managed to visit 17 of the 21 control points on my map, plus the extra one that would only count if I’d ‘visited its ‘slave’ control first’ (I have no idea). 

Back at the registration desk after my 5 km jaunt, the dibber was downloaded and a small print out showing times and numbers of the controls I had visited was handed to me together with a Rose’s chocolate.

Sue told me ‘the results should be on the web site by early next week.’  So then I’ll have a better idea of how many people were taking part and how I did, though really I’m not that bothered – this turned out to be an enjoyable way of getting a bit of exercise on a bright frosty Saturday morning.

There’s another event, even closer, in January.  I may well be there.

23 people took part, 12 of whom were in the ‘Score’ competition in which, so it seems, I participated.  There were 26 controls.  Two people visited them all, but both of them exceeded the 45 minute limit.  I found 18 controls (180 points) and incurred 10 time penalties, so scored 170 points, coming 8th out of the 12 participants, and taking comfort from the fact that I was the first ‘over 60’ to finish, and all those above me were members of orienteering clubs.  There’s certainly room for improvement though!