Sunday, August 27, 2006

Purple Thistle - Glen Affric

Purple Thistle - Day 1 - Glen Affric South

I ran the Mighty Thistle which was 12.7k with 23 controls. I found the forest rough and tough, and retired after control 13.


Came away realising how amazing Bjornar Valsted's time was when he won the World Championships Long Course in Glen Affric in 1999.

Bjornar Valstad - one of the all time great orienteers!

Purple Thistle - Day 2 - Glen Affric North

The Mighty Thistle was 9.6k with 26 controls and took me 112 minutes - a long time, but at least I found all the controls today!

Overall results.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

MAROC Colour Coded Event - Creag Choinnich

Creag Choinnich from Braemar.

I ran the brown (longest) course which was 7.0k with 470m of climb and 22 controls, and which took me 77 minutes; giving me second place, 4 seconds behind Andy Hyslop of Warrior.

Creag Choinnich is located just east of Braemar and provided a good, if physical (hilly and rough underfoot) test. The first leg was approximately 1k long and I was the only person I know of who went over - everybody else going east of the hill. 2 and 3 were very rough - heather and stones. I missed 4 through not having a precise attack point - realised I was wrong when I saw the wall below me! My route from 7 - 8 differed from everybody else I spoke to - the others following a more direct (but, from the evidence of splits I know of, slower!) route. Was careless leaving 19 and gave myself more climb than was necessary.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

INVOC Colour Coded Event - Carse

Carse is a forested sand dune area on the Moray Firth, and provided fast runnable terrain with occasional areas of moderately detailed dunes to maintain interest. It is an area I last ran-in in September, 1982 - 24 years ago!

I ran the brown (longest) course which was 9.1k with 21 controls, and which took me 59 minutes. My run was fairly clean, although I did still feel a bit tired from recent multi-day events!

In 1982, the M21A course I ran was 12.3k with 27 controls and took me 72 minutes. The winner, Colin McIntyre, took 67 minutes.

2006 Results.

After the event, I went to Fort George and spent a while scanning the Firth for Bottlenose Dolphins. One was observed breaching some distance offshore and provided a nice end to the day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Went for an easy run back on Hampsfell this morning with Hazel. We revisited my 6th control from yesterdays event and found, as some had suggested, that it was positioned in the reentrant some 50m north (and one contour lower) of where it should have been.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Day 5 - Hampsfell

M45L was 6.5k with 270m of climb and 15 controls, and took me 53 minutes.

Hampsfell has underlying limestone, which gives rise to some really technical orienteering in the woods and some open hill which is fast, except when covered with limestone pavement.

I had an early start and ran pretty well apart from mixing up some paths between 2 and 3, which cost me ca 30 seconds, and having difficulty finding number 6. I reckoned I lost ca 3 minutes there, although comparing splits with others (who hadn't lost time) suggested it was less than that! A number of people felt the control was hung too far to the north. The mapper (who ran the M45L course) had problems finding the control and interestingly, my daughters 1:5000 map didn't show the pit that the control was sited at.

Thereafter, I ran well and was leading at the last control, but a slow run in time (on one of the roughest run-ins I've ever done!) allowed Donald Petrie through to secure a 12 second victory.

Results and overall results. Overall results were based on the best 4 results, which ironically for me, meant day 3 (which was probably my best run) not counting.

At the prizegiving with Andy Hyslop of WAROC (left) and Donald Petrie of CLYDE (right).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Day 4 - Bannisdale East

M45L was 6.9k with 270m of climb and 16 controls, and took me 47 minutes.

The area was open fell with a mix of detailed areas (with lots of knolls) separated by areas of less detailed/vague hillside. The transitions between the two were a good test of technique, and mine was found wanting between 1 and 2 (where I lost contact with where I was and had to relocate on the big marsh to the SSW of the control) and going into 4 (where I was rather hesitant).

I think these two errors were caused by my concentration being broken by another competitor getting in my way as I went to pick up my map at the start. After 4 however, I settled down and ran well for the remainder of the race.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Day 3 - Angle Tarn Pikes

M45L was 6.6k with 425m of climb and 16 controls, and took me 49 minutes.

Angle Tarn Pikes is located to the south of Place Fell and Ullswater, and gives fantastic views of the Helvellyn range to the west. It has a wealth of contour and rock detail, little bracken and provides good fell orienteering - so typical of the Lake District.

I felt I ran a good technical race and felt strong, physically. My route to number 1 followed the path to the south and whilst safe, a bolder more direct route, would have saved a few seconds!

Leg 6 to 7 crossed a wall which I was under the impression (from a comment in the programme) had to be crossed at a crossing point. The line went straight between the controls, was broken at the wall and crossing points were marked to the east and west. The descriptions made no reference to using a crossing point. I crossed the (most southerly) eastern crossing point. Many others I spoke to went straight, taking advantage of a gap in the wall; whilst a few (John Tullie and Donald Petrie included) went to the western crossing point. Confusion and uncertainty all round!!

10 to 11 was a long leg of 1.5k. I ran the whole leg to the east of the line, but everybody else I spoke to ran (the northern part) to the west. I'm looking forward to seeing the splits, because although my route had more climb, the climb was gradual and therefore runnable, and my route wasn't far off the line!

Comparing splits with Andy Hyslop, I also realised I was losing time on short, steep downhill legs. I lost ca 10 seconds from 8 to 9, another ca 10 seconds from 11 to 12 and a whopping 18 seconds on the run in to the finish!


Monday, August 07, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Day 2 - Graythwaite (northern part)

M45L was 7.3k with 320m of climb and 18 controls. I took 69 minutes, losing 2 minutes on the way to 7 and 1 minute on the way to 14.

Having a late start time was a distinct advantage in such a rough and brackeny area. I did a lot of path/ride running, which meant some long detours and some dog legging!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Day 1 - Swindale SE

M45L was 8.0k with 190m of climb and 13 controls. I took 49 minutes and ran a clean race, save for being a bit hesitant on the long leg from 9 -10 and also from 10 - 11.

I was fortunate to have a middlish start time (the start times ran from 10am to 2pm) and so miss the mist which affected early starters and the heavy rain which would have hampered late starters.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lakes 5 Days - Training - Great Tower Wood

Attended the Lakes 5 Days training event at Great Tower Wood - one of the nicest orienteering areas in the Lake District and one which is relatively free of bracken and other summer undergrowth. Ran ca 3k and visited 13 controls. Was orienteering cleanly and didn't feel too bad from the cold which has troubled me over the last few days.

Noticed that a good Lithuanian M45 runner was also at the training event and his presence, together with that of a number of strong runners from the UK, heralds a tough week of competition.