Thursday, March 08, 2007

I had an excellent day training at Loch Vaa near Aviemore. I planned a classic style course of approximately 7K with a mixture of short and long legs. When I’m training alone without tapes or kites I tend to use unmistakable features such as boulders, cairns or structures so as I don’t have to waste time wondering if I’m in the right re-entrant or depression.

Loch Vaa is a huge area of relatively flat, forested moraine with endless knolls and depressions. There are a few tracks and forest roads but plenty of opportunity for running very long legs in vague undulating forest.

Call me sad but spiking a control site after 600m of pace counting on a bearing in flat featureless forest gives me a big buzz. My technique on this type of leg is to run on a bearing and pretty much loose contact with the map whilst sighting off significant trees 50M or so ahead until pacing indicates I’m roughly 70M from the control at which point I try and pick-up the contour detail as I approach the circle. It’s amazing how much accuracy you can achieve with a bearing using this ‘sighting ahead’ technique compared to the more common compass technique of merely checking your direction at regular intervals..I don’t know anywhere else in the UK you can practice this technique such an extent.

On one of my longest legs I was aiming for a control feature marked as an X on the map indicating a man-made feature. Such features are usually wood structures, seats, or sculptures. Bizarrely, on this occasion, sat in the middle of this vast forest, was a rotting Austin A30! If only I had brought a camera.

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