Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scottish 6 Days - Day 1 - Alvie

This is a very good area. Mostly open run-able forest with minimal bracken. I had a clean run but felt tired.


Friday, July 13, 2007

WMOC Final

I had a poor run in the final, making a 10 min error at control 8 which dumped me third from last!

On the up side Liz Campbell dominated W50 to win Gold, Mark Saunders had a good run to finish 19th in M45, Jon Musgrave did extremely well to finish 17th in M45 seeing as he picked up the wrong map at the start and Anne Donnell finished just outside the medals in W75 in 4th.

Link to Route Gadget

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

WMOC Model Event 2

I’m feeling more confident after today’s model event although I still made a couple of errors. I find it difficult to make the judgement of whether to run the line or to run out to the nearest linear feature. Some controls in flat areas are very difficult to hit and if you are 50m to one side you probably won’t see it even in white. With such low contour detail mashes and vegetation boundaries will be key along with accurate compass and distance judgement.

Again the map doesn’t look very inspiring although it was better than it looks.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

WMOC Model Event 1

It was nice to have some controls out in the terrain. I made fewer mistakes but still found the terrain vague and extremely tricky. The map looks fairly straightforward but the ‘white’ belies the density of the underlying vegetation. It’s very easy to run within a few meters of a control and not see it.

Special mapping symbols are brown X’s, which are anthills, and linear brown dots show the direction of planting ditches.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I have travelled to Ruka in Finland for The World Masters Orienteering Champs. The first qualifying event is on Tuesday and I’m trying to get as much training in as possible to familiarise myself with the terrain.

The areas I have trained in so far have varied from rough and not very inspiring to fast detailed pine forest similar to Loch Vaa near Aviemore.

Some sections (see bottom S.E loop) have good contour detail and regular ‘Lakes O’ technique seems to work well.

The flatter areas are very difficult to follow. Loosing contact would be disastrous. I’ve been trying to follow marshes and pace count in an attempt to attain acceptable accuracy.

Sorry about the quality of the map image, I don’t have a scanner.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Midnattssolgaloppen Day 4

I got caught out by the map changing scale to 15:000 on the last day and didn't realise until I'd messed up the first control. I had a bad miss on 5 as well. Despite a poor run I managed to hold onto 6th overall.


Kavaloya Island west of Tromso

Friday, June 29, 2007

Did some training in an amazing area today. Video clip below. Day1 of the Midnattssolgaloppen is in an area adjacent to this tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I flew out of Manchester today to start a two and half week O trip in Norway and Finland. With the contracts exchanged on the new house and the excitement of competing in Scandinavia I’m hoping that I can turn the corner with my results.

Tonight I’m staying in Oulu Finland, having flown to Helsinki and then on to Oulu.

I’m driving to Norway tomorrow where I’ll meet up with Jonathan Lagoe and compete in the Midnattssolgaloppen

Monster drive 1

On the 5th of July I’m driving back from Tromso, Norway into Finland to compete in The World Masters

Monster Drive 2

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I seem to have lost some focus over the last few weeks. A string of poor results combined with moving house might have something to do with it.

Here is a summary of my recent races:

The Twin Peaks. 9-10/06/07

I had a reasonable first day finishing 2nd but still miles behind Martin Bagness who was 10 minutes ahead. I guess having made the map must account for some time but not that much!

Because Martin wasn’t running on the second day all I had to was cruise round the course to win overall. Like day 3 of the Portugal O Meet, when I started with a similar attitude, I disastrously missed out a huge loop of the course without realising until I was walking back to assembly. Must remember never to take that approach again.


Scottish Champs 17/06/07

I had a good run in the open but made a big error in a sketchy bit of forest towards the end which cost me 3 mins and loads of places

My route on Route Gadget

Eycot Hill 24/06/07

I had a fairly good run finishing just behind John Tullie on the brown course. The only problem being that I found a taped cane close to one of the real controls site and assumed that it was missing So, I miss punched once again!


Sunday, May 27, 2007


This is a fantastic area. I had a good technical run and stayed close to the line on most of the legs. Unfortunately I started run low on gas around 10 and finished up 6 mins off Martin Dean’s course winning time. More later.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

I had a short run around some of the controls on this month’s Map of the Month. The marked course is 5.5K although I cut it short because I was feeling tired from a fairly intense period of racing over the last week or so.

This is only part of the Loch Vaa area. The forest to the west is currently out of bounds to protect Capercaillie nesting. A bit of an inconvenience I guess but the same restriction is also holding back a housing development on the edge of Boat of Garten, which would impact heavily on this world-class area.

New housing for local residents is a big issue on Speyside . Like most national parks the Cairngorm National Park has a problem with affordability of housing for people living and working in the area and the likely solutions will inevitably have an effect on the natural environment.

Link to an article in the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald about a proposed housing development near Aviemore.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Caw National Event

I wish to lodge an appeal with Graham Walkden (Race Organiser), about the fact that you used my old red (and a bit slow), SI card number for my entry rather than my flashy new (super-fast) SI card number. By my calculations this oversight has cost me at least 3 seconds in punching time and has had a devastating effect on my plan to win by 1 second. Knowing the kind of chap you are Graham I know you will treat this appeal sympathetically and I await your considered judgement on the matter.

M45L (34) 8.0 km 405 m

1 Quentin Harding SROC 1:02:54 0:00
2 Andrew Hyslop WAROC 1:02:56 0:02

But seriously, great area, great courses and a beautiful day. Many thanks to Graham, Marion and LOC

Results Page

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Warrior OC Battleaxe 3 - Esthwaite Intake

What a great event! The map was divided into two sections, the eastern area being the northern end of the Graythwaite map and typical South Lakes complex oak woodland while the western section is the Esthwaite Intake portion of Grizdale Forest which is technical pine plantation interspersed with linear marshes.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Glen Truim

I had a good technical run but tripped on a tussock between 6 and 7 and whacked my knee on the only rock sticking out of the marsh for hundreds of metres. Apologies to anyone in the near vicinity for any colourful expletives that might have reached your ears.

After rolling around for a bit I heroically ;-) ran through the pain and finished the course. I was hoping that I could have fought my way back but it seems that from initial conversations I was down at least 4 mins on the course winner, which was Martin Dean.

The terrain was quite varied with some good technical sections in the birch forest but I did think that Saturday’s event at Dunactonmore was a much better area.


Saturday, May 12, 2007


This is an area behind the Highland Wildlife Park on Speyside. Both Pat and I had pretty good runs and we really enjoyed the area, which was a mixture of open moor, birch forest interspersed with juniper thickets.

Its interesting that all my orienteering mates seem to be suffering from withdrawl symptoms after the British Champs, having been generally unsatisfied with their runs. Here are a few quotes:

Martin Dean - "After a string of poor technical races recently, I decided to concentrate on 'the process rather than the outcome' See O Kansas Blog".

Jonathan Lagoe - " I've decided to be more decisive in my approach to racing rather than worrying about being in constant contact with the map" Gt Mell Fell - come on!

Donald Petrie - "My navigation has completely gone to pot! "

Myself - "I have this dream where I am running effortlessly through undulating pine forest without any thought of making an error and in perfect tune with the terrain. Running through the controls without hesitation, twisting and turning through features, staying on-line - its still a dream"

Many thanks to Norma Atherton for planning excellent courses and to BASOC for organising a really good event.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pat and I went to an INVOC evening event at Clunas. It was a refreshing change to attend an event with only 20-30 entrants compared to the 100+ that is normal for a Lakes evening event. The area was really excellent, set in an open pine forest with subtle contour detail and plenty of negative features.

Despite the fantastic terrain neither of us had a good run. No more thumb compass for me!

Many thanks to INVOC

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yesterday, Pat and I went to a MAROC event at Sluie on Deeside. It’s an excellent little area with mostly runnable pine forest and plenty of rock and contour detail. I tired using a thumb compass in a race for the second time and apart from a wobble on No. 5 I found that it worked well for that area. More experimentation required.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I got third in the British Champs, which I am really pleased about. The area was very technical in several sections and it seems that most of the favourites made big mistakes. I made at least 3 mins of errors myself and have to admit to a hint of frustration in that I could have won but for that. Interestingly I was way down in 12th at the 2nd road crossing but pulled it back to 3rd in the super technical final stage of the race where others made costly errors.

On the run-in from the last control


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I had a disappointing JK. On the first Individual day I didn’t make any big errors but got tired towards the end and started to miss controls by a few seconds which combined with a couple of poor route choices added up to a defecate of 8 mins on Kevin Harding and Mike Billinghurst.

On the second day I generally felt tired and started to go down hill early in the race to the point that I was utterly shattered by the end.

I didn’t have a clean run on either day but I put that down to be just being physically drained as a result of having over trained over the last two weeks. Running the Loughrigg Fell race last Wednesday night was great fun but in retrospect the calf stiffness that I developed on Friday sacrificed my JK weekend. Never mind, I’m still learning what my limitations are and not doing so well always drives me to sort out the problems and try harder next time.


JK Day 2

JK Day 3

Monday, March 26, 2007

I jogged over to Dale Park and ran the majority of one of Bilbo’s January training exercises in reverse – about 6K. Felt pretty good and didn’t make any errors which helped to purge the disappointment of the previous days performance and rebuilt some confidence.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

SOL2 Gullane

Gullane is a village on the coast east of Edinburgh. The terrain is sand dunes covered in a variety of vegetation from small pine forest to dense expanses of Buckthorn. I had a very bad run, getting lost immediately in the complex path network on the first two controls.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Scottish Sprint Champs

This was held at Heriot Watt University on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I didn’t do particularly well but I really enjoyed the challenge that this style if orienteering presents. Navigationally its very easy but the map is still very complex and its easy to loose vital seconds running past controls behind walls or at the bottom stair wells.




Friday, March 23, 2007

Pat, Patch and I spent the afternoon putting controls out for the Silver Howe event that was to be held on the 25th.

It was one of those spring days when the braken is down and the sun is strong but low in the sky; alternately casting dark shadows and illuminating red/brown fell sides. Unfortunately a cloud came over when I took this shot!

We drove to Edinburgh that evening for The Scottish Sprint Champs and The SOL2 at Gullane.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I had a contrasting weekend of orienteering.

On Saturday there was a short race at Black Beck near Bouth. This is a very good area but I had a poor run which was extremely demoralising – so much so that I was forced to break one of my pre-race rules and go to the pub for some comfort ale swilling.

The following day (today), there was a National Event at an extensive new area on top of Whitbarrow Scar. Still demoralised after the previous days performance I was resigned to another bad run but as soon as I picked the map up and scanned the intricate open and wooded terrain I was instantly inspired. I finished 3rd in M45 a couple of minutes behind Bilbo and a minute behind Quentin Harding which, by my standards is a really good result.

So how could I have two such contrasting runs? At Black Beck I put it down to over familiarity and complacency. It was just another run in an area I knew well and my overly relaxed attitude meant that I was neither motivated nor prepared for the technicalities of the map. At Whittbarrow I was inspired to be running on a brilliant new area, held my concentration and ran harder.

Many thanks to LOC and SROC for a great weekend of ‘O’ing


Some of the Bastions of GB Veterans Orienteering at the Whittbarrow National Event:

Pete Haines

Martin Dean and Donald Petrie

Ken Daly and Keith Jones

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.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Baluain & Banvie Woods

This area is situated either side of The Falls of Bruar north of Blair Athol. The forest is very open and run-able but not very detailed. Unfortunately I made a 2 min error at 5 which knocked me back to 2nd in M45 behind John Noblett. Martin Dean and John Tullie also beat me running the same course in M50.

Results Page

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ulpha Park.

This was a LOC district event at the bottom end of the Duddon Valley. The area consisted of a couple of small open areas surrounded by mixed woodland. There were some sizeable chunks of wind-blow in the coniferous sections but the birch/hazel coppice was very run-able with plenty of boulders and crag features.

I was initially really pleased with my run especially as I managed to beat Mike Billinghurst and Brendan Bolland, but that was before I had seen Bilbo’s time! Talking to Martin on Monday morning he said that he was bored with the terrain on the first few controls but got inspired when the course entered rough forest at number 4. You need to get inspired more often Bilbo!

1 Martin Bagness WAROC 55.04
2 Shane Lynch WAROC 59.50
3 Andy Hyslop WAROC 01.01.18
4 Michael Billinghurst WCOC 01.01.54
5 Brendan Bolland WAROC 01.02.09

Full Results Page

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Portugal O Meeting 2007

Superb areas and strong competition made this an excellent trip. There were 4 races with a chasing sprint on the last day for those within an hour of the lead runner in each class. Unfortunately I made a really annoying error on day 3 which meant that I was out of the running for an overall podium position.

On the up side I did have 3 really good runs with minimal errors and managed to beat twice veteran world champion Jörgen Mårtensson
once and got within a few seconds of him twice. Of course I didn’t actually see him so he might have been running with a wooden leg for all I know but it’s great for a short-term ego boost.

Results page at the POM web site

Day 1
A super technical open area with lots of complex rock features. My strategy was to run steady and not risk any mistakes.

1 5399 Sören Sand 61 Boxholm-Mjölby 31:24
2 5384 Jörgen Mårtensson 59 Modum O-lag 32:19
3 5960 Andy Hyslop 59 WAROC 32:36
4 1532 José Fernandes 59 .COM 33:00
5 5350 Heikki Vestola 59 Rastivarsat 34:45
6 1512 Manuel Santos 59 .COM 36:46
7 3864 António Marcolino 60 GD4C 36:53
8 3728 Vitor Pereira 60 AAMafra 37:05
9 1907 Carlos Coelho 61 CPOC 37:10
10 1321 Carlos Pires 61 .COM 37:12

Day 2
Adjacent to day one. Similar complexity of terrain but with longer legs. I had a 100m miss on 3 which cost me 90 secs.

1 5967 Achiles Humbel 59 Mythen Runners 48:19
2 1532 José Fernandes 59 .COM 50:26
3 5399 Sören Sand 61 Boxholm-Mjölby 51:00
4 5960 Andy Hyslop 59 WAROC 51:30
5 5808 Per-Olof Derebrant 62 Aneby SOK 52:08
6 5426 Ulu Aeschlimann 59 Austrian National Team 52:55
7 5384 Jörgen Mårtensson 59 Modum O-lag 53:41
8 1182 Albano João 59 COC 54:32
9 5350 Heikki Vestola 59 Rastivarsat 55:21
10 5932 Peter Haines 54 Aire GB 55:47

Lone orienteer in the terrain on Day 2

Control 14 on Day 2

Day 3
“Like the first 2 days with attitude” Super complex terrain on a steep hillside with mixed forest cover. I missed control 5 and went straight to 6 without realising until after I had finished. I have developed this really bad habit since Christmas. I worked out a simple routine to avoid making the error and the fact that I forgot to practice the routine on this race suggests that it does work when I can remember to do it.

I also made a big error at 14 which cost me 6 mins!

1 5384 Jörgen Mårtensson 59 Modum O-lag 38:27
2 1532 José Fernandes 59 .COM 42:03
3 5399 Sören Sand 61 Boxholm-Mjölby 44:19
4 1182 Albano João 59 COC 44:20
5 5808 Per-Olof Derebrant 62 Aneby SOK 44:25
6 5350 Heikki Vestola 59 Rastivarsat 44:55
7 5737 Martin Sacher 59 Kilroy 46:37
8 5141 Mark Selley 62 BOK 46:59
9 5932 Peter Haines 54 Aire GB 47:00
10 5426 Ulu Aeschlimann 59 Austrian National Team 47:05

Day 4
Another complex open area similar to day 1.

1 5399 Sören Sand 61 Boxholm-Mjölby 31:24
2 5384 Jörgen Mårtensson 59 Modum O-lag 32:19
3 5960 Andy Hyslop 59 WAROC 32:36
4 1532 José Fernandes 59 .COM 33:00
5 5350 Heikki Vestola 59 Rastivarsat 34:45
6 1512 Manuel Santos 59 .COM 36:46
7 3864 António Marcolino 60 GD4C 36:53
8 3728 Vitor Pereira 60 AAMafra 37:05
9 1907 Carlos Coelho 61 CPOC 37:10
10 1321 Carlos Pires 61 .COM 37:12

Monday, January 15, 2007

Here are the last 3 days of the Lakes Training Week. Sunday was a long 16K on 2 maps. Bilbo linked up his newly mapped 'Area X' with the existing Bethacar Moor area to produce a stunningly technical and varied course. The last part of the course was in the Scale Green area which was linked by about 1K of forest track.

Bethecar Moor and Area X

Scale Green

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This is a week of training organised by Martin Bagness. I haven’t been able to attend every session but here are some of the maps so far. The un-named area at 1:7500 was particularly good and is probably one of the best bits of forest in England. It’s location is cannot be disclosed at this time.