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.

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