Another of the plethora of local events; I stepped up to the blue course (I’ve never done more than a green before). I remain astounded at the amount of work the organisers are prepared to put in; the blue course had 27 controls, each of which has to be put in precisely the correct spot; it took the winner three quarters of an hour to get round, so the time taken to carry and place all the controls must be immense. Plus the controls for all the other courses.
I did not exactly cover myself in glory, though one kind man does appear in the results behind me. However, since I was the only M70 on the blue course, I guess I won my age category.
Queen’s Park and Thompson Park are adjacent, divided by a main road, and beside them is the Brun Valley area, which along with the newer part of Thompson Park, is reclaimed land, largely from the mining industry. Mining shut down over 50 years ago in Burnley.
So we started in Queen’s Park with a couple of controls, over the road to Thompson Park which is bigger, for another good number of controls, including a scramble up to the canal (it’s the Leeds Liverpool canal, another very significant engineering achievement) for one control. Then an immediate return and through an underpass under the canal; a little later, to get out of the park, an underpass under the main road and into Brun Valley.
My timing for the controls was pretty consistent; slower than almost every one of the other competitors. And so it seemed as they each came past me; I had started fairly early and a lot came past. But I was pleased nonetheless as I found the controls quite steadily; occasionally, of course, helped by seeing where others were going, but generally finding the controls myself. Navigation improving therefore.
Helped because the organiser had put the controls visible; except for control 20. I had gone to the right place; but I could not see it. My confidence evaporated pretty instantaneously. Anyway, I went back to where I was absolutely confident I knew where I was, and followed round again, this time helped by another competitor who was coming past. And I had indeed been in the right place; but the control was just over a little edge at the side of the clearing, so not immediately visible. Valuable learning point perhaps – if you’re in the right place, then the control will be there somewhere. No call to go running around in little circles.
And it was a nice day. Some snow still lying. The previous day had been the annual core skills day with the Search & Rescue Team; we roped up stretchers, carried them, tended to casualties, did a search by water and a search on some steep ground; and completed a scenario. All on a lovely day, with sunshine, but also snow and hail, and in the snow. The orienteering, at a lower altitude, had less snow and possibly more mud.