What a great week! We have just returned from our final weekend away of this term, which you can read about below. Weekend trips will return next term for some inter-university racing. Some of us have also been trying out our night orienteering skills. We have another load of fantastic activities in store this week.
- Blaise Estate - Meredith Moody
As I wasn’t keen enough to go on the training trip, I thought I’d attend the Blaise Castle night race. This was a score event – you get one hour to do the controls in any order you like. The ones further away and harder to find are worth more points. This was only my second night event and I’m not very tactical, so I just picked one half of the map and went in a big kind-of circle.
This was the first time I got to use my brand new SIair, which was great. I scooped up 300 out of 600 available points, picking up a two-point penalty for being 11 seconds late back. This put me at 19th out of 40! Hurrah!
Shout out to Matt Whipple for being the only person to grab all of the controls, coming in first place. Congrats to Robert Elston on your 17th position finish
- Blaise Estate - Rob Elston
With everyone else in the Lake district, I headed off for a solo double in Blaise Castle. This one was within walking distance (just) so as the fog was rolling in and the sun starting to hide below the horizon, I entered the estate from the south heading towards the car park. As I made my way to the start I even got a sneak peek at a few controls. But then, as it got really dark, I slipped down a valley: time to turn the head torch on! There wasn't much hanging around at the start and I got going almost straight away. The difference with this race was that there was no set course and you just had to get to as many controls as possible within the hour. My tactic was to use my pace to get out to the controls far away form the start which were easier to find and worth a maximum of 30 points. The forest seemed to twinkle in a peculiar light. Five minutes in I checked my watch; apparently I had been going more like 20 minutes! Luckily I had made it to the edge of the course so I turned back trying to pick up as many as I could along the way. If it wasn't for a lucky find meaning I could work out where I was and pick up extra points, I probably wouldn't have mad it back within the hour. Anyway I did - and with a respectable 305 points too.
The following day I went back to that Gothic castle on the hill - as if I hadn't had enough by then. In my opinion the castle is the least interesting part of the whole place. Armed with a prior knowledge of the area form last night, I felt unstoppable. The problem was that everyone else was form BOK and probably knew the area better than I did! I tackled the Light Green head on leaping over a rope that I was told was an invisible passable impassable fence (basically it wasn't on the map so it was all fine). Making my way through familiar terrain, I began to claw back the time that I always loose at the start from staring at the map. As I made my way past the river and up the hill I hit a string of fastest splits which put me back in second and then into the lead with one control to go. Sadly I had failed to find this control yesterday but I had no choice but to this time. I lost five minutes running round trees looking for that final control and not even the sprint finish could make up for the lost time. I finished 2nd on the light green out of 26 by 2 minuets and 20 seconds. I really good race for me with only one mistake. Already looking forward to southern champs next week!
- Lake District Weekend - Tom Dixon
As with all exiting UBOC weekends, the sharing of facebook live locations initiated the start of the Lakes trip. Five UBOC subjects were crammed into Pickering’s car, and with our laps piled high with orienteering gear the five hour journey commenced. This time enabled the construction of the most efficient shopping list in UBOC history, meaning we were in and out of Tesco’s in less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately our dreams for acquiring the much desired ‘Groovy Bars’ were quickly flattened when Peter, the master of missing plumbs, reported them to also be missing. Retreating to Matt’s house we masterfully cooked a cheesy triangle hot pot, straying away from the classic UBOC veggie chilli. Matt took the some of group on a running tour of the village whist the hot pot was cookin’ and we finally ate at 10:30. The night ended with warm showers and slightly frozen cheesecake for dessert, what more could you ask for?!
Our first orienteering stop was Esthwaite Intake. EUOC (Edinburgh) members arrived in two mini buses and a car, 34 of them In total, which was more than all of the other clubs combined! The terrain was mainly what you would expect from a standard lakes trip: Brecon, hills and swampy grounds. However the added dead twigs that littered the floors in the open areas made the area a lot less runnable. Overall the weather was decent with very little rain and calm winds. It was a sad moment when Josiah dropped his cheese sandwich, but we stayed strong and eventually moved on to the next area in Haverthwaite Heights, right after taking a wrong turn which invoked a 20 minute detour and lots of gated roads. This area was much more runnable, covered in forrest and had lots of walls, however it was quite hilly. Josiah completed his first solo orienteering route! The days orienteering finished with a race to the accommodation, Matt making a bold choice to take a different route back that put us in first place. The accommodation, that we shared with Exeter, was something like you would see in a horror movie - a log cabin in the woods, which at night was shrouded by the darkness. Equipped with a log burner and bored games, we settled down in the warmth of the social area with some well earned veggie chilli, s’mores and home made flapjack. All was peaceful...but not for long.
Just as Peter, master of missing plums, was nodding off in the arm chair, EUOC and the other universities swarmed the cabin, could this be...a social! Alcohol was consumed, twister and UNO were played, and stressful music choices were made. The party went on well into the night, past the traditional UBOC bedtime. It eventually ended, and us and Exeter cleaned up the drunken mess, heading to bed at a respectable 12:30 am, ready to face the final day of orienteering.
Josiah cooked us some fabulous eggy bread to line our stomachs, followed with some jellied porridge, before we headed to the Great Tower for some rocky and contour-heavy training! Saying goodbye to our fellow orienteers, we prepared for yet another very squished journey back to the land of Bristol. Goodbye Lakes, see you again next year...