It was great to see so many of you out orienteering and fell running this weekend, which you can read about below. This week, we will be doing a Christmassy trip to Bath for Wednesday training and another packed weekend of races. See you there!
- Mallards’ Pike Middle Distance race, Saturday 30th November - Peter Dobra
As a warm-up to the double lot of Southern Champs, Tom and I did a middle distance orienteering race on some slightly unusual Forest of Dean terrain. The brashings were familiar, but the ditches, lack of hills and lack of brambles were not. On the way to the start, I provided some inaccurate directional information so we sauntered up some random track into the forest before making a u-turn. We both did the Black course, which was 6km long with 21 controls. The lack of brambles made matters very fast, but the flatness meant sloppiness crept in. In fact, I was accused of slacking by Tom and Lawrence because I was almost immobile due to struggling to find a control when they both passed me. Out of 27 runners, I finished in 20th in 62:51 and Tom came 11th in 45:39 just in front of Megan even though he was being careful to not get his feet too wet all the way around the course. An extra morsel of excitement came when attempting to depart for the next race: Gwen’s car failed to start due to a flat battery so we did the good old-fashioned push start. All in all, it was an excellent warm-up for the much longer races to come.
- Southern Night Champs-Rob Elston
On the earth, even in the darkest night, the light never wholly abandons his rule. It is diffused and subtle, but little as may remain, the retina of the eye is sensible of it. And none more so than on the final night of autumn. A full UBOC squad past and present assembled to take on the southern night champs. The course was set in a disused ammunition storage facility. Parts of it looking like the Nevada test site in the 1950s but, somehow, more eerie. There where rows and rows of identical cuboid buildings and each one had its own driveway and protective earth wall. Some of the buildings had warning signs and symbols of gas masks. It was like an urban, but it was possible to get lost. The earth walls were my favourite part. A good 6m tall, and many coated in brambles that looked okay, but once you put a foot into them, you were dragged down like quicksand and suddenly up to your neck in gorse. If you ever go back to Caerwent, always go round on the road rather than trying to be James Bond. It was all fun and games up to that bit...
Anyway the rest of the area was mostly fast, flat, and open - much of it with roads. The sheep, glowed up under head torch, looked like they had eaten something radioactive - probably what happens if you spend too much time in a place like this.
After getting back to the start hut, there was a shortish prize giving (well done Dan on winning M20). Dan and I then waited for David to come back - we were worried that he had got lost as the prize giving had ended and he said he wanted to get back early to please the wife - before he triumphantly appeared in the doorway. Turns out David's run was quite eventful (as all the best are). He told us about it on the way home, as well as reminiscing on his army days. I'd like to thank David for driving Dan and me, and well done to everyone who ran.
Dan finished the Brown in 71:23, Peter took 87:51 finishing 2nd in M20. I finished in 31st on the Blue in 75:52.