Some say there is no higher point until the Urals. Cleeve Hill, the poster child of the cotswolds, proved itself again as a joy for orienteers. The ground was soft like a mattress. The clouds turned blue and nothing but a warm haze blocked the view of earth’s apparent curvature.
Thanks to another great turnout from UBOC, we needed to enlist the help of Owain to get us to the event. Tim and Michael, both riding with Owain, started as soon as I could deliver Tim an emergency compass. This meant I could watch Michael start and I had a good idea where I should go once I started the course.
Kate and I warmed up and had a synchronised start; Dan of course started later so he could follow me. When I had map in hand I was making good pace in Micheal’s tracks only to realise he had gone the wrong way. After a tricky encounter with an supposed crossing point, which was in fact a locked gate, I made my way into the arena with a flat route to one. By this point, the person one minute after had caught me. I outraced him only to mess up the exact thicket at one and we stayed together until four. At this point, I saw Kate again who was studying her map like one of the dead sea scrolls and walking purposefully towards her next bush. I was also making my way to that same buch which, being one of many bushes on the map, was rather a tricky find.
After a small mistake due to poor depression distinguishing on my part, I embarked on a bit of a slog down and up the biggest valley on the map. At the top, I was finally able to drop the guy following me and could make out Michael in the distance. After an easy downshill sprint along a cart path, followed by some quick knoll identification (I’m still yet to ever see a knoll in real life), I was in the lead! Or at least in front of my pack.
Next was the long leg and involved my dodging golf balls and eventually opting for another cart path despite the slight supplementary incline. I then bumped into someone carrying a 70L rucksack who was presumably really into DofE.7 I met Kate again, who had made remarkable pace given that she was walking, and spotted my next control from over a lightyear away. After a final bit of route choice through a fence, and a wickedly hilly final few controls, I finished. Given the sun, I produced a makeshift hat from my coat and laid back enjoying the view with Michael. When Dan finished, he pretended not to see us and went to talk to his “other orienteering friends”. I can put that in because I know he can’t be bothered to read my race report; he’ll only hear Kate’s if it is read out to him and mine is far less exciting.
On Brown, Dan, Rob, and Michael were 3rd, 8th, and 29th in times of 54:52, 63:09, and 85:40. Kate’s time of 58:32 put her 45 on Green which was ten places above Tim’s 69:51.