WSX Chat 16 May

Posted on Mon, 16th May 2022 by Jolyon Medlock
Club News, Event Reports

On Saturday we had our first Find Your Way event as part of the Summer MapRun series at Baiter Park in Poole. We had more than 40 people turn up on a warm day running around Poole Park and parts of Poole Town. Thanks to Jason for organising. Our next FYW event is at Blandford Meadows in June, organised by WIM.

Welcome to Bradley Lund, a new member, who joined us for the first time. Bradley is from South Africa, and is looking forward to Tuesday training and taking part in UK orienteering events, so please welcome him.

On Sunday some of us ventured to Grovely wood, near Salisbury, for what started wet, but proved to be an enjoyable morning in a slightly overgrown ancient woodland. A few controls proved a bit tricky, but then knolls and earthwalls quickly disappear at this time of year. The bluebells were still extensive, but now passed their best. Michael travelled up to SOS Colchester for the latest UKUL urban event.

This weekend, some of us (not me!) are off to Eastbourne, for SO Sunny Sussex, three events including an urban around the Sovereign harbour and a classic event at Friston Forest. Should be great, as it’s always a great weekend. 

On Jubilee weekend, there is the Tamar Triple, with an urban at Tavistock, long on Bodmin Moor and a Sunday event at Mt Edgcumbe; sounds a bit like the cancelled JK 2021 to me. A few folk are staying at the camping and caravan club at Tavistock, if you want to join. Hopefully someone will offer to organise an evening meal on the Saturday!

Further ahead in June, we approach the SW relay season, watch for info. However before that there is the British sprint relays and British sprint champs in Leeds at the two universities. Always great fun. This year marks the first time ever that juniors can form a neighbouring club alliance to take part. So the Medlocks, Frenches and Bratcher Howard juniors are forming two junior Dorset WSXWIM teams, so good luck to them.

A few weeks after is another great weekend of orienteering at Midsummer on Gower, organised by SBOC. A retro (orange pens and pin punches) on the Friday night on Llanmadoc Hill (stunning views over Rhossili bay), a classic event on Broughton Burrows (one of the best sand dunes in Wales), then a 2 person, 2 race relay on Whiteford burrows, more sand dunes. Not to be missed!

Lots more to report, including a fantastic weekend back in April in the Lake District at Blakeholme and Loughrigg Fell, with seriously tough navigation and plenty of contours. Speaking of hills though, Gavin decided to fly to Austria to take part in the OMM Alps this last weekend, his report is below.

Before I sign off, a big congratulations to Lyra, who has been taking part in 6 selection events for the European Youth Orienteering Championships. On the back of winning 5 of these events, she has been selected to represent GB in Hungary in July.

Over to Gavin for OMM Alps:

I blame Jolyon really. Back in August last year I was vaguely toying with the idea of doing an OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) up in the Lakes. Being of somewhat advancing years I thought; one last hurrah. I then heard that Rob might be looking for a partner to do the OMM as Jolyon couldn’t make it. However when I contacted Rob I discovered he had already made other running plans for the OMM weekend. That left me with a little itch and I cast around for other partners. Jon Brooke was eager (I think!) and plans were made and suitable training undertaken. Unfortunately Lakes OMM was cancelled due to bad weather a few days before the race. After the dust (rain!) had settled OMM generously offered refunds or event transfers. One of which was the Alps OMM. Hey, why not (long list of reasons here). Jon wasn’t available, so I again cast around for a partner. Helen Dyke, ex Wessex OC now living in Germany about an hour south of Munich and an hour from the Event Centre at Steinberg am Rofan in the Austrian Alps, said she would be interested. Perfect. Well not quite as Helen is 18 years younger and a super fit triathlete. For Helen a day without a hard training session of some form, was like a day without sleep for me. Hey ho, I could be signing up for a whole shedload of pain here.Cut to the morning of Sunday 14th May and Helen and I are at the start line with all our gear. For those unfamiliar with a Mountain Marathon: it’s usually over two days with a remote campsite and you carry all the gear with you for the overnight including tent, food, stove and the long list of safety gear – safety being another reason its run in pairs. There has been much improvement in lightweight running gear over the years and Helen and I were running with about 8 kilo packs. Heavy enough though. Maps of the courses are below. 1:30,000 scale and 15m contour interval. Orienteering on big scale there are two principles – Keep it simple and contour where possible. Day one went as follows: Control 1 was straightforward. Control 2 up the stream, but there was no stream, ok don’t panic keep on a bearing and see what happens (Helen was relying on me for the navigation and I was relying on her not leaving me behind). Picked up what i thought was the white area half way to the control, but I wasn’t confident of the map yet as had been warned it wasn’t accurate. Ok, top end of the white we should hit the path. Yes, result, it was there, so follow it to the 90º bend and then the ride and it should be on top of the hill and it was. 2-3 drop down to the second track and follow to the bend down the reentrant. Going down the steep slope to the control I realised Helen was very cautious on any downhill ‘off piste’. Good from my perspective as it meant I wasn’t the slow one on those occasions, of which there were many. 3-4 no choice, just make sure you get the right paths and reentrant. 4-5 direct or around the paths? I had already said to Helen that if I ever said “lets be clever here”, to tell me off, so we went round the path and down the stream! 5-6 paths and path through the alpine meadow to about the top of the 6 printed on the map. Then direct to the control, again Helen was slow going down though the wood but I wasn’t prepared to go all the way round on the path. Navigationally perfect and we dropped right on to the control. Around the tracks to 7 although we cut through white down to above 7, probably quicker to have stayed on the track. 7-8 track then seriously steep up to the control. Across the top to 9 or drop back the track? We dropped back to the track. 9-10 after dropping to the stream just a slog up straight to the control. 10-11, major route choice: could go NE but I was worried about the slope down for Helen so we followed the track SE then contouring track. Slog up the meadow to Enteralm then track to third stream and down to the control. 11-12 didn’t go quite as planned. I thought; track NEE to the stream, down the stream to the second track then contour around to the control. What we should have done was after about 500m along the track gone N downhill to the track crossroad, then contoured around. The stream was steep, with the sides closing in, towards the end had a small waterfall drop between the sides and was too risky for me so I realised Helen wouldn’t make it, we doubled back and up the steep reentrant side to the forest and eventually got done to the first track, then NWW to the crossroads. Probably 10 minutes lost. Priorities at camp is to get the tent up and some food on the go. Plus tea! It was a lovely Alpine meadow and we managed to find an almost flat spot. Fortunately the weather was glorious on both days. It would have been another story in dodgy weather. They had drinking water there and schnapps! I usually sleep pretty well in most places and in a sleeping bag get too warm. However at this height even with thermals and warm jackets on we spent a cold uncomfortable night. It almost got to the point of putting gloves on.6:15 alarm. Breakfast and decamping and repacking ready for our 7:47am start. In theory shorter today but in practice just as long a time. Unless you were a fit youngster there was very little scope for running on day 2. Ok we jogged to 1, 1-2 down to the road even on the path was very steep and slow. Road and path to 2 as the climb up direct from the road was very craggy. 2-3 compass bearing. The rest was all on paths, just making sure you took the right junction. Just up up up. 5-6 I started to really struggle, probably a combination of tiredness, unfitness and altitude. 2/3rds of the way we had to stop to get some food down me and have a rest. That leg took over 50 mins and I was thinking of jacking it in. Helen was brilliant with her encouragement although I was seriously questioning her parentage at times. 6-7 wasn’t too bad and seeing the snow towards the top was actually encouraging. 7-8-9 was nearly all snow and on a glorious sunny day was really spectacular and made you realise one of the reasons you do things like this. Some foot prints to follow but you had to be careful as sometimes you broke through the surface and went in up to your knees. 9 to the finish was just as slow as coming up. I think ‘technical decent’ would be a good term. We got there though and even managed to overtake a team 20 mtrs from the finish line.To sum up: an epic weekend, good company and stunning scenery. Would I do it again? Who knows. Gavin



Orienteering Club