Blackborough SWOL

How did your run go?

I was on Green and was very happy with my nav and route choice with only three exceptions:

  1. Not dropping down early enough between #4 and #5. But the issues of negotiating the slope beside the OOB road couldn’t have been peedicted from the map so I;m not annoyed with myself about this one.
  2. I got within a metre or so of #7 but didn’t see the kite down in its pit so searched around for a bit then went back to #6 and did it again, this time catching a glimpse of the SI box.
  3. I didn’t see a path under the course line between #11 and #12 and ended up dropping down early which put me on a ride where I was crawling under fallen trees. Then I found a big path on the ground and was able then to find it on the map. Grr- had I looked closer I’d have seen it.

From the planner’s perspective…
This event was originally planned nearly 3 years ago and was subsequently postponed due to the pandemic. When we finally received permissions from all landowners a couple months ago to reschedule it I visited with an old all controls map to see how things were and if anything had changed in the intervening 2.5 years- Back then the whole western and northern scarp edges had been recently felled and thoroughly cleared leaving multitudes of accessible sites and access. I was devastated to see the amount of grow back coupled with summer undergrowth and had to accept a major replan was required with only a small time window to do it- it helped that I had also drawn the Ocad map based on Bill’s original so could resurvey and map myself to save some time
What you all “enjoyed” on the day was nothing compared to how it was before Matt and I attacked it with large sticks and shears, recreating paths through grot as best we could- our apologies if your chosen route into the earlier controls left you flailing in dense undergrowth- it was a lottery in places and we couldn’t predict everyone’s route choice.
Things did improve as you got into your courses and some parts were in good condition, particularly N of the road and provide decent navigation and route choice selection. Some decent times were achieved, others struggled, but everyone’s ( organisation and competitors alike) days were improved by the glorious weather
Sorry I missed the purple course overlay error hiding an obvious ride mentioned by Alasdair above- look on it as another opportunity to climb the scarp face once again

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I had a lot of fun out on Brown - albeit it highlighted my less than perfect orienteering skills.

Other than a wobble on the first control (which depression!!), things seemed to be under control until control 5. I thought the garden gate before the house was the marked road after the house, so I headed up the slope too early and got completely confused as to why the paths did not match. Like the initial errors I made at Braunton Burrows, I should have corrected much quicker as, in hindsight, I was clearly in the wrong place.

I overshot control 9 - not for the last time failing to see the contour feature I was looking out for but I quickly adjusted as there were too many pits.

I choose the brave/stupid route through the vegetation to 10 - tempted by the hint of a track that quickly disappeared. It was horrid, I fell into a pit covered in bracken and got diced up by brambles - miraculously though I did not lose any time getting to the control.

I enjoyed the boggy bit to and from control 15 - I actually felt in touch with all the features as I squelched through the bogs, but I was less of a fan of the climb out and made an odd route choice to 16 although it did not seem to have cost me much time.

Back across the road, I lost where I was on the path to 18 (again missing the contour feature I was looking for) - overshooting and struggling to correct quickly. My worst control!

The rest of the course went quite well - I was a bit hesitant to control 20 but only because I was not on the track I was expecting to be on (thankfully it was a good alternative route choice once I had realised my error).

I am happy with my result - possibly my best ever. I fell over more times than I would like to admit but it was enjoyable despite the challenge (and surprisingly muddy which I love).

Thanks @andyr!

Thoroughly enjoyed finding the nicely placed controls on Green, in comparatively dry conditions.

Knew I’d be very slow ( age-related joint problems- can’t do more than walk, and slopes or ducking under branches is difficult). Unfortunately I chose a direttissimo route near the end that led to me going thigh-deep in a water-filled forestry rut- and the blood from superficial bramble scratches from getting to dry land still looked bad as I finished! And I shouldn’t have stopped for a chat with two mtb-ers who were intrigued by the strange map I was carrying. Always I’ve got excuses!

Many tnanks to Andy and all those involved in setting it up and manning it.

PS I manually entered my route on RouteGadget then realised I could download from my Strava record. As a result RG shows several versions, some offset by a large amount. Not sure if this is editable…