Two days of nice and relatively straightforward (well compared to last weekend on Merthyr Mawr anyway) orienteering at Godshill in typical New Forest terrain- what’s not to like. Rosie and I packed up ‘Vinny’ our trusted VW for the weekend, and off we went. The weather all weekend was superb adding to the enjoyment of some fine orienteering. The format is two days, the first a classic middle distance, the second a long, both events forming the SW championships for those distances so always attracting the cream of the SW clubs and others from outlying clubs.
My day 1 was 4.5km and mostly flat in a new area to us- the first half woodland and then onto open moorland to finish. New Forest terrain is typically only moderately technical but provides fast running where simple mistakes can be costly in terms of overall final positions. For my part the course went well trying to keep as straight a line as possible between controls where the horrid holly trees would allow, and tracks when obviously a better option. Apart from one control where I floundered in the general area for a few seconds until Richard appeared and we both agreed its likely position, it was a good clean run in about 43 minutes and a top five position- great start. The day’s start was slightly frustrating for the host club Wessex OC as some unknown locals had decided overnight to rip up taped routes to starts/finishes and some controls, which was only discovered at the eleventh hour and caused all starts to be delayed while the situation was rectified- fortunately nothing was actually stolen, ‘just’ thrown into various ditches!!
We overnighted parked up in one of my factories which is located conveniently close to the area and providing the necessary amenities including a local pub (where we met up with Jeff for a welcome bout of re-hydration and the inevitable courses de-brief) and fish and chip shop to add some more superfluous calories.
The next day we had early starts so packed up and were at the arena by 9.30 on another glorious day- it reminded me of some of the European events Rosie and I have attended. Today’s event was on the Ashley Walk area which we have orienteered on a few times previously so we knew what to expect- almost entirely open, fast moorland with lots of boggy low lying areas and gentle ridges. Again an almost perfect run today until my control#17 of 19 where I approached too high and was left thrashing in neck high bracken way above the control site and losing 4 mins for the pleasure. This was marginally compensated for by the sight of a lovely sleek fox navigating confidently through the complex gorse thickets on the way to the finish in a manner I can only wish to emulate.
A great weekend with a good selection of results from the various QO members who made the trip