Midsummer on the Gower 2022

The forecast wind and rain showers did not put off a good turnout of QOs from making the journey to The Gower to enjoy technical terrain and a friendly welcome from Swansea Bay OC.

Most years, Swansea Bay OC put on a Summer orienteering festival usually (but not always) on the Gower, usually (but not always) in midsummer - it is an opportunity to sample some fiendishly technical dunes as well as socialise with fellow orienteers. This year, to celebrate their 50th anniversary there was a retro event on Llanmadoc Hill, a long-distance event on Broughton Burrows and a 2x2 relay on Whiteford Burrows.

Full article on the website: Midsummer on the Gower 2022 - Quantock Orienteers

Full write up from Rosie:

After a week of stunning weather on the Pembrokeshire coast path Andy and I headed east for one-off our favourite weekend events on the Gower. This avoided the delays met by some of the QO contingent arriving on the M5.

Our recommendation of the always sunny event was somewhat dampened by the biblical rain we were unfortunate to coincide with at the start. The interest of a retro pin punching event dissolved in to a chaotic disaster of soggy maps and cold, wet people. Nevertheless we all survived and will never complain again about minor niggles with SI, shiny/loud paper EVER again.

The weather improved for Saturday - fortunate in view of what turned out to be some very lengthy courses over challenging and complex dune terrain. It is always good to attempt to orienteering in a really tough area. I think everyone came back rather tired out by the experience.

The final 2 by 2 relay met again with windy but dry weather. The area was a mix of dunes with wooded areas and a lovely setting. SBOC had cleverly calculated the handicap necessary to give all the teams courses appropriate for age and ability - so the first team back was the winner. The change over area gave a good view of the returning runners and the chance to socialise while anticipating the return of ones team mate.

So, despite the miserable start I hope everyone enjoyed our recommendation and certainly enjoyed a speedier journey home.

Full write up from @KarenLewis

We arrived at Broughton Burrows on Saturday morning at about 9.55. We were due to start at 10.30. The heavens opened at 10:00 and we definitely did not want to get out of the car!
Then, thank goodness, the rain stopped and the sun came out and all was well. I was keen to get out and back before the next deluge.

The area was technically difficult and you had to keep good contact with the map. I would say it favoured my type of orienteering. I was overtaken on several occasions only to lead people into the control.

I followed the straight line method (I went up and down more dunes than I needed to) but it worked. I used the fence and green patches to assist.

I found a few controls were tougher than others but there was always a feature to bring you back in line if you found that you or thought that you had strayed. A couple of times I started doubting myself, especially as I didn’t see another soul for a while. But generally I was I only a few metres away – just needed to stop and study form. Control 7 to 8 I decided not to follow the fence and to go straight for it and then onto 9. For this control I followed the fence line and used the crossing points to navigate into my control.

The two cluster of trees helped with the next two controls (10 and 11). Control 13 was definitely a count your steps once passed the green patch.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, the terrain and the superb views from the tops of the dunes. However, I found I was getting tired by control 13 and think (personal opinion) the course could have done without controls 14, 15, 16 and 17. I went to ground three times between control 14 and 17 – a rabbit hole got me and I have no idea what caused me to face plant.

I finished with cuts and bruises but still beaming. Loved every minute of it.