After last week’s compass-heavy orienteering, I was super nervous about this event on Holme Moor with the huge areas of open moorland. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day although there was enough chill in the air that I made the decision to keep my base layer on… a decision I rapidly regretted as I slowly roasted in the sunshine.
The start gave a rare opportunity to clock where other runners were headed for their first few minutes, albeit with the first (very near) control out of sight (as an aside every course should have a simpler control as a warm-up).
From 1 to 2 was the first of two longer legs - I was hesitant for the first part as I got a feel for the terrain, but as the moorland cleared of undergrowth I (much quicker than last weekend) started seeing the map features on the ground.
I was feeling pretty confident as I rocked up to control 4… or where I thought it should have been… but no control. I could see the marked marshy areas, and the two hut circles but instead of a pit, there was another hut circle. Maybe I was too far down the slope… nope there is the earth bank fragment… turns out the hut circle had a sneaky pit in it
5 minutes wasted meant being caught by champion Ben Chesters which meant a bit of a tow for a few controls for as long as I could keep up, but even left to my own devices I enjoyed the terrain, staying in contact with the map and making good progress. The mine area was a delight - so many brown map symbols in so small a space!
After catching the two starters before me, they both headed down the hill in the wrong direction from 17. I knew I was right, but was unsure enough to get pulled offline before I re-committed and found the control. Again at control 19, I was distracted by another runner and then the wrong control before relocating.
Most of the rest of the course was prickly but uneventful - my route choice from the last control to the finish was commented on as being ‘different’ - but as the 2nd fastest on that leg, I am sticking to it as the optimum choice!
Overall I had an enjoyable run on wonderful terrain in sunny Dartmoor - what more can you ask for!?