The worst bit about the day was the parking. Having set off before dawn, Ian (Hopkins) and I arrived at the event before 8.30 and were directed to park on a downslope in a sweetcorn field. And somehow, after arriving so early, I still contrived to be late at the start! I wasn’t the only one caught out by the clock, but I was luckier than some: I cleared at 10:35:15 and was allowed to go in my slot at 10:36. I didn’t much like the cold, wind and hail showers, but the course seemed to suit me. I only made one significant mistake, losing 2 minutes at control 13. I finished in 77:28, 24th of 36 on M40S. (The winning time was 47:46 by Peter Sacares of LOC.)

Several people had suggested that attempting to utilise the intricate path network might be a mistake, but I’m glad I didn’t listen to them! I think that if I’d left the paths, the weird lunar landscape of Leith Hill would’ve swallowed me up…

Leith Hill extract 1

Leg 3 was 800m, most of which I did on the wide path that ends on another wide path 100m ENE of the control. From such a great attack point the control was easy. Then, instead of approaching #4 west of/below the red line, I doglegged back east of/above the line, and followed the paths until I found a good spot to drop down into the contour detail. Then take the handy path (N of the red line) to #5, turning right at the rhododendrons.

Leith extract 2

After an easy section it was time for more fine detail. After a refreshing sip of ice water (!) I dived into the little wood where I joined three dozen other orienteers hunting for various kites. I didn’t enjoy #10. I set my compass to NW and ran, and then jogged, and then walked, and then inched, but just as I was about to give up, there it was. 🙂 I liked #11 even less, since its only purpose seemed to be to inject some climb into the course. #12 was straightforward, a handy reentrant leading into it off the path, and #13 I almost nailed. I spotted the little reentant halfway to the control, and knew the open would catch me on the other side of the trees. I’m sure I must have come within a few metres of the gully, but I ended up running north to the depression and back.

By the way, I wonder if anyone had a control in that square openish area that’s surrounded by OOB? 😎

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