On the 17th, when I travelled up to the moors above Sheffield to take my place in the final line-up, I knew two things: 1. It would be the furthest I would run this year, and 2. I wouldn’t get any points. I was right, but I had a good day. My time, two and a half hours (!), was pathetic, but acceptable for ten miles through heather, and I only made a couple of mistakes, so I was actually pretty pleased with my run. Also, I had plenty to drink before I set off, and I had some food and drink with me, so that when the cramp in my thighs finally set in the situation wasn’t hopeless.

It’s a great event to be part of and SYO ran things very well. Congratulations to SYO for winning the cup* and Forth Valley for winning the trophy. Results.

As usual at these large events, there were a couple of problems. (The lack of water station was one.) I think the planner, Monika Cooper, was taken a little aback by the apparent roasting she received on the pages of Nopesport, but she shouldn’t take it too hard. As I say, orienteers will nearly always find fault with some aspect of an event, and the regulars on Nopesport don’t pussyfoot around.

One issue that was raised was kite-hanging. We’ve come a long way from the 1950’s, when kites were hung above head height, and the trend (perhaps ecouraged by park and urban orienteering) appears to be to hide the controls: in pits, behind trees, in bushes. In “easy” orienteering areas, like much of the West Midlands, it almost seems to remove the challenge from the sport if you hang the flag (correctly) where it is visible from many metres away.

Control hanging in the bracken of the Yorkshire moors is a problem. Hang the control below bracken height and it can become a “bingo” control, only visible when you arrive at it. Hang it above bracken height and you can see it from half a mile away. The only solution, I suppose is to ban controls in bracken altogether.

*Someone did question whether the competition should be hosted by one of the participants. A fair point.

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