The route I took at Burbage is on RouteGadget, and here’s how I took 148 minutes to get round the Brown…

As I usually am, I was quite tentative into the first control, not yet having had a chance to relate the map to the terrain, and worried that an early mistake would depress my spirits for the rest of the race. I opted to run along the top of the crag to make sure I could spot the boulder easily from above. The long run through marsh and heather to #2 was tough but straightforward. The control site was in a reentrant beyond a valley and a spur, between two sets of crags on either side in the middle distance. For an off-path leg, #3 was also pretty straightforward; the marsh beyond the control was obvious. #4 was not a hard control (just a long run up a stony track) but #5 was the kind of control that trips me up in grotty Midlands woods; I did miss it by a few metres but the thicket wan’t too hard to spot.

The only reason control #6 is there is to encourage you to take the northern route to #7. I did realise this and thought about taking the southern, track, route, but decided that would be too much of a boring slog. So I opted for the interesting slog instead! This took me past the Ox Stones and on into an ocean of heather. I spiked the control perfectly in the end, but it took me 23 minutes to get there…

I found a nice path down the scarp, looking down at the wood that concealed #8. I nearly didn’t make it though: the marsh gobbled me up and it took me a while to retrieve my left leg and get out of it. And then I noticed I’d dropped my control descriptions and had to go back in! The wood was a bit of a nightmare. I couldn’t work out what the green splodges were, and found the first control by spotting the runners who were coming away from it. #9 was even worse. In the gloom and with my bad eyesight I couldn’t be sure how many ditches I had to cross and I didn’t see the ruined fence or the control. I came instead to a control on the women’s course, ran back, found the ruined fence and this time I worked out which was the right ditch. So that was 9 minutes to run 120 metres!

#10 was a horrendous climb but an easy control, with the catching feature of the open land. Then, once I’d got round Carl Wark, I could spot the location of #11 from half a kilometre away: the NW edge of the trees. 15 minutes through the heather (walking – the spring was gone from my step) and I discovered I was correct. #12 and #14 were my two best controls. #12 was one of those rare occasions where I could make sense of the land in relation to the map perfectly. #13 was the opposite: I took a bearing and it was all just a mess of crags and rocks and trees. I couldn’t make out the detail in the control circle at all, but at least I correctly guessed that I’d descended too far to the east and with the help of an impromptu search party I homed in on the target.

Fed up of the heather, I took a bit of a detour to #15, making the navigation into the control pretty easy. Going up to #16 the cramp finally set in, so I paused to eat my cheese and drink my Capri Sun. When I got to the path I kind of knew where I was but it took a bit of luck to find the control – the pits were invisible because of the bracken. #17 was the mountaineering control! The north face of the quarry didn’t prove too tough though and I was finally on the run-in. Unfortunately the cramp returned around #17, but the end (and the HOC tent) was in sight so I hobbled happily in to the finish, not too much the worse for wear. 110th!

Got changed – feet in surprisingly good nick – and got in the queue for a bacon and sausage bap. And I didn’t have to drive home – mercifully Andy Hemsted had offered to do the driving 🙂

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