Although it’s a shame that so many Midlands woods are so rough – covered in brambles and other nasty undergrowth – it doesn’t matter that much really. I don’t mind picking my way slowly through, and I think a lot of orienteers don’t mind either. Whatever the conditions, it is (as they say) a level playing field, and even leveller when the sprinters have got nowhere to sprint…  Of course I ought to wear gaiters or bramble-bashers – then I wouldn’t get massive scratches on my shins that take a couple of months to heal – but even without them it’s still possible to get around in one piece, and it’s all part of the adventure.

Rough Wood itself, scene of Thursday’s night O event, is a typical Midlands area, with lots of green on the map signifying unrunnable woods. The map is unfortunately rather idiosyncratic but I still found my way round okay, finding 17 controls in 75 minutes. (All the penalty points I earned mean I ended up in last place – we were only supposed to stay out for 60 minutes but I was enjoying it too much.)

All good practice for the British Night Championships on the 5th of Feb. I wouldn’t normally enter, but this year they’re only up the road (Bentley Woods, North Warwickshire) so it seems daft not to have a go. The atmosphere will be excellent, I’m sure.

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