You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Octavian Droobers’ category.

Lots of local orienteering competitions coming up soon:
Walsall Arboretum Sun 12 May
New Hall, Sutton Sun 19 May
Sandwell Valley Wed 22 May (afternoon)
Hillfields, Solihull (evening)
Sutton Park Wed 29 May
Pooley Fields, Polesworth Wed 5 June
Elmdon, Solihull Wed 12 June
Leasowes, Halesowen Sat 15 June
Clent Hills Thu 20 June
Fibbersley, Willenhall Thu 27 June
Perry Park, Birmingham Wed 3 July
Come along and have a run/walk! Adrian 07505 381666



At Pelsall Common and at Warwick University, two similar occurrences…

Arriving at Pelsall Common by car, Catherine shouted “There’s David!” (David Williams) as we drove past a control situated by the road. A few minutes later we parked, got changed and made the long walk to the Start. On the way, who ran across our path but… David. He kindly stopped to shake Kobe’s hand – he’s one of Catherine’s friends, and we’d brought him along for his first go at orienteering.

Now, checking the map and splits I can see that David was on his way to controls 15 and 22 when we saw him, and it was 15 minutes between sightings. Hence 15 minutes equals one David (1 Dd).

At Warwick University on Wednesday night, I’d just run back onto the map* when Yvonne Feasey jumped out of her car to ask the way to Registration. According to my splits I’d been going for about 37 minutes at that point. After 62 minutes I saw her again, parked and paid and out on her course. So 25 minutes equals one Yvonne (1 Yn).

Now scientists are at work to find out why 5 Dd = 3 Yn.



* This was an excellent map-memory event, with 13 legs on a part of campus that wasn’t on the map. I made an error on the first map-memory leg, but learnt from that and did well on the rest of that section. After that, the section around the north west part of the campus was a bit of a slog, but I suppose it did make you think about route choice. At the end there was a nasty trick: there were controls on either side of a high wall, and it was quite a long way round if you went to the wrong side first…

A week or two ago I signed up for this weekend’s 12 km race in the Forest of Dean. This is a race where I don’t have to run 6 km to get points for my club, and inspired by the long-O antics of Marian White I thought I’d go for the good-value option of entering the longest course possible. Big mistake?

My downfall started – literally – on Sunday at Bentley when I tripped and landed chin-first on a rubble-strewn path, injuring my hand and chest. Then last night I was bitten on the elbow by a dog while putting controls out for a race in Haden Hill Park. And now today I’ve twinged my left thigh playing basketball in totally inappropriate clothing…

On Sunday, Droobers are hosting a regional event at Bentley. I’m sure it’ll be a great event, but entering for it was a bit of a leap in the dark. (Sorry for picking on this event – the problem it illustrates is true for more or less any regional event you care to mention.)

To be fair, this was partly my fault. I noticed the event when I was on fabian4 and entered it there and then. There’s a box on fabian4 where you put your default course and in my case it’s Blue. I left it at like that and paid. Then I had a look at the flyer and realised – duh – this is a regional event, and I ought to have entered my age class. But should I enter 45 long or 45 short? Which one does Blue correspond to? And how long are the races anyway?

I emailed the organiser and now the info has been added to the website, a day after entries have closed. Notice that the age classes have been left off the final details, so they’ve had to add them on the webpage. But I still don’t know the answer to my first question. M45L is Brown and is 9.8 km, so that’s out. But how to choose between Blue at 6.9 km and M45S (Short Blue) at 5.4km? Blue sounds better but then I’ll be running out of category…

This nonsense of colourising regional events was caused by BOF. I do understand that a few orienteers want to only enter races by colour, but the confusion this has caused has resulted in a degrading of the regional event. A lot of orienteers are entering by colour when they really meant to enter by age class and they are missing out on competing with their peers, and their peers are missing out on competing with them. And some courses are artificially overfull or underused because if you’re going to enter by colour you’re more likely to enter Blue or Green than the mysterious Short Blue or Short Green.

So whose fault is this shambles? Partly BOF’s, partly fabian4’s, partly OD’s and partly mine. What can we do about it?

1. For Regional events, initial event info must show that this is an age class event, show what the correspondence is with colours for people who want to enter by colour, and give some idea of course lengths. (The traditional, simplest and best system is to list the courses by number, with the corresponding age classes and colour.)

2. For Regional events, fabian4 must have age classes as the default setting, although with a clearly indicated option to change to colours.

p.s. Checking the event info for Beechenhurst the following weekend, things aren’t much better. The final details say: 14. COURSES AND MAP INFO
N.B. Courses and Age equivalences:  This event will be using the age categories as outlined in BOF Guideline 3.3 NOT as stated in the flier (3.4). You are asked to check your age category and course choice and amend online if necessary before April 26th. And then the courses are listed only by colour!

Alan Halliday was printing the leaflets for the Birmingham parks events so I went to collect them at OD’s Memorial Park event. Not an especially exciting venue if you’re a Droober, I’m sure, but it was my and Catherine’s first visit, and it was a lovely evening to boot. Stupidly I forgot to check the map scale and mucked up the first control… The other mistake I made was the map’s fault though. (Really!) Meanwhile, Amy Kirk very kindly escorted Catherine round the Yellow course.


I think this was the first time I’d been back since the 90’s. It’s a lovely beauty spot, especially on a sunny July morning, with great views across Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. While Uncle Ian did the Blue Catherine and I did two courses: first the Orange and the the Yellow. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the area, the Yellow was very similar to the Orange, but in fact this was good from Catherine’s point of view, since she could do it with very little help from me.


Update: I was surprised to discover this was a ranking event. The HOC events at Sandwell Valley and Baggeridge should therefore’ve been ranking events too, I’d say, which would’ve encouraged better turnouts.

Off to junction 12 of the M40 with Andy W and Barry M. Itchington Holt is a lovely little wood and it’s a lot drier underfoot today than it was the last time I was here. I set off first on the 4.7 km course but I made a mistake straight away and Andy caught me up at the 2nd control! I didn’t think I’d see him again, so I was surprised to catch him back up at #5, and again at #13. He’s definitely got the legs though, not me, so I could never keep ahead of him and his time for the course was about 47 minutes compared to my 49.

One problem we both had was the 2-dimensional control markers OD use for these events. Andy ran past #5, we both ran past #6, and I didn’t see #14 despite spiking the feature!


Tired and ill. Wonder if it’s got anything to do with doing two events this weekend? Well, I’m sure I’d already caught the cold, but the tiredness is probably no coincidence. I was falling asleep in the car on the way home from Hawkbatch this afternoon. Luckily I wasn’t driving!

I’m glad I only did the Green –  the 4 km took me 45 minutes including a long walk uphill. I was right that last night’s exertions – 78 minutes on course 5 at the British Nights in Bentley Wood – had taken quite a bit out of me.

The Nights were excellent though. Bentley Woods is a great area and the course was well planned. Add to this the facts that the evening was unseasonably warm and that the battery of my head torch held out for the duration and it made it a very pleasant experience.

It was also a bit odd. I started 2 minutes ahead of my teammate Kerstin and I finished exactly two minutes ahead of her, meaning we had the same time: 78:45. The graph of our runs shows that this was despite us having very different races. In fact, thanks to a couple of early mistakes, I fell a few minutes behind Kerstin, only to bump into her at about halfway as she hunted in vain for the 8th control. Although I didn’t see her again, she must’ve overtaken me again when I overshot #12, but somehow I managed to claw the 2 minutes back by the end. 🙂

My next night orienteering will be on Saturday when I start putting the courses out for the event I’m planning!


Not much to say about today really except that it was a good event and I enjoyed it. My legs are still a bit below par; when I went to the circuit training in West Bromwich on Wednesday the lady running the class told me it’s about time I got myself seen at a hospital, and she’s right.

The circuit training was an interesting experience… it was me and seven Indian ladies!


A new season is almost upon us, and this was to be my first run for a while: Kingsbury Water Park. Marti and Catherine decided to come with me; somehow we’d never been there, for orienteering or anything else. Well, that’s almost not true; I did once take Catherine to Broomey Children’s Farm, which neighbours the park. Kingsbury’s one of those areas that regular orienteers in the Midlands have little enthusiasm for: running there once is enough! But, luckily for me, this was my first time.

Turned out a bit of previous knowledge would’ve helped. We got there in good time but the promised signage from the main road was nowhere to be seen. Also at the main entrance to the park, nothing. Could it be that the event had been cancelled? Just my luck! Maybe they were using a different car park. So off we set on the very long journey anti-clockwise around the park, via Kingsbury village, Tamworth, Fazeley, Drayton Manor and the Aston Villa training ground. No sign anywhere, including at the Broomey Croft car park. Finally we returned to the main entrance and met a gentleman holding a compass, seeking change for the car park barrier. It was at this point that Catherine noticed that there was a O sign, but it was on the other side of the barrier. So I did get my run, in what for me at least was an interesting new area…


(Kingsbury Water Park is exotic, but this guy has orienteered in some amazing places this year!)




June 2019
« Jul    

  • 45,781

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.