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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…


Because we couldn’t leave home till 11.30 and barely made it to registration in time, some compromise was necessary at today’s event on Cannock Chase. What we did was that we both started at the same time, but first I ran round the White course with Catherine to make sure she didn’t get lost (including a short stop while we tried to help Mick find his lost dibber) and when we got to the Finish I said Bye to her and I went off to find my first control, thereby giving everyone else on Green a 20-minute head start. Happy to relate I wasn’t last, coming 71st out of 86, and I would’ve done better if I wasn’t so afraid of getting my feet wet. On the way to the 2nd control there was a wide and muddy stream and after spending two or three minutes working out how to get across without soaking both legs I gave up and ran down to a broken bridge.


As usual, the West Midlands relays were a good, fun event, this year ably hosted by the Chasers. I met my objective of running 10-minute k’s and our team came 4th in the ad-hoc category. In the other HOC ad-hoc team, Alex Mitchell was the star performer, beating most of the adults on his leg.



On the way home last night, Catherine described it as the best day ever. She has said that about thirty times this year, but it’s a good sign nevertheless. 🙂 She was a bit miserable during the second qualifier, when I was making her do more of the work and she was running low on energy, but after dark, when she’d had something to eat and the cold wind had dropped, she was excited again by the new (to her) experience of orienteering with a headlamp.

It was a great event, with plenty for a child to do between races. Hopefully Cath Williams will do it again next year, but if not, maybe Harlequins can organise one on one of the mazes on our patch. (Or POTOC, at Brereton Heath.)


Tomorrow the British Championships are being held on Cannock Chase, and for the new issue of the West Midlander Peter Guillaume has kindly dug out some items from the last time they were held there, in 1977.  There isn’t room for the M43 course map, so I’m posting it here:

Update: although that’s the BOC 1977 map, it appears that that isn’t a BOC 1977 course! The map must’ve been reused a year or two later.

Despair! Second to control six on the Green course at today’s Chasers event on Hednesford Camp, the wind in my sails on a gloriously crisp and sunny March morning, I punched the control and then ran off in completely the wrong direction… A little while later I looked down at my hand and discovered, attached to my thumb, a polygonal piece of clear plastic with this spinning red line thingy in the middle of it and it dawned on me that I’M WEARING A COMPASS – MAYBE I SHOULD USE IT!

(I also lost time at control 10, where the flag was on the wrong land feature, about thirty yards away from where it should’ve been. How it got there is a mystery…)

Fun in the sun on Cannock Chase this morning. After yesterday’s exertions, I’m not sure I would’ve been up to running an adult course today, so luckily it was time to take Catherine. 🙂


Congratulations to Walton Chasers for their excellent national event on Cannock Chase yesterday. Checking the results, I counted 1,000 competitors! WTG

I was late getting to the Chase today for the Brindley league event, and made myself later by parking in the wrong car park, meaning I had an extra climb up to registration… Then I nearly put the kibosh on my run altogether by somehow losing my hired dibber by the time I got back to the car on the way to the start. But, weirder still, my own dibber, which I thought I’d lost, suddenly turned up, so I ran using that!

Like Fineshade a couple of weeks back, Brindley Heath is somewhere you stick to the paths, and it wasn’t surprising that my attempt to run direct through the heather to the sixth control (#171) ended in tears. Still, I ended up 8th out of 48 on Green. I chose a shorter course because my left knee is a bit iffy and I need it for next Sunday’s run at Titterstone Clee. Looking forward to it. 🙂

Brindley map extract


Since the WMOA website refuses to publish such information, here are this year’s West Midlands champions, elected last weekend on Cannock Chase:

M10 Alex Mitchell HOC
M12 Harrison McCartney OD
M14 Matthew Elkington OD
M16 William Gardner OD
M18 Matthew Halliday OD
M20 Adam Bushnell WCH
M21 Robert Little WCH
M35 Steve Parker HOC
M40 Jason Howell HOC
M45 David Nevell HOC
M50 Barry Elkington OD
M55 Bob Dredge WRE
M60 Mike Hampton OD
M65 Brian Morris WRE
M70 Colin Spears HOC
M75 Norman Hall WCH
M80 Frank Smith OD

W10 Ella-Rose McCartney OD
W12 Aimee Morse OD
W14 Julie Emmerson OD
W16 Emma Kettley OD
W18 Sophie Kirk OD
W20 no winner
W21 Jessica Halliday OD
W35 Sharron Richardson WRE
W40 Ianka Evans WCH
W45 Suzanne Humphries OD
W50 Carol Dredge WRE
W55 Hazel Waters WCH
W60 Sheila Carey OD
W65 Jean Rostron POTOC
W70 Hilary Simpson OD
W75 Marlene Palmer WCH
W80 Pamela Emberton WCH

Congratulations to one and all. It was a fine day and a fine event. I was there but did the Yellow with Catherine. (Note to users of AutoDownload – isn’t it possible to correct the name of the entrant when they’ve used someone else’s SI card?)




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