Orienteering again last Tuesday evening, this time at the Limestone quarry below the impressive cliffs at Llanymynech, on the Shropshire/Powys border. There were climbers out on the cliffs, and the whole area is a nature reserve, but the frantic activity meant that I didn’t get time to stop and admire the place.
Rather than the usual flags-on-poles and electronic dibbers, the control points were ground markers: small red and white plates with an attached pin punch. These were impressively difficult to locate, particularly in the complex broken ground and undergrowth below the cliffs.
I wasn’t at all happy to hit just 13 out of 30 controls in the 45 minutes allowed – there were several that I knew must be within a metre or so, but I just couldn’t locate and had to leave. However, the results showed that at least I wasn’t alone in suffering.
I learned two important lessons: In complex terrain it’s vital to read – and understand – all the control symbols shown with the map rather than just heading for the control location and hoping for the best. And secondly, when the map’s that cramped, taking reading glasses or a good magnifier is a good idea.