Category Archives: Orienteering

Llanymynech Rocks

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.

Run, Walk or Fight?

One of the things drummed into us on last year’s ML training course at Glenmore Lodge was the importance of navigation – and that a handy ‘off-hill’ way of boosting your navigation skills was to do some orienteering. With this in mind, I’ve done a couple of short events with my local club – Wrekin Orienteers – to see how it went.  The intention was to avoid actually running, and just concentrate on the nav, but needless to say it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

The first event at Carding Mill Valley was on terrain that I’m reasonably familiar with. The navigation itself wasn’t difficult, but making a good route choice is a harder challenge. I was pleased to tick off 18 of the 20 controls within the 45 minute time-limit, but a major cockup misunderstanding about the rules saw me collect 70 penalty points and be classed a less-than-impressive 21st out of 25.

The second event in the grounds of Concorde College was in very different terrain, and using a 1:3000 scale map takes some getting used to. No results published as yet, but I’m confident I didn’t do much worse.