OMM (Durisdeer)
Oct 27/28 2007
Long Score
report by Mick James

Great opportunity to look at some hills that I’d never been to although, with the mist down for most of Saturday, there was not a lot of opportunity for kicking back and taking in the views. As usual I was running with Steve Watkins, a long standing orienteer friend, and this paid dividends with some tricky navigation on day 1 and only one minor error losing us around 2 mins. This was our first try at a score course and we had no idea how we’d get on so we were delighted when the guy in the download tent told us “Blimey boys that’s one hell of a score”. We were even more smug knowing that after a pretty wet and wild day, we still had a dry set of clothes to look forward to. The mid camp was shared by all classes this year and we were lucky enough to get the tent up and settled in during a rare break in the squalls. Having, settled in, cooked up, and dried our wet thermals with our body heat, we could look out on the hill with some satisfaction, tinged with pity, at the head torches coming down the valley sides in the rain – in other years that would have been us as Elite course stragglers – maybe I am finally getting older and wiser. Drew lots to see who would have to go and check on the chasing start – I won and snuggled into my bag while Steve pulled on his soaking waterproofs and headed out into the ming.

The night was full on – high winds and relentless driving rain, our single skin tent was dripping with condensation and each time the wind snapped the canvas we’d get a soaking from all the water on the inside. We’d got bin bags over the feet of our sleeping bags and our space blankets out over the top of them trying to stop them getting a soaking but even so it was one of the worst nights I’ve ever had in a tent. Morning came sooner than expected – thanks to Steve not having put his watch back and getting me up at 5 thinking it was 6. We quickly spotted the mistake and snuggled back for an extra, soggy and chilly, 30 mins before the alarm.

Day 2 and 4th in the chasing start – what a relief to leave the tent – now only 6 hours from the car and my duvet jacket! A bit of mist for the first 2 hours suited us fine and we were going pretty well after a 5 min error on the first control. Thereafter it was the usual rules with Steve doing most of the navigation but fading after about 3 hours (that boy needs to be a bit fatter) and then the bungee coming out – me concentrating on towing, and him shouting directions from behind – all slightly unreal. We chopped all the outliers from our Day 2 route as we gradually started losing time and hauled in with 335 points which was good enough to hold onto 4th place. The weather had been much better for the last 4 hours but to be honest I still have no real idea what the hills looked like.

Really enjoyed the freedom of the score classes – lots of choice and lots of juggling your route as the time slips away, and best of all its only 7 hours on day 1 and 6 on day 2 – what a result. The race was won by orienteers from Worcester with a second Worcester pair on their heels and then Alec Keith and Dave Cummins from Inverness taking third – clearly something in this orienteering lark.

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