Capricorn epic

SOC at the Capricorn

I’m absolutely shattered from a weekend trip up to the Capricorn, held near Ingleton, North Yorkshire (not Ingelton, County Durham where Hedley, our chauffeur for the weekend, was going to take us). The Capricorn is a mix between an orienteering event and a mountain marathon: it takes place over two days and the course lengths (and climb) are high but you return to base between the two days and hence don’t have to carry camping equipment. We were also joined by Matthew Whipple, another SOC member.


Christine and I were both running the A course which, on the first day, amounted to 28.6km and 1868m climb. By the time we set off shortly after midday it was swelteringly hot. Two top runners started just behind me and I spent the first four or so controls trying to keep them in sight. Things started to go wrong around number six where I spent ages searching around at the top a valley on to realise that, if you looked really hard at the poorly photocopied OS map, there were actually some contours above the control and I should be looking further down the slope.

By this point the heat was taking its toll and, despite stopping to top up on water from the odd dubious stream that hadn’t dried out, I was starting to walk not only the uphills but some of the rough flat sections as well. In the end I was out just under six hours and was glad to discover that Christine, though not far behind me at one point, had the sense to retire when she hit the wall. We retired to a local hostelry that evening to lick our wounds and celebrate Hedley’s birthday.

The following morning the sky looked much more promising i.e. grey! Unfortunately the sun was soon to break through although a breeze made things more bearable than Saturday. The second day’s course was shorter at 20.1km and, more importantly, much flatter with just 843m of climb. Still, my feet were badly blistered and sore from the previous day and I found myself walking much of the course again. Thanks go to fellow orienteer Neil Conway for shaming me in to the occasional trot to keep up!

The final results show me with a total time of just under 10 hours and, through a few no-shows on day two, in sixth place. Hedley, meanwhile, came back in 11th place on the C with Matthew finishing an impressive 31st despite also having bad blisters.

Having used a CamelBak last year and been annoyed by it bouncing around, I decided to try a PB-Endurance bumbag from the French adventure racing specialists RaidLight. This proved to be very stable and the bottles were easy to access whilst running. I found it particularly useful that, unlike a CamelBak, you can tell how much fluid you have left. They were also easy to refill if and when I could find water. Many thanks to The Climbers’ Shop for their excellent service (it arrived the day after I ordered it online and with no extra delivery charges).

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