Ibsley Common

Neil asking if I wanted to a lift to today’s event on Ibsley Common prompted me to put in a late entry. It’s an area I haven’t orienteered on before and one club member claimed it be the most technical in (or at least on the edge of) the New Forest. How could I resist?

Competitors were being bussed from Ringwood which all went very smoothly, although it would have been nice to know that spikes weren’t going to be allowed on-board before I had taped my laces. At the start there were some reports of vandalism of controls overnight but fortunately everything seemed to be back in place by the time I went out.

As I fought through the knee high heather to the first control I was wondering if the planner had been a little optimistic in setting a 13km course. As it turned out, this was probably some of the deepest heather on the area. One thing that confused me was the green screen on the map. It wasn’t until I finished that I looked at the key and realised that it had been used to mark bracken, which at this time of year was actually more runnable than the surrounding heather. That is except for the fine green screen which had been used for patches of impenetrable gorse!

I’m not convinced I’d agree with the comment on the technical nature of the area. It certainly had more detail in the contours than many New Forest maps but it was still largely a question of battering your way across the plateau on a sufficiently accurate bearing to drop in to the correct re-enterant when you hit the other side. I only made one small mistake at number eight where, despite knowing otherwise, my subconscious was determined that the large shall depression should be in the re-enterant beyond, not on the top of the hill.

So where did all of that leave me in the results? Languishing in seventh place some ten minutes down on Clive Hallett. It needed a strong pair of legs than mine (particularly given last weekend’s race) to take the optimum route on nearly every control: straight regardless of the contours or undergrowth.

(I stand corrected. Having phoned home midway through writing this entry my Dad points out that I have been to the area before… for the Harvester in 1989! I’ve found my old map and judging by the route I’ve drawn on I obviously found it more than technical enough at the age of 14!!)

One Response to “Ibsley Common”

  1. Neil says:

    Personally I have to say that I found it one of the easier courses I have
    done. The lack of any forest and the amount of open ground made it far more
    like a normal sunday run than an orienteering event. As for being technical I
    don’t think it was that hard since I didn’t get lost as I usually do. I was twenty
    minutes slower than some-one 20 years older than me so I guess I still have a
    lot of room for improvement though.

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