Last orienteering of the year

On the way back from visiting my folks we had planned to go to the Southern Navigators event at Ash Ranges. We managed to squeeze everything in to the car and get away from Harpenden within five minutes of our scheduled departure time. An empty M25 proved too good to be true and we spent half an hour crawling towards Junction 3 of the M3 where the motorway had been closed due to a burst water pipe. Consequently, we arrived at the event just after Christine was due to start.

For once the sun was shining and whilst Christine dashed off I loaded Emma in to the baby carrier. We enjoyed an hour of socialising before it was time to hand her over to Christine at the finish and run across to the start only to discover that they were some eight minutes behind time. I was then slightly thrown by the absence of Paul Nixon who I had been hoping (optimistically) to catch three minutes on. This, sadly, meant I had nothing to look forward to other than being caught by Chris Sellens and Graham Gristwood.

I didn’t have a good run. My legs were sluggish as usual and, despite the organiser’s assurance to the contrary, I found the heather hard going. My concentration was also letting me down though. In particular, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the contours – particularly important when someone has felled most of the trees on the map! Chris and GG both overtook me at number nine whilst I was busy looking for the control in the wrong re-entrant and from then on it was pretty lonely out there. In the final reckoning I’m half way down the list, 20 minutes down on GG and 10 minutes behind the mortals. Time for a rethink in the New Year…

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