Micheldever O

Yesterday saw my first orienteering since the JK – a local event at Micheldever Forest between Winchester and Basingstoke. Christine decided to stay home as she didn’t reckon pushing the pram up and down the car park track would be all that much fun so I hitched a lift with Sam Massey.

Chatting to the controller beforehand he told me the brambles weren’t too bad but the nettles were a little high in places. I can’t say they bothered me too much and the area is fantastically runnable in many places. A more helpful warning would have been to draw my attention to the date on the map. These days it isn’t often you have to run on a three year old map and its age showed. Here’s a short catalogue of my woes many of which were captured well on my GPS (GPX, KML on Google Maps):

Start – 1: Off to a bad start failing to look where the start triangle was. Then caught my foot in a ruined fence and fell twisting the wire around my ankle. Now I know how a trapped animal feels!
3-4: Stopped about 35m short of the control and wasted 2 minutes in headless chicken mode before running on far enough. Only later on in the course did I realise that the green crosses were distinctive trees not the rootstocks I’m used to.
8-9: A little thrown by the tapes around the edge of the field when the map didn’t show a taped route.
14-15: Not concentrating here and almost ran past the control. Not much time lost though.
15-16: Still not focused and found myself running to 17. Probably wasn’t a bad route choice though.
19-20: A little more of the detail in the white block of forest before the control wouldn’t have gone amiss. For the second time the control descriptions used a quarry symbol rather than an earth bank.
20-21: Failed to find the small path towards the control. Should have looked at the descriptions as I failed to see the minuscule green dot on the map next to the green screen.
21-22: Lots of people had trouble with the extra path on the ground just before the control. Lost me about 4 minutes.
24-25: The dark green on the map extends much further south than shown which is why I thought I’d gone too far. Failed to spot the strange combination of earth bank and slope used on the map. Another minute and a half gone.
26-Finish: Small compensation but at least I had the fastest run-in split!

My overall time was 71:36, ten minutes down on Joe Mercer and in 6th place in the results. With 7.5 mins of mistakes on just three controls that doesn’t seem too bad but then the graphs show Joe also lost five minutes on 22. Still, I had a better day of it than Sam who lost is glasses yet again!

6 Responses to “Micheldever O”

  1. Sam says:

    My time and the DSQ make my run look pretty bad, but discarding 2 controls and the glasses hunt, I would have finished in 85 mins.

    Biggest problems were,
    6-7 Rough Open land was really Bramble/Nettle fight and I wasnt the only one to jump over the fence (which wasnt much better)

    I caught another glimpse of you coming out of the wood and thought Id use the smaller path in the wood as my attack point….big mistake, the path disintegrated into a bunny track and when it did eminate into the open It took me ages to find the hidden pit.

    Really scruffy area, couldnt see the earthbank for the nettles, Rides virtually non-existant, took me 3 attempts to find the control.

    Overshot the turning, finding a similarly directed path 50m north which really confused me.

    Thought Id follow the path and the earthbank NNW, both disappeared along with my glasses

    Nice weather though!

  2. Sam says:

    Heres the track if you really want to know how you can spend 2hrs in a little forest!

  3. Dave says:

    Sam – guess you mean 7-8 not 6-7? Has some small child been scribbling on your GPS track? 😉

  4. Neil says:

    surely you should be disqualified for taking a GPS out on the course with you? After all having a GPS and not using it is like Ivan Basso excuse that he only donated his blood but didn’t reinject it. And if you believe that then ….


  5. Micheldever… so much more than just a station between Winchester and Basingstoke 🙂

  6. Dave says:

    As those who came by train discovered, it’s a pretty long way from the station!