The ramblings of Lynne Walker



Orienteering is sometimes known as ‘The Thought Sport’ and it is quite easy to see why; navigating to each control requires the orienteer to constantly make decisions regarding the route they will take. They are basing these decisions on the information they receive from the map, information they receive from the ground, their personal navigational skills and the way they are able to move over the ground.

Compare this to an athletics race; you will probably know the track you are running on; there is every likelihood that you will know your competitors and have run head to head with them; your coach will have talked you through the race plan and so it is just up to you to implement it. OK, this is a bit simplistic but you get my drift?

Well, I would like to take issue with the delusion about orienteering – compared to life, it’s a breeze! For instance, approaching Taynuilt from the west, there is a new 30mph sign immediately in front of a 40mph sign; the repeater signs show 40mph for a while before dropping to 30mph? What speed do you do?

Take the lead up to the EckO Dunollie event on Sunday 21st January

Two weeks before: no S. I. kit in the Oban area as some of the units had had to be returned to Germany as they had had a party in the box and run their batteries down. All the units now have a ‘software patch’ and life is really not so much fun in the box any more. I had to get the kit to Ross – he was not going to be in Dunoon. In actual fact, he became stuck on Tiree for 4 days, as it was a wee bit windy.
Decision: how to get the equipment to him, without driving too far?
Problem solved: meet Ross at 8am on Saturday at Crianlarich as I was going to Perth for a meeting. He was also able to receive the printed maps.

Three days before: many schools across the country were closed as it snowed a bit.

Decision: should the event go ahead?
Problem solved: spoke to Ross on the phone and Oban was a snow free zone. After hearing the forecast for the weekend, decide to get Paul to email folk asking them to keep an eye on the website. On Saturday the event is posted as going ahead.

The day of the event: will I go or will I stay?

Decision: it’s a along way to drive, the forecast is poor, I didn’t get home from my meeting until 8pm the night before, I have some work to do, I am tired.
Problem solved: don’t set the alarm and think about it in the morning. Well, no problem with waking up (at 2am, 4am, 6am and finally up at 8am). Look out the window – there is snow on the ground so I won’t go. Put my specs on and there is no snow. OK, have breakfast and then decide. Tidy out my SOA Executive file – after this, the decision was made, as I needed to get out!

Bit late leaving and some slush on the road but just make it in time. Tell Ross that I am happy to collect the green course controls. So, more decisions – what weight of thermal top, which jacket? Wrong decision for both as I wore my mid-weight top – too hot, and my lightweight Gore-Tex top instead of my Pertex jacket – not wet enough for the Gore-Tex.
Have a great time out on the course, the decision-making is easy (especially as I didn’t take my compass, one less thing to decide to use! I could have done with the magnifier though!), the ground is saturated so the steeper hills are ‘interesting’, liquid mud, but it hardly rained. I really like this sport!

Back at the car, more decisions to make.

Decision: Where will I fill up with fuel? Will I have a coffee & scone at ‘Robin’s Nest’? What will I listen to?
Problem solved: Go straight home for coffee, and put the iPod on shuffle!

Roll on the next event so I can have a decision-making rest!
Many thanks to Ross for a very enjoyable time!

These are my reflections of the EckO Dunollie event on Jan 21st.