The ramblings of Lynne Walker


What a difference a day makes!

Scottish Orienteering Night Champs, Saturday 15th February at Kinnoull Hill, Perth. Role = controller = checking that all the stakes are correctly placed and the S.I. units work / match the number on the stake = distance covered in terrain.

Now add in to the day a competitive run at the Scottish Orienteering Sprint Champs at North Muirton, oh well at least it would be short.

Forecast for Friday 14th February was for snow moving in during the afternoon; the A9 at Drumochter had been a bit ‘dicey’ a few days earlier so we went for a short (5km) run from home, a shower and lunch in the car as we were driving south. Paul had looked up films in Perth so we went to see ‘The Monuments Men’ - it was OK, a busy cinema with at least 50% of the seats occupied but a quiet audience as they were all our age or older.

It was pouring with rain when we left the cinema so a jog back to the car and sit there deciding where to eat. In the selected restaurant we had a view out the window - of heavy wet snow falling constantly for two hours. The car had about 8cm on it and the snow became deeper as we headed out to Davie & Elaine’s house. What would Saturday be like?

Saturday morning was cool but not cold, the snow was wet and heavy. Kinnoull Hill still had quite a covering on it, the O kites at the bottom of the stakes had to be shaken free of snow, some paths were well hidden under a covering of the white stuff. 7km later and I had checked all that was out, raise up the kites and collected in the fencing wire markers.

Off to the sprint race in plenty time to eat lunch and chat to people. What shoes to wear? Well the Mudclaws were wet already so a dry pair of ‘waterproof’ socks (they are getting a bit old now so sieve the moisture) and competitors were returning very muddy. A good choice of footwear. The course was short, just over 2km but fast and furious with the ‘make a decision and follow it’ being the best tactic. I was slow but only made a couple of poor route choice decisions.

It is always hard to know what to do about eating on a day like this; in the end we went off to Tiso’s for a baked potato before Paul took me back up to Kinnoull Hill so I could check the other controls Davie had just put out. Again everything was accurately placed, it started to get dark as I was finishing off and checking the final three controls. Oh no, one was not there! It should have gone out on Friday but had been forgotten about then. A quick call to Davie who was just getting it out of his car. Phew!

What a difference a day makes. The night was perfect, cool (but not freezing), a light wind and a full moon rising from the east. Would the event have gone ahead if the weather had been like the previous evening? Over 150 competitors took part, the Crypt in the Monastery provided a meeting place before and after competing, soup was consumed and people stayed around for the prize-giving. Well I think they stayed around - I was out collecting controls at that time. By 10:30pm we had everything collected in and all the kit sorted.

The drive up the A9 on Sunday was uneventful. As we had had a late breakfast we decided to run near to Aviemore. The Lochs Mallachie/Garten circuit was the wettest I have ever seen it but gave both of us over 10km of path (muddy) and track running.

On Tuesday I explored another new running place as I was delivering a seminar at Westhill near Aberdeen. I ran round the permanent orienteering course at Kirkhill - and I am not going back there again! It was wet underfoot, all the paths have been badly broken up by mountain bikes and it was generally unpleasant. Ah well, maybe the forest across the road (Tyrebagger) would be better another time?

At the moment I think the whole of the UK is generally wetter than usual; we are not nearly as bad up here as many places are but I am not running the same routes as I was able to last winter. On Wednesday I had time between a hair cut and a doctor appointment in Aviemore so I went from Aviemore along the Speyside way towards Boat of Garten. This was a good option as the path is good with a really easy to run on surface. Paul had never run this part of the path and was really pleasantly surprised at how good to run on it was. Now to think up more options like this. I also got out for a quick cycle on Wednesday - great to cycle outside for a change!