Posted: 20/11/2016 at 21:38
Nice running Pig and Cal
So last night's 10 checkpoint overnight orienteering / running / scrambling through holly thickets event... (Rodings Rally).. It was my third consecutive year of this, probably my all time favourite event, and certainly the most bonkers one I've ever done.
Here is the deal: There are 3 options for each of the checkpoints, which you work out at the start by solving cryptic clues. So once you've worked out the clue (e.g. Emilia's famous acting dynasty home= Fox burrows)- you then work out which of the three OS point is nearest, follow a path or trail until you're vaguely near the tent with the checkpoint, then use compass and pacing to find the checkpoint, which is an unlit one man tent, always hidden away. This might mean e.g. using the map to work out it's approximately 75 metres 90 degrees... Checkpoints are never on paths or clearings, so here is the part where you have to clamber over fallen trees, through holly thickets, rhodedendron bushes etc... for rather inaccurate pacing, then using torches to spot the tent in the pitch black, whilst also hiding from other teams. There is a 5 or 10 checkpoint version. We've always done the 5, which is approx 6 miles as the crow flies, but in reality allowing for getting lost / searching, maybe about 12-13. This year we thought we'd try 10 , which is 13 miles as the crow flies. Easy huh!!?
Storm Angus hit about an hour before our start time, so by 9.44 when we started, it was already chucking down. The first checkpoint was a disaster as we chose the wrong OS point along with most of the other teams, and we were really disorientated by the heavy rain and winds. After an hour and a half of searching, we gave up and moved onto the second. The rest went well, but one of the 3 women I was with got really cold to the point where we got quite worried about her. We were all chilly and soaked to the bone in spite of our waterproofs, as the rain was torrential. But this was not good. We'd been in the forest in the constant torrential rain for 6 hours and it was 4 am- the cut off is 8 hours- and we realised that a) we may not make the cut off, and b) our friend was really shivery and pretty miserable, so we sadly had to thrown the towel in.
I still really loved it and all the magic of the forest at night was there, but it was TOUGH! Today feel happy about the adventure if a little disappointed that we had to give up. And everything aches.... but will definitely be giving it another go next year, and hoping that we don't have a storm to contend with.