Posted: 22/11/2015 at 15:52
So I did my orienteering race in Epping Forest last night. It was FREEZING! We had layers so it wasn't too bad, except when we got to the bits where we had to rummage around in the undergrowth to find the checkpoints, which took a LONG time for the first two. We miscalculated the scale on the map, so got in a real muddle, wasting two hours. And got very cold. But the race is indescribably exciting, odd and bonkers. There is some running between checkpoints, in the pitch dark, on muddy / wet / scrubby paths and rides, with head torches to guide us. When you reach each of the 5 checkpoints, you have to find a tiny one man unlit tent that is hidden in scrub, brambles, holly, using only the OS references that we work out from cryptic clues. That bit is the gruelling bit, each member of the team scouring a piece of land that may or may not be the correct part of the forest, hand and knees, climbing over fallen trees,battling through holly, eyes playing tricks on you, until YOU SEE IT! then it's head torches off and silence whilst one of our team goes to the checkpoint and the rest of us hide from competing teams who might be in the vicinity (while we run, it is just us, but near to checkpoints you see other head torches from competing teams).
It took us 4 hours, an hour longer than last year. At points this year I did doubt the wisdom of being in sub zero temperatures in Epping Forest at midnight, but really I LoVED IT! and we are considering taking on the 10 point challenge next year. Will need to massively improve my orienteering skills before then though.
Oh, tried to get Garmin to record the miles we covered. It reckoned 6.5 miles in 1.5 hours, which is out a little - 2.5 hours went missing- Who knows? It's all about the fun