The great thing about orienteering is that there is an almost infinite number of ways to stuff up. I tried a new one today – one I haven’t done before, in 10 years of playing this game.
We had a slightly different Start procedure. Normally, you stand in front of your (face down) map and wait for the Start beeper. This time, we punched the Start, and then walked over to the pile of maps to pick one up.
(can you guess where this is going?)
I picked up my map. An A3 sheet of paper with a zillion contour lines. I actually checked the map scale for once, because it looked like it was printed at 1:15,000. Nope, definitely 1:10,000, just lots and lots of contour lines. I kept having to re-adjust to the 1:10 scale because it *looked* like a 1:15 and I kept over-shooting things.
I headed up the track, turned right at the saddle, and headed cross-country to the first control. After pulling up one gully too early, I found it in the next one over. But it had the wrong control number. It was control 124, when I needed control 125. I went down to the bottom of the gully, along the distinctive rock wall, and wondered what the hell was going on. Stupid course setters, they’ve put out the wrong control.
It wasn’t until Janine ran in, punched the control, and headed off again, that I thought to unfold the map and check the clue sheet on the map instead of the scrap of paper that I had been given earlier. Ahhhooopsshit.
I was holding a Course 4 map, when I was running Course 3. Bugger. What to do? Two options – stay on the shorter Course 4, or go back to the Start and get the right map. I’d already bumbled around wasting time on the wrong control, and I knew I’d get razzed badly if I stayed on Course 4, so I trotted back to the Start, and started again.
Funny how this time around I noticed the large course labels by each pile of maps. Were they there last time? I really don’t remember.
Anyway, I got my re-start, headed up the track, and turned right at the saddle. Control 125 was further out than 124, so I latched onto the large mining channel which I’d spotted first time around (useful that!). Dropped down one spur too early, and trudged up the gully to the control. Finally!
I was a bit wobbly on the way to control #2 before I eventually got it together and managed a clean run through the next 10 controls. Control #12 provided an exasperated giggle. The control was on a rock on a spur. I was coming at it from the wrong angle, because I’d contoured from #11 instead of climbing. I couldn’t see a control, or a rock; just two people sitting by a tree watching me approach. I initially thought that it was a photographer, and tried to avoid them. Still no control. I stopped trying to be clever, and climbed up to the track neat the high point. Turned around, took a bearing, and there was the bloody control about 20 metres in front of me. I may have said Words out loud. The two spectators very politely said, “we were being very good.” (by not telling me where it was). Yeah, dammit!
Course: 3, 12 controls
Course distance: 5.1 km
Distance covered: 6.95 km
Time taken: 1:33