This is our 4th JK, we started in Scotland, moved to Reading, then visited Wales, and this time, we are in the Lake District. One of the Junior Squad parents had found a caravan park within easy driving distance to the three events. Crake Valley Holiday park is just beside Coniston Water, and although there isn’t exactly a lake view, the trees around us are what we are use to, and the peace is welcome.
Day 1 was the sprint event in Lancaster University. I think at this stage we are getting use to sprints, and I actually enjoy them, although due to injury, forcing yourself to walk around is difficult! But I only broke into a gentle jog at the finish, and was delighted to have only made one small mistake. All family members completed their respective course, with Robert running an especially good race.
Day 2 dawned sunny and hot, as we have come to expect with the JK, the first obstacle is the walk to the arena, the second is the walk to the start. I remember going to my first start in Scotland, we had to climb a sheer rock face, and it definitely easier to come back down while orienteering through the forest than to get back down the way we had come.
Course 10, Day 2
I digress! Getting into the field was better than we thought, outlander did her usual excellent job of getting us into the field. The journey was a long, steep and muddy walk to the arena, through beautiful dells of wild daffodils and wild garlic, sometimes the smell was almost overpowering! With wet feet, and slightly tired legs we deposited our gear and set off for the starts. Our start had been written as a half hour walk, half on roads, have through forest, but turned out to be shorter- thankfully.
Crossing the river to the arena
What I was not expecting were the viciously steep climbs and descents. Scary stuff, reports of a number of dislocated shoulders and concussions did not surprise me. Due to dodgy ankles and knees my ascents and descents were all calculated and painfully slow. You also had to be very sure you were on the right track, you certainly didn’t want to go down to the bottom to discover that the control was at the top. There were a lot of wandering orienteers out there. But this year the atmosphere was more relaxed I felt, as it is a competition you are not encouraged to help others, but if someone looks lost and is quite obviously wandering aimlessly, I feel it does no real harm to help them locate. It is supposed to be fun after all, and from experience I know that wandering around for hours lost is no fun at all.
I can honestly say travelling at a slower pace, and not worrying about tiredness helped my orienteering immensely. It did mean I was close to being last, but other than struggling up and down for most of the course, I was happy with my navigation. And once again we had family completion.
Day 3, was a little less of an effort to the start, which was a relief as my calves were a “tad” sore. The arena was at the bottom of a hill, which we had to climb over first, and although it would have been nice to have our own tent, it was great to not have to carry it. My jeep again played a complete blinder, many other cars and “jeeps” struggled quite a bit, my baby, was an absolute star.
The course, although longer, seemed to flow better, my number 5 was an epic struggle uphill, and took quite some time. In essence, if you can’t use you compass then really today, and yesterday really would have been a struggle, or a baptism into contour orienteering.
A field of lonely daffodils
And onto the relay… but that’s for another post. I definitely need to stretch.