A small, but committed, Sarum contingent of 13 recently took part in the Lakes 5 Days event. Although it was as hot in Cumbria as the rest of the country it was amazing, and refreshing, to see green lawns and lush vegetation everywhere. As expected, the Lakeland Fell, provided tough going, especially for the older age groups but, as ever, there was much variety in the terrain.
Day 1 took us to Swindale, near Shap, an elevated runable (or so it said in the event information, they forgot to mention the steep slopes and crags) open Fell area with many marshes. Although these latter were still wet they were generally easily crossed, unlike in previous years where they were positively man-eating.
Day 2 took place on Threlkeld Knotts an open elevated area of Fell previously mined for its granite with a lot of contour detail, loose rock and boulder fields. Notable was the very steep climb to the Start from Assembly, not that anyone needed a warm up. The area lies below the imposing slopes of Clough Head that mark the northern end of the Helvellyn range and is much liked by paragliders, some of whom put on a good show above the orienteering.
And now for Day 3 something completely different – Dale Park, described as a delightful, largely runable step Oak woodland. Well they were right about steep and Oak woodland – not sure that delightful was an appropriate description though. This was a middle distance event so there appeared to be controls just about everywhere.
The ‘Rest Day’ provided an Urban course around Penrith, for those who did not yet feel overly warm.
Day 4 took most of the runners to Grizedale Forest, described as varied with a wealth of contour and rock detail but with much light green (conifer with moderate to low visibility) and man-eating bracken in the open. The more senior courses did not run this map and again visited the Dale Park area, in a generally more runable area than used on Day 3.
The final day was held on Helsington Barrows, a runable open area of limestone overlooking Penrith with good views over Lakeland and Morecambe Bay, unfortunately lacking in any form of cover from the baking heat of the day.
There were some notable performances from Sarum. In particular Liz Yeadon (W75S) who was second overall but took first places on days 3, 4 and 5, and Rob Ashton (M35L) second place overall with consecutive 3, 2, 4, 3, 4th places. Well done also to young George Ashton (M6) who completed all of the white courses, as well as the String courses, some more than once. Who says southerners can’t cope with the northern orienteering?
For some of us the highlight of the week could well have been Ricky Thornton’s prize giving with awards going to Sarum runners who achieved great, or not so great, things over the week.
Golden Shoe Award
Nominations: Day 1: Freda. Waiting for Freda to finish, Ricky spotted her four times! She has too many doppelgängers. Day 2: Peter. He had the fastest time from start to finish, with nothing in between. Day 3: Pat. She was accused of “retiring” when in fact her later controls (including the finish) had been removed while 30 competitors were still out. Day 3/4: Alan. He ended up in A&E following a fall and a gash on his head.
Runner-up for the prestigious Golden Shoe was Peter Hambleton for pointlessly climbing all the way to the Day 2 start just to punch and collect his map before going back down to assembly, via the Finish, which he punched – much to the bemusement of the officials. The worthy winner was Alan Yeadon who succeeded in adding to his growing collection of visits to A&E. In Dale Park on Day 3 Alan slipped and hit the back of his head on a rock, about half way round the very physical Yellow course. A kind runner helped him get to the Download where the First Aiders decided he needed to be seen at the A&E at Westmoreland Hospital in Kendal. There they cleaned him up to find a 1cm cut and glued it together! A CT scan proved skull and brain to be intact; definitely more worthy of a trophy than a mere climb to and from the start. They make ’em tough in Yorkshire!
Ricky’s other prize winners were:
Fastest ‘random’ legs added together
- Men Ist. Brian (17.55), 2nd. Ian (19.33), 3rd. Peter (22.67)
- Ladies 1st. Joan (22.05), 2nd. Liz (22.33) 3rd. Charlotte (22.52)
- Men 1st. Brian (1.36), 2nd. Ian (1.42). 3rd Peter (4.02)
- Ladies 1st Charlotte (1.33), 2nd. Joan (2.08), 3rd Freda (2.65) Slowest, Liz (2.67)
All in all then, a complete rebuttal of the complaint that it always rains in the Lake District and a reaffirmation that it can be very hard work up on the Fells.
Many thanks to everyone from the Lakeland Clubs who worked so hard to put on such a demanding but enjoyable week’s orienteering.
Full results can be found here.