Westerham Chart Regional Event (DFOK) on Sunday 7th December 2003
Last weekend I was at a district event near Westerham – a very attractive village in the
North Downs just south of London. Just south of Westerham is Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s country estate. A prominent statue of the leader lies on Westerham village green.
The orienteering itself ranged from the mediocre to the superb. I had a pretty slow race, this was because several times during the race I stopped to let people that were following me around, get ahead. There’s few things worse in an orienteering event than people following in your footsteps, while you do the thinking. Orienteering is, by design, a rather unsociable sport, and the best performances can happen when there’s no one else out on the course. Any
advantage gained by spotting competitors around control points is normally more than compensated by minutes wasted being distracted by people on other courses, running in all directions.
The map was in several sections, interrupted by various country lanes. The start and finish area was in a superbly technical section, with a melee of paths and vegetation changes guaranteed. It was a shame this area wasn’t used more for the longer courses. The middle section was running around (not through!) a hugely intimidating area of inpenetrable forest, or “dark green” in orienteering lingo. The extract below shows one such bit of green horror. This was followed by a fast but unmemorable section along flat, easy paths and clear forests, returning through an interesting, very physical section, sadly also underused, to the intricate section for the end.
In all, it was a slow performance by myself, mainly because I was trying to improve my technical skill (tough to do with others following)
but also because of a nasty chest cold I’ve been suffering from a lot recently (no, parents, I’m not dying, just very unfit.) The weather was great for orienteering – very cold and frosty, but sunny.
My result: Brown, 7.7km – 75.02 (9.7 mins/km). The results page is here.
This weekend I’m taking a rest from orienteering, but I’m hoping to compete in a final event next Sunday in Southern England, before heading back up to Scotland for a Christmas break.