SLOW put on something a bit different over the summer months, when the south London vegetation is too tall for any serious orienteering. In a couple of week’s there’s Clued-O, and a few days ago there was the very first UK Mobile-O!
This consisted of teaming up in a pair. One person sat at the start with a map and mobile phone, directing the other person who had to run around the course with compass but no map. It was really good fun – I ran first. I made a very silly mistake early on – getting my east and west mixed up! Thankfully my guider was able to “relocate” me after I gave a detailed visual description of where I had ended up. As a runner, it was frustrating to be told to “go north” rather than “turn right” – but on swapping and directing my runner around the second course it became apparent – by using absolute directions you continuously “reset” mistakes.
People generally stuck to paths, as it made “blind” navigation easier – and was just as well as the off-path vegetation. It took a little while too to “trust” my navigator and run flat out, rather than hesitating and describing every mappable feature I came across.
Overall, apart from an interesting off path section down a stream, I got around without issue, and my team-mate got around OK too. I understand now while he took a while to get up the hill to number 3 – the hill definitely feels bigger when you can see it and are running up in, rather than when you are kilometre away looking at the map.
It was also a good training exercise in map simplification and interpretation. I got around in just under 20 minutes for the 2.4km course. I’m very impressed with Ed’s time of 13 minutes – he is fast but I thought he would be going a bit too fast for his navigator – this proved to not be the case!
On the phone, taking the first instruction at the start.