A glorious Easter weekend with mostly dry weather, but with the exception of the Sprint Race at Lancaster University on Good Friday, an awful lot of crags, boulders and tightly packed contours
Review by John Warren WIM
Orienteers should know what a visit to the Lake District means! Yes, there are 'a host of golden daffodils', magic sunsets over glittering lakes, but there are also steep craggy mountains that test your skills and morale to the limit.
So it was with JK2015 – a glorious Easter weekend with mostly dry weather, but with the exception of the Sprint Race at Lancaster University on Good Friday, an awful lot of crags, boulders and tightly packed contours !
Day 1, Sprint at Lancaster University
For many, Good Friday wasn't very good to start with because of traffic jams on the M6, but arriving at Lancaster University you were greeted with a colourful animated cosmopolitan scene with competitors from many nations meeting friends, shopping and socialising round the assembly area prior to the short sharp shock of sprint urban orienteering. Lose your concentration for a few seconds and you lose many places so it is a fine balance between speed and brain power to get a good result. A great spectator finish on the campus set the scene for a weekend of top quality venues and events in the southern part of the Lake District.
Day 2, Ulpha Park & Barrow Fell
Duddon Valley was approached by a gloriously sunny scenic drive across rolling farmland with distant views of Morecambe Bay. Parking for most was the prelude to a 2k walk to assembly which was in a sheltered flat meadow with deciduous wooded hills rising all round . Above the tree line was open mountain and moorland and that's where most people were headed. The climb to most starts was long and hard (400') and this ensured that you arrived thoroughly warmed up and/or totally exhausted! It was a bit different from the New Forest and Dorset. Firstly, forget paths, tracks, thickets, veg. boundaries.. You'd be lucky to find a ruined wall here! Contours and crags were at times so packed together that it was difficult to make controlled progress up ,down or sideways. The scenery was magnificent, but if you took your eye off the map you ran the risk of a costly error and major problems of re-location. The few marshes were familiar enough and shoes could be lost with ease!. Progress depends of age and fitness. Many top Juniors and fit young people seemed to 'float' over the ground at frightening speed, fearlessly leaping down precipitous slopes like mountain goats. For the more mature competitors there was a more realistic technique -stagger!
Day 3, Bigland
Bigland is probably one of the most technical areas in the country and the map extract shows the most challenging part of my course. You might like to look at the map extract of course 21 and try to work out your proposed route particularly for the first 4 controls. I have put my actual route on Route Gadget for entertainment purposes! Is it proof of the technical and physical challenge that on my course there were 16 people who finished on both days and 15 retirals? There must be a message in this!!
Day 4, relays at Graythwaite
Easter Monday saw the whole event re-locate to Graythwaite which borders the west side of Windermere and the contrasts could not have been greater. The sun shone (after 12.30pm),parking was only 5mins walk away and the assembly area was in a sheltered field with glorious view up into open deciduous woodland. This time the terrain was really attractive. Hilly,with a good scatter of crags, open deciduous woodland and above all runnable. Just what was needed for a relay. Fast and furious competition at all levels provided impressive entertainment including a developing morass in the run in! This was the sociable day with club tents and banners the focus for competitors discussing tactics, terrain and generally comparing notes.
Many people made a holiday out of their visit and combined the O challenge with all sorts of activities for which the Lake District is famous. Our abiding memory was of eating fish and chips by the pier at Ambleside with the sun setting in a crystal clear sky behind the mountains of Langdale with a mirror calm Windermere in the foreground. A really world class view after a world class JK. Our thanks and congratulations go to the whole team who put on such a memorable event. It's Yorkshire next year!
- John Warren WIM (JK & British Champion)
- From Wimborne Waffle
Poor Bill and Sue endured a marathon journey back from the Lakes
* not placed as didn't complete both days
** non competitive
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