Long O 2010
by John Went
Both days were held on the Quantocks. Here is John Went's review of Day 2.
Day 2 - Quantocks
The annual QO long-O has become a classic warm-up event for the OMM and with this in mind I headed up into the hills on Sunday morning looking forward to something altogether more challenging than my staple of river and park runs in London. In particular, I was looking forward to what I remember orienteering in the Quantocks for – tricky route choices and hills. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it down in time for the Saturday score event, but an early evening run around the new (and excellently signed) 'Herepath' trail on the Blackdowns meant the legs weren't too fresh, so I didn't feel entirely guilty about not entering into the spirit of the two-day race.
The Quantocks and the delightful wooded valley and hills the other side of Dead Woman's Ditch in particular have always been my favourite hills
It was nice to see some familiar faces on arriving at the event centre and also noticeable that the club is evidently thriving with plenty of new faces. After registering and getting kitted up it was an uphill walk to the start and off. The first three controls were in the steep sided and heavily forested woods around Great Wood and Ramscombe. Heading in twenty metres too soon for number 2 along a parallel path was an early and costly mistake, but gave me something to earn back so I took a fairly direct line on the long leg across the ridges and valleys to 4.
After that, it was goodbye to the commercial forests and over the top into the delightful wooded valleys and hills the other side of Dead Woman's Ditch. The Quantocks and these slopes in particular have always been my favourite hills, whether being dragged reluctantly over them as a child, orienteering events and cross-country races as a schoolboy or, more typically these days, a walk with Mum or a run when I'm back home for the weekend.
The unlikely story of Julius Ceasar declaring "Quantock Ad Hoc" from the top of nearby Dowsborough hill fort...came to mind
The unlikely story of Julius Ceasar declaring "Quantock Ad Hoc" from the top of nearby Dowsborough hill fort and the gory image of local Walford hanging from his gibbet came to mind as I dropped down and then out of Holford Combe to number 6 and the very welcome drinks station. I was going fairly well at this point so gobbled down a couple of jelly babies for the next "up and over" leg to 7 and over Bicknoller Post to the far reaches of the Quantocks and our course at number 8. Thanks to the autumn colours and a crisp clear light the views of North Hill and the channel were as good as I've seen them, but unfortunately my legs decided at this furthest point that they'd had enough and hit me with cramp. I regretted the previous day's run and my decision not to carry a camelbak, but the remainder of my jelly babies, a forced walk and a good stretch seemed to get the legs moving again.
The school kids seemed surprised that we wanted to show them where they were on a map rather than their iPhones
Unfortunately, by then the runners that I'd passed in the first half had come streaming past me, but that did mean that there was a group of us to cope with redirecting a lost bunch of school kids who had seemingly been abandoned on the Hare Knaps by their teacher. They seemed surprised that we wanted to show them where they were on a map rather than their iPhones.
After that it was a case of knuckling down for the long run over the ridge and back down into Ramscombe for a scrappy finish through the brashings. The course had shown us the very best of the area along with plenty of the QO trademark hills and difficult navigation decisions. Although probably too little too late in terms of training, it had been helpful to at least remind the legs about hills and the mind about navigation before the OMM two weeks later.
In the kitchen, they must have chuckled as exhausted finishers staggered into the kitchen with monosyllabic requests for sustenance
Thoroughly tired from the morning's work it was down the lanes to the much anticipated soup, bread and cake at the event centre. Judy and Lennox in the kitchen must have chuckled as exhausted finishers staggered into the kitchen with their monosyllabic requests for sustenance and then returned twenty minutes later looking entirely refreshed and ready for seconds. The fantastic catering and opportunity to catch up with old friends was much appreciated and rounded off a great morning. Thanks to all the helpers for their hard work and an excellent event.
QuOnicle 134 November 2010
- The events were held on 16-17 October