Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Scouts Orienteering

As a change, we have decided this week to try out one of the scouts orienteering events, which are held every Tuesday in the eastern suburbs. We have persuaded Mark to join us, with a promise to take Susi next week. We arrive at the scout hut in good time and are met by Geoff, who briefs us on the technology side of this event. For the first time in months, we are using electronic punching. No, not Si nor Emit (heaven forbid), but Geoff's own home-grown system.

It is a 20 control score event, on a colour map (novelty) with an hour's time limit. Pat chooses to walk, Mark and I say we'll run (sort of). The dibbers are homemade, costing less than a dollar each(!), and the controls have a button to press on arrival. Simple. It is also a punching start, rather than the usual mass start mayhem we have learnt to call normal.

I go first and head NW and round to 13, then retrace my steps to visit control 9. More difficult features than usual mean close inspection of the map is essential. I trot round to 7 behind the cricket nets. It's hard not to flinch at the thwacks of willow on leather. It's a hot evening and everyone's out doing their own thing. This explains why there is never anything worth watching on television. I have a stack of DVD's awaiting my attention, but not while the weather stays like this. I find 1 on the end of the fence and then traipse all the way round to 16. The dibbers work well, with a flash and a polite beep.

Control 3 causes me to hunt a bit amongst the bushes, and then it's on to 6, 17, and 19. I decide to leave out control 4. A voice calls 'Dad!' and I turn to see Mark hailing me from the other side of a small horse paddock. He joins me, grateful to find that one. We trot together to 20 and then diverge our separate ways. 8 is next, then 15, then 18. I am grateful to a man who peers over his garden fence to assist me at 15.

The clock is running down, I have only about 10 minutes left. Up the road to 5, then up even more to 14, heading now for the finish. I have left out 4, 2, 10 and 12, arriving back with only a couple of minutes to spare. For the first time in my (lengthy) orienteering career, a cup of ice-cold squash is pushed into my grateful hands. Pat arrives just after me and then Mark. My legs ache from an hour's activity, but I've enjoyed every minute. Proper orienteering, colour map, electronic punching, sunny evening, whats not to like? Can't wait 'til next week!

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