Thursday, 30 January 2014

Test of navigation – failed!

Southern Orienteering Champs – January 2014

Readers of the blog will have seen posts about my orienteering comeback since my retirement some 2 years ago. Most of this has been on the fells with large scale 1:40 000 maps. I have also some entered local orienteering events, mainly being last or last but one!

So, with anticipation and apprehension, I entered my biggest O-challenge yet, the Southern Championships, held on 26/01/14 in Bracknell Forest, about an hour drive from where we are currently staying in Kent.

The following photos are gratefully taken from David Jukes Flicker page. See here
None of them feature myself - they are for interest though.
Long drive into the forest
Heading to park - in the rain!
Walking to register

Inside the Registration tent -see the electronic recording gear
Waiting at the south start - count down in minutes
Crossing the start line to get the map and list of controls to find - this is the first time that they are seen
Finding a control - hidden behind a large bush 
Out in the forest
This control is partially hidden in a ditch
Almost back at the finish!
Relieved to be back!
 The wet drive back out of the forest!
The event is at national level – a real test of navigation!

To be honest, I really struggled with some of the technical aspects of the navigation, losing considerable time in the process.

When my route finding went well, my running ability and fitness placed me in the lower half of the pack of orienteers. When I got lost – well, I lost loads of time.
The map scale was at 1:10 000 and I still tend to over-run at this scale.

Eventually time overtook me and I ran out of time to get all the controls and so finish the course! Technically therefore, this resulted in a disqualification!       

Failed in my test of navigation!
Southern Champs M60 Long course – 8.5km with 220m of climb. 16 controls in 2hr39mins

Until the next time then!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A mild 2014 winter?

This year seems quite mild – it's a balmy 10 centigrade down here in Kent – at least compared with some previous years.

Here are selection of photos of the boat in much colder conditions!!

Taken in 2009 during that really cold extended period - we had temperatures of minus 17degrees here on Bollington Wharf!

Again taken at Bollington (we had moved up as the mooring decking was in disrepair on our original berth). We had another extended period of icy conditions.

This was taken the week before Xmas, 2011. We had finished the bed 'ole fit out with Bourne Boats at Kerridge Dry Dock and were waiting for the winter stoppages to finish.
We had cruised down to the top of Bosley Locks (top lock in photo) to the facilities there.
We got iced in for 4 days, though fortunately, it melted as we set off round to our winter mooring at Overwater Marina.

Taken last Jan 2103, another cold period. We were cosy at the marina with our Webasto heater and mains electric fires on thermostats when needed. On very cold days, I would light up the Boatman's Cabin stove for additional heating in the stern.
However, there's plenty of time yet for a winter freeze-up?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tewkesbury and the 2014 Floods

The pictures of the floods along the lower River Severn show just how much rain/water is coming down the river and meeting the River Avon at Tewkesbury.

The Avon Lock is just at the place where the two rivers join.
We have been through there several times on our previous boat, nb Alcantara and also visited on our Avon cruise in August 2011.

The first photo is our boat, nb Song of the Waterways, moored below the Avon Lock, just by the large mill.

Look behind the boat to the corner of the mill – the railings are on the towpath of the River Avon length (called the Mill Avon)

The tall black vertical pilings are the flood-protection moorings allowing the floating pontoon to rise and fall.
This photo shows the towpath railings form the Avon level (ie top level). Note the arched bridge across the Mill Avon

The next series of photos are taken from this year's news pictures.
The white-fronted houses on the left can just be seen on the photo below




Thursday, 9 January 2014

Greensand Way – Kent Jan 2014

This was my first walk with the Maidstone Ramblers, taking largely field forest paths from Dryhill CP south to slowly climb up to the Greensand Ridge at Brackhill Wood.

Through breaks in the woods, looking south, the hazy ridge of the High Weald could be seen beyond Bough Beech Reservoir.

We walked round to the Green at Ide Hill for a lunch stop – one of the highest points on this part of the Greensand Way in Kent at 216m (708ft).

Progressing west, there was a good climb up the edge to Toy's Hill before the turn back home, northwards.

Overall, we did about 10.5 miles and climbed 1670ft.
An interesting and quite different type of terrain from my northern experience.

Walking up a 'green lane'

A view southwards across Bough Beech Reservoir to the High Weald

A 'monkey puzzle tree' at Emmetts NT Garden

Looking back to the church on Ide Hill and the climb up to Toy's Hill