Irish Mountain
Running Association

Nav Challenge 2


Graham K. BusheJames CurranNeil Dobbs

How many Ruins??

Got up at 6am, called Kevin, had another 10 mins on snooze. Up again fed the dogs, went through kit check. Dropped Kevin to work for 7. Back home again to harness up the dogs and out for their run. There were around 20 happy revellers at the bus stop near the Glenview still singing. I headed for the Octagon, passing another dozen or so making their way down. On the way home I was stopped by a motorist looking for directions. Simple, second left. Or should have been… It seemed to take me 5 minutes to do this and I was hoping to do a Nav challenge? I’d have been quicker to turn and run ahead of him to the junction! As I watched him drive away after all my best efforts, he still stopped at the first turn and seemed to contemplate for an age before eventually moving on. I don’t know what happened after that. Eventually, I got bome, 7km done and 10 mins late, I called Adam., then had breakfast and called Adam again.
We managed to leave the house with everything we were supposed to have. And arrived just in time. Adam made the adjustment to the map and we headed to the start.
Within minutes we had our sheet and set about marking the map. As always, we were doing the short course, this time we didn’t wait to look at the marked map. Adam decided to go 2,3,4,5,1.
We cut up into the woods in search of #2. After a couple of minutes I spotted a bit of a stone wall which drew us a bit right, but no kite. So we pressed on up. There were a few runners around at this point (well actually walkers!) I found a small path and decided to follow it left. I was delighted with myself when I saw an old ruins ahead. This quickly turned to confusion as I couldn’t find a kite. Moving on, we ended up on the fire road and re-examined the map. We looped back around. This time, thankfully, I caught a glimpse of the kite through the trees. We opted for the trail up and around to #3. Again, we met a number of others, though they were all on their way back. It was further down than I thought but the trampled grass kept my spirits high. When we tagged #3 I saw an old wooden gate nearby. Realising how much time #2 had cost and looking at the map I decide to throw caution to the wind. We knew the private land was out of bounds, so we decided to take a more direct line through the forest to the road. Next up would be #4. Opposite the fire road we looked at cutting up through the trees, but soon reconsidered and decided to follow the ‘Wednesday night race’ route. We took things nice and easy all the way up, enjoying the nice weather, views, and chat. I was beginning to think We’d been distracted again and missed it but luckily Adam spotted the kite. We jointly decided to take a short cut over the heather to #5 once we got past the ferns! To our delight, when we came over the first bit of a ridge we saw the kite beside a mound of rocks - which might have been obscured if approaching from another direction ;) The growth was a bit thick in places, but we knew that once we got to the kite, it would be trails all the way back. Only #1 left. At the bend in the track, we met Peter who’d spent a bit of time “Exploring” the area. Adam set off up the narrow track followed by Peter and then me. Adan tagged his last punch and waved to me. I knew then that it was everyone for himself now. In Nav 1, we did it all together and at the finish line Adam handed in his card while I stopped to say “Hi” to someone before handing mine. On seeing the finishing positions reversed in the results, even if there was only a second or two in it, he wasn’t about to let it happen again. And therefore, he made sure he got in ahead of me so there could be no doubt. Well done! Only for him, I’d probably still be looking for #2 lol.
Another big thanks to Joe, Nora, Mick, Brendan, Vivian and anyone else who helped. A lot of thought and preparation must go into these challenges, and it is much appreciated. I would certainly recommend giving it a go. Even to do a short course and team up with someone who has the navigation skills. These events have a great atmosphere where everyone is willing to give a helping hand (or at least pointed finger in the right direction)
I’m glad to hear Neil is recovering well and hope he is back in the hills again soon.
As for Adam, I think that finishing ahead of his old man made the early morning call worth it.

Nav Challenge 2

The day started badly when I could not find my trail shoes. I assumed that I had left them at Nav challenge 1 as I had not used them since then.
Surprise, surprise by the time I had finished my wife had already posted a photo of said shoes by the back door where I had left them. The search left me a bit short of time to get to the start. Really annoyed because on Saturday night I had studied Nav challenge 1 to make sure I understood the coordinate system on the map and had got distracted when came to finding trail shoes. Set the alarm too late for anything to go wrong this morning, so left with some older road running shoes. Another mistake because there were still wet places and I rolled my ankle badly near the end in the forest looking for control 2. This has not happened in a long time
with the proper footwear.

I informed Nora that I was doing the long even though neither my legs nor my orienteering skills are up to it. Also Joe had a course correction clearly displayed but I decided in my wisdom that this did not apply to me.

I stayed behind to make sure I had correctly marked the controls on my map from the master map so was at 10:15 by the time I left. I decided then that the short was more than enough of a challenge.

Found 1 easily and decided to do 4 and 5 and and come back for 2 and 3. Was careful to clearly mark the correct control number on the piece of paper with the punch as I had made a bit of a mess of this in Nav 1.

4 was easily found as per map and 5 was easy too - helped by seeing somebody at the control at the Madman crag. Back down over Trooperstown Hill and on to 3. Again easy enough. It was maybe a further down track than expected but I held my nerve.

2 was a different story. I could not see the ruin from the track and kept going to the end.
The grass was definitely flattened here so I assumed that I had made the right decision. Then realised that perhaps earlier competitors had taken a shortcut to 3 that way.
Retraced my steps but still did not see the control.

Decided from my map that the control north south coordinate could just as easily be the next track over so tried it without success. After about 45 minutes looking I admitted defeat and had to DNF on the short course. I think co-ordinates 162968 is a point have been between the two tracks, that is where I made my mistake. Probably the first person ever to DNF a short course. What can I say?

Who cares it was stunning day and lessons learned for next time.

Thanks to Joe, Nora and Mick for another great morning in the hills.

Neil Dobbs

The weekend started well when I cut my forehead sneezing in the vicinity of a wardrobe door.

Anyway, Sunday was looking lovely and delighted I was with my last-minute entry to the Nav Challenge.

Started well, missed the second (first) control because I'd copied it down incorrectly, decided I would pick it up on the way back. Settled into the course nicely, very enjoyable, succumbed to temptation to go off-trail en route to the Blessed Mary, called her for help numerous times to no avail.

Crossing the stream to get the next control, I was stung by a wasp (I think, it wasn't holly which was my initial thought). No big deal, a little sore.

Jogged up the Croneybyrne section, texted a friend to say I was behind schedule and that if my whatsapp live location went immobile, I might need help (it was a little tongue in cheek, I felt absolutely fine besides a bit of pain).

Thirteen minutes after the sting, my HR seemed to increase unnaturally, well, it felt like it was pumping harder rather than necessarily faster. I slowed to a gentle walk, it kept pumping. Went a little woozy, saw Declan approaching and flagged him down. Vision was going, by the time he reached me it was almost gone. Sat down as I was going dizzy, ended up lying down, may have passed out for a second or two, not sure.

Took a while to recover, big thanks to randomer James, to Ger and to Declan for their care and attention and jackets and chocolate. It took a good while for the sick feeling to go and some limited energy to return. Also thanks to Dr Ailsa (who happened to be out on the trails) and the paramedics for checking me out. And to Nora, Joe, Mick and anyone else...

The weather was nice and we had mandatory jackets. I still got cold, not dangerously so but it's a reminder, the jacket rule is important.

Unsurprisingly I still have a bit of a headache, but touch-wood no harm done and should be right as rain tomorrow (I'll take it easy for a few days anyway).