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Croeso 1996

Croeso 1996

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Published by James Head
Write up of the 1996 Welsh Six Day Orienteering Festival: Croeso 1996 for Devon Orienteer.
Write up of the 1996 Welsh Six Day Orienteering Festival: Croeso 1996 for Devon Orienteer.

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Published by: James Head on Jul 08, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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CROESO 96A report on the Welsh Six Day Orienteering Festival by James Head
 Unfortunately there were no suitable village halls in the region of Wales that was tohold this years Welsh Six Day so Peter had managed to obtain two caravans and would betowing his own up behind the minibus for Devon contingent. On arriving at the camp sitehowever we found that the bunk bed in Peters caravan had collapsed, so I spent the first nighton the floor of the minibus and the rest of the week camping. At least the bed hadn’t waiteduntil my brother was asleep on it before collapsing on myself!
Consisting of many intricate contour and rock features this area provided a suitablechallenge for day one. There was a good half hour walk to the start which was mainly up hill,but offered some exceptional views of southern half of the competition area and the Welshhills. After starting I quickly made my way to the first control, then choose to contour aroundthe hillside to control two where I spotted my brother, Andrew, just coming over the hill onthe more direct route. Moving on to control three both Andrew and myself dropped down toolow as we inadvertently ran into control six, and Andy Reynolds. The next three controlsproved very elusive for everyone being in a particularly complicated area of the map, anddespite already running through it once, control six was also 100 metres further on then Ienvisaged. A long slog uphill to control seven enabled Andrew to gain a good lead over me,and now that he was well out of sight I began to concentrate better on my technique. I madegood use of contouring for the passage along the northern slopes though I was hampered onceI had twisted my left ankle and knocked the bone of my right ankle on the rocks. I finishedthe course taking rather longer then normal but felt that I had “woken up” for the rest of theweek. Andrew had of course finished much earlier and took much pleasure in reminding meof this for the rest of the day! During the afternoon those in the minibus went on a trip to theCentre for Alternative Technology where we were educated in the benefits of cleaner andmore environmentally friendly power sources and living methods.
The guide book promised completely contrasting orienteering to the previous day,being mainly within a Forest Enterprise plantation, running along a north-south ridge, with acouple of small open moorland areas visited by the longer courses. Today saw Andrewstarting six minutes before me which proved to be an advantage for myself as I did not haveto worry about him catching me up! The first two controls were straight forward enough, andfor the third, a knoll located within an area of forest walk, I decided to be clever and attack atthe direction most people would be leaving for control 4. Although I found the controlquickly I did not see any other orienteers! On the way to control four I caught sight of Andrew through the thick trees, and I could see by the way he was moving that he wascomplete oblivious to me as I overtook. There were one or two discrepancies in the mappingat this point which did create a few moments of confusion in places as I re-read the map tomake certain I was correct. Andrew managed to catch up as I spent twenty minutes lookingfor control 8, a crag which proved very elusive for the twenty or so M21/M50’s lookingaround. There was a large amount of unmapped rock in the area including two unmappedwalls. I thought at this stage that Andrew had created a large lead so was very surprised whenhe popped out of the forest behind me after control fourteen. There followed a rather boring
run along forest road to reach the final two controls. It appeared that this was necessary to geteveryone coming in the same way though the forest roads that had been used for some of theevent car parking. I didn’t manage to beat Andrew to the finish line but had achieved a fastertime. In the evening we went to the event centre where we enjoyed a dinner of Welsh lamband entered a team for the quiz, in which we came second by virtue of knowing such arcanefacts as the number of players in a Gaelic football team.
The weather up to now had been particularly hot, “what we need is a big thunderstorm to clear the air” was one of the comments offered by Dave Livsy who was not to bedisappointed as the heavens opened on Tuesday morning. Running in the middle of athunderstorm was a new experience for myself, one which I found I had enjoyed, though thiswas when sitting in the dry minibus afterwards! Unlike the previous two days I had found thecourse rather “straight forward” and didn’t make enough use of the more technical area in thesouth-west part of the map. There was one leg which involved going 400m without any linefeatures through a technical area in poor visibility. I managed to miss all my attack points butcontinued on anyway in the rough direction of the control, relocating by walking into a largemarsh. It had really started to come down now as we ran northwards. The remaining controlswere again not particularly challenging which made the course seem more like a fell race thenan orienteering competition. Arriving back at the campsite we found that the electricity hadbeen cut off and we were unable to use the showers or the laundry.
Unfortunately the bad weather decided to linger around for awhile - though beingbetter then the previous day - this meant that any plans to hill walking in Snowdonia wereabandoned. Instead the group spent the morning visiting the Gloddfa Ganol slate mine atBlaenau Ffestiniog where we were able to journey right into the heart of the Welsh mountainswhere it was not surprisingly very cool. In the afternoon we were treated to a tour around theHydro-electric power station which was very educational. The mist however descended as wedrove up to the top reservoir, where the final car chase for the Italian Job had been filmed.Michael Cain had obviously been there on a good day.
The air was still damp as we arrived at the bottom of the dam holding back the watersof the idyllic Lake Vyrnwy, this meant a long uphill walk to the assembly area which leftsome people in a tired condition before they had even run! The first half of the courses werespent navigating around the extensive moorland. The height of the bracken and heather didslow you down in some places but the navigation was straight forward, in fact I could see oneof my controls on a boulder from 100m away, but this had been anticipated by the plannerwho had also placed an extra control within the same area. Rosemary had an earlier start timethen the rest of us and so gave us a rough idea of what to expect, this meant I took extra carewhen entering the forest. There were a couple of controls where I could have gone off but theextra care paid off and I was soon back on the tracks for the final four controls. Afterfinishing I learnt that Andrew had just beaten my time by seven minutes which meant I hadonly lost thirty seconds per control.

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