We paid a return visit to Chewton on Sunday, famous for its largesse during the gold rush era of the 1850's. I was hoping for similar generosity, or even charity. Very easy to get to from Melbourne, about 90 minutes north on the Calder Freeway, although a more generous speed limit than 110km/hr on such a wide, straight and empty dual carriageway would not go amiss. We parked next to the start/finish area, despite a lazy getup, a late breakfast and a leisurely drive.
My orienteering course promised straight running over rough terrain with hard and stony ground, so I set off with great optimism. Not for long. I scrambled my way through low-visibility scrub to the first control and decided on a simple-but-circuitous north-then-west route to the second. This was a bad idea. Approaching the circle, I turned north too soon and ended up doing walkabout for the next four minutes. Bah! Dithering time was also lost at controls 4 and 5, so not a good start.
A long leg from 7-8 now presented itself. South via the road, or northerly via forest tracks. I'm an orienteer (with a metal hip) though, so tarmac does not appeal if there is a choice. I go north-east and end up approaching 8 from the track beyond. All well and good, but then I dither for a minute due to not reading the control description. I need a knoll, not a pit. John shows me how to do it. We then stay together for the rest of the course. I am grateful to John a second time when I start to head for the finish after control 11. There are still four more controls to do!
I download grumpily and John and I compare notes. He also lost time early on, so I feel slightly better. Then I see the results display and feel better still. I am 11th with only two runners of similar vintage ahead of me.
I'm feeling better all the time. The on-the-day results (although sadly not the online results) showed ages as well as names and times. What an excellent idea! Can we have these every week, please?