Harvester Relays 2017

Hamish's map Harvester Relays 2017,

Harvester relays 2017
For the first time in many years PFO took part in the annual inter club relay competition called the Harvester. This is in main due to the decision a couple of years ago to make Tom Gray relay coordinator.  So many thanks must go to Tom for doing the leg work of entering the teams .  The Harvester is very much the grown up version of the Peter Palmer junior relays in that it starts in the dark and finishes in daylight. PFO managed to put in two B teams. That is a total of 10 runners with the Wood and Alexander families providing the bulk of runners.
The B teams started running at 1.30am. Gary Alexander and myself went up to the start after, in my case 1 hours sleep to be greeted by someone form South London saying  ‘ Isn’t this exciting’ , Gary and I looked at each other and thought otherwise.
The information coming back from A team runners (these are the good guys who can navigate) was not good. Times were long and the general consensus was that it was going to be tough out there. The advice was walk on compass bearings. That was easier said than done.
Having set off it soon became apparent that this was no walk in the park. The area had few paths and more crags than you would want to ever climb. The clearings were full of high bracken and under foot there were fallen branches everywhere to trip you up.  I fell over and bashed my shins several times.
I have included my embarrassing GPS track which covered 10km rather than the 5km which was the course length. It will give you an idea of the task we all faced. In fact I am struggling to match up the track with the map.
I did save Judith Wood the problem of night navigation as I took so long and what made it worse I could not find the last two controls. The embarrassment of going backwards and forwards looking for controls in sight of the finish/change over became too much. I was also so tired by then I had lost the plot.
The rest of the team had mixed fortunes with some of us been a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of the area and others having good runs. Christian Wood stands out as the youngest team member who was running the last leg which was 7km. Christian doggedly stuck to his task and completed his course. The two other junior runners Rachel Smith and Tiegan Alexander also completed there also completed their courses. The Peter Palmer competition experience seems to have paid off.
Those orienteers how had competed in previous Harvester competitions all agreed that this was one of the hardest technically that they had done.
I hope the rest of the PFO team enjoyed the experience on reflection as much as I did. Perhaps we could do it all again next year.
We are now looking for teams for the mixed relays to take place at Edge Hill University 16th July. If you are interested please contact Tom It will be much easier.

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

Hamish's map Harvester Relays 2017,

Hamish's map Harvester Relays 2017

Harvester Relays 2017,

Harvester Relays 2017

02nd Jul 17  by Kate Willis