A small group of Wrekin Orienteers took the opportunity to combine some coaching on Graythwaite with a WCOC event on the complex contours of High Rigg over the first weekend in March this year.
Some of the classic areas were earmarked for major events this spring and this limited our choice somewhat. However, Richard Tiley, LOC and Lake District Access Officer was able to negotiate permissions to use the Dale Park area of Graythwaite. In addition, Richard provided the OCAD file of the area, supplied pdf files of previous events and training exercises and went the extra mile by hanging half of the mini markers on control sites a couple of days beforehand!
The area was visited over the weekend of storm Ciara to identify and tape suitable control sites. Felling has taken place on parts of the map but there is still adequate quality terrain to deliver coaching exercises.
Any one who has delivered coaching will know of the challenge to provide activities for a wide range of age and abilities. This is part of the challenge that I enjoy when coaching. To help me on the day I was fortunate to have club coach Tony Callow with me and also my wife Debbie.
To help those taking part get to grips with the map, a simple line event was the first activity. This involved following an imaginary line on the ground and counting how many markers were encountered on the way round. The aim was to encourage orientation of the map and interpretation of contours.
The map displays a huge amount of detail and it is easy to get too engrossed checking off all the features on a leg during a race. So, a couple of exercises using attack points and a traffic light approach were produced to help simplify the use of the map.
Finally, there were a number of short courses to allow these skills to be put together. The emphasis here was accurate navigation rather than speed around the course. Another benefit from the weekend was that there was chance to spend time on quality terrain in a non - competitive situation. For many people the first chance they have to study a map of such complexity is when they pick one up from the map box at the start of a major event. Hopefully, those who attended will feel more confident if they take part in some of the major events taking place in the next few months.
Thanks are due to the Graythwaite Estate for Permissions and to Richard Tiley for going the extra mile.