Yes, I know it is late January. However this evening was the first orienteering event of the year. Each year we have a twilight series on Wednesday evenings in January and February, these are a little different from our regular events as they are on park and street maps, and are score events. That means instead of a set course to navigate as fast as possible, we have a set time to get around as many controls as possible, setting our own route. Each control is worth a set number of points, from 10 points for the easy, close ones, to 50 points for some of the further or more difficult controls.
Christchurch is mostly flat, but the mappers excel at finding the steeper parts for many of these events. Tonight's event started at a park at the foot of one of our hill suburbs. The map has a good section of flat land by the river, but I wanted the exercise of getting up the hill. So two of us, Sandy and myself, accompanied by dog, set off straight towards the hill and up a very steep climb by road and footpath right to the 50 point control at the top of the map, picking up a few other controls on the way. We were rewarded by a stunning view and the discovery of a pathway that I hadn't known about before, although I am fairly familiar with this part of Christchurch. And then I left Sandy and Jay (the dog) behind to walk back down, while I pushed myself a bit and managed a sort of slow awkward jog alternating with sections of brisk walking. I zigzagged down the hill picking up a number of controls and arrived back at the finish with about four minutes to spare. I have a feeling I had time for one more control, but with 20 penalty points for every minute late back, it didn't seem quite worth it.
I'm definitely considering returning to the area to explore the path I discovered, which seems to follow a ridge high above a valley - worth taking a camera, I think. I wonder where it ends up?
I have a feeling I'll be a little stiff tomorrow.