The penetrating bleep of the alarm clock drags me from the world of Morpheus. It is not yet 7 am, it is still dark, and I suspect it is cold outside. I am snug and cosy under the duvet. Getting up out of bed does not seem an attractive option at all. But rise I must, as I have an orienteering event to set, up and organise, the third of Roxburgh Reivers Autumn Series, at Bowmont Forest. After a few more precious moments savouring my warm cocoon, I force myself up and stumble out of bed. Eating breakfast is a routine, machinelike operation. I am going through the motions of taking on fuel; stoking a furnace rather than savouring cuisine. I prepare a round of sandwiches and a flask. Then quickly press a few spare clothes into my rucksack. Toilet, wash, clean-teeth. Im ready to go.
Now I have to load my car with all the paraphernalia of an orienteering event. Kites- check. T-bars- check. Signs- check. Club flag- check. Control cards- check. Maps…….Maps……A brief moment of panic. Where the heck are the maps? A frantic rummage in the front of the car and to my intense relief I pull out the slim package of maps. Next stop Bowmont Forest.
I arrive at the forest car park 30 minutes later and the place is already busy with dog walkers. The air is chilly, I change into my Walshes and stay put in the car.
Soon Lindsey arrives and we divide up the controls to put out. Already time seems to be marching on, 90 minutes until the event is due to start. Not much time to waste. We set off in different directions, Lindsey with a bundle of 10 T-bars, myself with 9 (but a bit further to go) and soon I realise why its been worthwhile to drag myself out of the comfort of my bed early on a Saturday morning. The forest is quiet and quite magical. Shafts of sunlight breach the forest canopy, a heavy dew glistens, wisps of mist swirl and shimmer. Theres bird song and a deer pauses and then darts across the ride ahead of me. Wonderful. Soon I have my batch of controls posted into their places and am scurrying back to the car park. In a blink, an hour has past and when I get back to my car I notice a few orienteers have already arrived. Andrew arrives and pitches the club flag while I begin registering participants.
It is very satisfying to see a pleasing number turn up to tackle the different courses available; the 2km yellow, the 3km orange, the 4km light green. The very brave tackle the map memory course which covers the same ground as the light green but with only small slivers of map. The event turns out well, with all participants completely their courses successfully and having enjoyed themselves. However, Andrew did suggest that leg 5 on the map memory was a tad too difficult. Oscar and Toby enjoyed the yellow course so much they went for a second lap around the orange. Great also to see a few Gala Harriers tempted into the forest.
By 2pm the orienteering paraphernalia was all back in my car and I was returning home. Thanks to Lindsey for placing and collecting in controls, and to Andrew and Eileen for collecting in. See you at Tweedbank on 4th December.