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Training Tour Day 6

Today was Tour Champs Day, so Aidan got up early to bring Rob to the station before going to hang the controls, while everyone else tidied the bunkhouse and dealt out all the remaining food. Eventually it was time to go so cars were loaded up and we headed over to High Rigg. The astute reader may notice that all of the previous areas have been over an hour's drive away from Hawse End, but today it was only about 20 minutes, on the only day that we didn't have to go back to the bunkhouse afterwards. There is of course an excellent reason for this, which can be discovered by calling CUOC Customer Care on 0044[Aidan's phone number].

By the time everyone else arrived Aidan had almost hung all the controls, so first start time was set for 1115, with 3 minute intervals to try to avoid trains. Everyone set off onto the fell, which was exceptionally citric terrain - dryish, quite rocky in places and not too steep in places. The course was well planned with a mixture of short legs and one quite long one offering route choice around some crags.

What High Rigg can look like when it's not raining

While Aidan hung the last couple of controls, everyone else stayed in the cars. While we were hiding a very exciting barn owl appeared, but flew away before anyone got a picture of it.

Ben was the fastest around, but sadly was disqualified for overtaking Jeremy without saying 'choo choo', leaving Paul and James in the top two spots. Helen was fastest female. Rowan was last back in a time of early enough that we didn't get bored waiting for him, and even collected all the controls!

Full results are below, sorted by whatever weird order Aidan decided to sort them by:

Niki 84:05
Jeremy 77:37
Rebecca 91:04
Ben 48:09
Dai 68:36
Helen 65:35
James 49:46
Elizabeth dnf
Tom 73:55
Paul 48:43
John 53:35
Rowan 98:49

Soon enough it was time for everyone to go home. Aidan was presented with a lovely Christmas card, featuring a 5 foot cast iron stag shimmering in the moonlight, before leaving with the DRONGO hat, resulting in him being retroactively awarded DRONGO of the week. Well done to everyone who came along for all or part of it, and have a groovy Christmas.

Training Tour Day 5

Today was the last day of training which made everyone sad. However, it was at Holme Fell, which was pretty tasty, so that made up for it. When the hangers went to car to leave, they discovered that Tom had left the passenger window open all night, which had the exciting effect that Paul actually got drier over the course of the training day, rather than wetter.

A few CUOCers show off some tasty gear at the MicrO start

On the drive over, all the drivers decided to take an interesting non-road route, involving a progressively narrower and steeper lane culminating in an section that was 'rocky, really rocky, really more crag than path'. Aidan's plucky little panda was the bravest of all, but even it had to turn back before it reached the quarry section. For this valiant effort Aidan was awarded DRONGO of the day, for the second day in a row.

Once everyone arrived, we headed up to the start and Aidan's dad (proud owner of a cast iron stag) arrived, followed by Elizabeth's dad. The courses took in some skogalicious skog and some felltastic fell, some of the nicest terrain we've had all week. For the first time all week we used the tent, much to the annoyance of the weather gods who decided to try to blow it down. However, pegs, rocks and bags prevailed and it stayed standing.

After lunch, Helen had planned a middle distance course which we decided not to hang, but some people ran without kites while others collected controls. Jeremy left early to take Fiona and Cecilie to catch a train from the Lakeland Kitchen Supplies Shop, and everyone else went back home for tea and biscuits.

Dinner was prepared out of lots of leftovers, and then John arrived, after failing to have a cheeky orange juice with his colleagues. While pudding was being cooked the Micro Championships happened, with SI timing and coloured pen punching. Matthew was the fastest, and James was disqualified for moving one of the controls and sabotaging everyone else's races.

What a novel camera angle!

Pudding was cake made in a similar way to the first night, and when that was finished some more cake was made until all the eggs were gone, then some flapjacks were produced until all the unnecessary oats were gone.

The controls were collected in a haphazard way, but eventually all were found. John attempted to shoot some DRONGO and it turned out he was quite good at it. Well done John.

Training Tour Day 4

Today was the rest day, meaning according to tradition we split up into several groups to do various levels of stupid runs. One group went for a nice walk, another group went for a fell run, Aidan went for a run round Derwent Water and Rob ran away. Each group presents their own tour report below:

Ben collected the AlcO in the morning, then got changed into his DrongO tie to go to work, then got changed back into orienteering clothes to go to the NightO. Orienteering->work->orienteering is almost the best daily routine, but is beaten by orienteering->orienteering->orienteering. Then he ran back which was excellent Christmas Dinner preparation.

Fiona, Cecilie, Jeremy and Helen planned a nice horseshoe run around Cat Bells and Dale Head for the rest day (Cecilie having just arrived and already taking a "rest day"). Upon reaching the ridge it became apparent that it wasn't going to be a "nice" run up Dale Head, as the strong wind and heavy rain were both going down Dale Head (although one could describe it as exhilarating and refreshing), so, after watching Rob and his hot-hot-hot chilli shorts venture into the cloud, they dropped off the ridge out of the wind to Grange and returned along Derwent Water, picking up a wild Tom Dobra along the way. Fiona and Cecilie had an adventure on some submerged paths ("is that the path? No it's got swans in it") and still somehow ran the 16km distance they had originally planned, and Jeremy returned looking very groovy having consumed multiple groovy bars.

Aidan's ankle was somewhat sore so as any sensible injured person would do he decided to go for a long run. The start was largely uninteresting apart from this odd Irishman who may be called Peter, Pruz-dog, or Pauline who followed Aidan for around 3.5km. Aidan rounded castle crag and was then rudely sprayed by a large truck on the road back to Keswick. A slightly wetter Aidan decided his ankle was feeling good so he ran up to Lodore then on to Walla crag. Apart from sliding about 3m while on his one good foot he found his way to Keswick largely unscathed. After running through the town centre Aidan then decided to follow signs to the lake, he ran through a very dull looking camping and caravaning site then over to the lake. After about 300m of running round said lake Aidan realised he was now circling it clockwise as opposed to anticlockwise (an offence later earning him Drongo of the Day). He then ran back through part of the camping and caravaning park, decided it was still wrong, then promptly ran back though said camping and caravaning park. After the shame of saying hello to the same dog walking couple three times he ran on round to Portinscale. While trying to return via the Cumbrian way he became trapped in a lotus eaters style cafe complex that tricked unsuspecting walkers/and a certain runner off the Cumbrian way and then trapped them in a inescapable labyrinth of coffee shops and walled gardens. Fighting his way out of this terrible evil complex Aidan returned to only be made fun of by the rest of CUOC for his somewhat wiggly Garmin trace.

Meanwhile James decided to go for a bit of a fell run with Rob, but not a full fell run, because that would be really silly (see Waddy et al.). Starting up Catbells, he was damply reminded that fell running involved rain and also wind, which were determined to be Bad Things for an unwaterproofed and lightweight runner. In a bid to not become one floaty boi, James bailed out to the valley, which was less wet and less windy. Unfortunately, as a specialist orienteer, the OS map was of no use, leading to what would have made a Rigby(TM) Wiggly Garmin Trace, if it weren't for the fact that the Garmin had been left at home. This lack of Garmin data calls for a reminder of the rule 'Strava or it didn't happen', and as such this run will join all the rest of James' training for the last six months in the dustbin of doubt.

Rob went for a full fell run, which might have been a little silly. Starting with James up Catbells, then onto Dale Head, Robinson, and Crag Hill. He got a wee chilly with the wind across Littledale Edge, so had to cover his chilli shorts. Around Wandope Rob nearly learned to fly with a strong gust, so he decided to eat his last bit of food remaining - an apple from Apple and Pear Lady from the Sunday market at Cambridge - before trying to navigate home with a dissolved map.

Rebecca and Elizabeth went for a walk up Cat Bells. It was very wet and windy on top so they decided to walk back along the side of the lake. Rebecca can't remember whether or not she saw any sheep, but what we do know for sure is that they did see many deer. They returned to the bunkhouse triumphant with four still-alive trophy stags slung over their shoulders, which they invited in for tea and cake. However, the stags declined, saying they had more important appointments to keep at the Pencil Museum in Keswick. Rebecca and Elizabeth were crestfallen, and expressed their sorrow to the world in the form of interpretive dance, which scored 11/10. All in all, an excellent day was had.

Rowan and Niki, being the only two orienteers with a dictionary containing the word 'rest', remained in the cottage to ensure that the biscuit population was adequately culled before it reached the point of no return. Once the biscuits were reduced to only those most evolved to be less appealing, their attention turned to cards in a futile attempt to pass the time. A search for two player card games proved fruitless; a few rounds of Rummy were played before the main event - two-player solitaire. This majestic game retains all the most prominent attributes of the original version - mindlessly moving cards around with very little thought. The main difference is that, despite the rules stating that one player can win, everyone playing will always lose by virtue of being involved. Paul's return from his first run saved the day, allowing a greater breadth of suitable games to be played, with Golf being the main piece. After this point, Rowan decided the day had been far too eventful and tiring, retiring to his bed to lay staring at the ceiling in the dark. Once thoughts of food danced in his head, he arose to seek sufficiently superfluous Irishmen (<- this is a too perfect auto-correction from 'norishment (sic)').

Elizabeth competes in the VR DRONGO shooting competition

In the evening some people went to a WCOC NightO ewent at Rannerdale. There weren't quite enough seats in the cars driving over so Paul left early to take the direct route through the mountains which was very scenic and very dark. However, he took too long, arriving a full two minutes after the cars.

The NightO itself was fun, quite short and relatively easy (for NightO). It was on a bit of nice, dryish open fell with quite a lot of crags and bracken. Matthew was the fastest getting round in 25 mins, although he did have the advantage of having planned an ewent there last year. Ben was next followed by Paul. Cecile was the fastest woman in a time of 'a little bit faster than Fiona'. After that Ben decided to run home, even though there was extra space in Matthew's car.

Meanwhile, everyone else had been busy cooking Christmas Dinner, featuring no turkey and lots of sausages. It was ready at the impressively early time of 2115 and got gobbled up eagerly. For pudding we sensibly had Christmas Pudding, which also disappeared fast.

We finished off a good rest day with a VR DRONGO shooting competition, with several people recording some impressive times in the first round and some people recording infinite time before deciding it was getting late and round two should be continued tomorrow.

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