Sleepless in Sedburg - local duo’s mountain marathon

12:51 02 November 2012

Jim and John

Jim and John

Archant

The OMM Original Mountain Marathon - formerly the ‘Karrimor’ - is renowned for its two- day challenge and has in years past been staged in some of the most remote and wild parts of the British and Scottish Isles.

This year saw a posse of Otter Valley Hashers head off to Sedberg in the North Yorkshire Dales for orienteering entertainment in the Howgill Fells. Local lads Jonathan (Minibar) Croome from Exmouth (hash name Minibar) and Jim Pyne of Otterton (Big Jim) made up one of the two-man veteran teams competing in a long score mountain orienteering challenge.

For those not versed with mountain marathons teams of two (men, women or mixed) head out into the hills suitably equipped and self sufficient for two days in the hills carrying essentials such as food, tent, cooking equipment, compass and map (which is issued two minutes before the start time). Use of mobiles phones and GPS devices are not permitted except in emergencies.

Jim described the experience: “Saturday morning dawned cold and clear with bitter northerly gusts of wind as predicted. Our start time was 08.17 am with a 2 km walk up to the start from Sedberg town where we had overnighted under canvas in a field - a draughty and mostly sleepless night was had by most!

“The fog horn sounding every minute signalled the teams in the final start grid to move off into the competition area allowing the next team up onto the start line from the grid.

“John and I walked/jogged the first uphill kilometre to the first control. Each team has a small identity (SI) tag which contains an electronic chip in one end which is attached loosely to the wrist by a tamperproof strap which remains in place until either the second day finish or retirement- in both cases it is removed at the event HQ.

Pretty soon we were through a farm gate and “dibbing” the SI tag in the first control station which is marked with the two letter code that is shown on our first day’s map - then had some 6 hours and 3/4 hours to reach our overnight camp site and “dibb” as many controls and bag as many of the possible 600 points on offer this first day.

The splendour and awesome inclines were immediately apparent as we contoured around Knott a 427 metre hill on our way to Grimesgill Beck which is shrouded with 600 metre steep sided valleys. A lone fox takes a line up and away from us on our approach to BQ control. A solitary jet black pony stands obstinately on the skyline several hundred metres above us, silhouetted against the early morning sun like a sentinel. It’s a great start to the day, the inclines are steep, arduous and at times the only way is to tack your way up them. On the tops we are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding Fells and for a brief moment a glimpse of the not so distant Lake District, Green Gable and Great Gable amongst a number of the more distinguishable peaks.

Each leg (journey between controls) is approximately half an hour depending on the distance and terrain but can differ depending on your ability to navigate to the control. As the Howgill Fells is historically a sheep grazing area many controls are located in stone sheep folds others located at stream junctions or in gullies (known in orienteering terms as re-entrants). The landscape does not disappoint all day and on one memorable moment John decides that the incline is just too steep to negotiate on foot so he heads off down hill on his backside at high speed! I follow suit and cannot stop, legs and rucksack flying up as I’m launched off the contoured hillside, it was to be the quickest hill descent of the weekend. The hours tick by and the points and controls visited mount but sooner than we can imagine it is time to get to the overnight campsite or penalty points will be levied at a two point deduction per minute late. We finally reach the finish line with a very commendable first day score of 344 points with a 16 point reduction due to being late by eight minutes.

Already many teams are back at the overnight campsite and hashers Troy (John’s wife) and Freewheeler (the Grand Mattress of Otter Valley HHH) have bagged a camping spot under a low wall in the communal camping field. Uncharacteristically, the afternoon is warm and John and I sit in the warm afternoon sunshine before setting up camp and setting about unravelling sleeping bags and changing into fresh kit especially dry socks! The evening consists of fits of eating and sleeping and pretty much by 10 pm the camp is quiet. One important detail that must not be omitted is that the clocks go back one hour .

All too soon it is time to get up, cook breakfast, change into running attire for the final day and take our tent down.

Our second day brings low cloud cover, scrawly winter showers and persistent wind. The navigation is challenging to say the least due to the mist and it is quite apparent that this part of the competition area is harder running mainly consisting of tussocky, long wet grass and waterlogged boggy areas. If I was tired at the end of the first day it was nothing to what I would experience on the finale of the second day where the Howgill Fells gave me the biggest whipping of my life. A rough distance calculation for our first day saw approximately 20 miles covered which is only the equivalent of running from Exmouth to Seaton but then add in the copious number of valleys that were accessed and exited throughout and a more comprehensive picture starts to emerge. Our permitted 6 hours running time on the second day was more ingrained and the weather represented traditional OMM conditions to the letter.

Day 1 position saw John and myself lying in 16th position however this dropped to 53rd position due to a major “battery low” on my behalf and as a result being late back to the Finish.

Besides the above this did not detract from the event, the experience or the joviality of taking part in what is an iconic event in the mountain marathon calendar.

My sincere thanks go to John Croome for being my running partner for the weekend, executing such accurate navigation and stuffing “cake” into the appropriate orifice at the right time! Thank you also to Troy and Freewheeler who made the 8 hour journey from Devon to the Howgill Fells highly entertaining! Here’s to OMM 2013 Wales!

Other Sport Stories

9 minutes ago
Petanque

In a needle three-way petanque match against Kernow and Great Western regions, held at the Isca Pétanque club at Whipton in Exeter, Devon’s players recorded a resounding victory, writes Alasdair Paterson.

Read more
9 minutes ago
Golf generic picture

A former Exeter City striker is looking to hit the back of the net and secure a place in the Lombard Trophy final at Gleneagles.

Read more
22 minutes ago
Harry Tincknell in action at the Red Bull Ring

Harry Tincknell returns to LM P2 sportscar action when the Nissan NISMO “factory” driver races for JOTA Sport in the third round of the European Le Mans Series this coming Sunday (July 12).

Read more
23 minutes ago
Petanque

Honiton Petanque Club, which was only formed earlier this year, has been successful in their application to join the Devon Petanque League in 2016, and they are now looking for potential players.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:32

Topsham St James IIs won for the first time this season in a tight encounter with local rivals Kenn at Bonfire Field.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:03
A vocal Exeter Chiefs Head Coach, Rob Baxter during the Aviva Premiership match between Exeter Chiefs and Newcastle Falcons at the Sandy Park on December 21, 2013 in Exeter, Devon, England. (Photo by Phil Mingo/Pinnacle) - Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 - Mobile:0797 1270 681 - VAT Reg No: 768 6958 48 - 21/12/2013 - SPORT - RUGBY UNION - Aviva Premiership - Sandy Park Stadium, Exeter, Devon, England

Rob Baxter, the head coach at Premiership side Exeter Chiefs, will be the guest of honour at Sidmouth Rugby Club, Heydons Lane on Friday, July 24, for a Question and Answer session in the newly refurbished Blackmore clubhouse.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Seaton karting ace Ryan Edgecombe

Round Five of the DKRC 2015 Championship enjoyed glorious sunny weather on the Saturday only to find Race day a slightly damper affair as a downpour made for wet set ups for the first round of heats, writes Jim Bee.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015
World cup rugby comes to Exmouth

The Webb Ellis Cup - rugby’s greatest prize - is coming to Exmouth on Wednesday, July 8, as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Trophy tour.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015

There were matches in both Pools A and B last week in the Honiton Netball League, writes Graham Ingram.

Read more
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Golf generic picture

The Western Morning News Inter-club Challenge Trophy, one of the annual events run by the DMVGA was held this year at Tavistock golf club in ideal weather conditions, warm and calm, writes Stuart MacKerrell.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder