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Autumn League #2: Garretstown Wood, Ballinspittle Tuesday September 6th Results and Report

posted 7 Sep 2016, 13:00 by Elaine Sheridan   [ updated 7 Sep 2016, 13:07 ]
Garretstown Wood was the destination for the second event in the CorkO Autumn League and 45 competitors braved the thick fog and made the journey west for the event. It was about eight year since Garretstown Wood was used as a destination on the CorkO orienteering calendar so I hope you all enjoyed visiting the area and navigating on relatively unfamiliar terrain.

The dense fog reduced visibility on the night and created a very eerie atmosphere at the event. As contestants gathered near registration the unusual churn structure positioned adjacent to the finish which was coated in cobwebs and had a foggy backdrop looked particularly spooky. Thankfully the conditions didn't deter any competitors from venturing into Garretstown wood.

The Short course took participants on a pleasant trek through the centre of the wood. The Long course was an altogether more challenging affair and took competitors to almost all areas of the map with 17 controls to punch on the way. The course began with a short descent into the misty fresh forest. The leg from 1 to 2 like several legs on the night enticed competitors to take the direct route through the runnable forest. A compass is always beneficial on such routes to ensure you keep aligned with your target destination. The safer alternate route choice was along the paths but may have been a little longer.

The most talked about leg on the night was that from 4 to 5. Once again this leg tempted folks to take the short direct route option rather than the lovely but slightly longer forest trail which led directly to the control. The dark green on the map representing the impenetrable forest and the lighter shades marking undergrowth weren't enough to stop some participants attempting the short route. The splits for this leg make for interesting viewing!

Following control five there was some fast running on pleasant trails from 5 to 7. This was followed by some nice navigating over greasy tracks through the section of forest closest to the village of Ballinspillte. Some participants may have noticed two large tarpaulin tents erected in this area. These we believe belong to Coillte’s Compass Club and it is great to see this section of the wood being used for some after school woodland adventures.

Following 12 there was a long slog uphill to control 13. More critical route decisions had to be made on the legs from 14 to 15 and 15 to 16 where once again the planner make competitors choose between sticking to the forest tracks or taking the shorter routes through the runnable forest. The darkness in the forest may have influenced some competitors route choices here. 
The wet railway sleepers and dam stone slabs made the approach to control 16 quite treacherous. This control was positioned at a spring well known as the 'The Spa Bathing Bath' or 'Chalybeate Waters'. This bath has a charming bee hive stone roof to protect its waters from rain and these special waters discovered in 1750 have cured many generations that bathing in them. Hopefully they've also cured some orienteers of irrational route choices! The last control took competitors into the murky woods before a final sprint to the finish. The refreshments and hot beverages at the finish were most welcome following this trying course.

On the Long course Jens Waechter made it two wins from two events in the Autumn League to date when he completed the course in a time of 42:53. His speed and accuracy across the terrain earned him the Garretstown Wood event win. On his run Jens even took time to encourage fellow competitors as he overtook them on his way to control 13! Runner up on the night was Brian Corbett who punched all 17 controls in a time of 44:04. The final podium spot went to Zac O’Sullivan-Hourihan when he finished in a time of 45:22. This podium place no doubt gave him the bragging rights in the family car on the journey home.

The fastest lady around the Long course in Garretstown Wood was Sinead Wall. She completed the 5.1km course in a time of 62:08. Second place went to Sinead O’Donoghue who finished the demanding course in a time of 63:33. Ruth Herman took third place in a time of 70:13.

The 2.5km Short course didn't pose much of a challenge to Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan who whizzed around it in just 16 minutes and 51 seconds to achieve the Short course event winner honour. Runner up on the night was Matthew Kearney he managed to punch all nine controls in a time of 19:42. A little over a minute behind Matthew was Liam Twomey who finished third on the night having punched the finish in a time of 20:45.

Well done to all who participated on the night. Full individual results with some interesting split times are available here.

Huge thanks this week to Rebecca Dwyer for planning the courses. It was her first time involved in organising an event and she did a fantastic job setting out two testing courses. Thanks also to Gerald Duffy for controlling the event and to Cillin Corbett for his help in putting out and collecting the controls. Thanks to our two starters on the night Fachtna Healy and Dave O’Donovan and to Ruth Herman for answering our facebook plea for assistance on the night and to Brian Corbett for helping with control collection.

Next week will see us return to the Regional Park Ballincollig for face the third instalment in our Autumn League. This park was once home to a major gunpowder mills and remnants of these works exist throughout the park so you may encounter some of these structures on your routes next week. Check out this link for a map and some area trivia.

Hope you can join us for more orienteering action!