Daily Archives: 24th March 2013

Cleveland Survival, Swainby, Sunday, March 24, 2013

22 miles

Dougie Nisbet

It was good to see a big turn-out for the 30th running of the Cleveland Survival especially given the uncertain weather. While many events were being cancelled the Cleveland Mountain Rescue website drily observed that the weather for Saturday looked ‘interesting’. The weather wasn’t too bad in the sheltered village of Swainby as we were started in little clusters some time between 9 and 10 am. My tactics were slightly different to last year; I didn’t bother marking any checkpoints on my old paper OS map of North York Moors (West) knowing that there’d be bags of time to do it on the hoof. As it was, navigation was very easy. Too easy. As many of us discovered as we switched off and followed the crowd. On the way to the third control I followed a bold track that sold itself as the green dotted line on my map. It eventually became apparent it wasn’t and a bit of off-piste correction was required to get back on course. Not one to learn from my mistakes I followed the herd to the next control and it became clear that many of us were indulging in collective navigational laziness and a couple of unnecessary barbed-wire fences later I decided it was time to start paying attention.

The organisers had cleverly designed the course to be on alternating sides of a large folding paper map on a windy day and being used to small waterproof orienteering maps that I could shove down my pants I was struggling with the billowing paperwork. Perched outside in the pouring rain, trying to make myself a sail, I floated upwards to the exposed checkpoint of Swainby Shooting House on Rye Head. The traverse from there across Whorton and Black Moor to the next check point at Head House was barren and exposed. I’ve been out in some pretty wild conditions and had everything from hurty knees to hurty nadgers, but today I had a hurty face. I felt I was being sandblasted with hailstones as I jogged steadily across the moorland track.

What a difference a year makes ... The 4×4 bristling with antenna appeared like something out of Ice Station Zebra as I checked in and moved on to Chop Gate and some hot chocolate. Very Swaledale. From here there was a long jog to Cold Moor Cote, then up onto the Cleveland Way. Ho ho! I’d wondered if this might happen. I realised at once who the ‘other’ runners were, but some Hardmoors and some Survivalists were, I think, slightly confused. Our checkpoints were easy to spot; they usually involved macho 4×4’s and big aerials, the Hardmoors checkpoints were far less ostentatious and went on, one assumes, all the way to Helmsley. This didn’t stop me utilizing both race’s checkpoints and nicking a Hardmoors Jelly Baby or two.

In the end I got so diverted, literally, with the Hardmoors event, taking photos and recognising runners, that I missed my turn. I suddenly realised that I had gone way beyond the turn-off for my final control and once more had to take a detour through the heather. Before long I was back in Swainby and having a nice plate of chilli while the Hardmoors guys and gals still had another 30 miles or so to go. It made my (shortened) 22 miler seem a bit pathetic. Still, I was quite happy as I’d not managed to get the training in that I’d have liked and I wasn’t feeling too bad. My time was slower than last year but my position was the same. 55th!

It’s a real pity that two years on the go that this race has clashed with the last Cross-Country of the season – I don’t know if this happens every year. But if you ever fancy a run with a bit of map reading then this is an event to consider. Navigation is straightforward, and it is a very sociable event. In fact it’s fair to say that solo runners like myself are in a minority; most people tend to walk or run round in chatty groups. If you like Swaledale, you’d almost certainly like the Cleveland Survival.TOP

Krypton Factor Assault Course, Richmond, Sunday, March 24, 2013

500 metres

Mark Dunseith

Due to the bad weather over the weekend we were sure the day would be cancelled but after a phone call to confirm, being told ‘there is no snow down here’, off we went to Richmond, North Yorkshire to tackle the course. I’ve wanted to have a go of this course since I was a little kid as I used to love the show, however, this is the course from the newest series of the show and not the original but I was still really looking forward to it. Originally we tried to book this for a friend’s stag night but at £60 the cost was quite prohibitive. When my wife saw it featured on one of the deal websites for £18 we got a group of people to sign up as a ‘treat’ for her birthday.

A taste of the course ... When we arrived in Richmond and after getting the car stuck in the snow (the same snow we were assured hadn’t fallen in North Yorkshire) down a county lane with 3 other cars who were heading to the same venue we finally arrived at Adrenalin’s Krypton Factor Assault Course.

After a quick cup of tea we were handed coveralls and a helmet and marched at double time up to the course. Cue an hour in the freezing cold standing in between ankle and knee deep snow listening to safety briefings and waiting for our turn to try the tree climb/zip wire. We later found out that this would be our only attempt at this as it wouldn’t be part of our ‘timed lap’.

After the tree climb/zip wire we were taken on a walk of the rest of the course and shown the safe way to tackle each obstacle before being taken back to the start line ready for our ‘timed lap’. We were informed that we wouldn’t be judged by our time but by getting round without making mistakes. We were to start with 150 points and we’d lose 10 points for every mistake we made, we would still be getting timed but to win we would be judged using the points system.

Off we went and the first obstacle of the over under bars making sure to keep your head to the outside to avoid losing points. Then on to the wall climb where we managed to lose 20 points as two team members managed to put their heads in danger. After jumping waist deep into a muddy puddle we had a short sprint to the 30 foot rope swing. We managed to get the whole team over the swing safely and up to the next obsticle the ramp. Over the ramp we went and through the quagmire with the new addition of a dive under a bar at the end just to get the competitors extra muddy.

The next obstacle was the one I was most worried about after the walk round. Having nearly broken my ankle 6 weeks earlier and spending a few days on crutches I was still quite weary of landing on solid ground after a jump. The illusion jump is a wooden obstacle where you jump from different heights and land on a solid wooden surface using both feet. I was warned not to land only on my good ankle and advised to use both. Despite having my ankle heavily taped I was still apprehensive but managed to land putting most of my weight on my good foot and survived the obstacle with two functioning ankles still in place.

After a long run through the deep mud and even deeper snow and a jump over a navel high beam (not that easy after the previous few minutes) we reached the balance beams. Up and over safely and somewhat easily we headed to the muddy tunnel and the dreaded cargo net. The tunnel was tall enough to crawl through despite being told we would have to commando crawl and straight under the net. A good technique got me under the net quite quickly then off to the relatively easy final steps over a fence and a 50 metre sprint to the finish.

We got the whole team to the end only losing 20 points and in a time of just over 12 minutes. Looking back at other teams that have competed this seems like a good time and points total, however the organisation was quite poor at the end and we weren’t sure, and still aren’t, who won. The results are to be uploaded to their Facebook page but as of Sunday night we still have no results. I think a clarification of results and a trophy presentation at the end would really add to the fun of the day, however, we left the venue with smiles on our faces though and everyone that took part seemed to have fun.

I would recommend having a go at this course but wait for a deal as the £60 price tag is a bit steep.

Muddy Mayhem, Hardwick Park, Sedgefield, Sunday, March 24, 2013

Katy Walton

A work colleague of Graeme’s asked if we would be interested in the Muddy Mayhem on the 24th March, we agreed to take part after all, with all the muddy cross country events we had taken part in how much worse could this be?

On the morning of the race the sun shone and the wind blew strongly outside the bedroom window, I decided to wear clothes that could be binned after the run, putting on several layers but nothing heavy as I didn’t want to be weighed down with water soaked clothes, Graeme opted for long top and bottoms, happy at the thought he doesn’t do the washing!

Katy and Graeme enjoying the atmosphere. We arrived at the event around 9.30am meeting the rest of the people who we were running with and it was apparent as we emerged from the car that it was freezing, sub zero temperatures hit immediately and with the added wind the cold chilled the skin even more that the high winds at the cross country the day before.

A warm up was held to get everyone psyched up and we were off! Groups were let through in packs of fifty, the first hurdle climbing over hay bales and high walls, over and under fences and then onto hands and knees for a tunnel which came out into mud. The mud was ice cold which pierced my gloves and Graeme’s, we decided to loose them. The next part of the course was to wade through a lake (at this point I wished I was taller) it was up to my waist and with the uncertainty of the floor and what was in the water I plodded through cautiously.

The cold was seeping deeper than my skin now and looking at Graeme I could see it was getting to him, we continued running back into woodland where we were faced with more over and under obstacles and under a few cargo nets all which involved crawling through mud on hands and knees and then more water! My favourite part was the polystyrene bridge, no one from our group fell in, i think this was due to the fear of getting wet again.

Warming up slightly after running around the lake came the swamp, I managed to fall over twice once loosing my footing falling forward and getting wet up to my neck and then falling backwards onto a branch which didn’t cause any pain, although later revealed a huge bruise. I remember Graeme calling will you stay on your feet!

Next came the skips they were filled with hay, sawdust and mud. the mud filled skip saw you sinking to the bottom with your first step which clung to you so strongly I was pulled out, thankfully trainers intact, although some other unlucky contenders finished the course shoe less. A further run through woodland and then the option to run it again or to finish, I didn’t need asking twice and neither did Graeme or the rest of the group, we all took the muddy wet slide down to the finish!

Following the finish we grabbed our t shirt’s and medal’s and then immediately changed in the car, this proved a task our minds were telling our fingers to move but they were so cold and frozen they just wouldn’t obey, which made the whole getting changed situation to warm up a further prolonged agony. Once changed we went to the cafe chattering teeth to warm up with a nice hot cuppa. I have never been so cold in my life, if this event was to be held in the warmer months I feel it could be enjoyed more but due to the severe weather conditions it was quite an ordeal!