Archive for January, 2014

Wilmot Wander 2014

I’ve done this race 4 times before and always enjoy it as a kick-start to the year’s racing. Two years ago Dave joined me and helped me get a PB of 5hrs 45 – this year was nowhere near that due to rain, wind, mud and more mud!

full trace Jan 2016

The Scout hut is under the “Derby” label. The route goes anticlockwise – the black line is a reckie, the red line is the whole beast!


The race starts at the 27th Derby Scout HQ in Chaddesden, with walkers setting off from 7am and runners from 8 (so there’s generally someone to follow). The route goes NE through Locko Park then down to the 1st checkpoint at Stanley for squash and Jelly Babies, then you follow the Mid-Shires Way to Morley & Drum Hill. I was now wet enough to put my cag on! Then the 1st walk up Little Eaton Hill and down the steps to Checkpoint 2 The Bridge Inn.

altitude profile labels

ViewRanger says “Total climb: 615 metres”

I was very slow on this 3rd section due to mud – it was like running through glue for 90 mins! There was a diversion due to a bridge being destroyed near Mackworth. This avoided going up the hill to Lower Vicarwood, but made it about half a km longer. Past Mackworth water tower and onto Checkpoint 3 Radbourne for a welcome cup of coffee. Felt sorry for the marshals under their gazebo but they all did a great job.

The next section is very pretty, then you end up in Mickleover where there’s a slight hill which everyone dreads as it coincides with going through the wall! Checkpoint 4 is at the Toyota works at Burnaston (more coffee!) and 10 mins later you take your life in your hands to cross the A38. Soon into Findern where I met Dave for moral support along the much-feared 5-mile canal section. He bought me a glucose drink which I was very glad of as I was starting to cramp and I don’t carry drink on this race as the checkpoints have plenty. He also put my map onto page 5 which was no mean feat as it was looking like papier mache!

The last checkpoint is where you leave the canal at Swarkestone, from which it’s about an hour to the Finish but a lot of willpower is needed as the cycle paths are quite monotonous. Across the bridge over the A52 and back to the Scout Hut in 6hrs 38 to a good spread of soup, tea and cake. Job done!!

Link to the beginnings of the race

Probably about half a kilo of mud on each leg?!

Probably about half a kilo of mud on each leg?!

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I’m told that many of our orienteering club members did this race back in the day, but it was the 1st time for Dave and I, and 2nd time for Graham. Race day started inauspiciously when we woke up at the time we were meant to leave the house, but we made it to Registration at Milford Cricket Club 30 mins or so before the Start.

It’s a 16.5 mile race with free navigation between 4 trig points in a figure of 8 loop with a water station at the intersection where you go over a new railway bridge. We paid £1 for the A3 map but had done an armchair recce using the orienteering maps from Sherbrook, Fairoak & Brindley and a tiny bit of Brereton.

ViewRanger tace of the route I took. Start & Finish at top left, Castle Ring trig at bottom right

ViewRanger tace of the route I took. Start & Finish at top left, Castle Ring trig at bottom right

We started at 11:10 and it was cold and clear but we could see a murky front creeping in. I followed the majority for the 1st 500m but then made sure I approached the trig at Rifle Ranges via Cherrytree Slade, just off the main SherbrookValley. From here it was past the visitor centre to Moors Gorse where the railway bridge was with a timeout of up to 2 mins as there was a road crossing & drinks point.

Now for the big climb up to Castle Ring fort (235m) where I crossed paths with Dave exiting. Then it was north to the trig at Brereton and back down to Moors Gorse (92 mins for Dave, 106 for me). A long slog up Marquis Drive followed by some semi-tricky navigation to the trig at Glacial Boulder, just less than 3km from the Finish where Dave and Graham were waiting for me 25 and 15 mins after their own finishes! They must have been seriously cold. I took 2h 45 and died a bit in the 2nd half probably due to to my sugar-free diet (3 month yeast detox). Mind you I transgressed and had a macaroon at Moors Gorse and wolfed the maltloaf at download.

Altitude profile - middle spike is Castle Ring with the Moors Grose dips at approx 1 & 2 hours

Altitude profile – middle spike is Castle Ring with the Moors Grose dips at approx 1 & 2 hours

It was a good atmosphere with about 170 runners, always someone to follow, albeit at a distance. The route choice is a bonus but often I followed the person ahead, thumbing the map for reassurance. It was great to piece together the many bits of Cannock and I’d recommend the race to orienteers!

Result at http://www.merciafellrunners.org.uk/results/214

Next post: Wilmot Wander 26/1/14

Team Chaffey Photo: Graham Johnson

Team Chaffey
Photo: Graham Johnson

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