The Cleveland Survival 2011

Hutton le Hole

“Why isn’t everyone following me?” I thought as I ran steeply downhill from checkpoint 7. Quite simply, there were two possible routes to checkpoint 8 and I had chosen the worst one; knowing that I had an extra kilometre to run, the competition had a good laugh at my expense and I never caught up with them. This was the Cleveland Survival 2011 – a 25 mile orienteering course in the Cleveland Hills around Hutton-le-Hole and Rosedale.

I’m working towards two events this year – the Coniston Trail marathon in June and the Lakeland 50 at the end of July and I thought the Cleveland Survival would be a good training milestone. There is no official route – just a list of 14 checkpoints you must visit on your way ‘round. So apart from building up your ability to traverse rough hilly country, it is a great way to sharpen navigation skills.

The event started in Hutton where we were set off in small groups at 2 minute intervals. Just like an orienteering event, the first ten minutes was spent locating the checkpoints on the map from a list of grid references on a route card. Once that was done we were off.

The start was a hoot. Running confidently towards the first two checkpoints it was so funny to see people running all over the place ‘cos they had no idea how to read a map.  This was pride before the fall: my mistakes were embarrassing and must have added 30 minutes to my time.

I have already described the first but the second was worse. We needed two OS maps for this event and part of the route was along the join – so navigating involved juggling with two maps. Jogging down a ridge to checkpoint 4 it was easy to plan the next leg; just come back up the ridge to the top of the moor. The alternative was a path that contoured the moor and saved a lot of climbing but it was on the other map and I didn’t see it.

Like everyone else, when I see people heading in one direction I’m very happy to join them; it is the British instinct to join a queue. So my mistake was all the more attractive because some others had made it too but at the top of the moor the way ahead was not clear and the journey to checkpoint 5 became a bit of a struggle. In all, another 20 minutes down the drain; good job it wasn’t misty!

Roughly half the checkpoints were un-manned, so you just had to clip your card to prove you had been there. The other half were manned and had drinks – but no food – available. This was an impressively organised event, run by the Cleveland Search and Rescue Team. An added bonus; the right people were on hand if anything were to go wrong!

And there were two more bonuses; the meal at the end and the best souvenir T-shirt on my wardrobe.

Do many females attend these events. Im tempted but I haven’t so far as I feel I may be left behind.

Hi Sally, I should think that half the field are women. There is a mixture of abilities and speeds – some walk right ’round, so you wouldn’t be left behind.


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