Good Turnout, Icy Tunnels and Parallel Errors at Culloden

It was 1746 when the last big battle took place on Culloden's blasted heath. So perhaps it was appopriate that it was 46 Moravian battlers who made the trip over to ensure that the Highlanders once again came off second best. Thanks to Liz Campbell for sending in this week's "away day" story.....


A big crowd of 46 travelling Moravians made up just under half of the field of exactly 100 on an unusually mild December day at Culloden. The venue for registration and assembly, at Culloden Free Church, was great and very sociable. Jenny Blackwood, an INVOC junior whose mum Susan is an Active Schools Co-Ordinator who does a lot of the junior stuff for INVOC, did a fine job providing tea, coffee and cake, raising money for a trip to Africa next year. Lots of people stayed around after their runs to chat and to watch the Fraser and Taylor girls play at buses with a row of play chairs in the middle of the hall! They were so funny to watch, getting on with their own little world, oblivious to the outside world! Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. More of that later.

As you might expect (because we are so good) we supplied the winners for 3 of the 5 courses. With this event counting for the Moravian Saturday League, where Andrew Campbell has now made it to the top of the tree, there was every incentive to go for it.

Even so, the icy stream flowing along the tunnel under the railway, which was the best route between 9 and 10 on the Green course, failed to tempt Mr Campbell. Although it was control 17 that ultimately cost him the race, would the few seconds he could have saved to help get closer to Jon Hollingdale really have been worth the ice bath? Despite being in denial about needing to wear specs, he claims he failed to spot the route option, but as Liz has kindly revealed, our Andrew is simply a “wuss”. We will leave them to argue about the merits of that observation over the dinner table or the washing up.

It’s not just at the major events where you come away saying “I learned about orienteering from that”. Smaller local events are ideal for developing your skills and learning (hopefully) from your mistakes. Liz Campbell was one such learner after spending 10 minutes, just like the wee girls, in a little world of her own. There she was, running up and down a path trying to find her no 8 on the Short Green course. She even went far enough along the path to be able to actually see her no 6 before carrying on running headlessly up and down the same path. Eventually the penny dropped that she should have been on the next path south from there. “It wasn’t like I lost count of paths” said an exasperated Liz. “I only had to count to 1”.  Folks, this is what’s called a parallel error. Following an identical feature to the one you should be following that runs in the same direction. Always be aware of similar features near to your route, and if it all goes pear shaped think whether you might have made a parallel error. 


(editor's note - you can put Liz's mistake in to context by checking out the courses on INVOC's Routegadget)

At the end of the day, some of us basked in glory while others headed homewards to think again. But for everyone it was another fine day out in the fresh air and great outdoors which, at the end of the day, is surely what it's all about. That's all for now, until we meet the Northern Night Cup or Cluny Hill for those who are afraid of the dark........ 

Oh, and for the record books, the leading Moravian performances were:

1. Jon Hollingdale
2. Andrew Campbell
Short Green

2. Steve Smirthwaite

3. Fran Britain

Light Green

1. Scott Perry

2. Faith Kenyon

1. Finlay McLuckie


3. Matilda Taylor


Split time results re on INVOC's web site via this link


PS – INVOC have put a list of lost property on their Facebook page:

one pair of red Inov-8 running shoes size 9

one pair of black waterproof socks

one pair of black gaiters

a set of grey earphones

a child’s glove – black with 4 navy blue stripes

if any of this is yours please contact the event organiser:
Carolyn Cload (