Swindon Rounds Orienteering Challenge (runs six through nine)   5 comments

This has been a fun way to explore the town but I’m glad it reached its conclusion, with the other runs here:
Runs 1 and 2
Run number 3
Runs 4 and 5

My dance card for the Swindon Rounds Orienteering Challenge is nearly complete, so much so that you can guess the final markers although a Swindon Borough Council “Travel Choices” employee answered my query about some of the absences I discovered by saying I should just write “MISSING” in the slots where the markers have gone walkabout.  I’m sure some of these are the results of infrastructure updates, but she seemed certain there has been some vandalism-by-theft.  If so, it would have been more imaginative to pull a “wartime resistance action” by putting up homemade markers with the wrong letters or, better, something like this batch of 30:

I only wish I had thought of this BEFORE starting the rounds....

I only wish I had thought of this BEFORE starting the rounds….

The southwest quadrant had one marker (19 J) remaining and I needed to pick up some groceries and so I hopped off the bus out the Wootton Bassett Road and found this one a mile away on a busy bike trail before doubling back to the rail trail into Old Town.  This was a very pleasant jog despite the swarms of gnats every 100 meters or so:

Swindon Orienteering Control 19J

Next day, I bailed from the bus home at Greenbridge Roundabout for run #7 to pick up the last of the southeast quadrant markers while trying hard to find the missing 9 and 30 signs along the way but I can now confirm that there are no traces of the old markers within 100 meters in any direction of the mapped locations.  Moreover, the lamp posts at the site of #29 are relatively new and this marker was probably hauled away with the old equipment.  Shit, that’s four missing so far with only seven more to chase.

Swindon Orienteering Control 25U

Run #8 took in a bit of the suburban northwest part of Swindon which is full of parks and bike paths and yobs.  Also, as you see above, geese (a gosling was being protected by a group of birds just out of frame to the left).

Swindon Orienteering Control 17G

It was cold (6°C, 42°F) with sustained winds of 25 mph and gusts to 40 (but at least it was also raining). I searched all over for marker 17 G and passed it at least once.  The next one, 27 AA, was much easier to find and I took its lettering as a hint to head toward home and find some alcohol.

Swindon Orienteering Control 27AA

The final run, run #9, continued on to Purton Stoke for a pint at the Bell Inn and then to Cricklade for a disappointing kebab at Sammy’s.  First, though, there were a number of markers remaining but that were unusually easy to find (for a change).  Near St Mary’s, I picked up 13V and down the bottom of the hills beyond Thames Drive I found 15Z in the sun of this splendid day.

Swindon Orienteering Control 13V  Swindon Orienteering Control 15Z

The suburban hellscape of northwest Swindon yielded the final two, 14K and 16R, and I was free to trot on to my beery reward:

Swindon Orienteering Control 14K  Swindon Orienteering Control 16R

The completed grid:

swindon_cycle_orienteering_challenge_grid

H, Q, AC, and AD are the ‘Missing’ markers and I infer that 29 and 30 are AC and AD, respectively.  If this is correct, you have a 50% shot at nailing down 6 and 9 as H or Q (although the authorities in charge have already stated that they will accept that the missing markers actually are missing if you annotate your form thus).  You can get the form at http://www.swindontravelchoices.co.uk/media/27966/swindon_cycle_orienteering_challenge_grid.pdf .  Let me know what the prize is and I’ll post it here soon thereafter.

Completed SROC

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