Another SOAP inspired early morning start with Rob H's landrover bursting at the seams with all things necessary to keep the SOAP kidz alive & well for a day of REAL orienteering at Oom Koos' farm. The trial orienteering in a city park had gone well ... now the RAC had recklessly invited us to do the Real Thing alongside Real orienteers!
Arriving at Stirrup Glen ( famous for a previous SOAP kidz horse riding adventure day ) all was a frenzy of activity; the Landrover was unpacked, RAC people looking very professional set up color coded boards, registration tables, etc; the kidz arrived & were issued compasses, water, backpacks, etc. Only us volunteers looked cold, a tad apprehensive & not quite sure what to do. But we were soon issued with a kidz team each and instructions explaining the proper way to orienteer.
Despite Noeksie's pleading we were only allowed to compete in Green Code (beginners with a slight idea) ... Noeksie had hoped to compete in Brown (requiring SAS training & 8 km's of running).
Registration completed; the whistle blown and we were busy copying circles to mark the control points from the fixed map onto our own maps.
The first point was easily found but we totally missed the second; found the third & had to backtrack to find the lone blue gum tree marking Number Two. I felt really bad about helping to lead my team astray but by this time there were quite a few teams who seemed to have lost that tree!
A friendly RAC participant gave us some valuable tips which unfortunately didn't prevent us from walking kilometers (or so it felt!) in the wrong direction & having to backtrack again to find a control point in the blue gum forest. What made us feel better was that we knew there were more than a few teams still heading in the wrong direction!
Also we came across a herd of springbok who treated us to a fine display of "pronking". After trading information with other SOAP kidz teams the rest of the course was relatively straightforward; a scramble to the boulder clusters and a jog down a dusty track, through the fence and to the finish line. Looking up to the skyline we could see the figures of those teams who had continued onwards and upwards instead of doing the blue gum forest backtrack.
Oom Koos had the horses organized and kidz were riding around happily in all directions. Consulting the time board we found that the team that had boasted loudest about their time had missed the Number Two control point & were disqualified.
Rob H and The Blind Guy had been cooking up a storm on the braai to refuel the kidz, who soon recovered their energy to practice rugby moves; practice trick racing on a rusty go-kart and do some more riding before they were piled into the bus to return to Joburg.
The SOAP volunteers and singles then gathered by the braai for lunch, tall stories and Sunday afternoon sun baking before some of us headed home for an afternoon nap & the more inspired went off horse riding.
Another successful SOAP event .. lots of tired smiling kidz & lots of exhausted smiling volunteers!