Natural Navigation in Ever Decreasing Circles

I’ve been watching Sue Perkins, Alison Steadman and that other fella trying to cross the UK without recourse to a nifty Garmin navigator or even an oldey worldy compass thing.

They got on to their hands and knees to examine the differential drying of poo sides, scanned the horizon for the tell-tale sweep of exposed trees but mostly they’ve spun round in circles saying “is that East, North, South or West?”.

I was in Mitcham Common yesterday – my personal Bermuda triangle. For some reason I step into the gorse and become immediately disoriented. Still, I am an adventurer, so I ignore my personal wrist link to at least 3 satellites and ask for directions from the trees.

The natural navigation wisdom informs me that the prevailing wind direction in the UK is South Westerly (wind comes from the SW), so the sweep over of the trees foliage is in the opposite direction, ie NE. Had I stuck to this piece of evidence and run on I would have been fine but I always look for corroboration where there is only contradiction. Moss grows on the north side of trees but if the sweep over was accurate the Mitcham Common mosses prefer a southerly aspect, and the destination Croydon buses appeared to be headed East. I started spinning in circles and despite being less than 5 mins from my car I was best described as lost.

I was particularly keen to define the run by the cardinal points as I was trying to do a recce of London’s next official parkrun and was building up the race description in my head. I keep meaning to try a parkrun in my new locale but it occurred to me this weekend that it would be far better if parkrun came to me, so I set about trying to define the perfect 5km route around Mitcham Common.

I think I’ve found one – a lovely cross-country route hugging the wooded edge of the common for a loop and a half before cutting across the scrub and past the Seven Islands pond to finish. Just don’t ask me for directions.

I need to find a race organiser now and a way to appease the Mitcham Common conservators who may not be too keen on the idea of hordes of Saturday morning joggers.

It would be mighty convenient though.

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4 comments

  1. I have been watching that too… if only there was a church on the common, you could have gone East to West no bother !

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