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Thread: GPS in fell races

  1. #11
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    Having come into fell-running from orienteering, it's map and compass for me. And there can be few more satisfying experiences than navigating successfully with map and compass through clag on pathless mountain terrain.

    As for GPS, I'm rather a technophobe (my son has just bought me a smartphone, and I think he is even going to teach me how to use it ). I've no objection to others using this stuff in races, as long as they don't tell me that I should be using it.

    Some interesting comments on recces from Travs. As far as I can remember, the only time I have ever done a recce was when I did Jura: I arrived on the island on the Monday 5 days before the race, having done Goat Fell the previous Saturday, and there's not much else to do on Jura than go over the hills.
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  2. #12
    I have to disagree - for me fell races are about mountaincraft, that includes route choice and navigation. I think I've said before on previous threads about this subject its tantamount to bolting a traditional lakes climbing route, making the holes on a golf course bigger, or standing nearer to the dartboard! If someone who has difficulty navigating can use a gps to even the field please can I have an early start because I have difficulty running at the speed of the top runners? I don't really see much of a difference.

  3. #13
    Master DrPatrickBarry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark G View Post
    I have to disagree - for me fell races are about mountaincraft
    I don't think anybody is disagreeing with you. The consensus seems to be that the combination of speed and good route knowledge is required to be competitive in a race. Whatever exchanging of places lower down the field due to somebody using a GPX will be of less importance.

    Where is the mountaincraft in following somebody you know is good (for instance Nicky Spinks) in The Trigger.
    Does a lakes based runner have better mountaincraft than somebody from London, just becasue it is massively easier to get out reccing a route more?
    Last edited by DrPatrickBarry; 12-03-2018 at 02:49 PM.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Sam W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark G View Post
    I have to disagree - for me fell races are about mountaincraft, that includes route choice and navigation. I think I've said before on previous threads about this subject its tantamount to bolting a traditional lakes climbing route, making the holes on a golf course bigger, or standing nearer to the dartboard! If someone who has difficulty navigating can use a gps to even the field please can I have an early start because I have difficulty running at the speed of the top runners? I don't really see much of a difference.
    I like the bolting trad analogy! As someone who used to climb a lot in the Peak, I remember some disquiet at the suggestion some of the neglected routes at Stoney should be retro-bolted (many have rotten pegs in situ). Iím not much bothered about folk using GPS in a fell race than I am about be former matter, though it does take away some of the craft (& satisfaction) around navigating a route well. That said, fell races arenít O races (with a few notable exceptions) so maybe itís fair game to use GPS, even if it doesnít really seem in the traditional spirit.

  5. #15
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    I've removed my GPS route from yesterday's Edale Skyline from Strava, specifically as I pulled a worldy of a line underneath the woolpacks and I think it would be mighty unfair for a couple of people to rip it off and follow its breadcrumb trail in the future.

    I never even recce'd the line and didn't have a map/compass out. A clubmate suggested where I leave the more defined path and to look for trods, so I got my head up, looked for the best lines and where I wanted to end up. IMO that's mountain/race-craft. I do know the lay of the land there OK but it's more about reading the ground and picking your line.

    Ironically the clubmate who told me about this cut, and who had recced it, dropped too low and lost as much time as I gained. A bit of risk is all part of the run!
    Nic Barber, Pennine. Downhill Dandy

  6. #16
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    I saw someone who was about half a mile in front of me, take a really low line, after the Woolpacks, heading round to the start of the Brown Knoll flagstones. As I passed the checkpoint, the marshals were discussing it, and said that his particular route hadn't necessarily saved any time.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by DrPatrickBarry View Post
    I don't think anybody is disagreeing with you. The consensus seems to be that the combination of speed and good route knowledge is required to be competitive in a race. Whatever exchanging of places lower down the field due to somebody using a GPX will be of less importance.

    Where is the mountaincraft in following somebody you know is good (for instance Nicky Spinks) in The Trigger.
    Does a lakes based runner have better mountaincraft than somebody from London, just becasue it is massively easier to get out reccing a route more?
    I agree there's not much craft in following somebody good but they don't always get it right and I think the skill involves having the ability and confidence to make your own decisions and do something different if you think they might be wrong - or just take a different line to find out if it's any better. I've never been at the top end of the field but I've come in ahead of some good runners by making better navigational decisions.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Travs View Post
    I saw someone who was about half a mile in front of me, take a really low line, after the Woolpacks, heading round to the start of the Brown Knoll flagstones. As I passed the checkpoint, the marshals were discussing it, and said that his particular route hadn't necessarily saved any time.
    Oh well, at least it's given everyone something to talk about ;o)
    Last edited by Wardy; 12-03-2018 at 04:19 PM.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardy View Post
    Oh well, at least it's given everyone something to talk about ;o)
    I did it too so it could have been me. I must admit I found it harder than expected to get a good line in the long grass.

  10. #20
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    Looks like yer fancy £300+ beeping-when-you-go-off-line watches had a fair say in the outcome of the first British champs race in a misty Mourne Mountains at the weekend.

    Maybe we should just flag all routes every 10m and have done with it.
    Nic Barber, Pennine. Downhill Dandy

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