Missy turned her paw to a new hobby this weekend; orienteering! Despite absolutely no sense of direction, I used to love orienteering as a kid and, over the years of spotting those familiar red and white plaques, I've learned that this was an equal passion of my hubby's when he was a boy. Every time we spotted an abandoned control point, we'd discuss that we should find out the local groups and... that was it.
Earlier this week I spotted an advert on Facebook for an orienteering open day at Cammo Estate and decided to give it a go and see if it lived up to my childhood memories. It was originally to be a solo event but, through the power of "do us a favour", I ended up with Maisie (but no brother), my older sister and BIL, thier dog Wee Ben and eldest nephew (10) accompanying me. I won't beat about the bush, my nephew hates outdoor pursuits and activities. If there isn't a screen involved, he won't partake in it. I've managed to get him into some board games (exploding kittens is a favourite) and, thinking myself clever, got him into Pokemon GO. What's wrong with that? Nothing to do with the game (I've played it daily since it launched) its just that he doesn't actually want to walk and play, he'll stand and catch pokemon and, screen glued to face, shuffle at the slowest pace. Not ideal for dog walking, or being anywhere near traffic! I've digressed. I was worried as he'd already expressed disdain at the thought of the sport, even though I'd tried to dress it up as "treasure hunting".
A quick run through for those unfamiliar to the sport; you get a map with points marked on it and, going 1 through to 20, use the map to find all the points as quickly as possible. It's all modern now, you have little trackers on your finger that you pop into a little reciever which beeps and records the time stamp. In my day it was a literal stamp made from pins that you punctured the sheet with!
Indicating North, I handed my nephew the tracker and map and off we went. The first one is always easy and, as we organised ourselves to find the next point (I was having him do it all by himself and was just guiding things along) I asked where North was. He pointed. True North. It was like the clouds parted and the heavens shined upon us, the first in my genetic family line with an internal compass. He was clearly delighted with this unexpected praise and elation and, recognising he had a natural knack to the sport, was hooked.
No complaints of being tired, he ran as soon as we spotted the next navigation point. No complaining for the phone or making excuses to stop and delay, we made our way round that track in a very respectable time, telling his parents to hurry up.
Highlights included a fleet of cavalier King Charles in pyjamas (no photos sadly, we were admiring at a dash) and some huge tree plates from some fallen trees which, for reasons unknown bearing in mind his usual vampiric dislike to Sun and outdoors, my nephew finds totally fascinating.
Afterwards we parted ways and I heard later from my mother (who they visited next) that it was all he would talk about. Hopefully his parents will encourage him and make it a hobby, I'll certainly be letting them know if I spot another one!
I'm going to leave it on a high, with a comment to say to tune in next week as Missy has some exciting news to share!