Its typical that I would only catch on to the Dark and White Mini Mountain Marathon (or Orienteering, to those not wishing to show off) event series just as the last one is coming up. Must sign up for some of the ones later in the year.
It was a great day out on Sunday 13th May, and much fun was had running around the edges of Dovedale (Where, as Turnbull says; the mountains are all to be found in the valleys). The event HQ at Alstonefield provided tea and cake aplenty for all and was very well situated for Dovedale. The controls were positioned all around the valley and I counted around 14ml and 3,500ft of ascent in total. Most controls are worth 10 points but some harder to reach controls yield a higher return. The higher scoring controls I visited were situated farther out around Bunster Hill and Thorpe Cloud. Not having done one before I was keen to watch the clock but started my watch late and so was unsure of the time. Penalty points are deducted for anyone over the 3hr mark and its quite possible to lose a lot of hard earned points by misjudging the time and returning late; as the penalty increases the later you are. I somehow managed to come back in at 02:59:30 scraping under 3hrs by 30secs and picking up 240 points on my travels to get 31st of 130 starters. Not bad for me. ...and cake.
The controls were laid out in a basically circular pattern with a few interesting route choices, and all on paths. However, there weren't loads of walkers out spoiling the tranquillity (just runners) as the routes stayed high for the most part. Good to get out in the underestimated White Peak. I always forget that Dovedale has some serious climbs and descents, and although popular at times, sometimes it can feel quite empty too. Especially higher up around the tops and edges.