Terrain: The competition area consists of two distinct areas – the Vale of Clara Nature Reserve and the working Coillte forest of Ballinastraw. The Northern part of the Vale of Clara map was last used for a DUO Leinster League event in February 2014 – here’s a RouteGadget of the map and courses from that event. Ballinastraw has not been used for orienteering for over twenty years.
The Vale of Clara Nature Reserve contains one of the largest stands of semi-natural native hardwoods in the country. The area has many paths, and is rich in rock and contour detail. The nature reserve is bisected by a tributary of the Avonmore river. The stream has a steep slope on the southern side, which the longer courses cross. The terrain and path network give many route-choice options.
Runability underfoot in ‘white’ forest is generally fast. In places billberry bushes can impede running speed. Where running speed is significantly impacted by billberry growth the ‘undergrowth – slow running’ screen is used to indicate this. Where billberry growth is particularly dense the ‘undergrowth – walk’ screen is used. There are virtually no brambles in the forest.
All courses visit terrain which has not been used for orienteering for more than 20 years. The Coillte forest of Ballinastraw is a working pine forest with many paths and rock features. It is the most elevated part of the competition area and is visited only by the M21E course.
Map: All of the competition area has been remapped in 2017/2018 using LIDAR base imagery. The map is drawn to the new ISOM 2017 standard – Southhampton Orienteers have a nice summary (PDF) and here is a fictional ISOM 2017 map by Pat Healy.
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