I accompany my fell running/orienteering husband to his events when I think that he’s off to an interesting venue and there will be something for me to do. On the site I will record what the events are like from a non-participants point of view and provide a guidance rating, all purely subjective of course. Often after the early morning start and the journey I need a trip to the loo and a cup of tea to feel human again then I go for a walk or do whatever I’m going to do so my rating includes the toilet facilities, tea availability and walks. Here’s how it works
TTT Meets my high standards
TT Adequate. Don’t linger (not that you would want to). Portable toilets usually fall into this category.
T Behind a tree
0 Cross your legs. There are no trees (can be an issue on the North York Moors, broom just doesn’t offer the same cover)
-T Toilet tents: avoid unless desperate. Bring your own hand sanitiser/wipes
Orienteering events: if using tree cover be very, very quick. Orienteers may crash into your private space without warning. In fact they may have followed you in there thinking that you are heading for a difficult to find control.
RRR hot drinks and home made cakes at the race start/ finish. These will often be free for the runners but others are expected to make a donation for them.
RR tea shop nearby
R a van
0 Bring your own
Other things to do apart from fell race/orienteer
This is usually walking so given a W rating
WWW pleasant walk that can be done in about the same time your runner finishes their race. An added bonus would be a view of the race where you can give your runner a little encouragement.
WW Limited walking, on road, too long or too short compared with run time
W Walking involves bogs, slippery mud paths over which 10s if not 100s of fell runners have just passed, large 4 legged animals cows with calves, llamas, “bull in field” signs have the same effect, if walking from a walk in a book etc getting lost finding the start of the walk, getting lost on the walk, stiles over electric fences or barbed wire, keep out signs, private signs, rain, snow, steep hills.
Other things to do can also include countryside shows, sheepdog trials, shopping, visiting gardens or historic houses
0 stuck in the car park: bring the paper/a book/iPad/iPod
Kit check for the spectator
Minimum requirement: I have a small OMM rucksack containing hat, scarf, gloves and walking socks packed and ready to go so no scrabbling about for essentials on those early morning starts. I take a SIGG water bottle and in the summer sun cream and insect repellent (do not be fooled by organic talk, you need an active ingredient against midges). Then add a local map and walking book, mobile phone and money. Collect your boots and a waterproof jacket on the way out of the door and you’re ready for a day’s adventure.