Sunday, December 6, 2020

遠足行程記錄︰杯靈雙渡

返來香港先知道有人非正式地定了四條香港遠足考牌路線,因為其難度高。今日走了其中一條叫「杯靈雙渡」,因為要上杯渡寺(現名青山寺)上面的杯渡山(現名青山)和靈渡寺上的靈渡山(現名圓頭山)。路線名稱很想使人靜修一下。不過,路線可能要人經歷九九八十一個苦,因為這是一條有大上大落,和有很多地滑的劣地之路線。上落山都要慢而小心。


下面分段講

本來幾個星期前想和一班人走,可惜當天之前一晚突然要開夜。今星期趁所有活動又再延期,限聚令又收緊的時候,以遵從限聚令的原則,找到一對對人一齊走這條「杯靈雙渡」。結果,差點兒要考慮放棄,因為前幾日工作有點不舒服。不過,每次睡過覺後,又覺得好了一些。所以,今日最終決定去走了,心想可能近來工作沒有甚麼勞動,可能遠足勞動一下會令我好一點。

所以,今日連我有兩對人分開走了「杯靈雙渡」了。

1. 上青山

提醒了大家要買夠水和食物後,開始起行。先經過天后古廟附近的公廁去一去廁所,然後就起行了。


到了山腳,青山是多麼的斜啊!


跟著青山寺的車路上,就到了青山寺門口。這時,同行的徐大大開始質疑今日遠足是否郊遊性質。本來大家以為你又想挖一下沿徑定向的場地呢!


從車路變成山徑後,此牌已在路中出現了三次,可見其重要性。


即是,難度X級。


已上了差不多一半,青山仍然是那麼斜。走了多個一個小時都上不到頂。


上到此處,已見到餘程的路線,就是下圖左方的箭咀。那時想起上次走公庵山和九逕山的那條路,就被路人甲說那不是公庵山,而是洪水山啊(見右方黑色箭咀)。


只是,根據Open Street Map,兩個名都是指同一座山啊。


不過,亦見到路人乙上到一半座山腳抽筋。聽說是其友人第一次帶他上山,路人乙仲透露自己沒有吃早餐。友人是否揀了一條不宜路人乙難度的路線呢?

上到這個涼亭,其實可以沿另一條路落山。不過,自己都未上過青山,不如先上一上頂再下來。


只需上40-50米就可以了。


這就是青山的三角測量站(583m)。已收到老細吩咐,要影成條柱。在欣賞山頂的景色之餘,又要等路人走開才可拍照,中間等了不少時間。我的朋友亦先下去了,只剩下我等機會影相。Kill標,竟變成工作的一部分。




下山的時候,見到少見的屯門以西的多山環境。


2. 落良景坳

我們其實走得很施施然。上山一會便休息一下,好似仲被別人笑。上頂繼續慢慢走,見到很多發射站。



很快又到了另一個三角測量站,我又要拍照交功課。


後面的青山和前面的路一覽無遺。


不過,傳了這些標相給老細後,首先電話上網收得不好,到離開了測量站的標後,才收到老細說要影到整個標的四面才收貨。後來還要被老細笑,問我用什麼手機台。同行的Paul Paul問我是否要返上青山再拍照一次。算吧,下一個標才做吧。

為什麼?因為又收到之前走過杯靈雙渡的阿健說︰要看看時間啊。到中午還未到良景坳,過後還有多於一半的路程。再不快一點,天黑都走不完。又被人笑了。

於是開始趕路,只是下山快不來,地面多沙石,容易從斜坡滑下來。

下山途中,見到一個堆填區,剛知道要準備去此處辦事,就遠處望一下好了。


途中見到這些野外的藝術品。


我們到了1:30pm才到良景坳。此處是低位,約200m高。我們在此處做一大休,吃一點中午的東西。此處是唯一能夠中途離開的大路,之後再走就要走畢全程。


3.上乾山

為了完成使命,我們接受阿健的意見,繼續注意時間地走上去。接著就是有多個又上又落的山,某些山的上落坡都很斜。第一個要上的是乾山(395m)。

上到頂時,有人提我要查一查急救牌可否領取沒有,因為那人和我拍檔考試,看著他包紮,以為他只有小問題而不致不合格,怎知道就是我所說的小問題而可能令他不合格。可能那時的主考官比較嚴吧。第一時間打個電話問,結果星期六太晚,叫我下星期一再問。

(關於為什麼要考急救牌,遲些當時間對的時候會寫)

下山時,左面見到往深圳灣的橋。


4.一線脊

乾山和圓頭山之間有一條只得一隻腳板粗的通道,左右就是崖了。這就是一線脊。


一面是這樣。


另一面是這樣︰


我還在拍照Paul Paul和40000輕易地走過這個一線脊,還見到徐大大繞路走,跟著就到我了。很大壓力啊,我被他們拍片,仲以為很易過,怎知兩面都是那麼高。我又揹著重袋,那條窄路又不知會不會太滑,跟住又想起要完成老細吩咐的工作。算了,都是不要搵命摶。

於是,以下的畫面出現了。


聽說另一條遠足考牌路線「三牙全走」(大嶼山的西狗牙、中狗牙和東狗牙),有一段名為「一線生機」的路,似是這個一線脊,不過是沒有後備路線的。如果真的話,那麼我會否不夠膽走這段路而放棄「三牙全走」呢?

5.上圓頭山

上上落落,太陽真是開始下山了,離又叫靈渡山的圓頭山越來越近。最有趣是山頂有一個小樹林,距離很遠都望到。


到頂後,見到一支旗︰


亦有三角測量站的標︰


6. 落圓頭山

日落西斜,


以每人相隔不少於1.5米的距離,戴口罩影全體相。


開始下山的道路。其實,從圓頭山開始下山的路非常陡斜。即使有粗繩可以用來扶住,仍要面向斜坡下山才安全。之後下山仍要非常小心,特別當時天已漸黑。


到了靈渡寺,才開始有車路。不過由此處走到最近的巴士站,仍需多於1km的距離。幸好路上的流浪狗不算太多,那一兩隻亦沒有對我們吠或攻擊。到了巴士站,天已全黑了。大家搭K75去天水圍就解散了。

走完全程之後,不但全程沒有覺得不舒服。精神更是好了。果然我需要的是勞動。


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Sprint Orienteering Maps -- Concerning Narrow Pathways Between Buildings

After the final stage of Orienteering World Cup 2019 in China, someone mentioned online that several places in the sprint map do not follow the minimum requirement of spaces between building (0.4 mm on map).  This is 1.6 m in the actual world for 1:4,000 scale, a standard scale for sprint orienteering map.  This minimum requirement is important because below this distance, the orienteering competitors will find difficult to see the difference between a space and a line, thus affecting their decisions of route choices.  This issue happens in many Chinese village orienteering maps because there are many narrow pathways in these villages.

 Orienteering World Cup 2019 in China -- Sprint Map.  Many places have pathways less than 0.4mm on map, shown through the white circles (Source: Facebook Group - Orienteering Mappers Int.)

The following is the drawing standard for building according to International Standards for Sprint Orienteering Map (ISSprOM) 2019:


So, what if there exists pathways that are less than 1.6 m wide in actual world? One possible solution is to exaggerate the width of these pathways to 0.4 mm on map.  The figure below shows pathways that are about 0.3 m to 0.6 m wide, which is difficult to run through.  Yet, if these very narrow pathways are enlarged, should other wider pathways be enlarged, too?  Sometimes, the width of the pathways gives hints on where one runner is.  Moreover, these very narrow pathways may not be a good route choice because competitors cannot run inside.

Source: Facebook Group - Orienteering Mappers Int.
Then, we have this type.  For the top photo, the width is between 1 m and 1.6 m.  The pathway can be run through easily, but the width is below the 0.4 mm on map requirement.  (Actually, I don't think the bottom photo has any problem.  The path is over 1.6 m wide, and that little gate may just be shown as a canopy on map with a bit of exaggeration, or not adding the canopy at all)

Source: Facebook Group - Orienteering Mappers Int.

In that post, some comments that these kind of special terrain should not avoided in orienteering events, which I do not think it is helpful.  IOF decided to put a world-level orienteering event in China because IOF wants to spread out orienteering to the world, and not just European countries.  The international mapping standard should be applicable to everywhere in the world, so that the sport of orienteering can be promoted.  Chinese villages have many narrow pathways that are below the mapping standard distance, but are easy to run.  These kind of villages can give a lot of technical challenges to the orienteering competitors.  Avoiding these places for organizing orienteering seems to limit the possible terrains for orienteering.

The Proposal

For these narrow pathways, I proposed the following:

1) Still exaggerate pathways if the width is between 0.8 m - 1.6 m, and they are just drawn as 0.4 mm width on map.  If these pathways cannot be passed, still give olive green (impassable area) as usual.
2) For pathways below 0.8 m, introduce lines between buildings.  These lines mean narrow pathways that are too narrow to have thickness, but they have the potential for passing. Something like this:


These lines are shown to signal the competitors that: there is a pathway that is too narrow.  It is not worth passing through it.  Pass at your own risk.

To show that the path cannot be passed, add short purple lines on both ends to show they cannot be passed. Now there is a flexibility for the mapper to indicate whether a narrow pathway can be passed or not.


If using this method, two buildings that are joined by walls should be shown as one building, with no lines in between.  These lines between buildings should only be used to show there is a narrow pathway in between buildings.

Please feel free to give comments!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

2019-06-22 Sprint Orienteering in Shenzhen suburb -- Xin Qiao Village (新橋村)

More than a year ago when I was in the US, I shared the following sprint orienteering map in China with the orienteers in Chicago:


My friend said, "how special is that? It is just navigation around buildings."
My reply, "see how similar each building is in the video, and you need to sprint within these forest of buildings."



That was the course that made me amazed on how fun sprint orienteering can be in China.

Today, I signed up a sprint orienteering in China that surpassed the difficulty of the above course.  Before starting, I already wanted to say that today's course is not about pure speed, but about who can balance the speed and map reading accuracy.  When reading the control description sheet (clue sheet) and seeing so many symbols for buildings, I feel excited that there will be a fun course today. In a sprint orienteering course in China with village terrain, building corners will give a lot of navigational challenges.

The surrounding areas at the start hinted that today's sprint orienteering course will be in a village terrain, which can be a lot of fun in terms of navigational challenges when running with speed.


In the end, I read a course that needs mental focus almost everywhere, which is my expectation.  This course is probably harder than the one that I showed above, since 1) building pattern is not a simple grid in this map, 2) the pattern is rotated in this map, 3) there are many dead ends.


Field conditions:






To tackle this kind of courses with speed, it is important to apply several orienteering techniques, so that I can simplify the map, and run fast and locate myself accurately:

1) Thumbing and Map Folding: 

You do not want to lose track of which alley you are in, and you do not want to make parallel mistakes (two features that are close to each other and look similar, and one confuses one feature with another).

2) 3S - Slow, Set map, Select

a) Slow: when to slow down, how slow (or even complete stop)
b) Set map: needs to do it automatically every time, using the building grid system
c) Select: go forward? move back? turn left? turn right?

3) Decide to do Coarse or Fine Orienteering

a) Coarse orienteering: Control 5-6 -- Go back to the main road (handrail) and run
b) Fine orienteering: Control 6-7 -- Slow down while moving within the alleys, counting intersections and collecting obvious features (e.g. open lands, permanently closed areas, wide paved areas) along the way.  These features may also be attack points to the control.

4) Catching Features

A wider alley or road or even a fence at an intersection can be your catching feature to signal that you go too far.

5) Traffic Light

E.g. Control 9 -10
a) Green: run back to the road, turn left, keep running until the road starts to narrow, then turn right, run straight until seeing a wide area
b) Yellow: turn left to go in one row, then turn right
c) Red: look carefully for the control, almost arrive


6) Route choice

Like any sprint courses, which route is shorter? Which route needs many 180-degree turns, which makes you slow down? Which route needs more fine orienteering, which makes you slow down? There are many route choices along this course.

7) Aiming off

E.g. Control 9 - 10

When running on the road, I do not turn right to the correct alley and do not know when the control will pop up (due to so many alleys to count, see figure above, blue line). I turn right one alley earlier, so that I can use the open land to know when I get close to the alley that contains the control, and I know I need to turn left for one block first, and then turn right, since I went one alley earlier.

8) Recovery Technique

At one level, it means when I know I make a mistake of navigation, where I am at.  At another level, it is about intentionally not exactly know where I am to gain speed in running, and then find out where I am when I get to a large path or road.

E.g. Control 20 - 21

I may select running back to the wide road to gain speed in running. I can also choose to ignore most features within the village alleys and gain speed by running inside through a more direct route.  Then, at obvious feature (e.g. end of T-junction), where I most likely am.  I may judge by the length of the blockage (the length of wall between two alleys, or by obvious features around.  I find out where I am, and know that when I run to cross the main road, which intersection I am at.

Window training course is the kind of recovery technique that I am thinking.  There are "black boxes" between the controls.

I don't quite care what is inside in the white area. I do need to know where I am when I get to the main road
Below is my Go Pro video of running the whole course:


The real-time route analysis can be find here:

My biggest mistake is probably Control 1.  When waiting to start, while I saw most people running straight, I saw a few ME runners turned left to an alley.  I would like to see why, and I did not mind challenging navigation in the beginning, so I tried, and found that this route choice really did not have any advantages.  It was too late to change, so I navigate slowly for this control.

There were several areas in the map that can look clearer.  Some alleys should be exaggerated a bit to meet to minimum width requirement in orienteering map, so that some important information (e.g., a wall blocking the alley) can be shown.  The purple lines for the course should also try to avoid covering the alleys, since it is hard to tell whether the alley can be passable.  There are several controls in the later part of the course where straight line route is impossible due to walls and buildings (e.g. Controls 13, 16, 19, 22, and 23).

I did not expect a second place today.  I think the true elites can finish 4 minutes faster than me.


After the race, there were lunch around round tables:


I look forward to another village sprint orienteering in China!  It is a great place to train orienteering techniques so that one's physical ability to run can be used fully in a sprint orienteering course.