Irish Mountain
Running Association

Ironbridge Nav Challenge 1

Forum Messages

Mick HanneyAug 4 2017, 10:30amParticipants are requested to make an active effort to carpool. Parking around ironbridge is limited.
Mick HanneyAug 9 2017, 7:08pmHi, can webmaster add me as RD so I can add additional event info? Thanks, mick
Mick HanneyAug 9 2017, 10:13pmThanks. Event details updated.
Mick HanneyAug 10 2017, 11:54amA non running volunteer would be appreciated to assist on the day.

If I could get a volunteer to assist getting in the controls after that would be welcome. Could be done later than day or next day as suits.
Anne-Marie FlahertyAug 11 2017, 10:04pmHi Mick,

I've signed up as non-running volunteer, but just need to be sure I can get there on the day (non-driver!)
Will confirm tomorrow (Saturday).
Anne-Marie FlahertyAug 12 2017, 10:53amI'm good to go for Sunday.

Mick HanneyAug 12 2017, 1:32pmThanks a mill.
Mick HanneyAug 14 2017, 3:22pmRace instructions updated with some more info. It would be good to see some cars listed for carpooling.
Sarah BradyAug 16 2017, 8:30amHi! I've never done one of these and I'm just wondering how difficult they are. Would the short course be suitable for someone who is really really bad at nav but wants the practice? Or is there a fair level of skill required? I have used a map and compass and know the basics, and I've been told these challenges might be good for practice. Don't mind coming last. :)
Warren SwordsAug 16 2017, 10:25amIf you can use a compass and know the basics Sarah, then the Nav challenge is ideal for further practice.

Give it a good go, it's good craic.

They're not hugely difficult. Most of last year's races were straight forward enough....that said, I did get marooned on the side of Corrig mtn for what felt like an eternity.
Mick HanneyAug 16 2017, 12:09pmShort course should be very doable. I would encourage anyone to give it a go.

Please read event instructions. As per other IMRA events no race payments on the day. Voucher or pre-paid online only.

The route will take in trails either side of Ironbridge. This should allow runners to refuel (water etc), if they wish, at Ironbridge mid-event.

Particular thanks to Gavan for his help in preparing the map for the day.
Mick HanneyAug 16 2017, 12:36pmOn Sunday, I'll be there from 9.30. If volunteers could be there from 9.45 and we should be able to facilitate those who wish to avail of an early start. Remember please car-pool if you can.
James HeggieAug 17 2017, 8:10amIf you buy new race vouchers do they need to be used before end of the year or will any unused be able to be carried over till next year ,,?
Mick HanneyAug 17 2017, 8:22amVouchers can be carried forward or traded :-)
Tanya SheridanAug 17 2017, 10:14amHi Sarah, I am doing my 1st nav challenge on Sunday as well (I've done a bit of orienteering before). Mick suggested that it might make sense for runners new to these races to team up. If you want to do that, just let me know. Good luck in any case!
Sandra PegmanAug 17 2017, 2:20pmHi Sarah & Tanya. I haven't participated in a nav challengers before & would love to team up as well if you are interested. Thanks, Sandy
Tanya SheridanAug 17 2017, 5:01pmSounds good Sandra! Would you mind please sending me an email to my committee address so we can arrange? Also if you are interested, the Three Rock Orienteering has started again - next two Tuesdays in the Phoenix Park. It is really good for beginners.
Gavan DuffyAug 18 2017, 12:04amHi
What does T 074 847 mean or how do i use this for finding the location. Thanks
Pól Ó MurchúAug 18 2017, 12:21amThat's a grid reference Gavan...useful to know for Navigation Challenges. There was a time that you'd be told if you can't find the start you shouldn't be doing the navigation race but I think these days they make it easy and the maps are all nicely marked up for competitors so I wouldn't worry if you don't know how to read them or find the grid reference on the map.worth googling though. The location is "Iron Bridge" it's on the Wicklow Way a little past Glenmalure if coming from Dublin direction. If you put ( 52.903683,-6.406863) into google maps it should bring you there or type in "Ironbridge, Wicklow".
Mick HanneyAug 18 2017, 8:54amIn particular, for those new to the navigational challenges or those just thinking about it, the attached is a sample map with an illustrative Control point 1. This is the kind of map you'll get on the day - with more control points - so its a case of figuring how to get from where you are to the point in question, as efficiently as possible, then onto the next Control Point etc then back to the start/finish point.. Its based on the East West map so the scale, mapping features etc will be in common with those maps. Any questions or comments?
Gavan DohertyAug 18 2017, 12:56pmThe photo 'attachment' is one of the event page's photos (

For anyone wondering about the navigation aspect it's worth taking a look and figuring out how you'd go about the sample navigation given (from start triangle to checkpoint 1).

A few general navigation comments:
- You don't need a compass
- navigation is easier if you turn your map so that the features on the ground line up with the corresponding features on your map (better illustrated on
- the map has gridlines on it which are 1km apart; ideally you should have a rough idea of how far 1km is on the ground (or say 100m or 500m)
- much of the forest is still marked as forest but has been felled. Best to stay on roads and avoid cutting through forest.

There are 3 routes that I can see:
1) head North East along the minor road and cut into the forest to follow the Wicklow Way (pink line)
2) head North East along the minor road and turn north into the forest about 800m beyond the Wicklow Way forest entrance. Use the forest roads that zig-zag north to get there.
3) head North-Northwest along the minor road and go all the way around

While the third option is a lot longer it avoids the big hill (Carrickashane, see the contours around it). Stronger flat runners would find this option best, while good hill climbers might opt for the shorter options.

You won't get lost around Ironbridge regardless of your experience, but you may find that others come up with quicker routes!
Mike JordanAug 18 2017, 1:50pmDon't listen to that 'avoid cutting through forest' nonsense :D
Take Gavan's 2nd route choice 800m past the WW, then take the long firebreak (white line on green forest background) all the way to about 300m from the control. Just to the west (left) of the pink 1. Shortest possible route. That felled stuff will be character building. Simples ;)
Joseph BoyleAug 18 2017, 2:04pmI see in the Carpool section that Eoin O'Malley is heading across the Liffey on the way to Ironbridge. The Dublin City Triathlon is on this Sunday and I think all of the bridges across the Liffey are closed from 07.00 to 13.30. Check out the closures on Dublin City Councils website.
Pól Ó MurchúAug 18 2017, 2:20pmOf course there's another option...take a bearing straight to the checkpoint and stick on that line (maybe a bearing of 40 degrees?) don't be tempted by all the forest paths that you'll cross over...shortest route at about 2km...real character building and you'll be the talk of the prizegiving for sure...that's assuming you make it back at some stage!
Gordon PlaceAug 18 2017, 2:51pmYep, signs in town say all city crossings have via M50
Mick HanneyAug 18 2017, 4:04pmCan the webmaster add the Nav Challenge events as a League of races under Leagues 2017, so we can keep track of the overall race for navigator of the year? Thanks.
Gerry BradyAug 18 2017, 6:24pmAre you sure the triathlon is on this Sunday? This website has it down for Sunday week.
Gerry BradyAug 18 2017, 6:28pmAh you mean the Ironman.
Mick HanneyAug 19 2017, 7:39amAnyone considering online entry, it is open until 6 this evening.
Mick HanneyAug 20 2017, 3:20pmHi,
I added provisional results as a race report. Karen/Pol - if you have the laptop can you do us a favour and add them to the IMRA results?

I hope everyone enjoyed their day today. Some talking points re controls and map versus what was on the ground, but such is always the way :-) Great to hear the stories of routes taken, rightly and wrongly. Until the next time...

Paul JoyceAug 20 2017, 4:19pmGreat event Mick, well done to you and all the volunteers! I got my daily swim in crossing the Ow, and followed some lovely old stone walls above Ballyteige. All was great until the last control 9, came at it a "cute" way and lost 20 mins going in circles! Eventually found it be choosing a different path. Thought the map was largely a success, any slight discrepancies add to the finish line chat.
Mick HanneyAug 20 2017, 4:40pmWelcome news that East-West mapping are extending their area of coverage in south Wicklow. A pity their area of detail finished across our scope of coverage today. For a small country some of our hills and trails aren't well mapped.

You could tell that good craic was had. Was good to show IMRA folk the other hills that are out there beyond the usual suspects we run.

Some race reports would add to the colour of the event.
James H CahillAug 20 2017, 5:47pmThank you Mick and your volunteers for a great excursion around Iron Bridge today. It was a great course and you put a huge amount of work into it. Thank you. They say that there are two things you should never approach from the rear - horses and restaurants. I think control 9 should be added to that list - 25 minutes after approaching it from the rear and getting to within 100m of the control I found it! Great day out in the hills.
Daniela BoehmAug 20 2017, 6:01pmThank you to Mick and his helpers for a fun day out which not only included a free exfoliating treatment for anyone not wearing full-length leggings but also the opportunity to conduct an in-depth assessment of the local flora (gorse, ferns, raspberry bushes, prickly pines..). I must have gotten so engrossed in my botanical explorations that I forgot about the remaining controls ;) Sorry for keeping you waiting at the finish! Ger, I have your prize for winning the ladies' long course and will give it to you at the next race.
:) Daniela
Mick HanneyAug 20 2017, 7:27pmGreat report Gerry. Was interesting to note Control 4 was the majority choice for the optional 'drop'. With local knowledge I would have kept 4 as it had good running to and from whereas 1 was a bit ugly (I found that out myself again this evening de-marking it). Talking to the winner I see he found his way down a very little used trail towards Ballyteige bridge, bearly visible on the map, but good in parts on the ground. Its a shame that the de-forestation has left the hills in such a mess and the previous paths hard to find.

The direction one approached certain controls played a big part on the day. Control 9 and 2 were potentials in that department, hence their mention as part of the pre-race briefing.

The original vision to have controls on the various high points. That was dropped as a plan as A) distance was probably too great and B) the summits are generally so messy it would be difficult to identify a clear Control site, particularly considering some runners could be inexperienced in the nav department. Glad everyone enjoyed their day. A big thanks to Gavan for his help in the background burning the midnight oil looking at maps. Also to Maike and Anne-Marie - not-running today, and Mick Byrne, for assisting with parking, which worked out well.
Conor O'FarrellAug 20 2017, 11:11pmThanks Mick for a great event. Dave and myself did the short course. Not much difficulty for the first 4 controls, but we decided to make it difficult for ourselves by crossing the river for a "shortcut" that cost us 40-50 minutes. Control 9 then had us running around in circles, so we gave up in that and headed for control 7. We then realised that control 6 was closer, but we were still scratching our heads a bit, but found it eventually.

I found it funny that we got the first 4 controls in around an hour, and the last one took us another 80 minutes. What a couple of dumbshits.

Thanks again, good fun.
Mick HanneyAug 21 2017, 10:45amCorrected Conor.
Race reports appreciated. Details of routes taken and what you'd do different perhaps?
Niall McGuinnessAug 21 2017, 11:04amThis was my first go at a nav challenge and thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks to Mick and team. I did the short course and chose to do the four controls on one side and the the near one on the other side (5). I seem to be the only one to have found 9 no problem but spent about 20 mins going round in circles looking for the path with 6 on it. Out of interest what was the winning short course route? Eoin won by a country mile.
Mick HanneyAug 21 2017, 1:02pmNiall - approaching control 6 from north or from control 8, the path / intersection point is easy enough found. If you approached it from another direction I can understand any difficulty as the various intermediate trails shown on the map are not a true reflecion of what is on the ground due to forestry work in recent years and heavy growth.

Eoin Syron might share his route taken if he reads this.
Niall McGuinnessAug 21 2017, 1:13pmYeah, I went from 9 to 6 to 8 to 7. My "logic" was I'd go for the potentially tricky ones first while I was still fresh and then I could just focus on running. In hindsight the opposite loop probably would have been easier.
Joseph BoyleAug 21 2017, 1:21pmThanks very much to Mick and his team of volunteers for a really great and more importantly fun challenge. I'm also a first timer and hope to upload a report from the back of field shortly. Just a point of note I was listed against the long course and should've been the short course. Again, blame control gate no. 9 for the time lost.
Mick HanneyAug 21 2017, 8:42pmGreat to read the reports.
The flapjack recipe was made with dates courtesy of a Rachel Allen recipe. Maike did 2 batches of biscuits too. :-)
Lots of chat about control 9. It was specifically called out at the pre-race briefly that the single track on the map wasn't correct, that it doubled back on itself. The control was exactly at the top as I said ;-)
I guess the trick was the direction you approached the controls from, tracks being overgrown over time etc.
Those that waded through the river.. there was a little track that emerged at a gate beside Ballyteige bridge.

Hopefully next time we traverse south Wicklow the mapwork will have extended further to assist.
Andrew HanneyAug 22 2017, 9:33amRace report up, thanks Mick and volunteers for a great race!
Alan AylingAug 22 2017, 11:24pmOne more report added, might as well see if we can break the record for number of reports on one race.
Mick HanneyAug 23 2017, 8:27amReports are all great reads. Alan - I last used the gorse lined trail you took many years back. I daren't have tried it now, so fair play to your tenacity :-)
Lessons learned all around, by myself included, which will help next time running or organising.
Mick HanneyAug 23 2017, 10:50amThanks Karen for helping with the results.
I've changed my report from provisional results to being an RD account of the organising. If you enjoy the nav you would certainly enjoy the nav planning. Recommended.
Eoin SyronAug 28 2017, 1:09pmHI All,

Better late than never

The route i took on nave challange 1.
I created with gmaps pedometer