Holcote and Reynolds Wood
Sunday 4th March 2012
A huge thank you to everyone on the helper team. Because of your efforts, we managed to hold a safe and successful event despite the awful
weather, and the way you all stayed cheerful and just got on with things is much appreciated!
Special thanks to Robert for his mapping and planning efforts - I had some great feedback from competitors on the quality of the courses and the interesting challenges they presented.
I'd like also to thank Ian Froggatt of the Woodland Trust for letting us use the area, and for giving us great support in the run-up to the event.
I really enjoyed my first experience of organising a level C - big thanks go to Keith for mentoring me throughout the process. I've learned a lot that will stand me in good stead for next time and, yes, now I'm warm and dry again I think there is likely to be a next time!
My first attempt at planning a level C and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mapping the area and planning the event. It was especially good for me that the high ground by the South gate into the field provided an excellent spectator point for me to see how competitors dealt with the legs across the open field, in some cases ending up in dead ends in the brambles!!! The area is a nice mixture of terrain with mature wood, new deciduous planting and an open contoured fi8eld which has been made a lot more usable with the removal of fences across it. Fortunately the cattle and pen which appeared in the week before the event did not seem to be a problem;- thank you for taking it in your stride. While the area has few small contour features, the large pronounced spurs and re-entrants give opportunities to use them as attack line features, especially in the open area. One of the problems with the area is the long thin strip joining the North and South blocks, We are fortunate having an alternative route to the middle of the area, so the start can be placed to use the more interesting northern part for all courses (albeit at the cost of a relatively long walk to the start) and allowing the long strip to be run only once to a finish by assembly and car parking. Controls were placed part way down to break a potentially long and boring run, the more technical of which turned out more difficult than expected for those who did not read the contours. In much of the area, technical control features are limited except for the bramble thickets, most of which are fortunately distinctive and well defined. This led to the rather monotonous control description "thicket" but did enable me to try to keep competitors in the forest. Thanks to all competitors who braved the predicted rain, sleet and cold to make the effort of putting on the courses worthwhile. Thank you especially to Keith, my Controller, for his excellent advice and assistance and also to Neil and Peter who helped put the controls out and then, with Ric and Paul, braved the cold and wet to get them back in again.
What a difference a day makes! Saturday and Monday both bright and sunny - whatever happened on Sunday?
Certainly an efficient event happened, even with the rain, snow and biting wind everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.
Robert and Ros stepped up to the challenge to plan and organise their first full scale event and even the string course had a new team with Freya and Milly in charge. As Controller, I had only to point them in the right direction as they all coped admirably with everything under control. With last minute cows and asbestos scares amongst other twists and turns they learnt the essential lesson - to expect the unexpected. Without a Black course, the winning time on the Brown course was impressive and shows just how much the runnability has improved to make an interesting area with the mix of vegetation and climb. When we first used the area, the trees were smaller than the thistles but now they are maturing and opening out to make the direct line the most attractive route choice in most blocks. With more planting going on nearby, there should be an even bigger forest in years to come.