Sunday 13th January 2013
A huge thank you to everyone who helped us before and during the event -- you were a great team and helped ensure the whole day went smoothly and safely. And thanks to the weather gods, who warded off the forecast snow until the following morning. The competitors we spoke to seemed to enjoy trying out our newest area -- and they appreciated the luxury of the car park (thank you, Barclaycard!).
We have one item of lost property: a compass and whistle combination. Email Ros (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you think it's yours.
Don't forget our next event -- March 3rd, Level C at Bucknell & Hazelborough.
Ros and Dorien James
The aim of the event was to test our new area with a possible view to using it for a level C at some point in the future. I think the conclusion is that it's a surprisingly nice and diverse little area, although with several constraints which mean that future courses may be rather similar to Sunday's.
Routegadget showed up the one big planning mistake. I was rather pleased with control 5 on the Green - the "secret garden" in the middle of the massive thicket - which required you to work out that the only entrance was round the far side. On a last-minute whim, I decided that since the Blue course was going that way anyway, they could visit it from the opposite direction. I never imagined that anyone would then regard five meters of waist-high brambles as the most viable way out - but once the first blood-stained competitor had blazed the trail, it became quite an elephant track which saved later competitors about 75 seconds. The lesson is never to underestimate the elites.
My thanks to Robert Dove for his extensive work and coaching on both the mapping and the course design: the best technical controls all relied on bits of forest that Robert had mapped properly; to Chris Barker of Brackmills Industrial District, who provided a lot of support, publicity and encouragement; and to all those who so willingly helped on the day.
Many of us orienteers have areas we have found and developed and consequently for which we retain special feelings. This must be one for Dorien.
Congratulations for finding such an area and getting the enthusiastic support of Brackmills Industrial Estate. I had not realised such an extensive area for orienteering existed behind an industrial estate I had been past many times.
I was further impressed by the state of the map when I was asked help. I had only to tidy up with some limited surveying and tweaks to the cartography. Congratulations Dorien for a first map.
And then to top it, thanks to Dorien for planning the courses to give satisfied competitors on the day.
And finally, a thanks to the weather, a nice bright day with the benefit of the frost which froze the surfaces sufficiently to harden them and become considerably more runnable than the sticky mud or treacherously slippery clay the previous day.
This is not the easiest of areas to plan optimum courses for all. The juniors had to stay in the parkland to the West and even then it is difficult to get the length for the Yellow. This restricted the start and finish position resulting in the Blue course beginning with a long run (boring or a good warm up depending on your point of view) through the estate which is not intricate enough for good street-O legs. As a further consequence Green and Orange were constrained to the Western end of the area.
I am not sure whether any competitors found the same, but using the warehouses was a great help in checking a number of control positions - cases where the greater view was better than the small focussed one.
Not the most technical of areas but a useful addition to the SMOC portfolio.