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Coded courses String course
Iíve found the secret to providing courses which will keep most people
happy. Itís not mentioned in BOF guidelines, but provide a nice sunny
spring day, and youíll get few complaints!
Balcombe is not a technically difficult area, so
I tried to encourage you to make your own mistakes. The idea was to get
you running fast through fields and along tracks; and then give you some
short and (relatively) technical legs in the forest. I am pleased to see
from the splits that even most course winners lost significant time
My other objective was to give you some pleasant
memories of the forest, with some spectacular control sites, and the
finish in the nicest bit by the reservoir. The disadvantage of this last
strategy was the long slog back to the car park.
The only previous Badge event at Balcombe was
part of the 2000 Spring in the South series. Times on that seemed
slightly short, as was appropriate for the third day of a multi-day
event, so I made my courses slightly longer. The results suggest that
most lengths were about right, but the three longest courses were a
little overdone. I hope your legs have recovered for the JK!
Most people will tell you that the young junior
courses are hardest to plan, but I find the 70 & 75 courses harder.
Trying to provide the highest level of technical difficulty while
keeping to physically easy terrain is quite a challenge, and I did
receive suggestions that course 12 (M75S, W60-75S) in particular was too
taxing. However, I am pleased to see that everyone did complete
successfully, and I hope you enjoyed it.
The other contentious issue is whether some of
the crags, in particular the waterfall (control 180), should have been
taped. My judgement was that nobody was likely to fall down this one;
the vegetation on the top would prevent you running over it too fast to
stop. I am aware that some disagreed, although happily nobody proved me
wrong by breaking their neck!
There are lots of people I ought to thank, and
space prevents me from listing everybody. I must particularly mention
gamekeeper John Lewis for delaying the fencing of the new pheasant pens,
forester Jamie Kirkland for preserving a taped control site intact which
clear-felling around it, and controller Mike Murray for his quiet
I look forwards to running at Balcome myself in
the Southern Express on 20th April.
This event seemed to have a curse on the organisers, the
original organiser was Eddie Whiston, but unfortunately he suffered a
stroke, thankfully he is making good progress and we wish him all the
best for a
complete and speedy recovery. Then with 2 weeks to go Julianna
Grant was taken ill and so Mark Rowe took over most of the
organisation from there until the day, although many of you would have
seen that Julianna was there on the day making a very valuable
contribution and able to see the fruits of her labours over the
previous months. Ultimately we ended up as joint organisers and this
worked very well, being able to bounce ideas and questions off each
other, and sharing the stress of an event like this!
Thank you all very much for coming, and for the favourable comments
that you gave us after having finished your courses. Everything seemed
to go relatively smoothly on the day, thanks no doubt to an excellent
turnout to help from Mole Valley members, the size of the club meaning
that nowadays we do need 100% of the membership to help to run a badge
event properly. Thanks in particular go to Mike Elliot for running the
computing side of the event, the size and importance of this role
almost warranting status as the fourth official nowadays, and to
Laurence Townley for his help in the days prior to the event and on
the day being one of the first helpers there, even though he came all
the way from Cambridge!
Thanks also go to the landowner and South East Chairman Simon
Greenwood for the use once again of his land, and land agent Charles
Thomason, nothing being too much trouble in the run up to the event!
We even had a car park created specially for us! - how many other
events are able to claim that I wonder!
Julianna Grant & Mark Rowe
Lost Property : 1 'Recta' Compass with Whistle attached. Contact
It was a pleasure to control the Moles' Balcombe event. The High
Weald is a wonderful mixture of open spaces separated by deeply
incised streams with their wooded valleys. In addition the
early spring date enabled us to enjoy Ian's courses which required
little interference from me, the only changes resulting from the
recent landscaping of the new pheasant pens.
Mike E. had put a lot of effort into giving you an up to date map
which was easy to read in spite of the crowded detail on the ground.
Mark and Julianna kept me fully informed at all times and all their
hard work resulted in a very smooth operation.
My congratulations to all concerned.