EPSOM AND ASHTEAD COMMONS DISTRICT EVENT
South East Veterans winners
Please check out the Mole Roll to see previous winners
Unusually I am writing this two weeks before the event and while it is still provisional. The reason for the postponement was an injury to our mapper, Mike, and it meant that I would be out of the country at the time. The map has in any event taken much longer to prepare than expected. Partly this is because the area has changed out of almost all recognition since the last map was drawn 20 years ago, and partly because both Ashtead and Epsom Commons are subject to very active management by the respective wardens. Conservation volunteers were still clearing blackthorn scrub near the start only last Thursday!
I have been walking my dogs on Ashtead Common for many years and I am very fond of the place. You may not be so happy with it after encountering the mud and brambles, but I can assure you on a warm summer's evening it can be magical!
The late arrival of the map has of course posed considerable planning difficulties. For example, although I could find control sites, whether on the old map or not, they did not always turn out to be shown as I expected on the new map. The considerable development of the path and ride network in the last twenty years also meant that some legs turned out to have obvious path routes which I had not appreciated from walking the area.
I hope I have posed a few route choice problems and navigational challenges. As I shall not be there to receive your congratulations or criticisms on the day, I would much appreciate comments by email via our web site, of any nature, whether general or specific. Next time there will be a map available when the planners starts work and he or she can take your thoughts into account.
Finally I would like to thank all those who have worked hard to assist me, particularly Mike, who has put in far more hours and walked many more miles than I have; Ted the organiser; Tony and Sandra who stood in for me on the day, and Andrew the controller. You have all been marvellous!
The cold but very bright morning brought out over 200 runners to enjoy the courses set by Simon Ling on Mike Elliotís new map of Ashtead and Epsom Commons.
Having use of the Scout Hall was great for helpers and we hope you all appreciated the indoor facilities.
The one month postponement of the event meant that Simon was far away in India on the day, but I want to thank him for the perfect preparation, and Sandra Vogel and Tony Burton for supervising control placements on the day.
Controller Andrew Evans deserves thanks for his excellent support and especially for accommodating the very tight schedule for this event. Finally I want to thank all the MV helpers their enthusiastic support and especially for their initiatives in covering up any deficiencies in the overall organisation.
Ted McDonald, Mole Valley
A control site in an out of bounds are! Another in a lake! What on earth is going on here? These were my first reactions on seeing the courses superimposed on the previous map of the area. It all became much clearer hen the extent of the changes needed to the previous 1988 map were understood. Even the contours needed revision. We often take for granted the standard of the map - our expectations have risen so much over the years as the quality of the maps has increased.
The main decision to make was whether it was possible for the event to go ahead on the revised date. It became apparent that I would only see the eastern side of the map on the Wednesday before the event. Nevertheless, with this and a Plan B from Simon for revised red and blue courses, but no brown, we decided to push ahead with what was an extremely tight timetable.
The map was duly completed thanks to Mike's sterling dedication to the job. We were also helped by the very cold start to the day, which ensured the maps were not still hot from the print run when you picked them up. As Simon has mentioned, it is not easy to plan the courses and draw the control sites up on a blank base map, but when all was revealed little changed.
On the day we identified two controls, both first controls in courses near the start and hence among the last to be put out, which were not bleeping. It took a bit of time to replace these and I appreciate the patience of those early starters on the red and orange courses in particular as this was done. Fortunately all other controls worked properly throughout.
Ted had marshalled a strong contingent of MV helpers with a chance for everyone also to run, which helped the day go smoothly. The large turnout I think reinforced the decision to seek to proceed if at all possible and I thank you for supporting the event. Congratulations to Helen Errington (HH) and Alan Velecky (SO) the South East Veterans Champions and to the Collins family for winning the South East Families event.
Andrew Evans, DFOK
Mole Valley Orienteering Club
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