NB We apologise for the problems with the map experienced at this event. By way of a small compensation, anyone producing their illegible map at our next event at St Leonards on 28 December will be given a free entry.
This event was always going to be a good test of your night orienteering skills, but the slowly disappearing print was not part of the plan. I was amazed at how well many of you coped with this problem and how restrained you were with your comments.
We have not disqualified people who could not find controls that had been rubbed off their map, however at least one person was honest enough to admit that the control they missed was still clearly visible on their map.
I think the problem was partly caused by not covering the maps in the start lane which meant that you started with a map that was already soaked.
Despite this problem and the rain some of you even said you enjoyed the courses so it is a shame that Ian's good work with the planning could not be fully appreciated.
I was interested to see how you coped with the paintball area and all of the unmapped 'junk' which added a bit of interest.
By way of compensation I think MV are considering offering free runs at their St Leonards event (28 December) to those who felt that their runs were spoilt by the print problem.
This event was a return to tradition in two ways. Firstly, it revived the old Mole tradition of heavy rain. At one time the club's unofficial motto was 'pluvium ad infinitum'.
Secondly it was a night event with cross country courses in the mould of the old SENiLE (South East Night League). This used to have three courses, Navy (night Blue), Olive (night Light Green) and Ochre (Night Yellow/Orange). For good measure I threw in a Bottle (Night Green) course too, which was just a truncated version of the Navy.
No apologies for the Navy and Bottle being technically tough. This event was billed as being a practice for a night championship. The Olive was a throwback to the original Light Green specification, starting easy and getting harder later. It was planned to force you off paths while using control sites close to major relocation features - but relocation is never easy in the dark.
Use of Mole Valley's stock of reflective kites has been controversial in the past, with some claiming it makes finding the controls too easy. Tonight I only used these kites on the Ochre course. This is intended for night novices, and can never be too easy. I nearly used reflective kites on the Olive too, but in the end didn't because several Olive controls were shared with the Navy.
The massive disappointment of the night was the failure of the ink to adhere to the map, causing difficult for many and making continuing a total impossibility for some.
The hardest control was probably 210 on the Navy course, the deciduous tree in the slow-run conifer plantation. this required more precision than any other control, and the ability to maintain a bearing through low-visibility forest while dodging the trees. I think it was fair. It wasn't far from a track, and if you weren't accurate enough to hit the tree, you should at least have been able to find one of the clearings to the east and then take a few steps west to the control. However this required map reading, and if by this stage your map was no longer telling you that the western edge of the plantation was fight, or that the clearings existed, then the control would certainly have become unreasonable.
I would like to thank everybody who ran for braving the weather and not moaning too much about the maps. I would like also to thank all the other officials and helpers, in particular the control collectors. When you've been standing around in the wet for hours and just want to get home (or to the pub) it takes a real star to go out into the forest again, so take a bow Caz, Paul, Nick and Simon.
Mole Valley Orienteering Club
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