Colour standard times
Lost Property - see Organiser's report
In the end the remote car park was probably preferable to any of the nearby fields which would have been impossibly muddy given the weather conditions of the last couple of weeks - and the sunny skies made up for a lot of the disadvantages. For once mobile phone communication was reasonably good between the event centre and the forest, and that helped make things go more smoothly.
May I presume to offer grateful thanks on behalf of the competitors to all the volunteer helpers without whom the event would not have happened at all, and to our mapper Mike, planner Philip and controller Steve.
I have two items of lost property:
Pair of black fleece gloves dropped (I think) on the route between bus and start
Thumb compass dropped near the clothing dump - somebody reported this missing but I don't have your contact details
And we still have unclaimed from St Leonards (28th December) one purple sweater brand Westbury at C&A size small. This garment will be donated to charity if not claimed shortly.
Send any claims to me by email to SimonATSimonling.org.uk (replace 'AT' with @)
Simon Ling, MV
Last summer it looked like the event was on again for this January. The map still had a large chunk of the new Oldlands Wood area to be surveyed and drawn. During the autumn all the original control sites were revisited and about 50% of the tapes were still in place, most with the writing still legible. During the remainder of the year the courses were finalised or planned in parallel with the map being updated.
Sheepleas was not too bad, but for much of the rest of the map there were major changes in the vegetation. Many white or yellow/orange areas had become various shades of green, and many green areas had become white. Some of the white areas eventually had to have runability screens added due to brashings from the forestry work or to undergrowth. Some controls were dropped where the undergrowth was even more unpleasant than some people experienced.
Having a new area, Oldlands Wood, with perhaps some of the nicest forest on the map, at least with respect to running conditions, I wanted to get as many people over there as possible. With the constraints of roads, houses and fields it was impossible to avoid the area of brashings and undergrowth and some of the hills. The whole area is also rather short of decent technical control sites and too well endowed with paths and distinctive rides, so some of the legs may have been a little on the easy side. Hopefully this was balanced by many other legs which were more challenging. Having some long legs crossing Sheepleas seemed to provide quite a challenge for many people as it was easy to be confused by the many paths, clearings and valleys.
Courses were planned within the latest length guidelines which allow for climb. As all courses had significant climb this led to courses apparently being on the short side, and a few people commented on this. If the weather had been like it was over the last week or two then we would have been thanked for this. There was originally a longer Black course planned but when the weather changed this was dropped at the controller's suggestion and the Black people were put on a slightly longer Brown course with the Brown people. This saved us putting out (and checking) 6 controls in remote locations in pretty unpleasant conditions, so I hope people do not feel short changed.
After all the bad weather we had during recent weeks we were exceptionally lucky to have had a clear sky from pre dawn till way past dark, and sunny all day with no wind. The ground had completely drained following the pouring rain on Saturday (which lasted until midnight), and was just crisp with the very light frost. Nearly all the snow had gone and many people came back with dry feet. A bit different from a couple of my recent visits when everything was snow covered!
I spent a long time at the finish line and we had many good comments and no complaints, although some did mention the brashings and brambles. Mike must have got the map about right as it hardly got a mention.
My thanks to controller Steve for his input, helpful suggestions and checking.
Philip Gristwood, MV
Apologies for asking the planner to combine Black with Brown. The extreme weather conditions the week before coupled with an entry of only four people on the Black course meant it seemed a good decision at the time. In the weeks before the event (and pre snow) gg had run the Black course in 90 minutes. Although this was not race conditions it was clear that to run the course in conditions of high snow levels (had they remained), may have put runners at risk.
Steve McKinley, SN
Mole Valley Orienteering Club
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