Some photos (with thanks to Rob Lines)
Pippingford day event results
Event page at
British Orienteering web site
Orienteering League web site
What course should you enter for UKOL points?
Start List British Night Championships
Fabian for BNC
Flyer for British Night Championships
v3 issue date 5 Jan 2014
Final details for British Night
Championships issue date 17 Feb 2014
I always enjoy planning at Pippingford. Plenty of variety, not too many
paths, very few areas OOB or needing to be avoided because of unpleasant
terrain. Actually, this gave me an initial problem;, usually I find
planning is a question of finding the few nice bits of a forest and
linking them together, but Pippingford is almost all nice, too much
If the Organiser hadn't picked the troop shelters, I'd probably still be
prevaricating, but once the assembly areas were known and I'd had a few
ideas for long legs, things fell into place. For the night event, I tried
to place the starts and finishes as close as possible to Assembly. I also
wanted people waiting to start not to have too much idea where the first
controls were. The patch of low visibility forest helped with this, you
could see people disappearing into it, but not where they were going.
It paid not to be too hyped up and rush off without a plan. Quite a few
people seemed to have headed off in roughly the right direction and then
had trouble sorting out the features to locate their first control. In
fact, if you kept a clear head, it was fairly easy to relocate off either
the earthwall between "light green" and "white", or the fence between wood
I was determined to keep people navigating right into the control, but I
didn't want to hide controls down the bottom of pits and the like. I think
it's important that a control should not be made significantly easier to
find by someone else punching it as you arrive. So I put out quite a lot
of controls, in the hope that just finding the right area and then going
to the first kite that someone was shining a torch on wouldn't work all
For the day, I sited the start on the steep part of the convex slope,
again with the idea that you wouldn't see where previous people had gone.
No low visibility forest this time, quite the reverse, but with the first
controls scattered over 180 degrees, some people still managed to get
distracted and run in the wrong direction.
There's a limit to the interest of the open slope near assembly so I took
the opportunity to lose some of the climb from the courses, and finish you
80m further down. You still had to do the climb back to download of
course, but at least you could have a rest first.
It's rare in the south-east to be able to plan a good long leg which isn't
a boring path run. I tried to give as many of you as possible such legs. I
think I succeeded for the day event, but I was disappointed at how many
people took the track option at night. I think a straighter route would
have been quicker, going up the track to the buildings required extra
climb as well as distance.
Then the weather caused one or two problems. A particularly heavy and
prolonged downpour a couple of weeks ago washed out a stream-side path
which was going to be on the Yellow and the shorter variations of Green,
so I made had to make a late change which added unwelcome length and climb
to these courses.
Then just after the map file had gone off to the printer, gales knocked
down trees all over the place. Fortunately it was only individual trees,
no solid patches of windblow. But the White course was blocked in two
places, so we had to add taped routes around one tree and through another
(there being no practical way round).
Finally, not to be outdone by nature, contract foresters felled a lot of
birch trees, leaving the logs jumbled up all over the Ochre (night novice)
course in particular. Another taped route.
My thanks to everyone else involved with the event, I won't put a great
long list of names here but you know who you are, and of course to the
competitors for turning up and mostly claiming to have enjoyed yourselves.
I shall miss my regular trips to Pippingford, frightening the deer, and
being startled myself by snipe shooting out from under my feet. Especially
since I now have no excuse for not tackling the backlog of tasks at home.
Ian Ditchfield, MVOC
Ashdown Forest has been a favourite place of mine since before I even knew
it existed. When I was about 8 we used to read the Winnie the Pooh books
for family entertainment – TV was in its infancy – each of us read one of
the characters (I read Pooh of course, my little sister was Piglet and my
dad was a particularly fine Eeyore). Little did I know that the scenery
portrayed in E H Shepard’s marvellous pen and ink sketches, portrayed a
real life place and that in years to come I would be organising a British
Championship on the area.
Pippingford Park seems to have my name on it – Day 3 JK2008 and now
BNC2014 – what next I wonder? It’s a great place to work with as, although
half is leased to the Army and half actually owned by them, they take it
all in their stride when we turn up ferreting around in their patch. All
Sandhurst cadets undertake their first week of field craft here so you
will have trodden in the footsteps of royalty.
It has a lengthy history of iron working – the highest spot to the NW of
the map was the site of an Iron Age hill fort and was subsequently
occupied by the Romans, as they valued the iron too. In 1500 the lower
part was home to only the second blast furnace in England. 1505 saw a
water-powered steel furnace built on a site near to our BNC Assembly. All
those lakes were created to drive the water wheels to operate bellows,
tilt hammers and the like. The platforms are sites where charcoal was
produced – it’s an industrial archaeologist’s paradise.
But what of organising two events in two days? Well I won’t be
volunteering to do that again in a hurry – 2 sets of flyers/risk
assessments/final details/start lists/helpers notes/etc – there is a
reason why multi-day events have a different organiser for each day, now I
know why! However all the effort seemed to pay off. Everybody I spoke to
was very complimentary about the two events and particularly pleased to
see the area from two different Assemblies/Starts/Finishes.
MV is a small club these days so you have to call in favours from your old
friends. For BNC, Nick Green (ex MV) and his team from GO ran the Start;
Mark Glaisher (ex MV) and his team of Saxons stood by in case we needed to
form a Search Party and then helped to pack everything away after you had
gone home; and Martin Ward (ex MV) presented the prizes to the champions.
We can even lay claim to the winner of M21L, as Graham Gristwood learnt
his craft as a member of MV and we bask in the glory of his subsequent
successes (his father Philip was your Safety Officer). For the Sunday I
was able to call on current Moles to go the extra mile and do double
shifts when helper numbers fell short. They were still collecting in the
last controls at 4pm. As an organiser it is a real boon to know that you
can rely on fellow club members to turn to and make it all happen on the
day. Thank you one and all.
I owe a special thank you to:
Ian Ditchfield for his tireless work in planning, re-planning and then
adjusting the courses again – rain, floods, fallen trees and late felling
all kept him on his toes.
Mike Elliot for re-mapping the area, providing me with all sorts of
advice, dealing with email queries in my absence for the first two weeks
in February, sourcing extra equipment and handling all the computer
related work on both days.
Katy Stubbs and her assistant Ian Hudson (both BKO) for controlling BNC.
Andrew Evans (DFOK) for controlling the Sunday League Event.
Richard Morris (whose family own the area leased to the Army) for offering
the use of the land and organising the permissions to use Pippingford.
The Ashdown Conservators for permission to add South Ashdown into the mix
on the Sunday.
And the weather for finally giving us two dry days in a row!
I can now look back on the two events with a sense of achievement and
pride – hopefully you can too.
Until the next time.
Mike Bolton (aka Boltmole), MVOC