Graham Gristwood originally planned courses for this event a year
ago, but then along came Foot and Mouth and everything was shelved.
A year on, exam commitments meant that he was unable to take on the role
again, so, living close by, I was persuaded to take over.
Start and finish and the broad shape of the courses were all pretty
much as Graham had intended them, but, for various reasons, I did have
to re-plan the longer courses. Some control sites proved unusable,
usually where the map was no longer representative of the terrain.
This was exacerbated by forestry work in the northern part of the area,
which should improve things considerably in years to come but made it
difficult to find acceptable control sites on this occasion.
As mentioned in the notes on the day, the sawmill has extended its
operations considerably. The huge stacks of timber flanking the
track make it impractical to set legs cutting across this part of the
area, which is a pity given some nice contour detail on the slope to the
Finally, we only learnt of the clay pigeon shoot on the Wednesday
prior to the event. Although there were no controls within the
shooting area itself, this still meant a late night re-working the
courses from red through to brown with controller Charlie Turner,
without the time to make any further checks. We had to ditch one !
control as being too close and we tried to lead you away from the option
of cutting across the slope alongside the out-of-bounds (which would
have made a nice run in towards the finish). As it was, the fall
of shot went somewhat further than had been expected and Charlie stepped
in to extend the tapes marking the out of bounds area.
That's enough about the difficulties. For the most part
planning was very enjoyable: for me this is probably the nicest part of
the whole White Downs map and I tried to route you through the best
bits. The leaves coming out in the fortnight before the event did
reduce visibility, which probably slowed people down slightly and
certainly made one or two controls less obvious (for instance the
vegetation boundary at 207). There was also the strange experience
of putting out the first SI boxes at 6.00am on the morning of the event
and hearing a strange music reverberating over the forest, which turned
out to be a rave on Ranmore Common - thank goodness we weren't running
My thanks go to Charlie Turner for his advice, thoroughness and
willingness to put in a lot of effort to ensure we met what became quite
a tight timetable, especially with the last-minute complications of the
clay shoot, to Graham Gristwood for his groundwork last year, to Mike
Elliot, Keith Masson and Ian Ditchfield for control hanging and to the
many who volunteered to collect in controls afterwards.