Results have been reposted (9th January) following the Controller's decision to exclude leg one on the Brown and Short Green courses owing to a mis-placed control (number 156).
This event, that I was persuaded would be straight forward, has been an interesting experience for a novice organiser. I have learnt so much from the experienced BOK officials who supported my efforts. I shall try to thank as many as possible individually, but have to say here that having Katy and Tom as Controller and Planner was a big plus, Simon in Permissions coped with a huge workload and John Simmons had continual revisions to upload. All the difficulties we had were mitigated by the excellent turnout with many new faces and some old. Conditions were very muddy, but that did not stop competitors enjoying themselves. Our map of Leigh Woods needs an update and this was reflected in a couple of areas, notably at control 156. This was the first control on the Brown and Short Green courses and a decision was made to void this leg. This seems the fairest decision and will not affect the winners on these courses. Thanks to all who came and hopefully enjoyed the day.
Lost Property: A black garden chair was left at registration. Let me know if you claim ownership and I shall arrange its return.
My courses were generally well received, with many commenting on the various route choices throughout. The biggest legs were on the blue and brown with a choice of direct through the steep valleys, along the tow path or back towards the car park. Unfortunately, no one so far has declared they went straight, although if you are good at the tough stuff it should be a good option, with the jury still out between the other two routes. Overall, I tried to give a good tour of the best parts of the area, a variety of leg lengths and not too much climb while still visiting the runnable Paradise Bottom on the longer courses. Of course, there was plenty of mud, which largely appeared from late November and made worse by rain the night before, but it’s all part of the fun. The easier and shorter courses remained high, but not dry, giving what I hope was a decently entertaining experience on less physical terrain. Finally, a big thank you to Katy and John for making this a successful race (and the WNL too in December – beyond the call of duty), as well as to the many behind the scenes in BOK who went the extra mile to ensure all could happen.
Throughout the preparation period for this event the trees of Leigh Woods have been a delight. From Summer through to December, the flat limestone-based historic area with very steep valleys and eastern slopes, has never failed to show off the beauty of English woodland. However it has been a challenge to mould this narrow area into neat yet adventurous courses for BOK’s discerning orienteering clientele. The planner Tom Dobra was able to utilise the wider and drier forest tracks for the junior courses and the more intricate areas with route choice over the steep valleys for the strongest runners. Older orienteers especially liked the Short Green course which had technical demands with minimal climb. The map turnover for the Brown courses ensured that the course was clearly printed and the route choice of the towpath run along the river was used to advantage, although it did mean a steep climb back into the main competition area. Timings for all courses were as expected and well done to all whether you were speedy or not. A bit of rain the night before January did not cause problems.
Ground engineering works and some forest infrastructure developments were a continual hazard to the planning. But thanks to the hard work of the BOK Fixtures and Permissions teams together with the Organiser, we were able to deal amicably with the problems. Of course, the official request from the National Trust and Forestry Commission not to run the day event in December (combined with the Western Night League event) was a blow, but having the night event in December and moving the day event to early January provided you all with a great race for the New Year. Now that Leigh Woods has come to the end of the disruption, we can look forward to a complete review of the map and more excellent orienteering to come.
I have to thank all members of BOK who have given up so much of their time to make this event work: Fixtures, Permissions, Mapping and printing, all the hard working officials and volunteers before, during and after the day, our brilliant organiser John Fielder for hours on the phone and computer and our imaginative planner Tom Dobra for combining the planning tasks with regular commutes to Cambridge. You are all a great team to work with. Thank you.