BOK Regional and ASO League - Headless Hill, Forest of Dean - 14th January 2018
Headless Hill is a lovely area of forest, although leading up to the event I had my doubts about how pleasant it would be in January. Having not organised for many years I was very grateful for the advice and support of Joe, the controller, and also for the efficient squad system used for organising volunteers. We were very lucky with the weather and the atmosphere in the assembly area was a very sociable one. The only real issue on the day was that of the map numbers and competitors arriving at the start to find that there wasn’t a map available. This must have been particularly frustrating for those who had entered in advance and I apologise if you feel that this spoiled the event for you. We will be looking into how we can avoid this happening in the future. A (rather muddy) asthma inhaler was found very late in the day, if you have lost one please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I received a lot of favourable feedback on the day, so I hope most of you enjoyed the courses and that the large number of brown lines you had to cross didn’t spoil your outing. It’s a hilly area and starting at the top inevitably means some steep climbs back to the finish, although this didn’t seem to deter some of the younger competitors who were still running up the final slopes. I regret that the first half of the Short Green was probably too easy for most, but there were limited options to introduce technical difficulty from the start while still avoiding the roughest and steepest slopes.
The vegetation had died down nicely in time for the event, making for quite runnable terrain despite the steep slopes. I was concerned on my last visit to see how much fallen timber had appeared after the brief spell of snow and high winds at the end of the year, but some dragging of branches ensured that the main paths used by the easier courses remained passable if partially obstructed in places. The winning times across courses were generally aligned with expectations, with Ben Mitchell again showing just how fast it can be.
I’d like to thank Joe for his constructive comments and suggestions throughout the planning process and both Pat Macleod and Trevor Crowe for their map updates along the way. Also of course the organising team and squads of helpers who ensured that everything went smoothly on the day and helped to get everything cleared before dark.
Of course Chris did all the hard work planning the event while my role was to offer (hopefully) helpful advice and check for any errors. It was a pleasure to be a member of the team and I think both Chris and Helen did an excellent job. I think you saw Headless Hill at its best: with very little undergrowth the optimum routes followed the landscape, calling for careful interpretation of the contour features. I hope you thought the downhill legs through the beautiful forest made up for the sometimes severe uphill ones!