Splendid weather and a good turnout made for a successful event. As is always the case the event can only run with the help of volunteers and, although volunteers were a bit thin on the ground for this one, those that did help worked very hard and I am grateful to them all. My particular thanks go to Di Ford who helped throughout the event on computer operating and my son William, age 10, who ably supervised the string course single-handed. I have to acknowledge one complaint relating to my area of responsibility; the string course start/finish was very close to the actual event finish. Apparently this caused a little confusion for some competitors who ran to the string course start instead of the real finish. I apologise to any who were distracted by this error and hope that it caused only minor inconvenience. Lost property Ė one pair of small childís gloves, navy blue. Please contact the organiser if you wish to claim them (01832 731537, firstname.lastname@example.org).
We approached the idea of planning Irchester with some trepidation. The reasons being that Irchester is a 95 mile round trip from home and this was to be Andy's first foray into planning proper - and Kevin's second. However, the excellent Planning Course run by Ernie Williams stood us in good stead.
The comments received were mostly good, thank you very much and one or two constructive criticisms (at least thatís the way we took them!). Firstly, the Control Description for control 177 (used on Lt. Green, Green, Blue and Brown) was "Earthbank end." Some thought it should have included "top", although we would point out that it didn't say "bottom" either..... There was some debate on this matter. In an area of many earthbanks, such as Irchester, it was felt that "Earthbank end" was enough and inferred the top, after all, that is the end.
Sorry about the Start description. Yes, it should have been "Path bend" not "Path junction!" However, I donít think it threw too many of you off the scent!
The courses were planned using OCAD and rather than hand write the Master Maps, they were printed on the Clubís laser printer. There was some variation in colour. I believe it threw some of you, I understand that from my own experiences. It was the same for everyone.
A Shortage of experienced help on download meant that Kev had to multitask & spend some time in the download area. Many thanks to Di Ford & Margaret Keeling for attempting to set the whole thing up themselves using my "first-cut" instructions!
Finally, we would like to thank Steve Hardy for his patient controlling, he wasnít aware we were relatively inexperienced (sorry Steve!) And one other, Richard Envis, - currently with the club completing his Duke Of Edinburgh's Gold Award - for getting up at 4 a.m. to help us put the controls out and collect them back in.
Thanks also to Neil Eaton and his organising team.
Andy Portsmouth / Kevin Bradley
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Unlike the planners I had the luxury of only being 10 minutes drive from the forest - probably an unusual instance of the controller living nearer to the
forest than the planners. I've known Irchester for about 15 years and over that time it's got progressively thicker; especially the old quarry which was
once open and hillocky and is now impenetrable in parts. It is still, however, an excellent little area for orienteering.
The unusual terrain of Irchester does not make for an ideal first foray into planning a serious event but Andy and Kevin did a good job producing a
challenging set of courses which the results would suggest were about right in terms of both length and difficulty.
There is usually something minor that slips through the checking process; this time it was the start description which really should have been path bend not path junction.
The weather could hardly have been better; for once it was a pleasure to be out in the forest in the early morning with the frost on the ground.
I must thank my controllers assistant, Karen Vines, whose help in checking controls on the day avoided a painfully early start and who provided an
invaluable second pair of eyes to check courses and codes.
Finally a tip for all planners: If you are planning an Autumn event don't use yellow tape to tag control sites.
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