Sunday 15th April 2007

Breakneck Bank


Planners' Comments

The stream is a major factor at Breakneck Bank. After a few days rain it becomes uncrossable except at the pipeline (which we are not allowed to use)and the northern bridge. We decided that building additional bridges - as done for the badge event in 2004 - would not be within the budget for a C4 event, so planned the majority of courses to cross the river just once. The NE corner of the area provided some safe but, we hope, reasonably adventurous terrain for White and Yellow courses without crossing the river. Thanks to Alison Sloman for remapping part of the area at short notice to make this possible.

Breakneck Bank is well provided with features for controls. Some are quite challenging. Others less so, given there are also plenty of line features and visibility is often good. For a proportion of the green, blue and brown legs we therefore looked more for interesting route planning and route optimisation challenges, than for uniformly difficult controls. There is an agreeable variety of scenery in various parts of the wood, and we aimed to take the courses through it as far as their lengths would allow. Thanks are due to our controller and assistant controller for their expert advice and assistance.

For the planners it has been a real treat to be able to spend time in such a beautiful place, where the sun has always shone. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Kay Hughes & Neil Mackenzie(HOC)

Organiser's Comments

I organised the weather (perhaps a little too well) I heard several comments that it was too hot. Two weeks before we were wondering where we were going to park when they started pulling those logs up the bank through the mud. Perhaps this is the "O" of the future, with global warming.

It was the HOC teams which organised the event, to their usual high standard. Thank you to all the team leaders and all the volunteers with out which events would not run.

My apologises to the people that got locked out for a short while, this was due to one of the land owners not being informed by his agent that we were orienteering today! - and me for leaving the padlock for him to lock again! There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the HOC skipper had asked all Harlequins to be there before 10.30 so we could lock the opposition out!

Also apologies for lack of results display, this was due to power supply problems (b…… new generator) we ended up using the back up to the back up.

My only disappointment of the day (besides my run but that's another story) was the lack of very young junior participation, small numbers on white and yellow and no takers for the string course after a lot of hard work by the Morgan family. Mind you it seemed a good warm up for Alex with his excellent time round the Brown course.

Finally a thank you to the controllers, Robert and Brian and the planners Kay and Neil, a great team to work with. I look forward to running on more of their courses in the future. Also a thank you to Essex Woodland Estates the landowners, for permission to run the event.

George Chambers (HOC)

Controllers' Comments

Breakneck Bank is probably the nicest, if not the most technical, of the HOC areas. Add to that the fantastic weather, and you have the basis of a splendid event. I enjoyed my time in the forest more than at any other event where I have officiated. Judging by the comments heard afterwards, I think it was appreciated by the competitors, too.

This was due primarily to the efforts of the other officials, whom I would like to thank on the competitors' behalf. Firstly, George for stepping in to organise it, and saving it when it appeared liable to cancellation as nobody else seemed willing to take it on: otherwise this event would not have taken place. His capacity and enthusiasm for work is prodigious. If you liked the courses, then that was down to Kay and Neil who were most inspired, meticulous, conscientious and well organised throughout the planning process. The controlling input was minimal, and no more than a little fine tuning was applied. And I have to acknowledge the considerable support which I received myself from my assistant Brian Hughes, whose contribution at every stage of the process was most valuable.

I agreed with the planners that the courses should not cross the main brook except by means of the bridge, though the unusually low water level gave little indication of the raging torrent which it becomes after rain. This did constrain the shapes of the courses, and gave rise to the unusual situation of having two finishes, with the one for most courses being inconveniently distant from assembly.

Robert Vickers (HOC)


We are indebted to the following people:

Essex Woodland Estates, the landowners, for permission to run the event.

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