Sunday 16th March 2008



Planners' Comments

Going to Dudmaston in December to check out my armchair planning showed that the map could do with an update, after the first 3 control sites I checked were found to be unusable!
The existing map was 1997, updated for vegetation in 2004.
The vegetation had again moved on, generally improving runability as trees grew older and other features, paths and brambles, had gone and come. I ended up giving Colin Spears 130 amendments and he was able to site survey and process most of them, as appropriate, and add more of his own. Even so, the vegetation and boundaries shown on the map still needs a thorough going over. Then the felling and thinning started in January! The map went to press about a fortnight before the event and actual line of felling was only about 10 metres out on the map!

The weather early on the day, and when I was putting the controls out, was generally poor, in line with my reputation from Titterstone and Bucknell, which might explain the poor turnout. During the competition it was very nice weather.

I did hear a couple of comments that the light green was too easy. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to read Barry Elkington's excellent article. I hadn't really realised that in an area such as Dudmaston, with a Technical Difficulty rating maximum of 4, the light green should be a short green rather than a slightly longer and harder Orange. Having said that though, the times were not out of line. Probably I should have made it shorter but harder.

Barry McGowan (HOC)

Controller's Comments

I like Dudmaston. It is unusual among HOC areas in that it has actually improved over recent years, and much of it is really delightful. The brambles, and some rhodies, are still there, but nowhere near as fierce as they were when we originally mapped it. My first ever Planning job was here in 1985. It was distinguished by two things: very few people could get there because of deep snowdrifts blocking the roads, and my Controller fell down an unmapped and forgotten well. The 2008 rainfall was nothing compared with that blizzard, and I am pleased to say that my Controller managed to lever himself safely out of the well and was seen here running in the 2008 event.

With such experienced and competent fellow officials as Barry and Charlie, it was no surprise that my own input was no more than a tweak here and there. The day went well, and the results bear out that statement. There was only one incident: some runners reported aggro with the driver of a 4x4 ravaging the hillside near control 141. By the time I got there, the National Trust warden was standing in front of it to prevent it driving away, whilst his colleague had gone to call the police.

Regular orienteers are probably getting used to see "Radio Orienteers" courses incorporated into normal orienteering events. Dudmaston was such an occasion, and attracted the usual mix of those who are primarily orienteers, those who are primarily radio amateurs, and those who have embraced both disciplines. The full Radio-O results from Dudmaston can be found at http://www.ardf.btinternet.co.uk/trial.html and illustrate that the most successful competitors come from the last category.

Dudmaston is actually quite a small area for this discipline, and therefore required a fair bit of care in planning the radio control locations in order to achieve the desired outcome of a challenging and interesting course, within the confines of the wood. I think the results show that I achieved this.

Congratulations to the winners for some excellent times go together with encouraging performances from the less experienced competitors. It was especially gratifying to welcome some newcomers - they will discover that the first event is always the hardest as they get to grips with unfamiliar techniques and that from here, progress up the learning curve will be rapid.

Whilst I had personally planned the radio courses, I was very busy on the day with my main job as Controller of the normal O-courses, so I am enormously grateful to Bob Titterington (of Leicestershire OC, Radio Amateur G3ORY) and Geoffrey Foster (of Harlequins OC, Radio Amateur G8UKT) for looking after the operation on the day.

Robert Vickers (Harlequins OC and Radio Amateur G3ORI)

Organiser's Comments

Thanks to all of you who turned up to today's event and thanks too to the willing and efficient band of HOC helpers.

The event appears to have run fairly smoothly despite the changes being made to the map by the forestry operations which had been taking place over the preceding month.

Once again we were warmly welcomed to the Dudmaston estate by the National Trust which made every effort to minimise the impact of the tree felling. Thanks also to them.

Charlie Nelson (HOC)

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