Sunday 16th December 2007
Kinver Edge Regional Event
Courses 7 to 14.
This was my first attempt at helping to plan a badge event. It was a steep learning curve in the use of the OCAD 9 planning package. We started by planning a white course to sort out start and finish. The position of these and the nature of the area, with the dividing escarpment, meant planning the short technical courses was quite difficult. I hope those of you on these course did not find it too much of a compromise. Many thanks to co-planner Barry , controller Brian, especially with his help putting out controls and the band of control collectors Andy H, Andy W, Brian H, Mike and Carol F, Richard, Rachel , Tim, and John. I hope I haven't forgotten anyone.
Alison Sloman (HOC)
Courses 1 to 6.
While putting controls out I realised that many of them were now clearly visible from considerable distances, something just a few weeks previously we could not have imagined. The recent frosts had decimated the bracken and had even reduced some of the brambles to an almost runnable level.
The undergrowth did restrict the planning somewhat, especially on the longer courses. My apologies to those on course 2 where, after making some late changes to the course, one of the zig-zags created a long dog leg partially up the escarpment and then back down the same way. I missed it, sorry.
I did take the opportunity to wander around the course to see some of the action. I was impressed by the leading orienteers in several age classes who knew exactly where they were going as they went straight in and out of the correct controls without being distracted by others nearby. I also now know that I am not the only one who is not quite certain if it's the right control or doesn't always know precisely where he is.
Many thanks to Brian Morris controller and Alison Sloman co planner for their help, especially with OCAD, and of course to Robert Vickers for his impeccable organisation, (despite of the freshly ploughed carpark on Saturday!)
There is always a warm glow of satisfaction in the aftermath of a successful event, though I think we could done with some sort of warm glow on the day. It wasn't too bad moving around, but I did feel for the bands of helpers, cheerful as always, who had to stick it out at their stations wrapped up in all their thermals.
At least it stayed dry, to my great relief. Access to the parking field had been my main concern for some time, and a number of contingency plans were in place. Competitors will have been unaware of a crisis which arose the day before the event, and the field was only usable due to several hours of work by the farmer with his heavy roller, right up to the time when the first cars were arriving. We were extremely grateful to the farmer for placing his farm shop at our disposal, making a first-rate event HQ and easing my workload considerably.I
If I was disappointed in any respect, it was about the level of entry. Kinver Edge is a super area, and there was a great team of Alison and Barry, under Brian's watchful eye, to produce the courses to match. Were people drawn to other events, or was it perhaps the lure of Christmas shopping which kept the numbers down?
Kinver Edge whilst having a host of features does present the planners with particular problems. How to give the shorter courses a suitable degree of difficulty coupled with keeping the climb within reasonable limits. Also how to extract sensible long courses without tying competitors in knots.
I think both planners overcame these problems extremely well and were able to provide satisfying orienteering over the complete spectrum. The new fences were a further irritant, but again slick planning kept the crossings to an absolute minimum and hopefully gave competitors little or no trouble.
Thanks to Alison & Barry for making my job a breeze, and once the controls had been checked there were no further demands on the controller all day, a testament to the Harlequins organisation.
We are grateful to the landowners for permission to visit the area: The National Trust, Worcestershire County Council and Staffordshire County Council. Special thanks to Mr Ian Sadler for providing the parking field, and for giving us the run of his farm shop for use as the event HQ.