Sunday 19th March 2006

Clent Hills District Event (West Midlands League)


Planner's Comments

Planning on the Clent Hills is ideally a warm weather occupation and I am sure those of you who stopped during your runs realised how cold it can be on the more exposed parts of the Hills. I was pleased that the winning times were very much in line with guidelines but I do appreciated the older and perhaps less energetic amongst you found the hills and their climb….well the place is well named “hills” and too many of them!

I was very grateful for the small band of Control Collectors who made my job so much easier at the end of the day – Thank you! Also thanks to Ian Hopkins who painstakingly checked all my courses and made some useful suggestions to improve a couple of legs. Lastly thanks to Robert for organising the event, whilst at the same running a radio orienteering event. We were both happy we had a dry and, for some of the time, sunny day.

Rollo Rumford (HOC)

Organiser's Comments

I am enormously relieved that you were able to come and enjoy this event on such a fine day. At the beginning of the week, I had a very soggy car park field and a farmer who was not only telling me his Land Rover would get stuck in there but was not happy at the prospect of us chewing it up (understandably he needs the grass to graze his sheep, and our £1 coins are scant compensation). The overflow plans, never satisfactory anyway, would barely have coped with the expected numbers. The cancellation of the National Event raised the prospect of a big increase in attendance, resulting in chaotic parking and exhaustion of pre-printed maps. Just in time, we had two days of a drying easterly wind, resulting in just enough room for cars on the non-slippery bits of the field so long as we commandeered a section of the public car park for Assembly. We were very lucky.

So on the day, all went well. A happy farmer, no control vandalism, and happy competitors enjoying the courses laid on by Rollo and Ian - as professional a team as any Organiser could wish to work with. And of course, the teams of helpers, whose numbers were augmented by several key figures who had expected to be in the Lakes.

The Radio Orienteering courses (which I planned myself) attracted the usual small band of committed converts, and I was perhaps a little disappointed that regular orienteers didn't show more interest in this. It is rather like orienteers trying to convince ordinary runners of the sport's attractions - we know how great it is, but can we persuade others to have a go?

As a final trivial observation, without comment, only 5 people left envelopes for paper results. They were all from the same club (it wasn't HOC).

Robert Vickers (HOC)

Controller's Comments

Clent Hills certainly lived up their name with competitors taking longer than expected. This was probably due to courses being too physical rather that too technical. Rollo's planning offered route choices between straight up and down or contouring round.

We had permission to use Hagley Wood near the end of the longer courses, but this meant some dead running and an uphill finish.

Controls 138 (Middle Hide, Orange course) and 127 (Hide Southmost, Brown and Green Courses) caused some confusion due to their close proximity (50m). However 138 was directly on a track and 127 was located in a block of light green. I looked at alternatives in this area but this would have given route choice through the worst of the brambles.

Controls 141 Vegetation Boundary (light Green and Brown) and 142 Vegetation Boundary North corner (Green and Blue) were 100m apart separated by a very distinct path. They were checked following a complaint and were found to be in the correct location with the correct code.

Thanks to Rollo for planning, Robert for his usual efficient organising and all the HOC team who helped with the smooth running of the event.

Ian Hopkins (HOC)


We are indebted to the following people:

The Rt Hon The Viscount Cobham and Lady Cobham
The National Trust (Bob Ayres)
Stuart Geggie (High Harcourt Farm)

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