Sunday 12th July 2009

District Event and West Midlands League
Highgate Common


Controller's Comments

As with most WMOA areas at this time of year Highgate Common suffers from a prolification of brambles and bracken. The worst affected area was north of the road visited by the longer courses. The north corner of the map was unusable and Barry selected control sites and planned legs to try and avoid repetitious path running. 10 days before the event I was happy with the courses. When checking controls on the day the undergrowth had been rampant and there was serious discussion with both the Organiser and Planner to abandon control 78 (depression in light green area). However this would have created dog legs on the Green course. We decided to run the courses as planned and I would be prepared for competitor whinges.

I was pleasantly suprised by competitor comments at the end. Most enjoyed the challenge provided by the vegetation, although running times were longer than expected.

Highgate Common is heavily used by the public and courses were planned to avoid disturbance. At least one family had their run on the White course interupted by uncontrolled dogs off leads. I hope this has not put them off and they will return to other events.

Thanks to Barry and John for Planning and Organising, the control collectors and all HOC helpers on the day.

Ian Hopkins (HOC)

Planner's Comments

To those competitors on the Blue and Green courses my apologies. Three weeks earlier I think the courses were fair. On the day, having had problems putting out one of the controls, the controller Ian Hopkins and myself had a discussion about deleting control 78 (No 3 on the Blue and 5 on the Green). In the end we felt that with the warnings in the start lanes and the probable confusion and errors trying to manually delete the offending control, it would be better to leave things as they were. Having lived near Highgate Common for 25 years, this is the worst I have ever seen it, some paths dissappearing completely that have always been there. It was obvious early on that I could not use some other areas in the North which further resticted the scope for good route choice. Hopefully I gave most of you sufficient navigational challenges for the rest of the courses. It was interesting looking at the splits and seeing the number of legs that mistakes were made on especially on the Green course. I hope that the virulent bramble and bracken in the North West did not detract too much from your enjoyment of the rest of the area.

Barry Houghton (HOC)

Organiser's Comments

For a small area, Highgate Common has shown itself to be a testing venue for a league event. Although the lack of a Brown course may have put off some competitors, it is evident from many of the times that most people had a lot of orienteering experience for their money.
This is the first event that has been run at Highgate after it passed into the control of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Although common is a site of special scientific interest, the trust appeared happy to support our event although the construction of a new visitor centre meant that car parking choices were limited which in itself had an effect on course planning. We are grateful to the support of the trust and hope to return to the common- maybe when the vegetation is less rampant!
On the day, we just about managed to squeeze into one car park with excellent people management skills from our car parking team meaning that members of the public were not out out at finding their usual parking spot filled. Siting of the registration, start and first aid teams close to the car park worked well and many runners rewarded themselves with a hard earned ice cream.
Barry and Ian delivered a well thought out event in difficult conditions and with relatively little time following delays in getting permission with the change in ownership. In addition, thanks to Alison Sloman and Carole Sparke for getting up early to deliver tents and for excellent signposting respectively.

John Leeson (HOC)

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