Sunday 23rd October 2005
Fownhope Park District Event
Fownhope is quite a difficult area to plan on. Its steep sides meant that keeping the climb under 5% was very difficult, but I hope that you didn't notice the climb too much. Given what I had, I tried to focus planning senior courses to give plenty of route choice, particularly the up and down against the round but long option. Some were more obvious than others, but 10-11 on the Blue and 11-12 on the Brown (same leg) split the planner and the controller on which way was best.
Competitors seemed to find the contouring early on in the courses (2-3 on Blue, Green and Brown, but different legs) difficult. However, I think that on the Green and Blue at least, dropping to the path and climbing back up again, may have saved time.
The White once again proved to be the hardest course to plan. Mountain bikers tracks meant that the map had to be updated so that all the tracks could be seen, but even then it was a case of choosing the right ones to put controls on. I'd like to thank Alison Sloman for the update, as it was needed in many other parts of the map too. Also my thanks to the team of control collectors, Tom Horton, Brian Hughes, George Chambers, Mum, the Organiser and particularly Daniel Hartmann who was on stand by to take a control unit out if another failed. Also thanks to Tony Cockbain, Mum, and Dad who helped to put the controls out (yes, I did do some work during the weekend).
My thanks to Russ as controller for his advice which helped to improve the courses.
Robert Farrington (HOC)
Well I thought that the event was almost as good as it gets. The participants of MADO could not have had a better introduction to the world of orienteering in the West Midlands. The car park, or orchard, was pleasant in the afternoon sunshine (the only chance I had of getting there). There was Harlequins Orienteering Club really humming, with everyone doing their tasks helpfully and cheerfully.
The main thanks for this must go to the Farrington family - Mike as organiser, Robert as planner and Carol as support. They all did a super job. Everyone who spoke to me was complimentary about Robert's courses. Some of the comments such as "the light green course was the best that I have done", "an excellent yellow course" and "the white course was just right" came from people in the region whose opinion one cannot help respecting. Unfortunately Robert was unwell on the day and was unable to hear the appreciation that was expressed. It is really pleasing to see a senior junior like Robert who is such a good competitor wanting to try his hand at planning (and doing such a good job). I believe that all competitors should try planning to realise the compromises that have to be made and the time and effort involved.
The day owes much of its success to the unsung work of Alison Sloman. Mike had said to me that he wanted Alison to add some more paths, but when she visited the area she realised how much revision was needed. In the time she had available she made the map and the event viable.
Russ Fauset (HOC)
I had originally offered to control this event, but as we didn't have an organiser and Robert was prepared to plan I agreed a swap with Russ (who was going to plan) as I felt tensions might have run higher than usual in the Farrington household if I had controlled Robert's planning! As you may be aware Robert was not at all well on the day and stayed at home in bed and so after all his hard work was not able to hear your favourable comments and discuss your route choices.
On your behalf my thanks to Robert and Russ for their efforts. My thanks to the Harlequins who helped on the day and in particular the team leaders who arrange their teams and take such a load off the organiser. Special mentions go to Tony Cockbain for his help setting up on the Saturday and checking controls on Sunday, Alison Sloman for the map update at very short notice and assistance with equipment and Dave Barwick for obtaining permissions. A very special thank you to Carol (my wife and Robert's mother) who acted as map bagger, description cutter-upper, telephone answerer, planner chauffeur, control hanger, Si chief, referee and general dogsbody - thank you, we couldn't have done it without you.
I wanted to put on a quality event. Fownhope is a good area if a little steep, probably the best in Herefordshire, and I hope those of you who came enjoyed it, and felt that we gave you value for money. I was pleased with the turn-out, and very relieved that the weather held. If it had been like Friday we would have struggled to get people into the car park.
Hopefully you will be back in the area on January 7th 2006 when we have another West Midland's League event at Haugh Wood - and I am controlling that one!
Mike Farrington (HOC)
Small child's beige knitted hat - contact the organiser on 01531 635502 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Margaret Smith, Bunshill Farm for Assembly area
Mr. Dave Sykes, Forest Enterprise (West Woods)
Mr. Mike Harry, Wyndham Lewis Trust (Fownhope Park)
Mr. Guy Hickman, Agrimec Ledbury for the loan of his van.