Sunday 11th March 2012
Foxley and Garnstone
Midland Championships 2012
During the past 12 months, since course planning started, there have been some significant changes to parts of the Foxley forest. Some on-going thinning and felling created a few planning problems. The bramble which had been severely reduced over the cold winter of 2010/2011 came back with a vengeance last summer as did the chest high bracken! Luckily, during the winter shooting season, beaters tracks flattened and or removed some bramble and bracken making it more runnable in some areas. A month before the event, the area near the final control was "modified" by a bulldozer and two control sites disappeared. Hopefully these minor problems did not create too many problems for orienteers and I hope you all enjoyed your courses on what was a lovely sunny day. My thanks to Mark Dyer for his sound advice and keeping me to the rules.
Rollo Rumford (HOC)
I must compliment Ant Clerici and everyone in the HOC team who worked so hard before and on the day to deliver a perfect event. Preparation and planning for such an event starts well over a year in advance. It was just as well we got started early, because pheasant shooting kept us off the area completely for 3 months over the last winter. Fortunately, we were able to build that into the mapping, planning and controlling programme without difficulty. The whole estate staff supported us splendidly, and the excellent relationship with the principal landowner, who was personally involved throughout, was one of the critical factors in the success of the day.
Although it is a large estate, the geography and topography of Foxley (and Garnstone) present significant challenges to the planner of a large event. Given that the superb car parking, Assembly and Finish areas selected themselves, the range of courses required tends to dictate the solution on which Rollo Rumford settled, with the consequences of a long walk to the main Start and some limitations to achieving the desired technical difficulty in the shorter courses. Despite these drawbacks, post-run comments were overwhelmingly favourable, and for the most part class winning times were within the target ranges. A case of Rollo's hard work justly rewarded.
We tagged and checked all the control sites months ago, only to discover that the local deer had developed a taste for masking tape! So we tagged and checked them all again in February. With 102 controls in the forest, it took 2 longish days to get round each time. We did try to keep courses away from the worst of the brambles, but I know that some competitors just couldn't resist the opportunity to plunge in. I can only say that it was an awful lot worse last October.
Putting on a major event is very hard and time consuming work for all concerned. Seeing nearly 700 competitors enjoying a great day in the fresh air, win or lose, is its own reward.
Mark Dyer (BOK)
Sincere thanks go to the landowners and their teams, and in particular David Davenport (Foxley including the Assembly area) and James Vernon (Garnstone). And also thanks to the Mansel Lacy team who provided such a fantastic café that made the event something special.
As organiser I had the pleasure of working with superb officials - Mark Dyer (controller), Rollo Rumford (planner) and Alison Sloman (mapper).
I would also like to pay tribute to the HOC teams who were so good I was almost redundant on the event day itself! Even more impressive remembering this was day 2 of March in the Marches.
Ant Clerici, (HOC)
Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Navy fleece (Talisker)