316 runners was an amazing turnout and we hope everyone enjoyed their runs on the ’new’ Peel map. The weather was certainly chilly but the rain stayed away and we were fortunate to be sheltered somewhat by the trees.
As usual, the BOK squad system greatly simplified my life as Organiser, leaving me largely coordinating and relying on our well-oiled volunteer system to do the rest. There were at least 25 people working on the day on parking, ‘Ask Me’, registration, computer, download, first aid, start and string course, so thanks to you all. Thanks also to Pete Maliphant for organising the SW squad training and for getting the energetic youngsters to take in all the controls.
I didn’t book enough toilets, so sorry for those who had to queue in the cold. And my apologies also to the two families with young children who I sent around the White course, who clearly didn’t have a good experience and left with a poor impression.
Lastly, thanks to the Forestry Commission for again letting us use this excellent venue, and to Trevor Crowe (Planner) and Greg Best (Controller).
Stockhill is one of my favourite orienteering areas so I was very happy to take on the planning. It is a forest that is always at risk of “forestry operations” so we have to hope that the really good bits for orienteering continue to survive when this happens. However, I felt I had to take the longer courses into the rough open NW area (which was partly a delightful forest a few years ago) if only to show what we might finish up with if the forested areas were to meet with the same fate.
My thanks to Greg for his constructive comments on my courses and the efficient manner in which he conducted his duties as Controller. Thanks also to Matthew and his band of helpers for staging a well organised event. Special thanks to SWJOS, with Pete Maliphant at the helm, for collecting in all the controls afterwards.
The only problem with Stockhill, as I see it, is the number of dogs whose owners seem unable to control. Clive Hallett was felled by the “Hound of the BaStockhills” as they both bounded through the forest in the SW area (used only by Blue and Brown). To Clive’s credit, he got up and finished his course before seeking medical reassurance from the First Aid team. Well done to him and to everyone else who survived the day!
I found it a pleasure to control in such a lovely, interesting and challenging woodland. It has been very many years (perhaps 30?) since I last competed at Stockhill, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to reacquaint myself, despite it being an awkward 90 minute drive from home.
Trevor clearly knows the area as intimately as his back garden, having updated the old map for many years, so knew instinctively how to make the most of it. Hence, my job was pretty straight-forward, consisting of suggesting a few minor tweaks here and there, then a lot of checking to be sure that flags were sited in the right pit!! Sunday morning from first light was the highlight for me, when I ran around 47 of the total 57 controls to wake them up. The area is mostly nice and runnable, but to lose contact with the map is fatal.
I did receive a couple of negative comments from people returning from their run, complaining that some control flags were too hidden or buried too deep, so were unfair. I am a relatively new controller, so still learning my trade, but I hope this did not spoil it too much for people. I had actually moved several flags placed by Trevor to what I thought would be fairer positions, but perhaps should have done more of this. In any case, the flag positions did not stop Ben Mitchell tearing through the Brown in under 44 minutes!!
Looking at Routegadget, I see that Trevor's long route-choice legs have resulted in a wide variety of different options being taken and this is always a pleasing outcome for any controller or planner.
From the comments I heard, many people seem to like Dave Peel's new map, although not everybody agreed about this. Dave's map is highly generalised, focusing more on the general shape of the ground rather than identifying every single pit. I think this is probably the best approach, although it must be very difficult for a mapper to know what to include and what not to in this area. Clearly, it's important for competitors to quickly understand a mapper's approach.