UPDATED! Controller’s comments and photo link have been added.
My job is always made easier when I get sufficient helpers for all roles, which happened in excess today. Thank you to all those who volunteered their services, but also to those who offered and were not needed.
The event today had 176 entries, although there were several pairs and groups, so the figure exceeds 200. If you are able, please add your route to Routegadget – it is interesting to see where people went, and an excellent tool to compare where you went, or would go on a different course.
It was wonderful to see so many newcomers – I hope you enjoyed your courses, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.
Thanks also to Planner Julia and Controller Mike for keeping me on the straight and narrow, and finally thank you to the weather for being nice to me, a bit chilly towards the end, but no rain on the day (unlike my last two organised events)!
Thank you for coming.
When I started planning in October the bracken was still high and strong. I started in the south-most area which has lots of contour detail, in the hope that the bracken would die down enough by the time of the event, but after Controller Mike Capper looked at the area we agreed it was better not to use it at all. With other constraints it was hard to plan long legs without dead run somewhere in them.
Rhododendrons also create issues as they keep growing, and hiding either paths or features. I took my pruning saw to one of them to expose a nice big pit hidden beneath it.
Another invisible pit was only found after talking to a dog walker. “Do you have the animal water holes on the map?” he asked. He looked at my map and said “that’s one of them! It’s still there but hidden by a fallen tree!”. With this clue I found it, and cleared it of branches and moss.
And then as I was driving to work, I saw headlights in one of My Areas – tractors! extraction! Oh no! The overall effect has been pretty neutral, as they’ve been thinning rather than demolishing areas, squashing bracken but leaving some brashings.
Having had to update the map as I went along, I tried using a handheld GPS to help me map new paths, with mixed results. I have now offered to do the job properly, although I still need an answer to the questions “how big does a rhododendron have to be to be mapped?” and “when does ‘run’ become ‘rough open with scattered trees’?”
It’s a long time since I planned an event but I really enjoyed it, and thank you for some of the nice comments on the courses. I also owe big thanks to Mike for his suggestions and guidance – and for his first visit on one of the wettest days we’ve had in a long time.
I hope you all enjoyed your runs at Sandringham today. On a sunny day it is a delightful area, offering some reasonably challenging orienteering for East Anglia, but the area isn’t lacking in constraints. Julia and I jointly decided that the southern-most area, around the campsite, should not be used – the bracken is extremely high and many parts are pretty unpleasant (or impossible) to run through. Elsewhere the rhododendron bushes continue to spread and sometimes impede going. Many of these new growths were added to the map for this event but not all.
The forestry work that affected mainly Blue and Brown courses had gathered apace over the last week. I hope the brashings weren’t too unpleasant or the new extraction lanes too confusing – winning times would suggest that they were not significant hindrances to running quickly!
There were several newcomers to the sport at the event today. I hope you had fun and that we will see you again.
Finally, thank you, of course, to Julia for her work in planning courses that seem to have been greatly enjoyed by most runners. The NOR organisational machine, ably led by Leanne, worked smoothly, so thank you also to all of the helpers who made the day a success.