Also, for NOR members, the trip to the CompassSport Trophy Final, 12th November. Check your emails for a message from Club Captain Glen and get in touch if you fancy joining in or learning more – all are valued & welcome regardless of actual or perceived experience or ability.
Welcome to the people who were new to orienteering, we hope you had fun and will come back!
As always I am very grateful to those who offered their help in running the event, both in advance, and to those who filled in the gaps on the day; without helpers we couldn’t run events.
I can’t take any credit for the weather, but the sunshine makes it all easier, even if the wind managed to disrupt some of the road signs. Thank you all for parking considerately.
I hope to see you all again at our next event.
Having planned at Holt a few times over the years I was more than happy to give it another go this year. My only slight reservation was how early in the season the event was planned and therefore the amount of likely undergrowth I would encounter.
I first visited the area in September 2022 to get an idea of what the undergrowth was like at this time of year. My first impressions were how high the bracken and gorse were and how on earth was I going to be able to plan any technical courses without having the controls totally engulfed by vegetation. The one saving grace was that the blocks of wood in the Country Park did appear a lot more runnable than I had seen them in years so I felt that might offer me a few more options. Unfortunately even this positive disappeared when the Country Park advised me that most of these blocks of wood would not be accessible due to new planting, ecological reasons and other out of bounds reasons.
I next visited at Easter to find significant areas of the Lowes had been mown and opened up, which meant I potentially had a lot more options available for my courses.
Finally, I visited again in June to discover that all the mown areas had already totally grown over again with bracken over head height – back to the drawing board again!
In the end I tried to plan the courses so that the worst of the undergrowth was avoided and although there were sections of path running, these were used as a means to get competitors to nicer areas where I could group together three or four controls in slightly more technical terrain.
Hopefully I managed to come up with some courses which provided a decent enough challenge for everyone whilst avoiding the worst of the undergrowth.
I must place on record my thanks to Jonathan Gilbert and David Sparshott for their willingness to make numerous visits to Holt to produce an accurate map for me to plan on, and to make regular changes to the map at short notice whenever I came back from a visit to the area having found yet more undergrowth to add!
Holt Country Park and the Lowes are becoming an increasingly difficult area to plan on due to the restrictions in using the forest blocks in the Park and the ever-expanding growth of gorse on the Lowes. However, I think Paul made excellent use of the area available and produced interesting courses, which some competitors found quite challenging. Some of the legs on the longer courses would have had more route choice had it not been for the late growth of bracken, which meant updating the map to remove some overgrown paths.
Thank you to Paul and Karen for Planning and making minor map updates, and to David and Jonathan for the time spent in updating the map to show the new areas of gorse. Also, thanks to Julia for getting the land access permissions in place and organising the event. A special thanks to Kim for assisting me in the initial survey of the area and for checking controls on the day. It is becoming more and more difficult to get around all the control sites on the morning of the event while giving the Planner time to put them all out.
Hopefully everyone enjoyed the event, we got a lot of positive comments at the finish and several newcomers who are all planning to come to future events.