Caddihoe Chase 2011
Sat 17th Sep 2011
Info updated: 15th Sep
Type of event: Regional-(B)
Type of terrain: Moorland
Pre Event Information
Thank you all for coming, and enduring a spot of weather. It is the fifth time we have used THAT FIELD for parking for Caddihoes over the last 20 years, but we got the short straw this year. 15 tons of hardcore at the entrance and earthbank boundaries did not help much. So the planned arena finish in the field got scuppered, and my car certainly went away very muddy.
The inclusion of the event in the UK Masters series certainly encouraged us to go the extra mile, and we hope you appreciated the sterling efforts of John Pearce mapper and assistant planner, Tom Lillicrap planner and Graham Pring controller. But has the Jewel in our Crown become a little tarnished? Unfortunately September is a bad time for bracken.
I am sure you could wish me to thank the team of helpers from DEVON plus a few from KERNO, whose willing efforts helped the event run smoothly.
The weather this year seems to have been in reverse. When I visited Burrator in the spring the area was reasonably dry and runnable, however, as the year has progressed the terrain has got wetter and less runnable. Which meant that some areas I had considered usable in the Spring were certainly not by the end of the Summer. There has also been a large amount of tree felling due to the Phytophthora ramorum disease affecting the Larch trees. We were also asked to avoid large areas of old mine workings and hut circles due the SSI restrictions imposed by the National Park Authority. These factors combined to dictate, to a large extend, the shape of the courses.
The original aim was always to have the finish in the car parking field so that necessitated the courses crossing the lower slope on day 1 (short courses on day 2) and on day 2 coming over the top via Leather Tor. Unfortunately the weather mitigated against this to a large extend, however, I hope you were still able to enjoy the splendid views on your way to the day 2 finish.
Fortunately I was able to make use of the path network in the forest plantations on Yennadon Down for the short courses on day 1, as two days on the rougher terrain to the east would have been very difficult to achieve.
My particular thanks go to John Pearce for his work in updating the map in parallel with the course planning and Graham Pring for his help and advice when checking the courses.
On arriving at the car park on Friday morning to start checking controls, I was confronted by the food trader’s van and trailer blocking the field entrance, unable to move; not a good start to the weekend!
My early visits to Burrator soon reminded me of the complexity of the terrain, the physical hazards and curse of the bracken in the lower parts of the area. Accordingly many hours were spent checking the accuracy of control sites, flattening bracken and checking routes between controls. I was impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness of the planner, Tom Lillicrap, who made good use of his extensive orienteering experience to plan the courses, and also John Pearce, who did a lot of work updating the map and was always willing to make minor revisions at my request. Likewise I soon gained confidence in Alan Simpson’s ability to organise everything that an event of this size requires.
The weather was not kind to us unfortunately. The heavy rain on Saturday night was a particular problem and a flooded road encountered on the way to the area on Sunday morning confirmed that I would have to check river crossing points for safety before the starts. Whilst I found that the river running east from the starts was high but still clear and that I was able to cross it at the key points without concern, the same was not true of the larger River Meavy running down to the starts from the north east. This would be crossed by many courses at one marked point and I found that the usual stepping stones were completely submerged by deep, brown and very fast flowing water. Bearing in mind the fatal accident in a swollen Dartmoor river a few years ago, I was convinced that I had to make the minor changes to some of the courses for your safety.
On behalf of all the competitors, as well as myself, I thank Tom, Alan and John, plus all the helpers, for all the hard work they put into making this a successful and memorable Caddihoe Chase.
Graham Pring KERNO
Safety and Risk
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