Galoppen and Devon League Event 1: Golden Dagger
Sun 14 Oct 2018
Info updated: 28th Oct
Type of event: Regional
Type of terrain: Moorland
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29 years after planning the National Event held on Golden Dagger on the first day of the Caddihoe Chase in 1989, and almost as long as we have been unable to gain further accessto this superb area, I finally had the opportunity to plan another event on Golden Dagger. Remapping the area started over two years ago when we had hoped to use Golden Dagger for the CompassSport Cup Final but English Nature in particular took fright at the size of the event. With some careful negotiation we finally managed to get access for a much smaller event to see what the impact might be - in fact whilst collecting in the controls I hardly saw any sign that we had even been on the area even around most of the control sites. The original map by Erik Peckett and Brian Parker used a photogrammetric plot and was very much regarded as an excellent map in 1989. As I started the remapping it became obvious that there had been some enormous errors in the original PG plot but the availability of Lidar made sure that the map is now far more accurate. However for some parts of the area there are two sets of Lidar data and in places even these did not match very closely.
There is no doubt that Golden Dagger is a very demanding area both physically and technically and I tried to make as many legs as possible in Short Green and above meet the ideal of Technical Difficulty 5 which can be difficult to achieve in the South of England. Some of the times were quite a bit longer than you may have expected but the course legs were in accordance with the British Orienteering recommendations which are based on the kilometre times of the winning Black Course competitor. In 1989 the top four times were produced by Robert Lee, Martin Ward, David Nevell and Eddie Harwood - names many of you will recognise. Nevertheless I would have preferred some of the winning times to be shorter even though not many top competitors made the journey to Devon. It is possible that the vegetation underfoot is more demanding now than 29 years ago - to be honest I find it hard to remember if it was any faster then!
It was instructive to watch how competitors were coping with the area - there are a couple of places from where you can see most of the area. I saw many competitors running in the opposite direction to the course. No doubt some had overrun their controls, but there were quite a few who had stopped short and turned round. The less usual scale of 1:7500 may have had some part to play. I had the impression that many competitors had no particular plan of attack and simply kept running until they hopefully hit the control - it rarely works on a technical area! Many of you certainly got value for money from the your time puzzling over the area but I hope you enjoyed the mental and physical challenge. And the challenge would have been greater still today (Monday) as the cloud was firmly on the ground over much of the area when I collected in the majority of the controls.
An unfortunate leg injury caused Mike Kite (WIM) to pull out as Controller of the Golden Dagger event. With less than a month to go, including two weeks away from Devon, and with no one available from other SWOA clubs, I agreed to step in. Golden Dagger is an excellent, technical and demanding area for orienteering for which Devon had targeted the Galoppen some considerable time ago. Mike Wimpenny had done a great deal of work to update the map and had already carefully planned all of the courses. We did not want to lose this opportunity. As it turned out, the weather nearly forced a postponement with gale force winds on the Friday and Saturday and an uncertain level of rain on the Sunday.
Each of the legs on each course planned by Mike offered a suitably demanding challenge. Whilst the length and climb were towards the top end of the range for most courses, this seemed appropriate on the basis that the Galoppen (SW league must be a more sensible term) should be one of the highlights of the year, showcasing some of the best terrain on offer and providing a mental, physical and navigational challenge. Feedback at the event suggested this was achieved. I was only sorry that some of the Devon runners could not complete their run due to volunteering commitments at the event.
The organising team did a brilliant job in putting on the event and adapting to the conditions. Well done to all helpers, especially Eleanor and Wilf, as Organisers.
Devon is lucky to have such a strong bunch of helpers, resourceful and reliable in equal measure. These include Katherine Grierson who stepped in at last minute to cover unexpected job of Gatekeeper and Pony guard. A big THANK YOU to all our helpers.
The flying loos were a novelty. There is nothing in the Risk Assessment to cover flying portaloos. Local boulders and heavy tables were useful ballast, and bracing buttresses were fashioned from fallen trees. Local Park Ranger Tim Powles was very impressed when he visited our site on the Saturday to give us the all clear.
I am sure that Graham would have coped with his usual calm efficiency, we miss him.
Lost Property: Compass: standard baseplate with magnifier, lacking lanyard.
Wilf & Eleanor Taylor
Pre Event Information
The Met Office forecast for this Friday and Saturday predict high, potentially damaging, winds on Dartmoor. Although the orienteering area is open moor, all the event parking is on forest tracks. The Forestry Commission will investigate the parking tracks on Saturday early evening, checking for fallen or dangerous trees. They will decide whether or not the area is safe for us to use. We will let you know their decision by 20:00 on Saturday evening.
Eleanor & Wilf Taylor
A new map has been surveyed and produced by Mike Wimpenny over the past two years. The base map was the original photogrammetric map produced by Erik Peckett and Brian Parker but the advent of LIDAR has enabled the new map to have much more accurate contours. Because of the complexity of some areas the scale for all courses is 1:7500.
Final details - posted 8th October
Nearest town: Moretonhampsted
- Grid Ref:
- Postcode: PL20 6TN
- Latitude: 50.59848
- Longitude: -3.87982
- Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)
Directions / Parking
The event will be signed from the B3212 between Moretonhampstead and Postbridge.
Parking will be on forest tracks. Dogs allowed in Car Park, but not in the Competition area. Please avoid damaging any industrial artefacts and report and damage at Download.
Registration & Start Times
Registration 10.30 – 13:00
Starts between 11.00 – 13:30
Courses close 15:00
Course lengths, climb and number of controls are, subject to final controlling, are:
Course Length Climb Number of Controls
Brown 8.3km 380m 24
Blue 5.5km 285m 16
Green 3.8km 195m 15
Short Green 3.1km 160m 13
Light Green 3.0km 135m 14
Orange 2.5km 100m 12
Yellow 1.9km 75m 10
START and FINISH
The start is 450m from Assembly, the first 200m is flat and passes the Finish, the second 250m is downhill.
Explanation of colour courses
- White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
- Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
- Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
- Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
- Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
- Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
- Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
- Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.
Courses available – Yellow, Orange, Light Green, Short Green, Green, Blue & Brown.
Adults £8, juniors £3. You can pre-enter via Fabian4 to guarantee a map. Closing date: 11th October.
Si hire £1.
Contacts / Officials
Organisers: Wilf and Eleanor Taylor 01626 859365 – before 20:00 please
Planner: Mike Wimpenny DEVON
Controller: Bryan Smith DEVON
Safety and Risk
A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event. If you wish to report any safeguarding concerns to our national governing organisation, British Orienteering, please email .
Photography: Devon OC has an agreed policy on the taking of photographs at events, based on national guidance. This provides a sensible balance between the benefits and risks associated with the taking and use of images. If you are unsure about acceptable practice, please speak to the event organiser.
Read our photography policy.
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