Sun 12th May 2013
Info updated: 16th Jul
Type of event:
Type of terrain:
Pre Event Information
The two previous events in Haldon Forest had both had problems with young competitors going ‘missing’. With so many juniors turning up – hurray! - we were anxious to prevent a repeat, and the controller asked that all juniors should carry whistles; also that inexperienced juniors should either go in pairs or groups, or be shadowed by an adult orienteer. In the event, everybody returned before courses closed. I was relieved too that there were no collisions between orienteers and mountain bikers!
Andy’s courses were challenging but enjoyable; and the promised rain held off until later in the afternoon. My thanks to the willing members of Devon OC who took on the various tasks, to the local staff of the Forestry Commission who made available the room for registration and download, and to the controller Bryan Smith for ensuring a safe, fair and enjoyable event.
Buller’s Hill presents the usual planner’s challenges of how to fit courses of appropriate technical and physical difficulty, plus the added complication of a network of well-used cycle routes. Although it has a great facility for parking, it has become almost too well-used – perhaps it is time we found some other areas on Haldon Hill?
For the junior courses, there is, potentially, a wide network of paths, but many are now used by the official cycle routes, which I was asked to avoid. Then there are, arguably, the more dangerous unofficial bike tracks. In struggling to find a usable route to link my original start area towards the finish, I was pleasantly relieved to find a very runnable, weaving track down through the trees, and it even had a mini-bridge across a ditch –what a great path for the juniors to run down! A few minutes later, I heard a crashing sound, and saw a mountain biker hurtle down and emerge from the track. I decided to completely move the start.
Otherwise, there are some good areas to use if you avoid the worst of the fight, and I tried to make the best of them. Even so, it is still a very physically challenging area, even in the dry, and before the worst of the undergrowth takes hold for the summer. Then there is that hill that you have to come back up. The question is whether to make this part of the course, or the walk back from the finish. As the courses were on the upper limit of the guidelines, I decided to take pity on you, and finish at the bottom.
All of the courses Andy planned were well received, without exception as far as I heard, repaying the time and effort Andy put into the task. Combined with Carol’s efficient organisation and the strong team in support, this made for a good event, made all the more worthwhile by the number of competitors and kind weather. It was great to see so many families and juniors taking part alongside older or more experienced orienteers.
The slight doubt about whether 1 or 2 competitors had in fact downloaded and left the event was quickly confirmed by making contact through the mobile phone numbers on the registration forms. This re-inforces, once again, the benefit of all sections of the registration form being completed accurately –as well as interrogating the SI check boxes and start boxes.
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 .
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