Nun's CrossSun 24 Sept
Level C Devon League Event 1
Regional level event
What does this mean?
Local events are usually low key and in the 'localised' area, ideal for newcomers to try the sport and Training events are non competitive and used for training and coaching, aimed at members of the club, but they can attract people from neighbouring clubs, and are often ideal for newcomers to try the sport. Regional events attract participants from around the local Region, National events are high quality competitions that will attract people from far away, Major events are Major Events such as a British Championships. Virtual events are where there are no physical controls being used. Your presence at a control is registered using an App on your mobile phone, normally the free MapRun6 App.
Terrain type: Moorland
The challenge was to establish whether it was viable to host an orienteering event in a part of Dartmoor that did not have sufficient parking to support a traditional event format.
The first consideration was to establish the costs associated with minibus hire and then find out if a firm was willing to provide a driver to shuttle runners along narrow country lanes. Much to my surprise, after emailing and ringing round a significant number of hire companies in Devon, a few firms were willing. The most local was favoured and happened to be £100 cheaper than another firm. The self drive option was my first choice but sadly the deposit was too hefty. The downside of having a professional driver is that they take a 20 minute break after 4 1/2 hours but this seemed like an acceptable compromise, so we asked runners to bring warm clothes to leave in the drop-off tent in case of a wait. A wait was inevitable as we estimated the round-trip time for the minibus (8 minutes each way then allow a few minutes at each end for loading and unloading) would be about 20 minutes, which gave a maximum competitor flow of 48 per hour in each direction (16 seater). Racesignup start time was extended to 1:30 to make sure everyone got to the start in time but the course still closed at 2:30 to deter late arrivals running long courses. Although on the day the maps said 3pm !
My preference was to house everything (registration, first aid, SI etc) at the primary school (and then place a bag drop and an additional first aider at Nuns Cross), as I’d seen this approach used successfully at the Lakes 5 day events and felt that it would “weather proof” us. This idea was vetoed by Steve E as he was very concerned that the SI station would be too far away in the event of a search and rescue, so the small quarry seemed the most suitable location and gave reasonable shelter. However, we didn’t have permission and public parking spaces were limited so we planned to discourage all competitors from parking near the start in the event flyer, to ensure that there were spaces for the SI team, planner and controller. During a site visit the public toilets across from the Primary school were assessed and checked to be working (and advertised as open online). The playground was large enough to park cars and be an area the minibus could turn about safely.
In the run-up to the event the registration tent was moved from the quarry to the primary school to ensure anyone who had any concerns on the day and could have a chat with me before boarding the minibus. There was a possibility the military would turn-up and we wanted to deter anyone from parking at Nuns Cross and collect payments.
On the day of the event the weather was predicted to be wet and windy in the morning and it was. At the quarry we were unable to inflate the bag drop tent as it was too flimsy and we could only erect and secure the SI tent by anchoring to parked cars, as pegging was difficult in the quarry and the sandbags were no match for the wind. My thanks go out to all who helped me put those tents up – you know who you are! The yellow course was abandoned due to the weather and a few parents with young children who entered on the day needed persuading to run the orange course instead. Mobile phone signal between sites was poor but acceptable. The SI tent had to double-up as the bag drop and the first aid site but the ground was wet and room was limited so eventually cars were used. The public toilets were locked on the day but the owner of the local chip shop said we could use the facilities. The SI team reported they were able to shut their laptops down between minibus arrivals and thus conserve batter power (unexpected bonus). Registration was busy with many more entries on the day than historically known and as a consequence a few pre entered runners forgot to collect their dibbers and got on the minibus, leaving the SI team to scrabble around and find a few old cards at Nuns Cross.
There was a little uncertainty at Nuns Cross as to when the minibus would arrive back while the driver was having her lunch break at the primary school. So on reflection, the lunch break should have been at Nuns Cross so the minibus could be visible and provide shelter for the cold for runners and especially those without extras clothes.
On the plus side the start team were able to deploy a 4x4 to the start which was extremely useful as it is highly exposed. The weather eased as the day progressed and we had a great showing for control collecting, which allowed us to clear up and close out the event cleanly. On the face of it the minibus hire firm thought we where all very organised which is nice to hear.
Firstly thank you to all those involved in helping this event to take place, Angela M for taking on the controlling and John M for his experience and guidance as controller. The team running the SI download Andy, Alison and Spencer, in the tent that was ready to take off at any moment. Mike W for the hours spent updating and producing the excellent map and then manning the start with his wife in very challenging conditions. Thanks for the control collectors Alistair, Matt, Karen, Ben and John who went out again into the still incredibly windy conditions. Extra thanks to the dependable Roger for his help in having the maps printed correctly, particularly after my incorrect date on them!
Phil contacted me in January asking if I could plan an event, I chose the nearest one that was on offer - Crazy Well it was, as I also knew the area reasonably well, then was told that it would be based from Princetown, I explained that Crazy Well was to far for shorter courses from Princetown and made the decision to base it on the eastern area of the map, thus the event was called Nuns Cross.
Planning on the old map with Purple Pen started in April with me due to weather eventually getting out onto the ground in May to identify new control sites and confirm ones planned.
Mike had been working on the new map and concentrated on the areas that I was intending on using. By early July the map was complete and I transferred all controls over.
John joined me to give guidance and check controls in mid August some slight changes were made to the shorter courses.
The areas chosen were based on their technical difficulty, the interesting mine workings, gullies, pits, knolls, re-entrants and spurs. I wanted to make it challenging for the longer courses by concentrating groups of controls on specific areas to add confusion and prevent following the person in front which can easily happen on open moorland.
The terrain was surprisingly hard going with a lot of the area covered in tufted grass. Due to this the courses were kept slightly on the short side, this obviously paid off on hearing comments from finishers about how physical it was and also the times were about right.
I particularly liked the long 2nd leg on the brown I can only imagine how you were cursing me for that one.
All controls were put out on the Saturday on a cracking autumnal day.
Event day John and Myself met at 0730 to wake up controls for SIAC it was 100m visibility in the fog and heavy occasional showers in a very strong wind. All controls were good to go but due to the rain and a leat overflow in flood for safety reasons we decided to cancel the Yellow course. It was also decided on cagoules and whistles being compulsory.
The weather was due to improve during the day which it did and it was interesting to go to the hill near the finish and watch many of the entrants zig zagging across the moorland features, proof that it was all working.
Many thanks for your attendance and I hope you enjoyed your challenge.
Updated Flyer (18/9) here
Event open to novices and experienced orienteers alike. Dartmoor offers excellent, but challenging terrain, requiring appropriate care as it can become exposed in poor weather. If you are new to the sport, we will be delighted to see you, but you should enter one of our novice courses.
NOTE: No parking arrangements at start and finish. Start (2 miles) is by free minibus or walk or cycle.
Near: Princetown Lat,Lng: 50.54439,-3.99150 Postcode: PL20 6QE What3Words: ///calm.dusters.stump
Directions / Parking
Parking: Princetown County Primary School, Tavistock Road, Princetown. Yelverton. PL20 6QE
Access to the playground is via a gate off Bellever Close. NOTE: There are no parking arrangements at the start and finish.
Parking charge: £2 cash donation please and all proceeds are being given to the school as a ‘thank you’ for giving us permission.
Enquiries & Registration: At the primary school. Please note any EODs will need to take their registration forms to the download tent, so look after and try not to lose on your travels to Nuns Cross.
Download & Results: Download tent will be in a small quarry near the Start and Finish. The way to the Start will be clearly signposted from the tent and a taped route will take you from
the Finish to the download area.
How to get to the start and there are three options:
- Minibus 16 seater. Devon is using a minibus service which will run continuously throughout the day roughly every 20 minutes until course closure. Please bear this in mind when choosing your start time. The drive (on the road/lane) to the start is about 2 miles. PLEASE BE PATIENT with the free of charge service the club is kindly providing for you and wear appropriate clothing for the wait and weather.
- Walk along a bridleway (approximate 2 mile).
- Cycle along the road (follow tape at junctions on main road) to a small quarry where the download & bag drop is located. Bikes are going to be left at your own risk, near download tent so advisable to lock them.
How to get back to the primary school and your car, after your run and there are three options:
- Walk along a bridleway (approximate 2 mile)
- Cycle back along the road or the bridle way
Road, Bridleway and footpath routes on the club Facebook page and will be available/on display at registration.
Minibus drop-off and collection point: Only a short distance from small quarry download - follow tape along the road/lane.
Map / Terrain
Map: Scale 1:7500 Updated 2023 by Mike Wimpenny. Map size for Brown: A3, for Yellow to Blue: A4.
Terrain: The Nun’s Cross area is grass covered open moorland with sweeping hills with streams running down cuttings with low steep sided banks in places. A couple of tracks run through the area with only a few paths of any significance. The area is littered with complex mine workings mainly around the river cuttings with many gullies, depressions and pits. A man-made water course the Devonport Leat runs through the area with many crossing points. During wet periods there are some wet marshy areas including areas of tufted grass which are demanding to cross. The area is very open and susceptible to bad weather, wind, rain and foggy conditions.
|Short Green||3.2 km||80m||12||Advanced|
|Light Green||2.9 km||70m||10||Intermediate|
Sorry there is no White course. Our planner has worked hard to include a Yellow course on this area and we would advise that parents shadow children entering this course to ensure their safety whilst competing, or at the very least stay close by the finish to monitor their safe return and wear appropriate clothing for the wait and weather.
Please bear in mind the following:
- Note the areas shown as Out of Bounds on the map and the associated legend.
- Special symbol tbc by the planner
Control descriptions: Loose and on the map.
Pre entry to Sunday 17th September via:
BOF members fees: £10 seniors, £5 novice, £3 juniors and students. Novice £5. Group £6 (2 maps). Dibber charge £1.
Pre entry fee after 17th September or entry on day (only whilst maps are available) Seniors £12. Juniors and students £4. Punching will be SI. SIAC enabled. On the day entry, courses and additional map charge £1 - whilst maps are available.
Registration and Start times
Registration open from 1000 to 1245. Start times 1030 to 1330. Courses close: 1430. If you are a slower runner, please choose an earlier start to ensure that you finish and download by 1430.
Download tent will be in a small quarry near the Start and Finish. The way to the Start will be clearly signposted from the tent and a taped route will take you from the Finish to the download area.
Bag drop (covered area): Adjacent to Download tent.
First Aider in bag-drop and registration. Information from competitors about any significant medical conditions should be made known on Racesignup. Refreshments at registration weather depending.
Public Toilets location what3words: ///cycles.crumble.fiery. The public toilets are just across the road at the public car park adjacent to Princetown Visitor Centre. 20p charge and just a 100m walk from the primary school carpark.
Sorry, no dogs on the course or on bus. On a lead at all times if you bring them to the carpark.
Contacts / Officials
Planner: Steve Edmonds
Controller: John Moody KERNO
Nearest A&E Hospital
If walking or cycling be aware of traffic on all roads, including reversing vehicles, even though traffic volumes are likely to be small and speeds should be limited.
As the area is very open and susceptible to extreme weather differences, a No Whistle No Go policy is compulsory. In addition, full arms and legs covering is advised and if raining on the day a hooded anorak is required, and we will ask to see.
Please be considerate to others on the moorland particularly when running looking at your map.
All runners must be aware that Orienteering can be hazardous, and they compete at own risk.
Devon Orienteering Club thanks Dartmoor National Park Authority for permission to hold this event.
The event is part of our Devon league series.