Results for BSOC 2009, Druridge Bay, Amble, 22/11/2009Comments:
Sunday Organisers and Weekend Coordinators
Really where do you start.
My thanks and good wishes go to all of you pupils, teachers and families for making the short or long journey to the North East.
The event was fraught with problems and we were able to tackle and sort them out as they cropped up. The affects of the postal strike was a start and by doing e mail entries it got over that problem, but then started a knock on problem of the finances. Most people took their email entry as if it was a postal entry and have paid the fees even if competitors were not able to come at the last minute. For this I thank them. Then the weather. Initially coaches were to drop off and then return. With the help of the park staff we worked out a system that would enable all the coaches to be parked near the assembly. The rain for three weeks and loosing 60% of our grass parking shattered that idea, so we had to revert to drop and park. With the weather being so good on the Sunday I do not think this was too much of a problem.
On a general comment I was disappointed about reports of adults going out into the area and I hope those adults who read this are ashamed of them selves. It is an area well used by the General Public and the marshals were not in a position to stop everyone.
On another point. There were a very large number of competitors who were struggling with the courses. We had 15 safety marshals in the area to help combat this possibility. A lot of competitors may not have been used to contour navigation but the courses were well planned and there were taped routes where I would not have thought they were needed. Adrian Barnes did a fine job.
I would like to extend mine and your best wishes to Cockermouth, Keswick and Ennerdale schools who were unable to attend because of the flooding in Cumbria.
Enough of that I hoped everyone enjoyed themselves and will come back to the North East in the future.
We had event support from members of the Blyth Valley Sports and Recreation Trust who organised the Pasta Party with live music on the Saturday Night. The big marquee in the assembly field was also for them to organise on the day entertainment when youngsters were hanging around. The ground was so wet they were not able to do this to the extent they had hoped. The climbing tower would have just sunk. I would like to thank them for all the extra support they were able to offer.
As a footnote the large Marquee was blown down over the Sunday night the winds were that strong.
Our thanks to
Sponsors: Buff, Office PE Office, Newcastle and Tyneside Orienteers, Compasspoint, British Orienteering, Elsie and Bertie Ward Fund, Ashington Sports Partnership, Northumberland Sport, Blyth Valley Sports and Recreation Trust.
Support from: CLOK, NN, BL, Northumberland Country Parks (for permission to use Queen Elizabeth II Country Park and Druridge Bay Country Park). Woodhorn Colliery Museum, Michael Napier for results, Pauline Olivant. Controller Chris Wright. Special guest Pippa Whitehouse. Also the help with the prize giving from Duncan Archer and Karen Poole, plus commentary from Chris Pool.
And finally the members of the North East Clubs along with members of the Blyth Valley Sports development team and Druridge Bay Country Park Staff who worked over the weekend to ensure a successful competition.
John and Margaret Crosby (NSOA/NATO)
Saturday Training Event Planner
I hope everyone enjoyed the area despite the rain, which came on later in the day and the somewhat slippy/boggy underfoot conditions. I'm sorry I couldn't find you any sand-dunes which I was sure Adrian was going to challenge you with but I attempted to provide a challenge that would get you loose for the real test the following day.
Both the controller and I were surprised at a particular route choice a number of you took (including a nameless M55 night watchman) as we both thought you'd opt for the longer but faster running option to the south of the museum (perhaps that's why we're down low in the rankings)-we then noted how many missed the little path with the control and had to relocate.
We only had one control vandalised - and that was before we'd finished putting them out- so despite any concerns the locals were friendly (BTB thanks to the mountain bikers for providing us with a new pit - control 40).
My thanks to the marshals who kept an eye on the Train crossings - I was worried, that even with the drivers aware, some over eager person (that M55 again?), might have dashed across and had an accident. I also note that no-one other than the controller mentioned my deliberate breach of the rules by having controls too close together to control that crossing - I had to take some courses across it to prevent distances being completely wrong and wanted to encourage a stop either side.
Interesting change in roles for me - Planner for the Saturday and Parking cars on Sunday - but that is orienteering.
Finally thanks to my long suffering wife who helped get the controls out and then disappeared to feed the swans so I could concentrate on last minute panics!
Sunday BSOC Planner
Well, I can safely say this was the most difficult planning challenge I've had in all my years of planning - but also the most enjoyable. I work just down the coast (you could see it on the course if you had time to look) so I was able to visit often and just love the area.
I've seen it in all conditions now from bright still days, heavy rain, high wind and even full darkness when finishing putting out the controls on Saturday.
I planned the courses for BSOC the last time we held it in the North East (1995 at Cragside) and the requirements have changed a lot since then.
The major challenge was fitting in 4 White (5s & 6s) and 4 Yellow (7s & 8s) standard courses which didn't overlap too much and had starts which were close together, all in an area which doesn't have a convenient path grid. The guidelines call for White courses to run along roads or tracks the whole way so I used a bit of imagination with the lines of concrete blocks along the beach as a substitute. I was really pleased to see that all of you took to this OK. That enabled me to let all of you visit the beach which has to be one of the most spectacular in the country - even if it is never warm enough to just sit on!
The next challenge was making Green courses (13s) technically difficult enough using the same starts and finish. Ideally I would have liked those courses - and probably the Light Greens (11s & 12s) too - to start in the park and visit the dunes late on when you were getting tired. But I couldn't find a way to do that so I settled for a difficult first part and a fast second part which would, at least, challenge you to decide to speed up. I also put in the simple loop into the park and out again to make you think more about speed and concentration. Making use of controls in the copses on the south side of the lake made it a little more interesting.
I also set myself the objective of ensuring that you all finished within an hour as it can get quite cold in November if you're out much longer. Consequently, there were some very short winning times. I hope you understand why.
There were a lot of people who helped me but I'll only single out a few. John Crosby, the Organiser, to whom nothing is a problem only an opportunity. Chris Wright, Controller, for his quietly delivered advice and checking I got everything right - never an easy task. Jane Phizaklea who gave up her Saturday to walk round in the mud and rain carrying stuff with me to put out the controls, finishing in the dark. She couldn't even come on Sunday to see the competition as she was working.
It was a lot of work. Was it worth it ? On Sunday morning at 7am on the beach in the dark putting out the final controls I would have said, No. At 1pm when the last competitor was in and I'd seen what fun you all had, very much Yes - when's the next one?
Adrian Barnes (NATO)
Sunday BSOC Controller
I hope you all enjoyed the competition - I think Adrian did a great job in planning courses which balanced providing a reasonable challenge for the more experienced whilst providing an achievable challenge for the less experienced, all within the fairly specific event guidelines.
It was great working with such an experienced planner, backed up by John Crosby's crack organising team, which all made my job really quite straightforward.
Apart from witnessing hundreds of kids enjoying themselves in a lovely bit of countryside, one abiding memory for me will be from when I dropped down onto the beach at the south end of the area whilst checking controls at 8am on the morning of the event - the sun broke out from under a cloud and illuminated like an arc light the vast curving line of yellow dunes - a magical sight! I hope you too will all take away some good memories of the event!
Chris Wright (CLOK)
Any queries, errors, or omissions should in the first instance be addressed to Michael Napier tel (0115) 928 9663, mobile 07771 660892,
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