JK 2009 : Northumbrian Hills

10th - 13th April 2009

Results

Individual and relay foot-O results are available on the SPORTident website.

String course results are available here.

Trail-O results are available here.

RouteGadget is available on the JK RouteGadget website.

Best overall JK performance

The prizes for the best male and female overall performances in the JK were awarded to:

  • Men: Jonathan Crickmore, SO, M16, GBR
  • Women: Cornelia Mueller, OLV_ZUG, W45 (running W40 class), SUI

Officials' comments

The remaining reports will be available here soon.

Coordinator: Boris Spence, NN

Now that JK 2009 is over I would like to highlight a few points. Firstly I would like to thank you all for turning up and supporting this major event in the orienteering calendar. I hope that you will view this as a fairly successful event - blessed with good weather, good courses, a good atmosphere and take away with you some happy memories of Northumberland - not just the event, but the people and the places.

The weekend only took place due to the incredible hard work put in by a small team of experienced individuals. Even with the added problems of losing the Relay parking field six weeks before the event and the limited availability of helpers on each day everyone kept smiling. There were only a few periods when some individuals had lost their sense of humour and situations became a bit tense. I started to have misgivings when I discovered that the local authorities had taken down all the direction signs posted on the A1 at the start of day two and three, as they had not met Council specifications!

It was over two years ago when the NEOA Committee agreed to proceed and organise JK2009. At the time this decision was not taken lightly as we were well aware of the limited resources with regard to suitable areas available and manpower to run such a prestigious event. With JK2009 happening over a late Easter this meant that a number of areas which would normally have been suitable to host the event became unavailable after the end of March (due to wildlife). This and the controller's reports on the suitability of other areas lead to the final decision of using Newcastle, Kyloe and Dipton.

This late confirmation of areas meant that the mapping time available was now limited. This in turn restricted the availability of mappers to carry out survey work and produce competition standard maps. However, due to the hard work of a number of people the maps were produced for all areas and on time.

It was gratifying for me to see the amount of work put in by each of the day organisers and planners ably supported by their controllers. It is my opinion that the system worked and the event was only a success due to the close working relationship between each member of the team. This was highlighted when problems arose, all members of the team helped with advice and, when needed, physical assistance.

Each day had its own particular problems which were eventually resolved by the team. The worst of these fell on the Relay team when losing their car parking field close to the event date. We all spent many days investigating areas around Hexham trying to convince farmers to allow us to park in one of their fields. Regrettably at that time most of the fields we had identified as suitable were waterlogged, so I could see the reluctance of the farmers in allowing their land to be used. After much searching we did finally obtain the use of Hexham Race Course. Unfortunately this meant that we needed to transfer competitors to Dipton, with a further daunting task of arranging transport. I did not realise how difficult it was to find coaches that would be available on a Bank Holiday Monday! We did however manage to obtain a limited number of coaches, and to help balance this short fall we requested that competitors turn up early at 0730hrs. This did not appear to work as on the day only a few competitors responded to our request, with the bulk turning up together almost an hour later. This meant that there were long queues for the coaches and a decision was taken to delay start times by one hour. A number of competitors did complain about the coach transfer which I can understand and therefore apologise to anyone who felt aggrieved.

[Footnote: These original comments were written immediately after the JK weekend. It has since been acknowledged that the final details did not actually request competitors turn up early at 0730hrs, merely that buses would be running from that time. Failure to make this request obviously made the bussing problem worse than it might otherwise have been, for which we again apologise.]

Overall I feel that the whole weekend ran reasonably smoothly but there were a few key points from lessons learned that will be passed on to the committee of JK2010. I think that it is worth reminding everyone that the planning and organisation of an event of this magnitude is a major task carried out by volunteers working around their normal family and work commitments. I found that after chatting to some competitors over the weekend that this point may have been lost and it is worth British Orienteering highlighting the fact that events are organised by volunteers.

I would like to finish by thanking everyone involved in this year's JK and in particular the support from clubs outside the region who supplied helpers and equipment for the event. I would also like to express my gratitude to the landowners, not only for their generosity in allowing us run on their land, but for their patience and help during the planning and organising stages. But more importantly we must thank that un-named person who provided such good weather!

Day 1 Organiser: Paul Thornton, CLOK

Whilst areas for other days of JK09 came and went over the preceding three years, Chris Wright's vision for the sprint in Newcastle remained intact even if the detail changed up until the last week. He and I have put on many smaller events recently, and were delighted to have Nev Myers as controller. We do share common views on the makings of a good sprint race, and hope this was apparent in the end result.

Its difficult to 'win' as an organizer as the best that can happen is that nothing major goes wrong. Issues that arose on the day are not really new ones. There were several reports of competitors using 'crossable uncrossables' and we put out extra marking during the event. One control box and one control went missing briefly and we owe apologies to those inconvenienced by this. We put a deal of thought into selecting secure sites and protecting equipment, but our defences were not sufficient for the scallies involved. Murray Strain took a tumble in Exhibition Park , dislocating a shoulder and earning a trip to A&E in the Red Cross ambulance. He is recovering well and would like to pass on thanks to the girls who looked after him until help arrived.

The continually increasing popularity of JK Sprint raises so many constraints on the choice of venue. Once safety, security, assembly, and worthwhile orienteering terrain have been considered, the choice of venue in any British Orienteering region for a 2000 competitor (it is not far away) sprint race becomes small. I hope future organizers will bear these in mind at an early stage - the hunt is already on for a sprint venue for the next NEOA JK! Its almost impossible to put too much effort into access issues, especially in a vibrant city centre undergoing significant investment. As some are aware, this almost derailed us at the last minute. In the end, it was a relief to call into Newcastle on the way home on Monday evening and see almost no evidence of our having been there.

For a large event such as this, the organiser's role is 95% co-ordinating and 5% doing. And so it is a pleasure to acknowledge the efforts of teams for mapping, equipment, start, enquiries, timing, traders, finish, commentary and PA, signage, presentations, and assembly along with the Civic Centre staff, Park Manager and University Staff. You all made the organiserís job very straightforward.

Day 1 Planner: Chris Wright, CLOK

Thanks to all for participating - I hope you enjoyed your runs, and found them more 'sprint' than 'urban'.

Massive thanks to Organiser Paul, not only for all the work he did on access negotiations to turn my ideas into reality, but also for test running courses and for spending an enormous amount of time helping with the OCADing of my plans.

Thanks to Nev Myers for his diligent but 'light touch' controlling.

Thanks to all the Army cadets, and to their leaders, for their long day 'in the field' - some had a quiet time of it, but those near the skateboard park at the entrance to Exhibition Park saw a lot of action, and reacted admirably in the face of much provocation. My apologies to the runners who were affected by the controls which went temporarily 'missing in action'. Thanks also to Co-ordinator Boris for arranging for the cadets to guard the controls, and for his assistance with some access issues.

I spent the whole day patrolling the area, checking on how the controls and cadets were doing, so didn't get much chance to view runners in action or gauge reaction in Assembly. Viewing the routes of those who have been kind enough to use the 'Routegadget' facility has been most interesting - it appears that all options on offer were taken by someone! Quite pleasing!

Finally, thanks to my wife and kids for their support.

Day 1 Controller: Nev Myers, EBOR

I was delighted to be asked to control the JK sprint race in Newcastle and was even more pleased when it became know that Paul and Chris were to be organiser and planner respectively.

I have got to known both of them well over the last few years, being members of neighbouring clubs but in different regions and was very confident that we could put on a good event together. As it turned out, that good working relationship was to become very important in the week before the event.

With two such diligent and capable individuals organising and planning, all the fine detail was checked and much of my work involved double-checking and triple-checking to make sure everything would run smoothly on the big day.

They had selected a fine assembly and finish area, which would create a great atmosphere to get the weekend off to a fine start. Chris produced some excellent courses, fully utilising the best the area had to offer, with a good variety of terrain types and navigational challenges, particularly on the longer courses.

Dave Peel's excellent map was prepared and formatted and in the background, Boris's weekend organisational team started to build the infrastructure around the event, which gave me a high level of confidence that everything would be well on the day.

I must admit to being slightly nervous that this was the first time that Sportident had been responsible for all of the SI computing at the JK and it would be at our event that any teething troubles would be found out. My worries were groundless and their experience of managing the computing at many multi-day events of differing formats ensured that everything went well and was delivered in a very professional manner - phew!

Two weeks before the event, the final courses were sent to the printers and we got confirmation on the Thursday, with 8 days to go, that they had been printed and would be delivered that weekend.

As many of you will know by now, the following morning I got a call from Paul to say that over-running and brought-forward building works meant that we could not use a significant section of the University area. This kind of thing is bound to happen from time to time and was no-ones fault - you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with solving the problem.

Chris proved to be a real star in the next few hours, in that he produced a new set of long courses for us to look at within a very short space of time - no doubt as a result of his meticulous planning earlier, in that he knew what would work and what could be considered.

Lots of urgent and late-night conference calls and much work by Chris and Paul on Ocad followed and we were able to send a new set of agreed courses off to Alan at Print 5 for re-printing on the Tuesday morning. Alan should receive a medal here for ensuring they were printed to specification, whilst away on holiday at the time. With the new maps received at 9am on the day before the race, we were home and dry, but it was cutting it just a bit too fine for my liking and definitely not recommended!

As we gathered the night before, I sensed a feeling that we could cope with anything the next day could throw at us.

The day of the event dawned with the promise of sunshine and dry weather for the most of the day and it was amazing to watch an empty Civic Centre transformed in a few short hours into an assembly area which many have commented will be a hard act to follow.

The North East club members and friends proved to be very efficient and all aspects of the event appeared to run like clockwork. Sure, there were a few little niggles, but not ones to spoil your day. The army cadets proved to be invaluable in defending and retrieving a couple of controls which went walkabout, giving them a bit of excitement to end a long and tiring day. I hope those few competitors which were affected were not too disappointed and realise that we did everything we could to mitigate the risk.

I must caution a few runners who, in the heat of competition, chose to ignore the uncrossable wall symbol and jumped into and ran across the flower bed on the way to the last but one control. Please learn to recognise this feature on the map as a disqualification in a future event will undoubtedly have put officials in a difficult position and may well ruin your race.

My thanks to you the competitors for turning out in force and for your many kind comments on the day and following the event. Also my grateful thanks on behalf of us all to Paul and Chris for their sterling work in putting on an excellent event, which I will remember for a very long time!

Day 2 Organisers: Marion and Peter Archer, CLOK

Thank you all for coming to orienteer in Kyloe Woods, and we hope you all enjoyed the views from the assembly area and adjacent car park. Thanks to the farmer, Frazer Thompson, for use of them and who said we could come back next year! And thanks to whoever arranged the weather in the last month to enable easy access and egress through the gateways.

We are sorry that some people had problems approaching the area: firstly an over-zealous Incident Support Unit removed road signs on the A1 after a vehicle, unrelated to the JK, broke down nearby; secondly an accident further south held up traffic for up to an hour. We believe everybody affected was allowed a late start.

We hope you liked the innovative results boards and the elite start ramp, both provided by our equipment officer Paul Boyles who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend.

After the event there were still things to do - such as rebuilding the dry stone wall into the forest from the top of the run-in with planner Paul Taylor. There was not much loose rubbish to collect, however, so thanks to all who came for maintaining the high standards in this area. This was no surprise to us, but impressed local people who expected the field to look more like a pop festival.

Thanks to all the helpers from North East clubs, and from all those clubs and individuals who volunteered to assist us, thanks to the volunteers of the British Red Cross who patched up a few people, thanks for the work done by the local northeast cadets, and finally thanks to the efficient SPORTident team including Mick Garratt who acted as our SPORTident liason.

Day 2 Planner: Alan Cranke, CLOK (Courses 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 23-29)

Well that was interesting, some time ago many people in the south of our region offered to help with a JK based around Barnard Castle and Catterick but slowly we moved closer and closer to Scottish border and ended in Kyloe.

I had not planned a large event for some time and soon remembered why it is not something you do every day especially when you are a computer retard and everything seems to be done by OCAD, googlegroup and e-mail!

We had many set backs (probably true for all large events, you just don't always hear about them), late choice of area due to losing others, mapping in summer with high bracken leading to late updates, late December felling plans and an ever moving forest exclusion zone leading to 3 sets of replanned preliminary courses including losing access to Detchant from Kyloe for long courses on day 2, again late in 2008.

Apart from this no problem, except the WRE status made me nervous as I had never run a middle distance race. I would like to thank Dave Peel, and Karen Poole for advice on middle distance races.

As a planner you have to use the area given, we are not all blessed with sunlit runnable Beechwood or complicated sand dunes (though we did manage the sunlit). We spent many hours finding the best parts of Kyloe for a spring event, yes we did spend many hours in even more unpleasant areas of Kyloe. If when looking at your maps you wonder why we did not use what looks like a good area there will be more than one good reason for not using, as if only one good reason we tended to use it, this led to some narrow corridors which I guess got quite busy. If people thought the area quite physical, we are quite happy to give a tour of areas not used to show you what you missed!

The aim therefore was to join better areas of Kyloe hopefully producing some route choice and some good running, but more importantly competitor enjoyment which is what really matters, I hope we did this for the majority of competitors.

I would like to thank Dick Towler for the many hours of work he gave to this his first Grade one event and his meticulous eye for detail. With the many setbacks we had, I hope in the quiet after the storm (extreme madhouse of last few weeks) Dick can look back at what I believe ended as a pretty good event and I hope enhanced the reputation of the North East.

Thanks must go to Dick Carmichael the IOF controller for his advice and signs of encouragement on our bad days.

Finally I would like to thank my co-planner, Paul Taylor for all his help throughout the event but especially with the computer side of the planning exercise and also to his daughter Cat for all her help with control hanging the week before the event.

Thanks to you the competitors for travelling to the NE, I hoped you enjoyed your visit and encourage others to return in the future.

Day 2 Planner: Paul Taylor, CLOK (Courses 7, 10-13, 16-22)

The main problems encountered while planning in Kyloe were as follows:

  • Travel - 266 miles round trip from Whitby.
  • Communications - co-planner (Alan) 35 miles away.
  • Email - too much of it. I spent more time dealing with emails than planning!
  • The map - enough has been said, but can't blame the mapper. I think Jon did well in the short time available.
  • Too many tracks to plan 'off-road' legs all the time.
  • Very physical/dangerous in the interesting areas making it difficult to plan appropriate courses for the older competitors.
  • Control sites - relatively few potential 'bombproof' technical sites.

Having said that, I've learnt to enjoy the forest. (I've got my eye on a little property that needs a bit of a care and affection.)

Day 2 Controller: Dick Towler, LOC

It was very pleasing to be part of such a successful JK. My concerns about the suitability of the car parking at Kyloe were, of course, made irrelevant by the glorious weather.

I had expected to be controlling using a top quality map. Sadly, that was not to be. Kyloe was not the 1st choice for this event; indeed, the decision to use the area was taken only early in 2008. It took some time to find a mapper, with the result that the initial work had to be done during the summer and early autumn, in the time that the mapper had available before he left the UK to live in Australia. That we had an adequate competition map at all is due largely to the efforts of Paul Taylor, one of the Day 2 planners, who made innumerable corrections, some only shortly before the event.

Alan Cranke and Paul Taylor produced some excellent courses. Alan's Elite Middle Distance Courses produced almost perfect winning times. If you thought your course was physically too tough, yes, Kyloe is a tough forest, but the courses did avoid the less pleasant bits, honest. The planners also had to cope with losing about 15% of the usable area to an exclusion zone, the boundaries of which were moved during the planning phase, and with a felling and thinning programme, which was only completed 3 months before the event.

In addition to thanking the planners, I would like to congratulate the organisers, Marion and Peter Archer, who did a superb job. Of course, organising is all about delegation, for which you need a large number of reliable helpers, so many thanks to all of them as well, and particularly to all those from clubs outside the North East Region.

If you were one of the relatively small number of competitors who mispunched because you dibbed at a control too quickly, I am sorry that I could not reinstate you. As you no doubt know, it is your responsibility to check that you hear the SI box bleep or the lights flash, so that, if necessary, you can use the backup pin punch.

Day 3 Organiser: Colin Matheson, NATO

The Matheson motto is "Do and Hope" and when I finally found a suitable parking and assembly area (having lost the first two choices) I really did hope that the weather would be kind to us. There was the very real possibility that there would have been a long trudge from the car parks to a cold and windswept assembly area in the most exposed field in Northumberland. On previous visits we had encountered snow, gales and horizontal rain and in the days leading up to the event the forecast was looking distinctly gloomy. How differently things turned out. The area was transformed into what I think is one of the best assembly areas ever used by a JK. From the String Course and the Trail-O there was a magnificent view to Lindisfarne, and out to the east and north there was a wonderful vista of Cockenheugh, Greensheen and Holburn Moss.

Chris and Karen Poole were great to work with as Planners, and with valuable input from Ray Barnes as Controller I was confident that it would be a successful competition. Not all went smoothly however - on Saturday I was summoned to the Enquiries tent to find a landowner clutching one of the control stakes, SI box and control flag! Fortunately the issue was resolved very amicably, and the misunderstanding was soon put behind us.

On competition day the real challenges fell to the parking team - first of all two cattle escaped from a cattle truck and decided to run up the road from Swinhoe Farm to the parking field. This in turn led to delays in the cattle truck driving out, and at peak time the farmer Alastair Nixon had to drive out to the main road and stop the traffic on the one-way system. Problems were not quite over, with a newly purchased campervan deciding to spontaneously erupt thereby prompting a 999 call.

Back in Assembly things were going very well, and I was confident in the abilities of the various teams including Starts, Enquiries, Finishes, Prizegiving and Water/Crossings, the latter manned by cadets kindly volunteered by coordinator Boris Spence. Special thanks go to the UDOC team and Paul Boyles, Equipment Coordinator, who were out of the limelight but provided sterling service setting up and delivering essential stores. I must also thank Peter and Marion Archer, Day 2 Organisers, as they prepared lots of useful lists which I could then plagiarise for my own purposes. Finally thanks to Ro, Mrs M, who has put up with well over a year of meetings and visits, and who was the last person home on Sunday night after helping load the van and move a unwelcome heap of plastic bags and traders boxes.

It was an easy day for me in the end, with only five issues to deal with. One competitor was unhappy about the control sandwiched between two massive boulders, a little girl was tearful after she missed her start time, a UDOC student caught her ankle on a concealed wire, the parking supremo punched but it didn't register and one competitor was disqualified for trying to cross a wall. Unluckily he decided to do this next to the Controller who was armed with a camera!

Many thanks to you as competitors who helped make this one of the most memorable JKs for years - for all the right reasons.

Photos from day 3:

Day 3 Planners: Karen and Chris Poole, CLOK

The common theme running through the whole of the JK2009 organising team was the desire to put on a great show and to prove that the NE can put on a really successful event all round, with quality areas, good planning and top notch organising.

We were involved right from the start, involving ourselves in exploring the whole of the NE for new areas to increase the bank of maps available to us for future events. After an important date in early October 2008, we launched headlong into marriage and JK planning concurrently. We're not sure how many couples would spend the first six months of their marriage deeply involved with JK planning. If our marriage survives this, it will survive anything!

We wanted to produce challenging and varied courses that took as many competitors as possible into as many different areas of the map as possible. Our secondary aim was to use the chosen assembly area to its best, to give fine views of the surrounding terrain and elite spectator leg, and then pray for good weather!! We decided early on that the short veteran courses would be best to avoid the steep rocky slopes of Cockenheugh. This meant they instead had to cope with the tough vegetation of Detchant. The Green / White Start location was dictated by the length of the shortest courses that had to get back to the finish from there. A later decision was to start all junior courses from that start. Course 29 had originally been planned to start adjacent to the assembly area and simply run round the field boundaries, but our controller Ray agreed to a lengthened course to allow these competitors a chance to get into the forest itself.

Once the spectator run-through and taped routes around out of bounds areas had been identified, the courses from Red / Blue starts fell into place quickly. It was difficult to plan really good long route choice legs in the area without them simply being long path runs. By taking most competitors into the southern block of forest and out onto Dancing Green we were able to give a good route choice leg back.

We were disappointed that the location of one of the drinks points led to so many mispunches on M45L/W21E. In hindsight we should of taken more care in the siting of both control and drinks for all possible routes. We felt a control was necessary as we didn't have carte blanche access across the adjacent hill, only access on the footpath.

All in all, we had a lot of fun planning your courses for you, running as many legs as we could, and gradually watching the snow and cold winter killing off the vegetation making many parts of the forest much more runnable that we had originally imagined possible. We appreciated all the support and attention to detail we received from Ray and controlling help from Stephen on the weekend. Comments from both Dick Carmichael and Dave Peel on elite courses were very helpful. Finally, thanks to all of you who came to express your gratitude to us for the courses, and I hope you all go home with happy memories of a glorious weekend in the North East of England.

Day 3 Controller: Ray Barnes, NOC

After some abandoned venue choices it was always going to be difficult to get a perfect map for this event. It was disappointing that none of the UK professional mappers were willing or able to demonstrate their abilities at a premier event. Instead Australian-based SutMap took on the task of mapping out-of-season and produced a map which covered an area overall 6km by 4km. The map became available just 10 weeks before the event and with the mapper now 12,000 miles away, the planners and controllers made numerous minor corrections, but inevitably some inconsistancies remained, and of course in such a large and varied area competitors would sometimes fail to appreciate the generalization necessary to show features consistantly.

Then came the rain and the snow, planning and controlling time was lost - but the dry spell in late March enabled the team to get to the printers by the deadline - just. Most importantly, the improved weather dried the parking fields - there was no fallback parking!

With experienced planners familiar with elite standards, I had very little to do with the courses themselves. The usual crop of slightly ambiguous control sites were quickly eliminated, although courses may have continued to pass through vague areas, leaving the competitor free to choose another more positive route if they wished.

I was recording every control site using GPS, and it became apparent that the map was not geo-referenced (as many will have noted from the RouteGadget traces). I requested elimination of some parts of courses, and an afternoon was spent with Chris adjusting a complete section of Cockenhaugh that we couldn't plan around.

I also moved a few features where it was obvious from GoogleEarth that the GPS position was much more accurate than the map. I regret that moving the ditch bend (130) in Detchant to make it the correct distance along the feature then rendered it incorrect with respect to the vegetation boundary to the south. On the day the kite was hung out of the ditch very high, so I hope you all saw it immediately.

Most courses from the Red/Blue start passed through the steep crags and pillars on the south-west side of Cockenheugh. This beautiful stretch of rock outcrops is loved by climbers so much that they removed one of our sites (103) and placed it (complete with marker peg) some 15m up on a pillar about 100 metres away. Fortunately my assistant had climbing experience and was able to retrieve the site when he discovered this on Saturday morning.

I spent some time during the event itself observing near the 'uncrossable' north-south wall on the east side of Greensheen Hill, and disqualified one competitor who jumped over the wall right in front of me. I have noted that some competitors have apparently invited their disqualification by drawing their route on RouteGadget crossing the wall, but as there is no proof that the route was drawn by the competitor themself, I cannot take action.

There were some things that hadn't been completely foreseen. In particular, I am sorry that so many competitors approaching the western taped route through Holburn Moss overlooked punching the control (183) near the refreshment point. Remembering this was often the case at second master maps, I had the control placed far enough away in an attempt to prevent this. Regretably it would not be fair to reinstate anybody who missed the controls at the ends of the marked routes.

There were several other situations and incidents that didn't help to smooth the controller's task. I have already brought these to the attention of BOF Major Events and Map Group.

NEOA have produced a fine JK. It has been a pleasure to work with their team resolutely driven forward by co-ordinator Boris Spence. Planners Karen and Chris Poole were always willing to accept my various insistances, and day organiser Colin Matheson worked tirelessly to get everything we needed from the generous landowners, including the reinstatement of one control site on Saturday evening which had been unexpectedly returned to Day 2 assembly.

Behind the scenes, I was also pleased to cross-check many details with Day 2 controller Dick Towler, and the IOF Adviser Dick Carmichael. Thanks are due to several other members of my own club who provided technical and literary assistance, and finally thanks to Dick Towler, Paul Thornton and Stephen Wright who assisted checking/waking all the control sites for a third time with the planners and myself on the morning of the event.

Days 2 & 3 IOF Advisor: Dick Carmichael

Day 2 and Day 3 of JK 2009 incorporated M21E and W21E world ranking events and I volunteered in June 2008 as the IOF Rules and Guidelines for WRE require that an IOF event advisor is appointed at an early stage. I was familiar with the forest from attending previous events and living within a hundred miles was actually resident closer than most of the organising team. I had previously controlled both days of the JK in 1992 at Bigland in NW area and welcomed the opportunity to help the NE deliver in 2009.

Having previously worked with Alan Cranke (he planned and I controlled a British Relays in Dipton Wood in the late 1980's) and already knowing Karen Poole from WMOC in Calgary Canada in 2005 (I was IOF EA and she organised starts for the Calgary club) I had background confidence in the planning teams for Days 2 and 3. I quickly coupled this with confidence in the two controllers Dick Towler and Ray Barnes and Chris Poole the other Day 3 planner who were all helpful and informative throughout.

Initially all our concerns rested with the map which was late in finalisation and contained significant problem areas partially resulting from a summer survey. I had not been appointed in time to get involved in the terrain selection process but understand there was only one professional mapper prepared to bid for the work. Kyloe had not been the first choice area for the event and the elimination of the other areas took most of the first year after the NE bid was accepted in 2007. The mapper (SUTMAPS) also moved to Australia at the end of the 2008 summer and the many Ocad corrections necessary were coordinated by Day 2 assistant planner Paul Taylor. This immense extra workload led to stress in the Day 2 team and the overall map quality and these factors gave me real concerns. A golden opportunity to have a top class map made for future use in the NE was in my opinion wasted because of the delay in choosing Kyloe for the event. A selection in spring 2007 should have resulted in a broader range of professional mapper bids and a winter / spring survey without bracken cover.

Confidence in the organising teams came from reading their seemingly endless minutes and meticulous attention to detail and from their Coordinator Boris Spence. Since for a WRE an IOF Event Advisor is appointed by British Orienteering I was somewhat surprised to find that having appointed me in June they appointed a further Advisor in November. My concerns related chiefly to two perceived problems: 1) An overload of controllers on the Elite courses with no clear guidelines as to who was in ultimate charge and 2) fairness of international competition as the British Orienteering Elite Advisor (Dave Peel) was also the BOF squad coach at WOC2008. These concerns were quickly resolved and a working relationship between all parties eventuated which was characterised by both advisors giving the teams enough room to get on with the job.

My forest visits were used to assess a selection of the control location suggestions for fairness, the updated map for consistency from north to south and the assembly and parking fields for adequacy and access. I was delighted with Alan's Elite Day 2 start ramp proposal and the commentary team and with the tiny Warm Up map and spectator controls for Day 3. All little gestures to raise the profile of the WRE and help make the Elite better known to the Orienteering public.

On the morning of each race on Day 2 and 3 I spent three hours in the terrain waking up boxes and re-assessing previously identified potential problem boulders crags and pits for fairness and then visited start teams and made decisions on late start procedures for Elite and generally flew the IOF flag. I am happy the results are fair and that the competition was exciting to watch and on both days was a spectacle worthy of a WRE. I was unable to persuade the organisers to provide drinks for the Elite at either the starts or the finish and agreed that previous maps could be shown on the website if new maps were displayed at all venues. I ensured that the overseas competitors were fully informed in the Event information of the new Elite Advisory role of the former British Orienteering squad coach. No complaints of any sort were received on either day and the two juries that were required on both days (which had been largely made up of IOF Event Advisor qualified Grade 1 UK controllers) were not called. Errors were made: For example a top six W21E was disqualified on Day 3 for not punching at drinks control 14, and in my opinion these drinks should have been on top of the kite rather than 20 meters away.

I commend the JK 09 coordinators, day organisers, planners and controllers and all the clubs from the NE region and the many helping clubs and the Northumberland Army Cadet force for a job well done. Putting on a major event every 10-12 years is indeed a major challenge in a Region with only a very few quality large forests and four clubs. Congratulations and thanks to all for making my task relatively simple and enjoyable. Particular accolades should go to Karen Poole for setting examples to her fellow Elite competitors by sacrificing her own selection / ranking races to be planner Day 3.

Day 4 Planner: Patrick Smyth, NATO

Well at 6.30 on the Monday morning with no toilets, tents I thought - here we go disaster! It got worse as the lorry with the tents bogged down in the gate-way! At which point I went off to wake up my half of the controls! At least the hour delay to the starts allowed me to sort out NOC's incorrect entries - I might just collect the promised pint one day!

Apart from changing one SI unit I had a 'nice relaxing' day and was able to watch people out in the wood. Dipton is one of the nicest woods in the North East; fast with very little undergrowth to impede progress although this winter the bilberry has not died back as much as normal. It proved just that with some very fast times (although the majority only marginally adrift from the guidelines). I spent several glorious days in the wood over the past six months and I'm glad everyone could see it in the same conditions although the fantastic atmosphere created meant the abundant wild life stayed in cover!

I watched a few people on the shorter courses caught by the change from high visibility to the denser part prior to spectator controls but mostly hard fast acurate runnng was the order of the day. One point for parents/coaches - despite the advice in the programme about gaffling I watched first leg runners on both the Mini and Junior relays stay in packs only for some to discover they were at the wrong control.

As Alan has said the last few months were 'interesting'. Getting to grips with the technology for a relay was a new experience - not helped by the knolls and gullies disappearing from the map; this happened in February when the landscape was covered with snow and for some (as yet unexplained) reason the knolls and gullies turned white in sympathy merging with the background! A few thanks: to Fred Miller for helping to hang the controls, the small band of control collectors who stayed on at the end of a long weekend to clear up the forest, Andy Lewsley for his advice help and enthusiasm over the past months and finally to Boris for his determination to stage the whole weekend.

Photos from day 4:

Day 4 Controller: Andrew Lewsley, BL

I must start by thanking you the competitors for your good humour and patience while we tried to get you from here to there and back again and also when we had difficulties getting lap 2 and 3 maps to you.

Patrick planned good challenging and fair courses that made best use of the area. He produced well 'gaffled' laps that seem to have led to good head to head racing, particularly in the Womens classes. The winning times were generally within a few minutes of the guidline times, the exceptions being classes J and L where the leaders were much quicker than we had anticipated.

Phill and Boris managed to work wonders with the organisation particularly in the last month when we lost our car park field. The bussing was always going to be a problem, how do you move 1500 people 8 miles on country roads in less than 3 hours? With hindsight we should have explained more carefully the problem, if people had turned up earlier to allow the busses to start running at full capacity at 7.30 it would have just about worked. I don't think more busses (even if they had been available) was the answer, they would have had problems passing, slowing the journey time. We would have had difficulty turning them at Dipton.

The map issue problem I should have foreseen. When we were labelling the maps during the previous week I noticed that they did not stay in order, I thought this might slow down lap 1 map issue but not significantly - I was correct. I did not expect the problem to be so severe for laps 2 & 3. I can only describe the labels we sealed the maps with as 'amazing', even with a knife they were difficult to break. Apologies to the Mini relay lap 1 runners who had to break the seals after they had started.

I hope you enjoyed your run and the day. The sunshine let you see Dipton at its best.

JK 2009 was attended by:

JK 2009 was kindly sponsored by: