JK 2009 : Northumbrian Hills
10th - 13th April 2009
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
The remaining reports will be available here soon.
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 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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.)
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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: