Posted on Fri, 3rd February 2012 by Ian Sayer

Notes From A (not so) Fat Controller

I am a Grade 3 Controller. That means that I am “qualified” to control events staged by other clubs up to Colour Coded standard. For Badge Events a Grade 2 Controller is required and Grade 1’s can control National Events. It is not hard to become a Grade 3 controller. Indeed Richard Arman (the club’s only Grade 1 controller) has recently staged a one day course for potential controllers.

The role of the Controller is to ensure (as far as is possible) that the event will run smoothly and that the courses conform to the BOF guidelines in terms of technical and physical difficulty. This usually involves some dialogue with the organiser to ensure that items such as First Aid etc. are covered but the majority of the involvement will be with checking the courses.

Everybody will have their own idea of how courses should look but there are clearly laid down guidelines to ensure that courses follow a standard level of difficulty. Consequently the Controller has to put aside his (or her) own views of how they would have approached course setting for the area and concentrate on assessing the technical/physical aspects of the courses.

This will invariably involve some armchair checking but the most important part is visiting the forest to check the planner’s tags. Believe me it is a lot harder to find a length of tape than it is to find a control kite and stake. Occasionally there will be some discussion about the suitability or siting of a control and this may involve a joint visit with the planner. However these things are usually easily ironed out.

One of the great pleasures of being a Controller is the time spent in the forest on your own with only the wildlife for company.

If you fancy giving controlling a try please contact Richard and I am sure he will be happy to guide you through the necessary procedure. Believe me it definitely improves your orienteering.

Ian Sayer


Orienteering Club