WNL6 – Southern Night Orienteering Championships (QO)

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Post Event Comments:

Andy Snell now tops both leagues with John Oakes 2nd in the Open and 3rd in the Handicap. Rob Hick has moved up to 5th and 6th respectively. There probably won’t be too much change in the table now until Poole in the New Year when more people will reach 7 events and those that have done them all so far start losing ground.

Controller Roger Hargreaves writes: The request by the Army to host their inter-corps championships at the same time as the Southern Nights proved welcome although added a number of complications for the event administration and results. However, with additional input from the services in the form of Alan Farrington parallel results were compiled in real time and displayed via the results projected onto an external screen. The night was clear and cold. Standing at the start the competitors left the start kite and climbed to the first gate, then climbed again. There were many non-moving lights in the first 200m of the courses. At times, from the start line, lights were seen that could have been low flying planes or satellites – no, they were head-torches! Intermingled with, and greatly outnumbered by the army, were the civilians whose championship this was. It became obvious whilst standing at the start that the civilians were more in tune with what was expected from them. Indeed one of the last army starters was heading out on a Blue course never having night orienteered before! Richard Sansbury, the Planner, had created 8 courses, some “duplicated”, to allow for the numbers on each course, although one of the Blue courses was not used on the night. Short Brown, Blue, separate Green courses for men and women, Short Green and two Oranges were the courses on offer. Rams Combe is not flat by any stroke of the imagination and some of the courses were challenged by the steepness and a significant covering of fallen leaves – often very slippery. Although in the Controllers opinion this forest is remarkable by SW standards in being quite runnable with little in the way of brashings and brambles. Despite the cool of the night competitors came into download looking as if they had been recently in the shower. The majority seemed to have enjoyed the night. The Championship prize-giving took place spot on time with Club President, Mike Crockett, doing the honours. Many of the usual faces took top honours; apologies for not mentioning anyone.

From John Oakes: Saturday night was the annual Southern Night Championships, this year in the Quantock Hills – usually the trickiest event of the Night League (at least for me!). Having navigated through the narrow country lanes (surely worth some extra points), everything on-site seemed well organised, with only a short walk to the start. The weather was chilly, but dry, and underfoot was not as bad as might have been expected with the recent rain. I struggled with the combination of night and woods early on, losing significant time on several controls, but some competitors managed to get round pretty quickly, and the control positions on my course all seemed reasonable. My run improved in the latter half, but I still finished a long way off the leaders. I’ll just have to try again next year! Thanks to Quantock for organising the event.

From Jason Falconer: Quantocks- an area of Somerset preserved from the modernity of much of south England and some say the roots of British Mountain Biking in the 1970’s. A weekend of Orienteering around Ramscombe which is an area of managed Forestry Commission and Ancient woodland. Saturdays Night Championships event was also part one of the yearly Military Champs with lots of Units descending on the area to compete against each other. Night events in the forest simply the most testing navigation possible anywhere, almost a niche of a niche in that proving to Army colleagues night navigation ability really sets people apart from the rest. Saturday evening then a good dry cold night, unlike the 2015 event at Holmbury which with limited visibility due to fog proved too hard for 1/3 of the field who DNF’d! Competition area was south of the Crowcombe road that bisects the mapped area with courses set through some large areas of forest fight. Normally beautiful open beech forest in the dark turned into a difficult game of ignoring the many more deer tracks on the ground, and using earth features for certainty. With the usual technicality planned on courses, the event gave as good as possible a challenge with some superb performances not hindered by bad weather this year. My own early pace waned and although happy to compete I was 6/10 in my age class.

Pre-Event Bulletin:

Event 6 of the 2016-2017 Wessex Night League season is organised by Quantocks Orienteers.

Details of this event can be found on their dedicated website.

Last updated on Fri, 16th December 2016, 13:16 by Peter Suba