WNL – Brownsea Island

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Brownsea Island is such a special place that mere words than normal can hardly do it justice, but here are a few words before you move on to the photo gallery below (thanks to Chris Branford). A perfect still evening with clear skies greeted the ferry arrivals at Brownsea for the penultimate Wessex Night League. Taking the standard one hour score format, runners were preparing for collecting as many controls as possible over the whole mile and half length of the island. Last years massive storm damage has been cleared and so for the first time in years there are several log stacks. With the tree fall now cleared, main tracks and the 85% coverage of white runnable forest on the map provides a fantastic area for Orienteering competition. Two ferry loads kitted up and awaited the dark. Starting in the church field the nearby lagoon nature reserve with its thousands of wintering birds added a symphony of pre-roosting birdsong in the growing dark. Starting at 2 minute intervals Eric set off club members from SARUM, WSX, WIM, BAOC, SOC and SO for the race. Controls in new positions again from fresh planning included a couple of deep pits, the location of second world war bombing and some interesting new re-entrants. Taking in the whole island runners were challenged by open heath, steep slopes and earth banks that are hard to locate in pitch darkness. Competition was tight with 5 collecting all controls, and the top 4 finishing within a minute. Frida F showing brilliant accuracy she reported no difficulties, something in the Swedish genes perhaps? Jason F and Chris T took similar routes over the Southern higher side of the island to the Western end, before using Dale’s usual tactic of zigzagging between the remaining controls on the way back. Seems to be the technique on Night events, as there often isn’t a clear sequence of control picking over a whole course. Although both double dibbing one control Chris beat Jason on time to first place, with Andy Snell in third after Frida in second. Everyone loves the car-free peace of Brownsea, the ferry ride and superb forest. Eric is working on next years event already!

Thanks to Jason for that report.

Brownsea Island 003 ps

In the League, as predicted its all change, just one race earlier than anticipated. Chris Branford had a cracking run to overtake Carolyn, who I’m sure would have loved to run had other commitments not intervened. But an even better race by Charlotte Thornton saw her leapfrog both Carolyn and Chris into first place. Kirsty Staunton had her chance but didn’t preform as well on the night compared to others. With one race left it is theoretically possible for either Chris or Carolyn to overtake Charlotte, but Chris would have to better his highest score by 66 points and Carolyn by 98 – a very tall order. In the Non Handicap league, Jason, as I predicted has taken third place and could, if he won at Lyndhurst, beat Andy Snell to second place by 1 point! Frida has overtaken Becca for first lady, but its too close to call.

Pre-Event Bulletin:

The magical annual visit to the National Trust Island

Last updated on Thu, 2nd February 2017, 22:51 by Tim Houlder