When I was asked to organise this event a couple of months back, I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce Maddy to thoughts of how to go about organising and planning an orienteering event. She planned the Yellow and Orange Courses, whilst I did the Light Green and Short Blue courses. My first rule to planning a course is to make as many legs as possible challenging with 2 or 3 route choices to decide upon, and use features that are technically difficult to locate. Whilst a lovely large area for orienteering, Jeskyns has few technical control sites and lots of fenced off areas that restrict free flowing route choices so my thoughts were to send the longer courses either to Ashenbank woods (been there, done that) or the area to the south of the Jeskyns Road, which has only been used a couple of times for orienteering since the park opened in 2007. The map, particularly in this southern area needed significant updating, and I made two all day visits at the end of May to give the whole map a quick makeover and formulate ideas for control sites, routes and start/finish areas. Fast forward to the day before the race, and wow! what a change. The vegetation had just gone crazy and the technical difficulty of the control sites just went up a notch, because in some cases you had to be virtually standing on top of the controls to see them. Cross country routes also became tougher particularly for the early starters who help create the first ‘elephant’ tracks. Then add to the mix 30 degree plus heat, and ‘mild mannered’ Jeskyns had turned into a bit of a challenging beast. I know from trotting round picking up some of the controls afterwards that it would have been really tough to run round competitively, so well done to you all for coping so well in the conditions.
Thanks to all the DFOK and Saxons members who rallied round to make the event run smoothly. Well done too for Andrew Evans and Dave Cave-Ayland for arranging to bring water supplies - Life savers! Thanks too for the Forestry Commission rangers who were helpful and obliging hosts.