It was a lovely sunny day in Blackdowns.
The results are available at Provisional Results - QOFL3 Castle Neroche - 13 Nov 2022, and Routegadget is at Routegadget 2
Comments from Karen (the organiser):
Thank you to everybody that turned up for this event. We had good turnout and the weather was absolutely perfect.
Bearing in mind the restraints of the area, Andy produced some challenging courses. Although I did not go out myself, the feedback I received from competitors was generally positive.
Thank you to all those that stepped up to help – you all did a grand job.
Not my best day of orienteering.
I hit brambles pretty much immediately off the start, but control 1 otherwise went quite well. I misread the control description for 2 - thinking I was looking for a re-entrant rather than a spur. Easy to correct when I figured it out.
Then control 3 - I drop down the spur and set off on my bearing through that runnable forest… and got completely knocked off course in a felled tree/bramble hellscape and lost all touch of the map. Looking at my Routegadget I was (briefly) tantalisingly close to the control circle before wandering around aimlessly for a considerable while. After finally climbing over the right felled tree to find the control (coming in via the brambles to the north) I then went and messed up control 4…
40 mins for 4 controls… I was in no mood to continue and called it a day.
That is twice I have retired - both times at Castle Neroche (the other was at a JOG in foul weather)
On reflection the following morning, I think if I had kept keeping to the right when I started hitting obstacles, I would have missed the worst, but once I was sucked into the fallen trees I was lost.
so thanks to some timely advice from Phil S (on his way back to download in a thoroughly bad mood having given up early in the course (see above), I stayed high to the E side of the horrid ‘white?’ grot between 1 and 3, easily seeing the spur (#2) from above and then the large hide pointing the route into the (now dry) wet pit(#3). I then dropped through a short section of more grot directly down to the main stream and followed that up to #4 and on back up to the track. Everything else on the course went fine without any major issues (apart from taking a direct line from the platform (#13) above the steep slope leading into and through the ‘uncrossable’ marshes to the North. I was fortunately with Andy R of Devon at that point on the course so we agreed that if either of us completely disappeared in the bog the other would mark the site and come back to retrieve the body later! Fortunately the deepest either of us went in was upper thigh level.
It was interesting to compare routes and times with Brian P in routegadget as our route choices at times were fundamentally different but it all came down to the last control and finish where we were only separated by one second at the flag- fortunately in my favour-sorry Brian.
Planner comments from Andy Bussell:
Thanks to everyone who came along to the Castle Neroche QOFL event which was blessed with lovely sunshine all day long. More like a late spring event than one in the middle of November. This was my first foray into planning a QOFL having cut my teeth on a few JOGs over the years. A big thank you to Chris Philip for helping me refine and improve the courses over what seems an eternity – a larger event encompassing Staple Common in addition to Castle Neroche was planned last year but couldn’t happen for various reasons. Also a big thank you to Angela Modica for stepping in last minute to be controller on the day.
I appreciated all the positive comments on the day, and that most people enjoyed most of their run. I seems the courses were about the right difficulty and length and provided an achievable and challenging run. I do appreciate that the map is in need of updating for the increased brambles and vegetation; the courses were planned to avoid the worst of the brambles – believe me I tried, you should try venturing into other parts of the forest!
Again thank you to everyone involved in the organising, the permissions, the courses, helping out on the day and for coming along and getting out there.
1 second! we have had some close ones before, I remember a Caddihoe day 2 chasing start at Hound Tor when we were practically knocking each other’s hand out of the way to punch the finish control The contours helped me with #2 and '#3 both having handy spurs to guide in. It was good to see on Routegadget the different routes, north from #13 did not look tempting but it looks like it paid off if you survived!
Brian, I am also in the 72 minute club, but behind you all! Seconds count!
I started cautiously as I didn’t like the look of the brambles around the start. I found my way to 1 ok but had to try a couple of options to 2 after again option not to thrash through the brambles. I was lucky at 3, I saw it by chance, but 4 was where it went a bit wrong. My fault for not counting paces and was looking in completely the wrong place.
After that I thought I wasn’t too bad but Splitsbrowser shows I was slow. I am quite disappointed at this as I thought I ran quite well.
Oh well, next time …