Comments from Jim Murdoch, Planner: A truly epically lovely day by the Forth at Hopetoun House today. From all the smiling faces from the people sunbathing in the grounds, I think I wasn’t the only person who enjoyed the good weather today. Storms? What storms! I didn’t hear any mention of the Stoat/Ermine today, but I think there was plenty of other wildlife to spot on the way round the course, not to mention the wonderful snowdrops. Hopefully the courses had a bit of everything, some fast open running through the park, a bit of crashing through wet and muddy forest for those who like that kind of thing!
A special thank you to all the helpers today, and the control collectors from yesterday and today, it really helps to make things run smoothly.
Comments from Janet Clark, Organiser: As Jim says, everyone was happy today! Hopetoun is such a welcoming place, the setting so spectacular and the logistics so easy; combined with the unexpected bonus of a bright sunny day between storms, this was a day to remember. It was good to get into the Deer Park for the longer courses; and the snowdrops were, as ever, superb. The larger-than-usual team of helpers excelled themselves with multi-tasking to cope with the additional job of gate-watching, and in summary, a great time was had by all. Thank you everyone.
Some wonderful views of the Firth of Forth and the bridges from this area to enhance your orienteering experience.
SCOTTISH NIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS (SNCs) MEDALS: Arrangements for medals for individual classes for these SNCs will be posted as soon as possible on the SOA website.
Comments from the Controller - Rob Hickling (BASOC): It only became clear late in 2021 that Covid restrictions would be eased sufficiently to allow a Scottish Night Championships to be staged this winter. SOA is most grateful to the organising club ESOC for offering to host the champs at such short notice. Officials were appointed in November/December. This was a much shorter time scale than normal for a championship event and required concentrated efforts by all to produce an event of the necessary standard.
There was no existing map of the whole area, and separate forest and sprint maps of Blackford Hill (ESOC, and INT) and sprint map of The Braids and Mortonhall (INT) had to be merged together, aligned to current magnetic north, geo-referenced, and symbol sets brought into compliance with the ISOM 2017 standard. This was carried out in the first half of December. Courses were mainly planned between mid-Dec and mid-Jan, and Simon and Sabine did an excellent job in producing very nicely shaped courses of correct length, which used the area well. In parallel, the Planners made numerous corrections and updates to the draft merged map, and map updates continued to be made right up until the maps were sent for printing on 6th February. The final map was of very good quality despite the highly compressed timescale.
On race evening, the event went ahead smoothly and safely and the Organiser and helper teams should be complimented for this. All controls were re-visited, checked, SI-boxes fitted and kites hung in the final 2 hours before the race started, which helped to ensure there was no vandalism despite being in a popular urban area. There was one issue with the timing software configuration, and split times for the road crossings on courses 1 and 2 were not correctly removed in the provisional results. Prize-giving still went ahead on time, and the provisional results were corrected on-line the following day. From the feedback I heard from competitors, I believe it was a very successful event which resulted in worthy Night Champions.
The results are available here (apologies to several who were missed off the provisional results). Click on the 'Display splits' button to compare your performance with others.
ORGANISER'S COMMENTS: I volunteered to organise the annual Cammo Local event as it is only a 5-minutes’ walk from where we live and a regular dog walking area. I always knew that pre-Covid this was a popular event for everyone but it was especially pleasing that post-Covid it was equally popular. We had 150 pre-entries (with ~180 individuals) and so many newcomers we needed the whole ESOC stock of hired dibbers as well as an emergency print run of maps. David’s contact with local schools led to a very healthy proportion of families, for a lot of whom this was their first ever event. Fortunately we could summon enough ESOC helpers to give them some instruction. Thanks to them and all the other helpers who make the job of organising on the day so enjoyable.
The courses planned by Oli Warlow (approved by controller Peter Halling) were much appreciated by all levels of experience, the weather played its part and everyone seemed to have a good time. Some unexpected recent work at Cammo including a forest of canes marking some new, soon to be planted, hedge lines and wreaths of donated Christmas trees around the isolated trees, in the 3 main Cammo fields, just added to the atmosphere. A major map update will be required before the next event to include a formal wetland area (complete with boardwalks) to be installed in the South Field this Spring and some new features the Friends of Cammo have been adding as wildlife habitats eg a big pile of stones. All the good work at the estate by the Friends of Cammo (who were very helpful in the run up to the event) including archaeological surveys can be seen on their Facebook page.
ESOC's second local event of 2022 and it's only 15th January!
January afternoons are usually cold, and this one was not the worst by any means. It was good weather for running, and great to see warm happy people arriving at the Finish! Covenanters Wood is usually muddy, and today it was not at its worst, though slippery enough, specially on the slopes above the river.
Nearly a hundred people made a great start to the New Year by coming to this event. Hopefully they will all come to lots more, starting with our Cammo event next Saturday 15th January,
Coldest of all were the volunteers who made the event possible; special thanks to Mark, Terry, Keith, Sam, Jim and Malcolm.
See you all next week!
Janet Clark Organiser
A great area for orienteering at all skill levels.