ESOC Event in the South of Scotland Orienteering League (SoSOL)
Sun 18th Nov 2018
Type of event: Regional
Provisional results are here.
Winsplits are available here
Routegadget now available
PLANNER'S COMMENTS: Thank you to everyone to came to Dalkeith Country Park. What a stunning day – I wish I could claim credit for planning the weather!
Planning at Dalkeith has its challenges. The river is a major constraint and can only be crossed at 2 bridges. During the planning we also expected the access road from the King’s Gate to be open and reasonably busy, and we were also asked to keep runners off the steep banks around the start. I also wanted to avoid crossing most of the fields as they usually contain livestock.
We decided to keep the junior courses east of the river to avoid crossing the impressive Montagu bridge. To get suitable junior courses there were really only 2 possible start/ finish locations – and it’s always nice to finish near a café! I also wanted the senior courses to finish through the Old Oakwood as it’s the nicest part of the park. So the start had to be in the rather fine amphitheatre below Dalkeith Palace. The constraints made the start a little tricky and obviously caught out a few competitors who hadn’t quickly spotted the need to run under the bridge, and immediately turn back up the path to the road. I should probably have cut the start triangle, but I think most folk spotted the route.
Unfortunately the area isn’t especially complicated for skilled orienteers, but it has a few features and is ideal for junior courses. The western area has very little contour detail and some very subtle (i.e. small) features. I tried to set legs that cut across paths at right angles to give some challenge. Unfortunately I couldn’t avoid the dead run to north east of them map. There are one or two possible mapped features in the valley, but it’s very unpleasant underfoot. Apologies if you were confused by all of the extra holly bushes just before the river crossing. I convinced myself that the control was on a reasonable thicket and the right distance from the distinctive rides, and I tried to hang it clearly.
The old oakwood is an SSSI with some M/W900 trees and a beautiful example of a managed forest. It’s not very complicated, but there are a few features around the edges and those on the longer courses had 2-3 loops here. I apologise for the second holly encounter at 218 (must be that time of year). The map isn’t quite right here but I thought the feature was good enough and visibility was good once through the holly barrier.
We had the inevitable discussion about SIAC and waking controls and decided that there wouldn’t be enough time to guarantee waking all of them on the morning of the event. This seems reasonable for a Level C forest event but if you feel differently please let me know as we will consider it as part of the SOA review of event standards
Finally thanks to Julie Merrilees and Stephen Begg from Dalkeith Country Park for their help and flexibility (especially making sure there weren’t any cattle in the Old Oakwood fields). To Sheila for keeping me straight! And to the control collectors who made my and Sheila’s jobs very easy at the end of the day. With a special mention for Margaret & Les for going out again in the gloom to collect the last 2 controls that I forgot!
Thank you to everyone who came along to this event. It was such a beautiful sunny day showing off the park at its Winter best.