Tuesday, 6 May 2014

SROCkite.gif (2521 bytes) Northern Championships organiser's comments

2014 is a big year for SROC and orienteering in England as it is 50 years since Gerry Charnley, Ken Turner, Jim McVeigh, Frank Milner and co held the inaugural meeting of England’s first orienteering club. To celebrate this  the club has organised a year of special events, the centre piece of which was the Northern Championships Festival of Orienteering, ably assisted by our colleagues at LOC.
The club hasn't used Blakeholme and Gummers How for a major event since we put on a national event there in 2000. I suspect the reason for the 14 year gap was because of the lack of a suitable parking area.  So when I was asked in 2012 to organise the Northern Championships 2 years later this was always going to be the biggest challenge made no easier by hosting it on a bank holiday weekend. Initial thoughts of bussing competitors in from Cartmel race course and bringing competitors over the lake by boat from Lakeside were eventually dropped in favour of parking on the extensive tracks in Chapel House Plantation (Simpsons Ground). Although initial agreement was reached at an early stage with the Forestry Commission, 3 changes of ranger in 2 years hampered progress and then at the last minute over running tree felling caused them to withdraw permission to use the nearest 2kms of track. So parking was a late compromise, but you are always going to have compromises somewhere on a large event and in the end we felt it worth it to give people the opportunity to orienteer on what is undoubtedly one of the finest areas in the Lake District, if not England. The long walk may have been more pleasurable had the sun been shining but then it is the Lake District!
On the day I didn't have too many serious problems, a competitor with a dislocated shoulder, a full scale competitor search aborted when they appeared at the last minute and people entering with the incorrect SI number causing headaches and backlogs at download.
A big thank you to all the orienteers for keeping and leaving the site so clean and tidy, to the traders for keeping everyone fed, watered and equipped and to the people who thanked my team for their efforts - it makes all the difference!  Finally a big thank you to my wife and family for putting up with the many stressful moments in the last 2 years!
Tony Marlow SROC  - Organiser- The Northern Championships 2014

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