|Date||Start||Place||OS Grid ref||Type||Organiser|
|19 Mar 2017||11 a.m.||Falkirk Wheel||NS 854 800||Local||Jen Leonard
Courses available for all - thanks to Steve for planning: - Yellow 1.6km - Orange 2.5km - Green 3.8km - Blue 6.5km
Please contact Jen (email@example.com) before Friday 17th March if you would like to participate in the pre-course coaching (30 mins) for juniors and adult beginners: 10.30am - Yellow 11.00am - Orange
This is not a wet weather area! There is lots of flat land at the foot of sloping ground and, because of the railway embankments, it doesn't soak away. When scouting the courses, the weather was similar to how it was on Sunday and I ended up calf-deep in the terrain in more than one spot. Apologies to anyone who didn't like the mud.
The area to the west of the prominent burn and north of the southmost railway doesn't offer any sort of navigational challenge, and I shouldn't have used it. Will suggested using the area to the south of the southmost railway, but I wasn't sure our permissions extended that far. It's also crossed by a road, which I know is used as a high-speed short cut between Bonnybridge and Tamfourhill. On reflection, I should probably have taken the advice, leaving out the three controls on Blue and substituting three in the hilly area as suggested.
The Yellow course was far too tough, based on the finish times. I would have anticipated a winning time of sub-20 minutes for a flat 1.6km course. I'm not sure whether the times recorded are down to the terrain, the weather or the length of the competitors legs, but when Jamie Stevenson planned a WEE course on the same terrain on a lovely night in May, the winning time was under 16 minutes. I think the transition from 4 to 5 and 5 to 6 was technically beyond what would be expected for a Yellow course. Also, control 3/8 was on a six-way path split, which on reflection is plain madness on the part of the planner.
I'm happy with the times posted on Orange and Green. The 4-5-6 transition on Orange was at the high end of TD2, but it's to the credit of the coaches that most of the regular orienteers ,managed to find the best route without any problems. I like the Green course. I'd like to have run on the Green course, even though I would have struggled to beat many of the competitors. Looking at the competitors who were out, and the times posted, I think the winning time was about right, and they had a good test without being either patronised or overwhelmed.
On reflection, I'm not sure Falkirk Wheel has the technical difficulty required to offer a Blue course. In order to get the length, I had to have the competitors run in the really boggy area, which as I mentioned earlier, doesn't really have any navigational challenges. The three faraway controls were copied from a Night course that GG planned a few years ago, and while they may be suitable for nighttime, I think they were a bit of a chore in daytime.
The last time I planned an event was 1983 - Central Region Schools Championship. Kirsty Bryan-Jones destroyed my course and I slunk off in despair. It's a learning experience for me, and I'll implement what I've learned into the next courses that I plan, at Callendar Park at the end of June.