Orienteers are generally dismissive of heavy rain and mud which was just as well as this is what greeted the 200 who congregated at the Army’s training facility at Copehill Down on Salisbury Plain for Sarum Orienteers’ 2017 New Years’ Day event
For the second year running the ghost village, abandoned military equipment and surrounding countryside were commandeered by Sarum for a challenging Score Competition with a twist planned by Andy Snell. Access was by kind permission of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
Copehill proved to be as big an attraction as it did on its first use last year. We had runners aged from 4 to 80 and from as far afield as the Midlands, South Yorkshire and even Finland! In addition to the many regulars at Sarum events it was good to welcome Compass Sport Editor Nick Barrable – look out for a report in a future edition – and at least one local couple who were trying out orienteering for the first time; what a baptism.
Planner Andy Snell came up with an interesting twist to the score format. The control sites to be visited were scattered throughout the village and beyond and competitors had also to stick to the special rules. Runners had to visit as many of the 76 controls as they could within a one hour time limit but they were required to visit even-numbered controls before switching to the odd-numbered ones (or the other way round); switching back was not allowed. To add to the difficulty the controls were only marked by their scoring values, making it very easy to miss controls or mispunch.
As no-one managed to visit all the control sites within the hour time limit control selection was all important and this showed in the final results where the overall winner was Matthew Whipple (M21) of Bristol University, visiting 69 controls in 58.05 minutes and scoring 285 points. He just pipped second placed Nick Barrable (M40; 70 controls, 273 points) who visited one more control but scored fewer points. In third place was Flying Finn Tommi Grover (65 controls, 259 points – in exactly 1 hour). Best placed Sarum runner was Adam Walker (M21; 58 controls, 235 points). Hazel Cutler (W20) of Sarum had an excellent run (47th; 55 controls, 214 points).
Thanks go to Planner Andy Snell, Organiser Liz Yeadon and Controller Ian Peirce for providing such good New Year entertainment.
Full results are available here.
All of Shane Wilkinson’s Photos are available here until 28/02/2017
A version of this report was published in the Salisbury Journal 05/01/17.