This event was something of a first for Sarum. Courtesy of a Grant from Sport England’s Return to Sport program we have been able to purchase new SIAC (contactless) timing equipment as the first step in migrating from our ageing EMIT equipment. Thanks to Des Dickinson, we had previously run a programme of five training events particularly aimed at our juniors and their families to encourage their return to orienteering post the Covid lockdowns and associated disruption to our sport. The new contactless equipment meant we were able to run these events in compliance with the then BoF Covid guidelines. The project we submitted to Sport England included a local event to enable the wider club membership to get experience of using the new contactless kit, hence our level D event in Grovely Wood.
Those of us who helped put out controls on the Saturday enjoyed the benefit of a lovely day with Grovely Wood looking superb. Unfortunately the fine weather disappeared on the day but it was mainly the team of Sarum helpers who got rained on. The runners, in the main, had better conditions and at least the rain had softened the going.
Grovely is a wood that is probably best served up in early spring, before the undergrowth really gets going, but needs must and Planner Ian Peirce did a great job of creating courses that were runable. At this time of year the undergrowth is growing rapidly and nettles, not apparent when planning, seemed to shoot up in the last week or so. Many areas of Grovely are now covered in brambles and hatching on the map is extensive in parts. Ian’s courses were planned to avoid the worst of this but did require more path running than perhaps is usual for Green and Score courses. All in all the runners seemed to enjoy themselves and we received some nice comments. We obviously had a lot of nettle lovers on the day.
Ian Peirce comments: The main avenues in Grovely Wood are lined with mature beech trees – a fantastic sight. Grovely has many other fantastic huge beech trees –too many to map. Some of you may have noticed the 2 “witches” trees. These are great beech trees adorned with ribbons and trinkets in memory of those wrongly persecuted in times past. The bluebells were just over their very best but still gave us a show and made for pleasant running amongst the areas of coppice.
We had some top ranked orienteers compete in this event. Also there were quite a few new faces which may have been due to wanting to experience our new contactless SIAC system. Also, as it was a low key, low pressure level “D” event, we had entrants that were fairly new to orienteering. We look forward to seeing them again. It was especially good to see so many of our Junior families taking part – there were at least 7 families units there with about 11 Juniors between them.
Thanks must go to Planner Ian, Controller Liz and Organiser Charlotte and, as ever, all the Sarum helpers who contributed their efforts over the weekend in their usual cheerful way. Thanks also to the Wilton Estate for the use of Grovely Wood and also to the farmer who stepped in to provide alternative parking very late in the day – we could probably have managed about 10 more cars. This certainly made for a much shorter walk to the Start than had been anticipated.
We are also very grateful for the invaluable support from Dick Keighley and Wimbourne Orienteers for their help, guidance, training and lending of some additional kit and, of course, to Sport England for their generous Grant.
We gained much experience of how to handle the hardware and software of the new SIAC kit but still have some experience to gain and obviously some lessons to learn, as competitors found that some of our controls had not been SIAC enabled. Apologies for that but next time it will all run smoothly…….
Results for this event can be found here. The gallery below contains images from Ian Peirce and Liz Yeadon. Click on image to enlarge.