South East Lancashire Orienteering Club

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  • Wendy in action
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NWNL Alkrington Woods, 30 January 2016

Thank you and well done to the 24 hardy souls who braved the wind, rain, snow, hail and everything else Alkrington had to throw at them! Hopefully the mud did not detract from your enjoyment of a new area, a rare occurance these days. 

Results can be found on this link.
Routgadget is now available here.

Planner’s Comments:

I ‘discovered’ Alkrington following a Safety Awareness run by Derek Allison a couple or more years ago for which BOF somehow chose a venue just along the main road. After an initial visit, I liked it already and the more I visited, the more potential I saw and suggested we might map it and it would take a Blue course; fortunately Stephen Richards and Steve Round visited and the SELOC committee agreed.  Dave Peel was eventually engaged to produce a professional map covering not only the core woodland and water features North of the motorway but also the rougher open, aka Nutbank Common, and urban extension options to the South.

I felt both privileged and a little apprehensive to be offered the chance to be the first planner on the new map, particularly being for the hard-core of the North West Night League. My aim was to offer all courses maximum time in the central woodlands with as much route choice as possible with excursions into the other varied aspects of the terrain including the transitions between valley bottom and hillsides.  Pending Route Gadget feedback, it is difficult to know whether some of the route choices were either noted or taken with the map at 1:10,000 in the dark, but those that know me will know I was pleased to hear of at least one person who opted for the entirely optional urban route choice on a leg towards the end of Green or Blue. While course lengths seemed to work, I think Orange at least might have benefitted from a switch to 1:7500 that I had considered early on.  

After the early planning, a serious day out just after the Boxing Day floods meant some enforced revisions. The envisaged Finish became inaccessible due to a footbridge being washed away and the last control was switched to the path after the centre of the enclosure remained under water. Some of you noticed the sandy areas and debris showing just how high the river had been on Boxing Day. Having been on the area many times in all seasons over a couple of years, I think conditions on Saturday were as muddy as I have seen them, not helped by a solitary Moto-cross biker churning up the paths as I put out controls.  It seemed most people appreciated the sole use of the function room at the venue on a cold and wet evening.

I really enjoyed the planning of this event which was made much easier by having Mark to work with as Organiser. As well as organising duties, my thanks are also due to Mark for many controlling insights and for sorting out the few map updates we needed to apply.  While numbers were a little low, I hope everyone that came enjoyed the new area; all feedback is welcome.

Other thanks are due to:

  • Manchester City Council (Groundwork; Irk & Medlock Valley Programme) – permissions
  • Rochdale Borough Council – permissions
  • The Middleton Archer – for making us welcome at the venue
  • Stephen Richards – initial landowner contacts
  • Kevan Latham – arranging permissions
  • Mark Sammon - map printing
  • Dean and Joel Thetford  - control placement
  • John Nuttall and Joel – registration
  • Matt Driver  -control placement and collection and results
  • Joe and Rachel Mercer – the Start team
  • Mark Seddon (again) – control placement and collection

Paul Turner


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