Today's collaboration with Wimborne Orienteers worked really well, enabling 60 orienteers to get back to orienteering in the New Forest. We were privileged to be able to use the Setthorns campsite to practice social distance parking, and use of the Emit touchscreen punching system meant no dibbing required in the control units, and the unlikely chance of cross contamination. Thanks to all who volunteered to help from both clubs. Particularly to Pete Davis doing all the computing and Allan Farrington (Emit UK) for the loan of the kit. Particular mention to Mark Light our SOC novice planner on an excellent job, well done. Thanks also to Kevin Bracher SOC for controlling the event, and keeping Mark and myself on the right lines, with constructive comment and help.
The combination of excellent weather and what was for many a return to orienteering in the forest seemed to put people in high spirits - no doubt helping to smooth over any wrinkles my novice course planning may have resulted in!
People were very complimentary about their courses, with bracken height in some areas being the only occasional negative.
We only ran a Light Green and Blue course, having dropped the Yellow as there were no takers for that level. In hindsight, the removal of the Yellow course may have opened up opportunities for a better finish on the remaining courses, but we were coming up to the deadline for map production at that point.
The other improvement that I could have made was more dissimilar numbering of the first control on the two courses. Even though the controls were on different features, and on different faces of the spur, that change may have reduced the number of people who were disqualified for punching the wrong one. Thank you Pete Davis for that feedback.
I would like to thank both Kevin and Colin for their oversight and mentoring during the planning process. They helped me avoid dogs-legs and a couple of poor control sites (which I quite liked) whilst the courses and underlying map were in flux.
All-in-all, it was an interesting experience that led to a very enjoyable day.