Burbage Boulders at Burbage Moor
on Sun 27 Nov. 2011
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Venue Description - more info
Burbage Moor is predominately open moorland with heather and moor grass. Areas of complex rock detail and sometimes steep detailed contour features, together with the central woodland, whose runnablity is increasing year by year, provide a variety of orienteering challenges. There are many transient sheep tracks which can be helpful and the deer are starting to encroach from Big Moor, which may lead to more tracks. The quality of the orienteering is high enough to allow level A events such as the Compassport Cup Final 2010 and National Event/Senior Home International in 2006.
Burbage has a long history that dates back at least 4,000 years from the prehistoric sites such as Carl Wark hillfort, burial barrows and cairn fields, through medieval packhorse routes and iron smelting sites to centuries of millstone making. Much more recently the moors were used as training grounds and the location of an aircraft decoy defence during World War 2.
Winsplits link above, Splitsbrowser here.
Routegadget is split into three different "events". One event covers courses from the near start (Light Green, Orange, Yellow, White). Another event covers courses from the far start (all the rest) except for the section(s) on the 1:2000 map extract. The final third event covers the 1:2000 boulders map courses.
The results of the boulders sections 1:2000 maps have been combined across all colour courses and are also on Winsplits here.
Well, firstly, thanks to all for coming.
Planning for this event commenced whilst on the toilet, gazing at the 1:15000 map from last year’s Compass Sport Cup final. I was looking for the longest sensible leg I could find. Unfortunately, during a particularly intense moment I became lightheaded and put the x in the wrong place. And so 1km became 1.5km.
After a couple of trips round I began to worry that the boulders map would prove insurmountably difficult for the majority of competitors. It took me three goes before I got round a course without a mistake.
I haven’t seen the splits, but standing in the middle of the area on the day I was pleasantly surprised to see that, apart from the odd few scratching heads, the majority of people seemed to be heading somewhere with a sense of purpose. If you managed it with only a few small mistakes you should congratulate yourself.
Due to bracken and the difficulty of the area I reluctantly re-planned the boulders courses to make them easier, trying to avoid the more jungle-like bits. The other constraints were the number of controls a dibber can take – hence the “long” legs – and that the planner can take – hence the “gaffle” on the way out. And lastly, the current more than 30m separation rule doesn’t work for this scale of map – we’d have been left with a maximum of 15 flags on the whole area.
Obviously the boulders map cries out for intense head-to-head racing with 30 controls in 2km, which was the original intention as part of the Hathersage event earlier in the year. Alas permission could not be gained at that time.
Apologies for the misplaced control on the marsh end – the last or second last control for most of the technical courses. The planner put the tape in the wrong place, but on the day the former mapper, and his lady wife, hung the control correctly. The planner checked it shortly afterwards and noticed the difference. Aware of the fearsome reputation of the former mapper, and his lady wife, the planner decided to recheck the new placing and found it to be correct, at least in relation to the major objects around it.
The planner left and then the diligent controller arrived, diligently moving the kite back to the incorrectly located tape. We don’t think too many of you spotted it and both kudos and apologies to those who did. You can see Dave’s lecture on “Recognising British Marsh Plants” every Saturday at the Last Laugh Comedy club in Sheffield.
The diligent controller moved on, and just as the first starter was about to launch into the complexity of boulders, he came into view, still checking the last few controls. Comedy turned to farce as he picked up a flag and ran off with it, shortly after pursued by the planner. Right at the last he had spotted an incorrectly placed control and saved the day. That’s what controllers are for. Thanks John.
In fact John proved to be very pleasant to work with, and I thank him for all his many efforts. This planner is not particularly bothered about reading the rules, and John was able to wisely correct the many mistakes that might have led to a line of elderly competitors cragfast up and down the length of Burbage Edge. However when it came to the safety and sanctity of the likes of Tim “Road Sign” Tett I did push back a little.
I’m not up with current ‘Six Sigma Best Practice’ but in the old days it was a planners job to plan and a controllers job to control. Nonetheless I have to thank John again for going out of the way to help plan the short courses when I was at a loss. In creative terms getting a White to Light Green that didn’t involve kiddies walking a long way to the start and back from the finish was probably the most challenging bit. The final results were fairly close to the originals, but thanks to John we can hand on heart say that between us we looked at every option.
There were, of course, mistakes in the execution of the mixed-scale maps idea – we’ve never done it before. Apologies to those confused at the start, particularly if it spoiled your run. We had felt a minute would be enough to figure out the map swap at the first control, but in the strong wind only a seasoned wrangler could subdue the A3 map in less than 30 seconds, so much of the point of the advance viewing of the course was lost.
We could have started at the tree that was the common first control for all courses from the far start, and that may have made things less confusing. However seeing my friend Nige Owens standing at minus two, arms wide, embracing the wonderful vista of Burbage Valley, made me think the start was in the right place.
As software currently doesn’t easily support this kind of mixed map event, planning went from something that is aided by a computer to something that isn’t. We only managed a full error-free check through on the day the maps went to the printers. Until the software supports it this kind of mixed scale orienteering is always likely to place an undue burden on the planner’s Swedish au-pair.
But what kind of hotline support can a CAD-illiterate user ask for than Marcus Pinker, Oli Johnson, Ian Cooper and Mick Lucking? Many thanks to them all.
Big thanks to Amanda Leo for helping the planner find the control sites, tape them, creating the courses on the maps, editing them, checking them, hanging and collecting controls. Although when you tell your host family you spent the last three years at “orienteering school” I guess one might say you’re asking for it.
Many thanks also to the long-suffering Kim for advising, checking, testing courses, hanging, collecting and keeping the family running whilst the planner was in tears in front of OCAD … and control hangers and collectors Dave and Jen Peel, Mark Chapman along with the big engines of John Rocke, Kris Jones and Shane Lynch and finally Rachel the lodger for providing the early-morning babysitting service that turned a potential control-hanging nightmare into a reasonably relaxed affair.
A short history of Micro-Orienteering in Sheffield
I’m not sure how accurate this is so please treat it as if it comes from a major media outlet.
The first sighting of this style of map in the area was at Oli Johnson’s stag night, on top of Kinder Scout, where some say Neil Northrop was born and raised by monkeys. Neil produced an incredible 1:1000 map of an area of crazed rock gardens – an orienteering version of Moab’s famous Slickrock mountain bike trail. It was also used for a cracking mass-start loop race on Graham Gristwood’s birthday.
SPOOK Relays 2009 saw Marcus Pinker remapping a small section of Endcliffe Park at 1:1000 for the last leg. The twist was a small area of woods in which every single tree was mapped. It was amazing to see that, despite spectator barracking, some could navigate at speed through this. Most couldn’t, including a few ‘My Known Class Leaders’.
Marcus then excelled himself by creating a 1:3000 contour only map of Burbage Mines, a small but intricate area in the North East part of Burbage - used for a cracking SPOOK Relays last Saturday. My two favourite events of 2010 were Wheal Florence and a mass start night race on Burbage Mines, with 40 controls in 4 km that took GG around 35 minutes and myself around 45. If I could have incorporated the Burbage Mines map into this event also I would have, but it was just too far away with too much dead running from the valley.
Meanwhile Oli was mapping his boulders, and long may it continue. Of course the area is much more suited to a high-intensity sprint race, but we hope you enjoyed something a bit different, or at least that the trauma won’t put you off next time.
My personal opinion is that England is not blessed with good orienteering areas and we should make the most of what we have – all hail sprint, middle and urban races - and if that means running a 10 km course swapping maps three times at three different scales then so what? Once there is software support it should become much easier for the planner.
You can map any area at any scale. And we should.
Richard Baxter, SYO.
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