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Regional event at Cowms Rocks

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Start Times Sun 19th Sep 2021 at 11:00 - 12:30

Final Details:
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Splits Analysis:
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Ranking Points:
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Results, winsplits, routegadget and ranking points available above.

Controller's Comments

What a lovely day to go up on the hills. It wasn't like that at 8.30am this morning and then I felt justified that we enforced the "No Cagoule No Go" policy. However, if someone did get into trouble then having a jacket to put on whilst help comes could be vital. In an area like this it could be over 1 hour back to the finish or for Mountain Rescue to arrive.

I volunteered as controller over 2 years ago and then 2 weeks ago I was reminded of my duty. Just as well SYO had their experienced Planners (Pete & Pauline) and Organiser (Lucy) on the case. It left me with very little to add to the event other than assurance that they were doing a great job.

I think on the whole everybody loved the courses. OK the weather may have helped. The courses were on the longer side but on a tough area like this many will be further behind the winners than normal. I see the youngsters stole the show as juniors won Brown, Blue & Green. It shows having young legs help on an area like this.

Finally, I believe many missed the blown up section of map. In hindsight I should have made sure there were blank maps in the start lanes. These did go to the start but were hidden underneath some printed courses.

Thanks again Pete, Pauline, Lucy and the many helpers from SYO,

Mark Chapman

Planner's Comments

We enjoyed planning the courses, it is slightly easier when you can pick and choose the days you go and check the control sites.  On a day like today I think running on a place like Cowms is a great experience but it is underniably tough.  There were quite a few restraints on the courses but we tried to make the courses interesting and varied. We debated using a remote finish, either at the bottom of the slump area or by the start but decided that in the event of bad weather a 20+ minute walk back would not be ideal.  We know the courses were long but hope you thought it was worth it!

As Mark said a lot of this event only came together in the last few weeks. Thankfully Mark was a great person to have controlling us.  With Lucy as well I think it was all in safe hands along with the rest of the SYO volunteers.

Organiser's comments

Just to say a big thank you to all the helpers, to Pauline and Pete and Mark for doing the extra bits as well where we didn't have enough cover in the middle part of the event. Thankfully there were no big problems, none of us expected the heat of the day and it also caught some competitors out. The mobile SYO first aid kit was well supplied with necessary items and everyone got down from the hill. A special thanks to Tony C who stepped in in the car park to help someone who needed more assistance.

The permission for the area was from the National trust , who will recieve a donation to help fund their work in the Peak District. The lovely finish fields and car park were coutesy of the tenants of Heyridge farm, they were uniformally helpful, and deserve much thanks for removing the cattle from the fields for the day and flattening the car park. These fields are not open access land so please respect this and stick to the moorland if you want to go back for a training run.

Hope to be back on the area in a couple of years for a full event.





Final details available as a downloadable document, please read them, below is a summary.

Key points from the final details are: No EOD, 40 min walk to the start from the car park, whistles compulsory, cagoules may be and are strongly advised, no crossing of fences or maintained walls except at marked crossing points..

This is a fabulous chance to race on the new area of Cowms Rocks. Although it was used for the JIRCs individual day in 2019, this is the first time we have been able to use it for a public event. The area offers excellent technical orienteering on a moorland peat plateau. There are sloped areas with a wealth of contour details as a result of erosion and landslides

Cowms Rocks

How to enter

Entries are open on Fabian4 with self-select start times.  Our permission allows 200 entries, with no more than 50 on any one course.  Note: There is one start on the top of the plateau. It is a 1.5km walk and 200m climb from assembly. 

Please contact the organiser directly if you would like a split start. There is no entry on the day. To complete your entry you will need to agree to "abide by the Participant Code of Conduct".  This can be found here

There will be no entry on the day. Entries close midnight on Thursday 16th September. 



Due to the strict number limit and nature of the terrain only TD5 courses are available. Provisional course lengths as follows:

Black - 11km 260m climb
Brown - 9.0km 240m climb
Blue - 6.6km 150m climb
Short Blue - 6.0km 105m climb
Green - 5.2km 100m climb

Location & Parking

Assembly at Hayridge Farm, 1.5 miles east of the Snake Pass Inn. Nearest postcode S33 0AB. What3Words: speeds.annual.wide. Parking in a flat field south of the Snake Rd (A57), accessed by a ford. Signposted off A57. Please take extreme care when leaving and joining the A57 as vehicles travel extremely quickly on this section.


North of A57 at Hayridge Farm. Please exercise extreme care crossing A57. Under 16s must be accompanied when crossing the road. Portaloos available.


Cowms Map Extract

Map from previous event above

1:10,000, 5m contours. Peel Land surveys 2019. Updated Pete Tryner 2021  mainly to indicate runnability on the moorland - see below.

There will be an enlarged section of slippage area (shown abovve) at 1:5000 in the bottom left corner of the map to aid navigation in this area.

Note that earthbanks, ditches and narrow marsh symbols have all been used to help visualise the peat groughs.  Steep peat bank lines are shown with an earthbank symbol, the ditch symbol generally indicates a deep grough with the narrow marsh symbol indicating a more shallow grough.

peat gruffs

v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f">

The open land symbol is used to show open land (see extract below) where running speed could be 80% or more (if you're a young strong runner!), rough open indicates a slower speed, mainly due to longer grass, heather and bilberry. Just like the marsh and seasonal marsh the usage is generalised i.e. it should be used for route choice decisions rather than fine navigation!  Generally there is good runability on the edges of the plateau and the flat areas on top  getting worse as the angle increases with the heads of the valleys tending to have larger areas of heather.  There are some small patches of burnt / mown heather but they are not mapped and do not impact route choice.



Map will be printed on plain non-waterproof paper and bagged.

Control descriptions on front of map. Loose descriptions on waterproof paper also available.


Cowms Moor below Cowms Rocks is a fascinating highly contoured area of old-land-slip ground above the A57 west of Ladybower Reservoir.  The map also includes moorland between Oyster Clough and Alport Valley. The plateau is at
500m above sea level and has a network of intricate ditches/gullies and runnable/marshy moorland. Due to the prolonged dry spell the marshes are quite dry and are fairly runnable. There are a number of sheeptracks particularly along the top of the steeper slopes. 

There are lots of sheep on the area and whilst planning we have seen a few cows often in the intricate area beneath Cowms Rocks or futher down the valley.

There is what feels like a chasm running along part of the top of the hill (the gully to the SE of 13 on the old map extract above) you may pass this if running along the edge of the plateau, please run along the high side, there should be no reason to cross it.



Start times from 11am to 12.30pm with helper start times before and after the main block.  Please choose your start time. Courses close 2.30pm promptly. If you think you might take a long time, please select an early start time. There is one start on the top of the plateau. It is a 1.5km walk and 200m climb from assembly.


In assembly, adjacent to the car park. The final part of all courses descends steeply through grazed fields.


Seniors - £14, (£12 British Orienteering Members)

Juniors/Students - £5

COVID Guidance for competitors & volunteers

You must not take part in any form of orienteering if you or any member of your household have had recent Covid-19 symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.

Additional Event Information / Safety

Whistles compulsory. In bad weather waterproofs will also be compulsory and will be advised at the exit to the car park.

Event Officials

Organiser  Lucy Wiegand  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Planners Pete and Pauline Tryner

Controller Mark Chapman

Venue Details

Cowms Moor below Cowms Rocks is a fascinating highly contoured area of old-land-slip ground above the A57 west of Ladybower Reservoir.  The map also includes moorland between Oyster Clough and Alport Valley,

Safety & risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event. If a competitor has a pre-existing medical condition that they think should be declared, please complete a medical form at enquiries. The sealed envelope will only be opened in an emergency.


SYO has an agreed policy on the taking of photographs at events, based on national guidance. This provides a sensible balance between the benefits and risks associated with the taking and use of images. If you are unsure about acceptable practice, please speak to the event organiser. Read our photography policy.


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