I was asked if I would like to plan the SLMM 2018 in the summer last year. When informed of the area to be used I had no hesitation in saying yes. I live in Oxford and became very familiar with the M6 over the subsequent months!
I appreciated being the first to have a go at planning the new Fairfield course, with its unusual format. When I plan orienteering score courses I try to spread the highest points controls evenly around the area used. Often planners place them far away and up big hills where only the very fit can go, virtually guaranteeing that they top the results. A more even spread makes them think more, whilst enabling the less fit to get a satisfying number of points. It was pleasing to see such a large entry for this course
For the linear courses I had two main aims. One was to offer some interesting route choices, and the nature of the terrain certainly gave opportunities for this. The other was to reduce “crocodiles” forming up, particularly on Sunday. I tried to do this by circulating the courses in opposing loops. For example, Harter went NE on Saturday and SW on Sunday, Carrock SW and NE.
Winning times vary from too short to about right, and too long. The Controllers Report explains how we arrived at the course lengths and climbs, so I won’t repeat that here.
I must apologise for the lengthy queue at control 114 on Sunday morning. I’ve planned countless orienteering events and appreciate the need for multiple SI boxes at busy sites. We failed to make the connection between the big mass start and the number of competitors very soon arriving at the bridge. That lesson will be learnt.
I would like to thank the Controllers, not just for checking things out on the hills but also for a considerable amount of behind-the-scenes administration work.
My thanks also go to those who kindly volunteered to bring in controls on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Planner 2018 SLMM