2007 – Controller’s Comments
After three challenging but enjoyable events I have decided that 2007 will be my last one as Saunders controller / co-ordinator as I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the time necessary to do the various tasks which make up my role. As I sat in the finish field on Sunday afternoon reflecting on this year’s event I thought that there were worse ways to go out than with the sun shining on another great finish location. Where else can you spend several days running around the Lake District and call it “work”.
As we have not yet found a replacement to take over my role I thought this year’s comments should be in the form of an event diary in the hope that it might inspire one or more people to come forward and take on the challenge for the next few years.
|October||Started thinking about an area and possible start / finish and overnight camp. My initial thought had been to try and start in the South of the area somewhere around Kentmere or Longsleddale and have the overnight camp in the Martindale area. I talked through my proposal with Chris the course planner to make sure he could fit courses in with what I was suggesting.|
|November||Made initial contact with the main landowners and discussed the event in principle. Went looking for a start / finish venue but failed to find anything suitable.|
|December||Had a rethink of plans to try and find a start / finish. Visited the tenant farmer at Side Farm to agree that we could use his farm, subject to getting agreement from the National Trust.|
| ||Discussed possible overnight camp locations with Chris based on a start / finish at Side Farm.|
|January||Met the estate managers for the main landowners to agree in detail where the event could and could not go.|
|Went looking for an overnight camp and after meeting the tenant farmer at Naddle Farm got agreement to use it.|
|Made initial contact with the National Parks Authority, Natural England and the RSPB to discuss possible restrictions and out of bounds areas.|
|Agreed with Chris the final boundaries for the map and obtained quotes for its production.|
|March||Received initial courses from Chris and made comments on them. Started visiting control sites to check they were suitable.|
|April||Spent two weekends with Chris checking routes and control sites and finalising the courses.|
|Submitted the courses to the Land Owners, National Park Authority, Natural England and the RSPB for their comments.|
|May||Discussed any comments from the Land Owners, etc. with themselves and with Chris. Agreed suitable alternatives and compromises.|
|Sent in map corrections and out of bounds areas and ordered maps.|
|June||Prepared final details for programme and web site.|
|Final checking of control descriptions and routes to make sure everything was covered.|
|July||From the Tuesday immediately before the event started putting out and checking controls with Chris and another helper, Clive.|
|On the Friday of the event, set up the day 1 start and taped routes, etc. Went to registration to handle any queries or problems.|
|Over the event weekend ran the starts and finishes and made myself available at each finish to deal with any problems.|
|Checked back in all runners and marshals to make sure that everybody was safely off the hill.|
|After the event sent thank you letters to the Land Owners etc and cleared up any loose ends.|
As you can see from the above there is perhaps more involved in an event like the Saunders than competitors sometimes appreciate, as this list ignores all of the hard work done by Chris Hall the planner, David Johnstone the organiser and by Bob Saunders himself. It would be possible and perhaps even desirable to split my role into two jobs with one person arranging the land permissions and another acting as a more traditional orienteering style “controller”. If anybody is interested in taking on part or all of this role for next year then please feel free to email me for more details. There is a small amount in the event budget to cover time and expenses and, although I hope to be back next year as a competitor, I am quite happy to help and “mentor” anybody who takes over.
As always can I say thank you to the many people without whose help and cooperation this event would not have taken place:
- Dalemain Estate – owners of the fells in the North West of the map.
- Lowther Estate – owners of the fells in the North East and South East of the map.
- United Utilities – owners of the fells around Haweswater and the overnight camp.
- The National Trust – owners of the fells in the South West of the map and the start / finish location.
- Robin Tailforth (Side Farm) – for use of the start / finish location and all car parking.
- Eddie Eastham (Naddle Farm) – for use of the overnight camp.
- The Backpackers Club – for manning several checkpoints and helping us gather in controls.
- St. John’s Ambulance – for providing first aid cover at the overnight camp and finish.
- Wilf’s Outdoor Catering – for providing all of the food at the assembly area.
- All of our helpers – the whole event relies on just a handful of people for all jobs.
- Chris Hall – for planning such good courses.
- David Johnstone – for organising the event for the first time.
- Bob Saunders – for sponsoring the event for the 29th time and for handling entries.