By Sal Chaffey and Ranald Macdonald, Derwent Valley Orienteers
British Middle Distance Championships
Sunday 15 September 2019
Organiser Sal Chaffey from Derwent Valley Orienteers, comments:
Our day for “the Middles” was a foggy one, amidst days of blue autumnal skies. This was certainly true on the Friday, when a small team met at Piece Farm to place the eight temporary stiles on the moor, and on Saturday when the marquee arrived and we set up the arena, cheered by news of Derwent Valley Orienteers' medals at the British Sprint Championships in Loughborough. Again, the Monday and Tuesday after the event provided excellent drying days for the soggy assortment of kites and kit!
However, on Sunday morning you couldn’t see the portaloos from the marquee – it was like being on another planet and I was relieved when the first non-DVO competitors emerged from the mists as I knew that others would surely follow.
Above photo on left: The Arena on Saturday. Piece Farm (on the left), Lantern Pike (on the right).
Above photo on right: The first brave spectators set up tents in the mists of Sunday morning!
And they did. Some 877 competed on the day, 859 of those on Championship courses.
We had about 80 helpers from DVO, most of whom undertook an array of different jobs as the day progressed – thank you all! Thank you to Viv Macdonald who liaised with the DVO Teams and dealt with road signs, making my job so much easier. Mike Godfree handled entries.
Thanks also to the Prize-giving Team of Val Johnson and the Duckworth and O’Donnell families who enabled the Hallam family from Piece Farm to be involved.
Unclaimed medals and maps will be available at DVO’s Regional event at Longshaw on Saturday 26 October. Longshaw is a beautiful National Trust area just 10 miles SW of Sheffield, and the event is part of the East Midlands League.
It’s been great to be part of an event of this scale, and it certainly makes you appreciate the efforts put on behind the scenes by other clubs and by staff at British Orienteering. We are privileged to be part of a sport in which there’s always room to learn, and where age is no barrier in participation, shown by our competitors, who ranged from 8 to 88!
Planner Ranald Macdonald, Derwent Valley Orienteers, comments:
Scheduling the British Middles in the first half of September is always going to limit the areas a club like DVO can use because the undergrowth is at its worst. However, we do have a couple of upland areas that are more suitable. The first we looked at was deemed unsuitable for the level of event and we have subsequently had significant access issues with that area. We had only used Chinley Churn a few times since its initial mapping in 2015 and, whilst it also has limitations, it seemed worthy of consideration.
The area comprises tiered quarry workings and steep scree/boulder fields on the eastern side, marshy moorland on the top and then fields sloping down to the west and the assembly area on Piece Farm. The area is divided up by uncrossable walls and fences meaning that we had to construct eight stiles to provide reasonable straight line routes or to avoid stiles on public rights of way that could be busy on an early autumn Sunday as it’s a very popular walking area.
I had never planned a championship/level A event before and was really only third or fourth choice as other potential planners were too busy in their work or were injured. The whole exercise was therefore a very steep learning curve for me, though greatly assisted by the ever-patient Chris Burden (AIRE), my Controller.
The Finish was largely determined by the area chosen for Assembly and car parking. It provided a good arena with visible final controls across the skyline and downhill to the Finish.
Finally, some thank yous:
Photo credits: Steve Rush (BOK)
Final results can be found here.
Results, as well as WinSplits and Routegadget, are here.
Organiser: Sal Chaffey assisted by Viv Macdonald, both DVO
Planner: Ranald Macdonald assisted by Dave Chaffey, both DVO
Controller: Chris Burden, Aire
Mapper: Richard Parkin, DVO
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Organiser Sal Chaffey and all event officials, to Derwent Valley Orienteers and surrounding clubs for all their hard work and behind the scenes activities in making this a great British Middle Championships.