What to expect at a Saturday Series event

If this your first event, don’t worry, there will be helpful club members who will explain what to do. They will either be wearing hi-viz tops or TVOC jackets.  But the following are some useful tips.

You might want a look at a map beforehand. The thumbnail on the right shows just a small part of it. You can view the whole map by clicking here. In particular, look at the legend. The colours are not what you will be used to. Yellow is open land, white is runnable forest, and the various shades of green range from slow run to walk to fight – best to stay out of the latter! Your route from the car park brings you in from the bottom right corner of the thumbnail, to the road crossing, then along the edge of the open area into the wood. There are two tracks marked (black dotted lines) – the Start is some way up the right hand track.

What to wear

You must cover your torso and legs.  So no shorts. Running tights are good, or you could just wear old trousers.

It look to be chilly on Saturday, so you may want a few layers, maybe even gloves and a hat.

It’s muddy in Penn Wood, so you will need trail shoes – or wellies if you are planning on walking round.

What to bring

A compass is really useful.  We have a few we can lend out, and we will have some for sale for just £4. (There is no signal in Penn Street, so we cannot use a card machine.  Please bring the exact money.)

Something to drink afterwards. It’s a cold day, so a flask with hot drink might be good to have in the car.

What to do

Park in the car park for the industrial estate, behind the Hit or Miss pub.  There is no charge.  Please do not park in the road (we don’t want to annoy the neighbours), nor in the pub car parks (nor annoy the landlords).

There is a toilet in the car park if you need it.

From the car park, follow the tapes along the footpath to the road crossing, then along the edge of the open area into the wood.

You will almost certainly be hiring an SI card (timing chip).  So go to the tent at the entrance to the wood.  If you have your own card, you can bypass the tent and go straight to the Start.

Our hire cards have a strap, to attach the card to your finger. They also have a loop of cord. Put your wrist through this cord. It’s a safety device, in case you card slips off your finger. Lost cards will be charged at £65, and we really don’t want to have to charge you.

Ask any of the people with hi viz or TVOC jackets for help and advice.  They will show you how to use the SI card, how to orientate your map, etc

At the Start

Collect your map.  Yellow, Orange and Red maps are before the Start, so you can have a look at them first.  And perhaps ask some advice from one of the helpers.

If you are going round as a pair or group, we should have enough maps for you to have one each.  But please ask first, in case we are short.

Look at the map, check the map scale, its a really big scale. You should be able to spot the main features: the big tracks through the area, the open area you walked past, the surrounding roads, etc. These will help you navigate.

When you are ready to start, there are four ‘stations’ in a row.  Work your way along them in turn:

Clear – dip you card into the hole in the station.   Make sure the station beeps.

Check – dip you card into the hole in the station.   Make sure it beeps.  If you are using a SI Air card (all our hire ones are Air), this station turns on the Air function.

Air on test (for SI Air cards only) – as you bring your SI Air card near the station, the card should beep and flash.  If by chance it doesn’t, just dip your card into the hole in the station.

Start – dip your card into the hole in the station.   Make sure it beeps.  Your time starts now!

Now you can begin. Use the map to navigate between the checkpoints (we call them controls).  As it’s your first event, you might want to stick to the paths rather than take ambitious cross-terrain routes.   It’s a great feeling when you run around a bend in a path to find your first control.

If you’ve got a compass, that’s helpful to to orientate the map, ie keep the lines on the map parallel with the needle on the compass.  That means the map is lined up with the ground, so the paths you can see go in the direction shown on the map.  Try always to keep the map correctly orientated.

When you get to your first control, check its number matches your control description.  If it doesn’t, then you are in the wrong place!  If it does, and you have an Air card, just waft it over the control station.  (With older cards, you have to dip them into the hole.) Check the card beeps, then head for the next control

You must punch the controls in order. If you unintentionally take the controls out of order (eg. you somehow went to the third control and punched and missed out the second), don’t worry, just go back to the previous control, punch that, then continue the course in the correct order (yes you have to punch the third control again in this example).

When you’ve punched the final control, head for the Finish.

At the Finish

Waft your SI card over the Finish station

Have a quick breather, to get your breath back!

Follow signs to the download tent, where you will be asked to put your SI card into a card reader.  You will receive a printout showing your time, both overall and between each control.

Note that you must go to download, even if you did not finish your course.  We will check who started, and who has downloaded, to see if anyone is missing.  Fail to download and we will be out searching for you.

After the event

The results will appear on the tvoc website later in the afternoon.  Have a look for them at https://tvoc.org.uk/results/penn-wood-saturday-series/

And look out for our next event – it’s at Shotover (just to the east of Oxford).

Even better, do join us.  It’s only £16 for seniors, and that gives you membership through to the end of 2022. You will be joining British Orienteering as well as TVOC – so you will benefit from reduced entry fees at most clubs, and a host of other benefits.