Chiltern Challenge

Level C

16th October 2022

Organiser's Comments

Although I was officially the Organiser, recent family health issues meant I couldn’t devote my full attention to the event. It was great to see TVOC members getting a grip on things and making the event the success it was. I can’t thank them enough.

Some might remember the awful swampy, cold, and rainy conditions here for the British Middle Champs in the same month in 2017. I would like to thank whoever organised this year’s summer weather, resulting in a concrete hard field, and the pleasant sunshine today.

Members of OUOC kindly volunteered to help collect in controls post-event. Not the best of jobs. TVOC is most grateful for their efforts.


Planner's Comments

I’m writing this having just woken up after 12 hours’ sleep.

They told me 79 controls on a very public area like Wendover was a lot to get set up in the available daylight on this particular Sunday two weeks before the clock go back. The SI boxes are expensive kit in short supply, and had to be put out on the Sunday morning so. having spent Friday and Saturday putting stakes out, I managed to muster the help of 4 highly experienced planners/orienteers who got all the boxes out for me and checked in the nick of time for the 10.15 starters. My thanks to Seamus, Robin, Peter and Mark for doing this for me, particularly Robin for also dealing with the electronics about which I hadn’t a clue.

The conundrum on Wendover is how to cater for the constantly ageing demographic in orienteering. The scarp slope is very steep and slippery so it was decided VSG had to be kept completely off it. The only criticism I heard was taking Short Green down the scarp to 121, a consequence of careful siting to precisely balance the route choice on Blue, Short Brown and Black (121 to 122). It seems to have generated a full spectrum of variations (climb out of the control and middle-track it to drop into the control from above, or contour or drop slightly to hit the downhill track, then contour in via 2 rootstocks round the coniferous veg boundary).

Two other successfully set route choice dilemmas (and one less so):
129 to 116 (Black, Brown), 129 to 121 (Short Brown, Blue) and 129 to 125 (Short Blue): 129 was carefully sited to lure you down the hill onto the descending path to lose 35 m height even if you then contoured round the valley on the first road you got to. Many then plunged another 25 m into the valley then having to climb back 60 m out of it. A few going to 121 were enticed to plunge SW out of the control to drop 75 m and then regain it climbing back out of the valley. The trick was to climb immediately north out of the deep depression onto the small path going north, then go all the way round the head of the valley climbing barely 5 m in total. This decision needed to be made before moving away from the control; many spotted it; many didn’t. People taking the southernmost option would have been 900 m south of and 75 m lower than those taking the northernmost option at one point!

159 to 111 (Black, Green): This generated a good deal of variation: whether to drop to the southern bending road and then climb 25 m up to the control, or whether to stay above it on one of the higher roads and drop into the control from the north.

116 to 117 (Black, Brown): I failed to elicit many variations on this with few people choosing to climb back up the scarp to the track and drop into the control from above. Most dropped immediately to the bottom track, followed it and the oblique re-entrant/gully up the hill to the control. I got the relative heights of the controls wrong

I gave Light Green a reverse direction (west to east) round-the-valley route choice, which I hope they enjoyed.

I hope everyone enjoyed the variety of leg length, change of direction, micro-route-choice and off-track navigation that I tried to inject into all the technical courses.

I have to thank Hedley for being such a meticulous controller; I thought I was a stickler for line and circle cutting; he improved this.

Jim Prowting
Planner and Mapper