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The QuOnicle Chronicles

1998 (part 1)

Published: Sat 15 Nov 2014

In a series of articles for our newsletter, every couple of months Bill Vigar digged through the archives to find out what was happening in the world of QO 100 newsletters ago. Back then the QuOnicle was simply called ’Quantock Orienteers’ and was a single A4 page (occasionally with an A5 attachment).

May 1998 (no. 57)


For the next season's QOFL events. These events are ideal for a first attempt. Permissions will be sorted out for you and an experienced person will be appointed as an adviser. Planning is a good way of learning about how maps fit the terrain (or not) and helps to improve your competitive skill .........


White: Zoe Round. Yellow: Ben Kenward. Orange: Norman Harvey. L Green: N. Clegg. Green: Chris Philip. The Publicity Officer (Kevin Scott) had a longish piece listing the local papers he had sent results to, and other actions he was pursuing.


At the Yeovil Festival of sport held on 17th May at the Mudford recreation ground, 50 newcomers tried a course set by Bill Vigar.


The Quantock Rockets (Ted Heath, Dave Holmes and Bill Vigar) won the M165+ class in the relay on Easter Monday, beating 43 other teams with a lead of 41 seconds. A good way to celebrate their birthdays for Dave and Ted. In the individual event, marred for some by the contentious cancelling of the longer courses on Day2, notable performances were:

Ted Heath M55L 5th. Bill Vigar M60L 2nd. Rachael Holmes W16A 3rd


If you went - and surprisingly few QO members did go to this good area not far distant - when you had survived a long and/or muddy walk to the start you were presented with an interesting course. Best results were:

Rachael Holmes W16A 1st Brian Fletcher M21S 2nd Bill Vigar M60L 3rd Sue Gard W50L 4th


In the Relay Bill Vigar, Mike Crockett and Jenny Tennant lost the M/ W60 crown but finished a respectable 2nd. In the individual Bill Vigar finished 2nd in M60L, Jenny Tennant 3rd in W65L and Sue Gard 4th in W50L.

March 1998 (no.56)

British and JK relays

Several teams were entered for the British & JK Relays (see the next edition for how they got on) The QOFL season was nearing it's end, Zoe Round was congratulated for winning the White course with 4 winning runs. The remaining course winners had not been resolved. The Gallopen organiser (Chris Philip) thanked his team, his piece included the following:

.......We had a very small entry (294) and could easily have coped with another hundred..... The courses were tough but fair - the wood is one of our most technical - the day was fine, the car park dry (thank goodness) and we had everyone checked out of the forest by 1430. Exceptional. It's amazing how straightforward it can be if everyone pulls in the same direction. Thanks again.

Other news


The club purchased a splendid digital start clock ..... The clock cost £500, but a grant for £175 was obtained from Taunton Deane District Council.

.... Rachael Holmes and Bill Vigar competed in a five nation competition in Holland. ..... Rachael was actually a travelling reserve for the team but beat both the team members in both the sprint and classic events.


Congratulations to:

Rachael Holmes W16A winner

Sue Gard 2nd W50L

Jenny Tennant 2nd W65A

Ruth Holmes 4th W12A

Bill Vigar 4th M60L

Mike Crockett 5th M60L

Ted Heath 8th M55L

February 1998 (no.55)

Avon Schools League 1997

Congratulations to: Taunton Schools: 1st School Claire Demenis: 1st W10 Carly Pitman: 1st W12 Sebastian Bottard: 1st M10 James Robinson: 1st M12 Planner Required. How to do it books and experienced club planners are available for help and guidance. Why not have a go at planning? There is a lovely area waiting for the final QOFL of the season, RAMSCOMBE in the Quantocks, on Sat 16th May. Think about it and call Chris Philip before he rings you! Gallopen 15th March 1998 This used the same area we used this year and there was a whole A4 page for this detailing who does what, a total of 42 helpers, including 16 on the finish. Of the 42 about 11 are still active in the club.

The Way Things Were

Some of you may be wondering why the organiser, Chris Philip, needed 41 helpers for the Gallopen, especially 16 for the finish. Things were very different in the pre-electronic punching era, so I will explain for those who missed it.

Firstly registration was quite different. Competitors had to be given a Control Card on which to record their visits to each control, using the pin punches, which are still attached to the controls for emergency use. They also had to be allocated a start time, which was written on their cards. It was too difficult doing this at the actual start.

It was the custom to have one official for each course, who sat in their car, with a notice showing which course they were dealing with. They had a list of times and added each person's allocated time to the list. You could choose the next time available, or a later time if you had to wait for a family member to finish before your run.

Control cards had a tear-off part which also recorded your name and start time. This was torn off and given to the starter. It was used later as a safety check by matching it to your card which was handed in after your run. There were two finish arrangements: an early all manual one, and a later one with electronic assistance. I will describe the early one first. There was no finish control — your finish time being the time at which you crossed the finish line. To ensure an orderly finish there was a taped funnel which was only one person wide at the finish line. At the line was an official whose job was to shout 'Now' when someone crossed the line. In the adjacent tent someone else wrote the time on a master list which was sequentially numbered. As there could be several people finishing close together, it was necessary to be able to link this time with a particular person. This was done by another official, a few metres downstream from the finish line, who collected the control card and stapled a sequentially numbered raffle ticket to the card. The card was then passed into the tent where someone copied the time from the master list onto the card. At a quiet time it was a good idea to check that both the ticket dispenser and the master list were on the same number.

The finish time was also written onto a finish slip that was given to the competitor who, provided they could remember their start time, could work out their race time and pin the slip on a 'clothes line' provided for the purpose. This was not the official time of course, they may have remembered their start time wrong, or mis-punched. The returned cards were then sorted into courses and passed to the checking team, who had a master card for that course, with the correct punch marks on it. Each card was checked against this master and the official elapsed time worked out from the two times on the card, another error prone procedure using base 60 numbers! Later, when the torn off portions of the cards were returned to the finish, these were matched with the cards to ensure that everyone had finished.

The electronically assisted finish, which was probably used at that event, did not require the person on the finish line to shout 'now'. Instead they had a button to press which was connected to a device in the tent that could store a small number of times. These could be retrieved by the person writing down the times. The advantage being that when several people finished in quick succession it was still possible to give each one a correct time.

My thanks to Chris Philip for reminding me of some of the details.

—Bill Vigar