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SWOA Galoppen

Sun 27 Nov

Near: Nether Stowey
Level of event: Regional

Type of event: Race

Reports and pictures from the 2nd part of our successful double header!

Letter of thanks from Army



Results and Splits

Roger Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves
Credit: Andy Johnson

Controller's Comments

QO presented their event details with the words, "a small club's contribution to a major event!" I think, on reflection, that underplays the weekend’s excellent outcome. There were challenges for sure and the whole club - from W10 to M75 – all played a role, especially in the cold and dark.

Richard Sansbury had made a start on planning well before I arrived as Controller – the planning file was already at v5. By the time I arrived in terrain to vet the control sites on the ground the version numbers had gone up a couple more. I was particularly impressed with the forest. Much less brashings and bramble than one would normally expect in a SW forest. There was the issue of climb – it’s certainly not flat!

Sheila Braine

Sheila Braine
Credit: Andy Johnson

North of the public road the area is very runnable although quality features are in short supply. The use of that area required a road crossing and Richard chose to use the crossing in both directions – the volume of both vehicular and competitor traffic led to the timed out crossing. When the request arrived that the Army include their inter-corps championship that started to complicate matters with more courses needed to accommodate numbers for a sensible start window for the night event. The change of Assembly also caused a re-plan for the Galoppen. More courses were added and by the end of the planning/controlling process we had reached v13 with 18 courses!

The area was split into three areas; one unique to the night event, one to the Galoppen and the remaining area common to both events.

On your marks

On your marks
Credit: Andy Johnson

It was considered highly unlikely that the visit to the common area at night would assist runs in the daylight. The planning challenge was the issue of course lengths. The usual test is how fast previous runs have been and maybe were on the short side for the Galoppen. The night event best was ~7.5 min/km but generally 10 min/km was a winning speed. For the Galoppen speeds of 6.5 min/km were the order of the day for the seniors but watch for the KSODA juniors – better than 5 min/km!

The organisation of the event mostly ran smoothly with any concerns being largely hidden from the competitors. The overall co-ordinator Roger Craddock had two event Organisers with Chris Philip taking on the night and Rosie Wych the day event. The results team worked wonders on both events especially with a large EOD for the Galoppen. The Army contributed to the weekend with facilities and manpower on the night event that gave extra ambience.

Lastly, thanks to the B&B at Julia and Steve Roberston’s home where we found we had much more in common with discussions on rallying, family connections and orienteering.

Roger Hargreaves (KERNO)

Richard Sansbury

Richard Sansbury
Credit: Mark Lockett

Planner's comments

For the Sunday race we used the best areas of the valley in the areas known as Rectory Wood and Ashley Combe. We could afford to take longer courses across the road into some of my favourite areas. The silver birch woods and the twisted oak are excellent to run in, and offer a good navigation challenge. Courses could spread out a bit more and it was good to get a long leg of about 1.5km into the brown course - already Routegadget is showing a variety of route choices on this leg in particular.

Looking at the results it appears we underestimated your abilities, and could have made the courses a bit longer. If anyone feels it was all over too quick, I apologise.

Many thanks to Roger our controller, and to our organisers Roger, Rosie & Chris. When I first proposed we take this event it was clearly going to be an big ask for our small club, and inevitably this forced others into making epic efforts to make it work. Despite testing our limited resources to near the limit, I believe we pulled it off!

Richard Sansbury

Rosie Wych

Rosie Wych
Credit: Wendy Carlyle

Organiser's comments

When originally volunteering to support Roger it was not apparent that it was going to expand in to such a large undertaking! Hopefully the experience of most orienteers was positive – I can only offer heartfelt apologies to those who “drove the loop” when arriving to park. I had not felt it was my place to interfere with the army parking plan – a decision we all came to regret. As a club I think we learnt some salutary lessons about the time, care and attention to detail required to produce a large 2 day event. Thanks are due to all those who worked hard to make it a success.

Rosie Wych

Camped out

Camped out
Credit: Andy Johnson

Roger Craddock

Roger Craddock

Judy Craddock

Judy Craddock
Credit: Andy Johnson

Co-ordinators' comments

QO is a small club that prides itself on providing low level events for its members in Somerset. Very occasionally we are persuaded to go out of our ‘comfort zone’, and Richard Sansbury managed to persuade the Committee (before my Chairmanship!) to take on a Level B event, The Southern Night Championships, offering to plan and organise it himself! When it expanded to become a Weekend of Orienteering, it included first a Galoppen, then the Army Inter-Corps Championships which itself expanded to embrace the Reserves and OTC Championships. At this stage we realised we needed a Steering Committee to spread the load. Richard still had a massive task to plan both days especially as he needed to get to Version 13 of the courses as re-thinks on Registration areas developed. He also offered his Search and Rescue skills as Safety Officer for the weekend.

At the Start

At the Start
Credit: Andy Johnson

The Steering Committee produced four sub-Committees focusing on different aspects of the weekend which then reported back to the main Committee which met with the Controller Roger Hargreaves KERNO (on Skype). The site sub-Committee ensured liaison between the various landowners, QO, and the Army. The late move to the Great Woods Campsite as an Event Centre for the Galoppen proved a good idea for the organisation, apart from the parking problem for which the Army have made a public apology.

It's neck and neck

It's neck and neck
Credit: Andy Johnson

The lead-up to the Event was not without its problems. Both Chris Hasler (Volunteers Organiser) and I had major surgery before the weekend, and the local caterers pulled out in the week of the Event - fortunately the replacement ‘O’Nosh was excellent. The Army Corps units were not happy with the spread of entries we had given for their competitions, which provided an 11th hour challenge for Andy Rimes, our long-suffering SI manager, to recalculate.

That it all worked out in the end was in large part due to the efficiency and the time given by our organizers, Chris Philip for the Southern Nights and Rosie Wych for the Galoppen as well as the excellent weather conditions. QO welcomed the co-operation of the Army, the Forest Wardens, and the Great Woods Campsite Warden providing the facilities that made it all come together.

We hope you enjoyed the Weekend and appreciated the varied terrain we have in the Quantock Hills.

Roger and Judy Craddock

Download team- if you want to get ahead, get a hat

Download team- if you want to get ahead, get a hat
Credit: Andy Johnson


Permissions: Bob Lloyd

SI manager: Andy Rimes

Volunteer Organiser: Chris Hasler

Entries Organiser: Andy Rimes

Maze Organiser: Vikki and Andrew Page

Parking: the Army

Photographer: Andy Johnson email: mlso.results at

Pre-event web page: Mike Kite (WIM)

Other volunteers

Who helped out during the weekend were:

Andrew Hopkins, Pete Shirvington and Sam, Bob Lloyd, Steve Elliston, Ray and Sue Toomer, Martin Longhurst, Brian Pearson, Jim Mallinson, Simon Beck, Issie and Spencer Modica, Sarah, Thomas and Eleanor Hasler, Jeff Pakes, John Trayler, Jenny Tennant, Jim Nickolls, Robert, Elaine and Heather Green, Graham Hartley, Tony Milroy, Emma, Jon and Adam Wood, Roger Dickey, Chris Cudmore, Jim Pearson, Graham Pearson, Pete Akers, Judy Nesbit, Luke Shopland, Fiona Boyd and Angela Modica.

Army issue letter of apology about car parking

The club acknowledge a letter of apology from Capt David Taylor on behalf of the army, following parking problems experienced by participants during the QWO.

Mike Crockett

Mike Crockett

Our president's message of thanks...

Roger and Judy,

A very big thank you to you and the team for coordinating everything resulting in an excellent event. I trust you are now taking a well earned rest. I seemed to find Judy everywhere I went helping out in various roles, and you were always within shouting distance (I will refrain from making the obvious comment).

You are obviously not able to send the thank you message to yourselves and so on behalf of the club and all competitors, thank you.

Mike Crockett
club president

Directions / Parking

The venue will be signed from the Cottage Inn on the A39 (GR ST211392), from the Pines Café at the top of Buncombe Hill (GR ST207329), and from Marsh Mills (GR ST192385), to the South of Nether Stowey.

Parking: Will be on forest roads and public car parks, avoiding areas that will be available to the general public, although it is thought that for Day 1 our requirement will be mainly outside the time the area is open to Public. The Army have agreed to organize and marshal the parking, using the one-way system round the picnic site on Day 1 and using a forest track and exit from the Forest not used by the public on Day 2. Parking tickets at £2 per day (£3 for both days) will be sold at the entrance to the Forest. Do NOT use the Pay & Display machines.

Course Information

Colour coded courses: Brown, Blue, Green, Short Green, Light Green, Long Orange, Orange, Yellow and White.

The Brown course will be restricted to those age 16 and over unless accompanied by an adult (unmanned road crossings).

Course Length Climb
White 1.4 km 40m
Yellow 2.3 km 75m
Orange 2.3 km 70m
Long Orange 3.8 km 115m
Light Green 2.6 km 95m
Short Green 2.8 km 85m
Green 3.5 km 120m
Blue 5.1 km 170m
Brown 7.0 km 300m

Entry Details

Seniors (21+) £9 (£7 for British Orienteering members), Juniors £5 (£3 for BO/QO members)
Shadowed junior (2 maps) £5
Family of runners £20 (£16 for BO/QO members), Family group (map each) £10.

Registration & Start Times

Registration 0930 – 1200hr. Starts 1000 - 1230hr. Courses close 1430hr. Entries through Fabian4. E/M/L start times allocated

Terrain Description

Thickly wooded, mixed, forest

Contacts / Officials

Planner: Richard Sansbury (QO)

Organiser: Rosie Wych

Controller: Roger Hargreaves (KERNO)

Mapper: Bill Vigar (QO)

Co-ordinator: Roger Craddock (QO) 01823 323850

Important Event Information

Safety and Risk: A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event. All participants must report to download whether they finish their course or not.

Privacy: when participating in our events/activities your name may appear in the results section of this website or in newspaper reports. Read our data protection page to see how we look after your personal data.

Photography: QO has an agreed policy on the taking of photographs at events, based on national guidance. This provides a sensible balance between the benefits and risks associated with the taking and use of images. If you are unsure about acceptable practice, please speak to the event organiser.

Safeguarding: QO is aware of it's responsibilities in safeguarding and child protection. To comply with The Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Relevant Agency (England) Regulations 2018, we now provide an email address for individuals to report concerns to the Lead Safeguarding Officer. This address is