What makes a good bingo control? Well, usually it’s a pit or small depression with the flag hung low, well off the path and with a lack of obvious attack points. The most notorious example this year so far was the pit at Beaudesert in February. (The control wasn’t on my course, but the pit is visible on the map extract in my blog, just south of the straight line going into my fifth control.) By comparison, control 180 on Sunday was a cinch, but I think I was lucky to find it in under 7 minutes.

Checking the splits, the times from control 183 to 180 were: 5.03, 5.27, 6.03, 6.53, 10.23, 11.25, 12.20, 14.05, 14.08 and 16.06. That’s a lot of lostness. We were coming into the control from the east. Lots of other runners, on different courses, came into the control from the west, and their splits exhibit hardly any lostness at all. The vegetation boundary and the reentrant are reasonable attack points from that side, and I happened on the faint track made by the runners coming from that direction, which led me past the control. (I still nearly missed it! But I kept my head spinning round as I was running, and I spotted it just behind me to the right.)

Two points here. 1. Hanging controls low in pits is common behaviour, but it makes them as good as invisible. Experienced runners then get an advantage because they keep their eyes out for the bits of sticky tape used by the planner and controller to mark the control site.

2. It can be fair to hang the flag low if there is an obvious approach to the control, but the planner has to take special account of the fact that some courses might not take the runner into that obvious approach.

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