As I’ve mentioned before, my first two outings were while I was at Durham University, and I’ve just found my map from the more important of those two events:

old O map

 (Click to open; 800kb)

The Kellas plantations are 5km west of Consett, and are still regularly used by the Northern Navigators for events. I can’t find the control descriptions, but I guess it’s a red course: about 4.5 km, with controls on line features. (That’s if colour-coding existed in 1984…) A bit ambitious for a novice but I obviously fancied a good run.

Question for O anoraks: what’s the significance of the blue shapes in the bottom left-hand corner?

Update: Rob McKenna of Northern Navigators has very kindly sent me the results from events at Kellas dated 25/3/84 and 2/6/85. I was at neither of those events! which leaves me with a bit of a mystery. My current theory is that the event in November 84 must’ve been a student competition, so I’ll see what archives they’ve got at UDOC.

Those old results are fascinating, especially March 84, with 500 competitors, many of them novices. 27 ran White (1.7k), winning time 35:57. 110 ran Yellow (2.2k), winning time 32:58, colour standard 71 minutes, slowest time 137:11. Three competitors on Orange (3.2k) took 3 hours. This led controller John Preston to write:

It was our intention to try for a high success rate on the easier courses. The highest number of failures were on the Yellow and Orange courses. Judging from what we observed in the forest some of these were due to competitors on courses for which they were clearly not ready. The White course was partly taped, with controls clearly visible on rides or roads, yet some children still left the path and went off into the forest.

In future I would consider (a) devising some method to ensure that first-time Yellow course competitors and all children on the White course have their maps marked correctly, and (b) having an official at the first control to establish whether or not youngsters could orientate their maps and to assist if necessary…

Fast forward to June 1985 and there were only 13 competitors on Yellow…

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