Skipwith Common


District Event

Sun 9th November 2008

  • Control Descriptions (PDF or DOC)




String Course Results

Name Club
Time Taken
Jodie Crane IND
Sonya Chechik EBOR
Tanya Cooper EBOR
Elizabeth Dean CLOK
Sam Crawshaw EPOC
Alex Crawshaw EPOC
Emily Windrum IND
Oliver Windrum IND
Anna Hanson IND
William Clark IND
Katie Clark IND
Sophie & Thomas Gibson EBOR
Evie Conway AIRE
Bethany Elliot EPOC


Planner's Comments


Planning a brand new area is both an exciting prospect and a daunting one! Exciting because you are exploring somewhere for the first time and you don’t know what you are going to find - daunting because the planning process has to start from square one! So I started in the spring, when I first got the new map, getting to know the area and spending days checking the accuracy of the map and beginning to look for control sites. I quickly realised that planning this event was not going to be easy. English Nature had embargoed parts of the Common to preserve the habitat for the birds and the Common itself was extremely wet. At that time areas of marsh on the map were far more substantial than when the mapper had originally drawn up the map. The consequence of this was that there were no North – South routes I could use on the eastern side of the map except at the very eastern end where the Blue and Brown courses eventually went. All courses from Green downwards had to stay on the western side of the map as I did not have enough distance to loop them round. This meant that I could not get courses into the really interesting and more remote area in the centre of the Common. In the end only the Brown course briefly flirted with this area. Many of you will have seen the ditch excavation that is underway on the north side near control 118. This is to try and drain the centre of the Common as it has become much wetter over the last few years and locally this is put down to subsidence from the Selby Coalfield, which runs underneath the Common. Hopefully improved drainage may open up North – South routes in the future. The Controller and I also had some interesting discussions on what constituted crossable marsh, I was rather more conservative and he was rather more adventurous! The result was that you stayed drier but maybe missed out on one or two good areas.

Skipwith does have some wonderful runnable woodland (especially compared to Ebor’s other areas!) that is almost bramble free and I wanted to use as much of this as possible just to make the running fast and enjoyable, even if it did not give a high level of navigational challenge.

Skipwith has many guises and sometimes when I was out there on warm sunny mornings I would not have wanted to be anywhere else, it was so peaceful and beautiful. Other mornings when it was cold and damp and the mist had come down it was like Mirkwood and I was expecting to stumble upon Shelob’s lair or find a bad tempered Orc springing out from behind the nearest tree! The Common is rarely used and I hope after this experience more local orienteers will use it for recreational purposes.

Comments on the day indicated that most runners had enjoyed their courses and were pleasantly surprised at how little marsh they had to run through. Interestingly when the event took place the Common was just about as dry as it had been in all the time I had been planning there. In the summer it was very wet because of all the rain but from the beginning of September it began to dry up and we actually had very little rain until the end of October. A week before the event we made the final map corrections due to the seasonal nature of the Common. We had to make over 30 changes and a lot of those changes were to actually remove mapped marshy areas that were no longer there.

The other factor which made courses easier than I was expecting was the way the bracken and undergrowth died away in the final 2 to 3 weeks before the event. This made the controls, especially on the longer courses, much more visible.


Course Comments:

At the end of the event I was generally happy with the course times; I had increased the course distances to compensate for the fast nature of the terrain and the lack of climb. The only course I would perhaps have changed is the Light Green which maybe had 2 or 3 too many controls which made the times longer than maybe they should have been.

Looking at Route Gadget, most people navigated their courses without many errors, although many people ploughed straight through marshes that I had intended them to go round!

I was pleased that some astute runners realised that for 1 to 2 on Green going round the north of the marsh was the better option.

I was also fascinated by the variety of routes taken between 1 and 2 on the Blue (2 to 3 on the Brown). It was planned with a direct option or a fast track run round but various people chose a mixture of the two!

15 to 16 (Blue) or 16 to 17 (Brown) – the best route was actually to the north of the marsh but nobody seems to have taken that option.

The following control on both these courses did produce the desired split with some runners using the northern crossing point, which is easier to locate from, and others using the more direct eastern crossing point, which gave fast track running but more heather to go through at the end.



I really enjoyed planning Skipwith and I learnt a great deal about how a planner thinks which will hopefully help me in the future. My one grumble would be Ebor’s policy of getting the planner to do the string course. It took far too much of my time to plan and make the string course, especially as all I had to start with was a drum with a variety of tacky bits of string, twine, raffia etc. on! (Ebor – if you make any profit from this event please use some of it to buy some decent string!). On the morning I had all 77 controls out by 9.00am, but it was then 10.45am before I had finished setting the string course out as well – just too much for a planner to do on the morning of an event and the first participants were already going round it! However if I was asked what I felt was the best course I planned – it was definitely the string course – and although only 13 children did it, they all said they really enjoyed it!

Hopefully we will be able to use Skipwith again since, in my opinion, the western end would be excellent for a Summer Schools Score Event and a future night event.

I would like to thank Nev Myers, my controller, who was both encouraging, supportive and for Nev amazingly trusting and hands off! We made very few alterations to the original courses, except on the Brown, where I was not happy with the first draft.

Peter Watson, ably assisted by the ever efficient Dawn, were a great organising team who I would happily work with again. Always helpful, supportive and willing to share ideas and reach a consensus with the minimum of fuss. My sincere thanks to them.

Keith MacDermott ran the SI with great efficiency and accommodated my need to use far more controls than Ebor actually possessed!

Dennis Hooton did a very efficient job producing the map. I was very impressed with the functionality and accuracy of the software he used.

Steve Corrigan, for being enormously helpful in collecting in controls after the event when other requests for help fell on deaf ears!

Finally, most of all I would like to thank Christine, my wife, who though an extremely busy woman, found time to support me by running proposed courses for me, tagging control sites, putting out controls at 6.30 in the morning and collecting in afterwards. The least she deserves is a score credited in the Ebor League as an assistant planner!


Martyn Andrews