I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of my rides checking all of the bridleways and controls as well as walking the main footpaths this summer and I’m so glad that the weather and track conditions weren’t the same as at the weekend.
You really had to cope with the worst conditions that a late English summer can provide. Your cheerfulness as you finished both days was remarkable. All of the bridleways seemed to be downhill with the wind at your back which is brilliant but uphill into the wind (and rain) which isn’t as enjoyable.
I hoped that I had made the optimum route long enough so that no riders would be able to clear up on either day. Graham Tibbot tried his hardest and only left out 3 controls on Saturday but he left a few more out there on Sunday although he still won comfortably. Most riders went anti-clockwise on Saturday trying to link the controls around Addlebrough before the big decision whether to head over to Swaledale then back via Buttertubs or to stay in Wensleydale. There was more variety on Sunday and many riders managed the cracking downhill on the private track down Mossdale.
I placed 65 of the 75 controls on routes that could be reached by bike but hopefully gave the runners plenty of opportunities to use public footpaths as short cuts. Most runners headed for #37 first then continued past Semerwater and around Addlebrough before crossing Wensleydale. Sadly, both stepping stones were under water so you had to use the lanes through Aysgarth or Askrigg rather than the field paths. There was more variety on Sunday and I was pleased to see that most runners visited Cotterdale but disappointed that there was more road running involved in getting away from and back to Hawes.
Thanks to Yorkshire Dales National Park, Natural England and many landowners who were happy for the event to go ahead. We will be making donations to the National Park and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust as well as the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team who would have been there if we had needed them. Thanks also to the gamekeepers who were happy for us to use many of the private tracks across their grouse moors. Unfortunately, there was an important shoot on Grinton Moor on Saturday which is why it was marked out of bounds.
It was great to see 130 riders competing at the same time using the same controls as 170 runners as well as no litter or open gates when we collected them in.
It’s a pity that only 14 riders and 2 runners made it to the Wild Camp so we will need to consider how to make this course more popular!!
Thanks to Jens Strain, Dave Chapman and Harveys for 4 excellent maps. Thanks to John Rawden, John Dixon, Michael Brough, Zoe Cowgill, Alex Davies, Sheila Pearce, Dennis Jaques, Mike Allenby & Tom Williams for helping me put out and collect in the controls. Thanks also to the OMM team for their hard work organising the excellent event HQ at Hawes.
This was my 10th and last Polaris/OMM Bike as planner because I would like to compete again and help at events without any reponsibility.
Hope to see you again next year or at a NYMBO event soon
Steve Willis (Course Planner)