British Trail-O Championships
29th November 2009
Daresbury Firs

Elite Course

Timed controls - TC1, TC2
Part 1 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Part 2 - 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Part 3 - 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

TC1, TC2, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3



photo of timed control 1 solution map for timed controls

A-C open ground SE part

Straightforward to work out which is control at centre of circle. It was the only one in the rough open at a similar distance to the bottom of the steps. Note the presence of the orchard symbol to distract the unwary. We had thought of having it in the orchard and using the semi-open control description, but decided that would have been too tricky.


photo of timed control 2 A-E steps bend
Upper 3 kites are on correct bend, but since you can't amend the "bend" description to say which side, it has to be in the centre of the feature and hence it was the on the centre-line of the steps. Note that the other two were on a part of the steps which from the decision point bent the same way as the control description "bend" does.


photo of control 1 solution map for control 1

A-C ride bend

By comparing with cleared area to the SW and where the slope steepened, the first two kites were not far enough away from the path. Bearings from with the trees involved in control 2 and the gate all put the kite in the right place, so we can rule out Z.


photo of control 2 from north photo of control 2 line of sight solution map for control 2

A-E N between trees

I did want to "help" you by using the deciduous tree symbol in column F, but IOF descriptions don't allow that, so you had to work out why they were distinctive yourself. Since there is more than one "between the trees" in the circle there is an indication of which one is intended. Note that there are actually 3 "betweens" in the circle (exercise for the reader to find the 3rd pair), but ours were the obvious ones.

You now had to locate the 3 trees that were distinctive enough to be mapped, possibly noting that there were some more distinctive deciduous trees higher up the slope that formed part of the mapped distinctive veg boundary if you had good eyes.

Looking along the line of the 2 pertinent trees there were 3 kites. These could be distinguished by compass from the path to the 3rd tree and/or by pacing along the path.


photo of control 3 solution map for control 3

A-C copse S part

The copse wasn't visible from the path, although its upper branches were visible over the thicket. The kites were at a bulge in the far vegetation boundary.


photo of control 4 photo of standard course control 2 solution map for control 4

A E gully W end

Single kite (A) controls were a feature of this year's World championships so I thought you should get one. Personally I think the description of A-A is preferable to A, but I followed the precedent set by the WTOC. Note that the WTOC didn't have the "luxury" of having a parallel "Standard" course to give a good excuse to sprinkle a few more kites near the correct one. Note Elite control description of Eastern small gully, western end, viewed to the east - which is quite confusing when your map is orientated for a northerly viewing point.

So, the first problem is to first work out which kite (if any) was in the correct place, this should have been straightforward since all 3 were clearly on the gully line and one appeared higher than the others (i.e. at the gap between the gullies) with the Elite correct kite just above it on the slope and the Standard one just below it.

The next challenge was to work out which kite you could see from the decision point. If you travelled S from the DP you could just make out the higher-hung kite and therefore the one you could see from the DP was the correct one.


photo of control 5 solution map for control 5

A-C hill SW part

Vegetation was hard to read and without any obvious lines of sight. The contour of the hill went above the nearer of the mapped fallen trees, one kite was below this and so could be eliminated. From the DP the top of the hill appeared to be free of trees which would suggest C, but since the hill and clearing didnt co-incide, the exact centre of the circle was on the vegetation boundary.


photo of control 6 from DP photo of control 6 from SE solution map for control 6

A-B hill

The hill was almost invisible from the DP but could be viewed more easily from the other side, although the best location was on the main path towards Elite 7. The lack of any information in the description states (in Trail-O) that it is the geographic centre, not the high point. One kite appeared to be on the high point and the other was very close. Both kites were on the N-S centreline and if you lined up the top of the isolated tree to the West with the one on the main path you could see one of them was perfectly on line and one was not. This was a double-bluff control for the more experienced trail-orienteers since the centre of this hill was indeed the high point!


photo of control 7 solution map for control 7

A-E pit 0.4m

The kite near the path was to give you an idea of how small the mapped pits might be you were looking at (although I hope you didn't forget about it when making your decision!). In fact this kite could be lined up with one of the path bends (once you had traced out the line of the path) to eliminate all bar one kite (which was in a line but obscured by a tree), following the line of the fence to the right showed that two kites (including the same one) was on or pretty close to that line. This gave the correct kite.


photo of control 8 solution map for control 8

A-B overgrown rock pillar S side

We don't often get the rock spire symbol in UK, but it can be used for boulders mapped to scale. The correct boulder (which you would see later on if you remembered to look out for it) was overgrown and was hence described as such in the descriptions.

One kite was on another rock pillar that was too close to the DP and not overgrown, and the other on a knoll which had vegetation on it. Both kites were too close to the DP.


photo of control 9 from earthwall solution map for control 9

A-D boulder W side

The centre of the fence in front of the control cluster and the boulder itself lined up with the earthwall end at the limit of where you were permitted to walk (view in photo). Of course you had to first work out the centre of the fence. Relative distance into the terrain could be worked out from the visible slopes around it and relative size of the other kites. A viewing point back at the start past the thicket edge through the boulder, although a long lever arm, did rule out the 2 northern kites. Since of the other 2 one was too low and the other was the correct distance back and on the correct lines, you could rule out Z. The other clue to this one was the fact that the boulder was visible (but probably only if you knew what you were looking for).


photo of control 10 solution map for control 10

A-B narrow passage S part

A simple check of whether you could tell the difference between the IOF control description for col and narrow passage, combined with noting the centre of the circle and which contours in the passage line up with which ones outside it. From this you would see that thcould conclude that the kites were on the col not in the narrow passage which was further to the north.


photo of control 11 solution map for control 11

A-E W knoll SW part

Near kite was to draw attention to the ghost knoll at the top of the spur. If you mistook this for the mapped knoll then the kites on the eastern knoll would look like they were on the circled knoll.

Note I did consider raising the index contour by one for this control, then we could have removed the tags from the "obvious" depressions (I'll leave that as an exercise for those who don't believe me).

There was also the added distraction of the A and B kites which were hard to see (easier than intended since the tree in front fell over in last weeks storms) and far off to the left; in Trail-O this is usually the sign of a non-Z control, but not in this case.


photo of control 12 solution map for control 12

A-C depression E part

Long (for this event!) walk from previous control meant some of you might have turned off and missed the fact that these controls were in 2 ghost depressions. If you glanced left you'd have seen the real one (a LOT clearer on the day of the event than when originally planned, but we thought you deserved one easy one so left it in!)


photo of control 13 close-up of control 13 solution map for control 13

A-D stoney ground NE part

Another control description which you might not see too often and yet another feature you can't actually see from the path. Lining up the boulders from near the DP is a bit long a lever for accuracy, but if you went back to the southern track junction there was a better line through the fence corner which indicated just one kite on the correct line. Distance judgements, analysing vegetation and lines of sight all indicated it was the correct control.


photo of control 14 solution map for control 14

A-D SE spur W foot

This was a basic map reading control. You could use the low points of the fence to show where the re-entrant parts of the depression were, this should have given you a sense of perspective and lead you to the correct kite.


photo of control 15 from SE solution map for control 15

A-D earth-wall

The circle was drawn to indicate the centre of the earth-wall; the clue here was the equal small parts of the earthwall that extended beyond the circle. The basic solution here was to return to the main path and pace the length of the earth-wall. Note that that you might have found it easier to pace from the centre of the path to the boulder and then offset your answer by a metre or so. For anyone who forgot to do the offset we provided a flag at that point.


photo of control 16 solution map for control 16

A-D SW knoll SW part

The end of the ridge to the S had a cup depression on it, the ground rising to the NE of this provided a ghost knoll or two, I anticipated a bit of confusion here, but nothing too hard if you are using your compass and reading the map.

One final bit of confusion was that it was described as part of, yet was close to the top which was offset in that direction again this could be worked out by using the compass.


photo of control 17 close-up of control 17 solution map for control 17

A-E middle spur

You should of course have been planning ahead and taken a good look at this control from the vantage point along the path from the DP for Elite 15. If not, you'd have a fair trek back to this point (also the Standard course with same correct kite, just different viewing angle). From here, the correct kite was easy to identify; but that was where the problems started: the controls that you saw from near the DP were not exactly the same ones as near this viewing point and there was no way to keep them all in sight as you returned to the main path. You had to form a mental picture of where they all were and how they would look from the DP.

Note that there were 6 kites in total, although only 5 were visible from the main viewpoints. The extra one was part of the cluster for the Standard course. The idea of Standard kites "getting in the way" was introduced to you earlier in the course at the small gullies control so shouldn't have been a great surprise.


photo of control 18 control 18 from NW solution map for control 18

A-C knoll NE part

An advanced warning for the small depression in large depression to come two controls later. Note that the elongated knoll symbol on the map coincidently happens to be the exact size of the feature in the terrain.

You really had to go all the way round to see this from the NW to identify the low point to the S so you could trace what part of the knoll/spur combination could be considered on the knoll and what part below the knoll.

Both lower kites were below or around col height and therefore couldn't be considered on the knoll, the singleton above on the other hand was definitely on the knoll and, although close, the top was in the correct "part of" (but not by much!).


photo of control 19 close-up of control 19 solution map for control 19

A-E spur lower part

If you check the map you will find you are looking down on both the control cluster and the convenient crag to the W. Since the crag was closer, contour tracing from it would have to take into account this slope. To add to the illusion you also had to take into account that any lining up with the crag would have to be with respect to where the cane enters the ground and not the kite itself. Finally there was some very steep ground above the crag which meant the crag extended higher than merely the rocky part.

The lower kite should have appeared to be around the height of middle of the crag, but given the illusions listed above was too low, the higher one being correct.


photo of control 20 close-up of control 20 solution map for control 20

A-D large depression SW part

This was a quick check that you knew the difference between a small (cup) depression and a large depression.

Note the large overgrown boulder that was not visible from the DP for control 8


photo of control 21 solution map for control 21

A-E S crag

We suspected some of you might have been under time pressure by now, so a fairly straightforward one before finish; following normal Trail-O rules, unless described as "top" the kite should always be at the foot of a crag (ruling out the higher kite) and unless described as part will be at its midpoint. The whole crag (including the kink) was included in its length.

The only other kite near the centre of the circle could be ruled out since it was too far in front of an overhanging part of the crag - it would have to have been pushed back under the overhang until it touched to be considered on the crag. The other kites were on towards the middle of the right hand part of the crag rather than the whole crag as mapped.