On a perfect day for DF, sunny, dry, but perhaps a touch windy, seven teams assembled at the usual Colchester club evening start at Fordham Heath.
Two good signals appeared at 1.20, one South-West following the A12 towards Witham, and the other South-East towards Brightlingsea. All seven teams headed off down the A12 and were a little perplexed, as TX A was located in a hedge alongside a building site in Witham, that was until a few months ago an arable field, hence showing on even the latest map as a complete blank. A few competitors however headed for the small copse between the existing housing estate and the A12, and as soon as the signal came on were soon on site.
Just after 2.30 Tim came creeping along the hedge (the wrong side!) signed in, and then without a sound completely disappeared, to be followed a minute or so later by Phil. The "pack" all arrived around 3.00, and it was pleasing to see that least one competitor came into the TX the right way (through the blackthorn bushes). Just after 3.30 the final competitor came into TX A cursing about his rotten bearings.
Meanwhile at Brightlingsea Creek, all was quiet until about 3.20 when silently from nowhere came Tim, to sign in at 3.25. In the distance Tim could see Phil running along the sea wall, but thinking he had come in the wrong way, Phil returned to his car to drive round to the other footpath leading to the TX, arriving in the immediate vicinity of the TX at the same time as Colin. Brightlingsea Creek is fairly desolate, with very little cover suitable for DF, just the odd bush here and there - but where was the aerial wire to guide Phil and Colin? There were just two bushes close by. Colin looked into one and struck lucky at just after 4.00 whilst Phil investigated the other one. Soon the absence of aerial wire was explained - TX B had a vertical aerial wound on a fishing rod shoved up the middle of the bush!
Most of the other competitors came in shortly after, and the seventh was only a mile away at 4.30. We all met up for tea at Phil and Caroline's, where the girls had laid out all the offerings collected at the start, and added a few specialities of their own.
Stories of victory were related by Tim and Colin, and tales of woe related by other competitors, but everyone seemed to have enjoyed the afternoon. The organisers revealed that both stations were about the same distance - just over 18 Km - from the start. It was pleasing to welcome Bill and Doreen to the event, which was run along the same lines as National events.
Well done to Tim, who collected the Mid-Essex Trophy to adorn his mantle-piece alongside the "Snowman" trophy won at the beginning of the year.
There is another report of the event, with some pictures, on Roy Emeny's site here.
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