Collier Cup 2005 Round 4

01 July 2005

The transmitter was operated by Chris Plummer.

Having planned this event for a couple of months, Chris decided to be relatively simple with this event, however it did not turn out that way for any of the competitors. Remembering the qualifier some years back where TCG used a badger tunnel to cross the M40 (emerging like a drowned rat), and having experienced the tangle on the West side of the M40 above Otmoor from a long walk into Alan's site in Shabbington Woods last year, Chris decided to investigate the stream tunnel under the M40 right next to Trevs badger run. Chris and his house mate, Mike, had investigated the footpath along the east side of the M40 about 2 months before, but decided not to tread the undergrowth down too much as it would have given a guide to the way in. Back then the weeds were only 18" tall, now they were 4' and tangled with brambles etc. But then testing the pubs locally went down OK with Mike.

So to the day of the event. Chris, having only returned from Dubai the day before, kitted up with camo gear and set off for the site. However, rather than battle through the footpath and show the way in, he trudged through a couple of thistley fields before joining the path. On reaching the stream tunnel it looked a bit dark and wet, so Chris backed off about 100 yards by a mobile phone mast and found a very overgrown bank of spoil from the building of the mast etc. This bank was 6' high in every prickly and stingy plant known to man apart from brambles (those would have been the last straw). Setting up caused a path in these weeds but this didn't help much later at all. A quarter wave was set up at right angles to the M40 and Chris settled in to wait, a LONNNGGG time as it turned out.

Reportedly, the five compitors heard a good signal at the start (surprisingly to some) and as it has it most got a bearing straight through the woods opposite to the site. 20:00 time for another transmission and Steve Stone, flashing over the M40, saw a flash of blue in a gateway. Ah ha! Chris' Jag, (must remember to hide it better next time). So Steve stopped there for 20:00. As it happens so did Brian and Alan. Looking where Chris might have left tracks, these intrepid three tried the path to the east of the M40 (the right way in, not the shortest or easiest, but the right one). Of course they didn't get far before giving up in the tangle thinking 'Chris didn't come this way' (Dead right there).

Brian and Alan retreated and tried the Woods to the west of the M40 where there was no footpath access! Meanwhile, Peter had parked in the main car park for the woods well to the NW of the site, got a good bearing and ran that way. Not sure what Bill did. However after Brian had investigated the remains of several air raid bunkers he and Alan came to the west end of the stream tunnel with a bearing directly at the phone mast, but with an 8' high fence and the busy M40 in the way. By this time it was 21:00, and Brian didn't fancy the tunnel, or the long walk round, so he and JC went to the pub. Alan returned to his car and was so knackered he decided to go straight home, as did Bill and Doreen.

Meanwhile Peter had come to the M40 fence, but, being more determined and possibly somewhat earlier than Brian and Alan, decided to go north to the footbridge to get round the right side of the M40. This led him into the brambly mantrap of the Christmas tree plantation. Chris only the saw the effects of this on Peter later (Cuts and drenching from falling in a pond somewhere in there).

Meanwhile Steve had turned up at the base of the bank at about 21:05, within 30' of the site, but went away again for nearly 20 minutes. Eventually, Chris took pity on Steve and almost talked him in (he had to either come up throuth the steep way through the head height nettles, or the easier way through the thistles. So eventually Steve got in, then both Chris and Steve took pity on a very bedraggled Peter to get him in as well before closing time. It had been drizzling on and off all afternoon and was by now so dark and overcast that Chris could not read the clock without a torch, so Peter didn't see him even standing on Chris's hands.

So two found the TX and three were DNF'ed, not because it was a difficult site, or a devious aerial, just that 4 out of 5 teams made the ultimate mistake of trying to out guess the TX operator.

Sunday comments where Chris only found one TX and came last at Salisbury, included 'Serves you right for Friday'

Chandos Arms real ale went down well by the few that got back there, and some of the locals were quite intrigued by the explanations and excuses made etc.

Chris Plummer.

Position Competitor Finish
1 Steve Stone 21:23:16
2 Peter Lisle 21:26:57
3 Brian Bristow NF
4 Bill Pechey NF
5 Alan Simmons NF