Thirteen teams assembled alongside the 13th century church of St Peter, all that remains of the medieval village of Wolfhampcote, a very interesting place epically for direction finders as it now the home of two disused railways, one disused canal and one canal still in use, with the only access to the main roads along a lengthy single track lane.
Good signals were reported by all contestants at the start however bearing accuracy was variable and this proved to be the theme for the remainder of the afternoon.
At 1330 teams departed, a combination of bearings and road system causing most teams to follow each other for a number of miles with the last man away from site being delayed to shut the gate.
Many teams stopped along the Fosse Way to plot their “Two o’ clock” bearings and were to find themselves roughly half way between the two hidden stations. One being near Stratford upon Avon and the other along a narrow strip of woodland called Edge Hill.
Station A was located at Welcombe Hills country Park 1km north of Stratford.
Seven teams visited this station first, most choosing to brave the tourist traffic and navigate through the housing estate to gain access by the shortest route to the transmitter on foot; some including the operators chose one of the more rural but longer routes in.
The station was near the edge of a small copse; John was hidden within a large clump of brambles and wild roses. The aerial was a simple long wire, one wavelength long with just one tee into the transmitter. The majority of the aerial was draped over the most disagreeable clumps of brambles and stinging nettle beds we could find.
Six teams found John by the end of the afternoon, sadly in Chris Plummer's case, not until after four pm. It seems the long journey from Canada had upset his judgement this year.
Ten teams in total found the A station during the afternoon.
The B station was located just 12 miles from the A station at the bottom of Edge Hill, the woods being clearly visible from the A station. Six teams visited this site first; again access could be gained along many footpaths, the most direct by descending “Jacobs Ladder”; a flight of stone steps cut into the hillside descending nearly 200 feet from the roadside above.
The hidden transmitter was sited within an extensive clump of laurel bushes at the end of a simple long wire around 80 metres in length running parallel to the boundary fence. According to reports the fence added confusion by radiating furiously though no direct connection was made.
Peace was disturbed around 1430 with the twin whistles of Andy and Phil. So it was to the operator’s great surprise when Paul Clark stumbled into the transmitter first, hissing “Sit up straight or you’ll get trampled on”. Andrew checked in ten minutes afterwards.
Geoff, John and Rosie arrived all in a rush together and George was heard nearby. Sadly, George seemed to drift further and further away into the woods and was not seen again for nearly an hour and a half.
Ten teams in total found the B station during the afternoon.
At Wroxton village Hall Ronnie, Daphne and Duncan had prepared an excellent tea for the thirty-six participants and helpers.
Dick Brocks described the afternoon’s events, having won the competition, and Andrew Mead described an almost identical afternoon, coming in as runner up.
It could have been so different had Andrew not paused so long trying to take photos at the B station…
Dick Brocks was presented with the Banbury shield.
Many thanks to Mick and Ronnie, Duncan, Daphne, John for all their hard work and to George for standing in as starter.
Andrew Mead and Geoffrey foster qualify for the national final.
|Position||Competitor||Finish||Time A||Time B|