2015 National Qualifier No. 3

24 May 2015

Eleven teams lined up on the grid in the layby next to the A506 near Stoke Bruerne. Two good signals started the event off at 1.20 pm, Station A recorded at two degrees shy of North and Station B at 105 degrees. (Almost spot on.)

The choice? Get bogged down in or getting beyond Northampton, or open country near Newport Pagnell?

A course was set for the vicinity of Emberton, about 5km North of Newport Pagnell, to get a good cross with the start bearing, with Linford Wood, The Great Ouse plains Moulsoe Old Wood all possibilities. At 2.00 pm a very strong signal pointed at the Great Ouse area NW of Newport Pagnell and East of the motorway. A stop west of Tyringham to check the map just before the next tranmsmission confirmed a mid-Ouse location. Driving further up the road a Blue Volvo with a whipless aerial mount parked near a designated footpath said it all. Off down the track only to find Gary and Colin were in hot pursuit.

On reaching the river a high gate warned of danger beyond, so with the other teams the next transmission was awaited whilst being entertained by the cows in the field. The signal called us back and uphill towards a small wooded area. We took it in turns to run out of breath, but when on site the hidden transmitter was found quickly, next to a pair of yellow wellies.

Back to the car get the map out to plan a route Northwards. At 2.00 pm my bearing on A crossed with the start bearing near Pitsford Water at the top of the map. It was left to the satnav to choose a route towards Harlestone, NW of Northampton. This took me along the B526 in the general direction of Northampton, but was overruled when it tried to take a route through Salcey Forest.

Just East of Wooton, a strong signal was heard and a bearing skirting the A45W was taken, suggesting that in fact station A was on the southern boundary of Northampton. This bearing, and the start bearing, passed close to a little country park in the midst of a built up area. The B526 was left in favour of a minor ring road at the edge of urbanisation. From Collingtree the next bearing confirmed the country park as favourite, but one eye was kept on the wet bits beyond. It had started raining heavily by now and as I always get lost in this bit of the town, I did not expect to find the country park as easily as I had ! However, as luck would have it, a suitable parking spot was found in a side road right next to the Eastern end of the country park.

The next signal came up just after stopping and headed straight into the park. By the middle of the next signal I was in the right wooded bit but the signal kept taking me to an old wooden fence. On retreating to the grassy area for a different point of view I was disappointed to see that Colin had arrived too. He had already nipped in before me at B. Fortunately, neglecting the next fence-directing signal, a search-as-much-as-you-can-heís-in-here-somewhere tactic paid off when a bit of shrubbery/camouflage which didnít quite match was spotted, thankfully just before Colin and his partner in crime. In at 1528 thereís hope!

I guess it was just one of those days when everything went right (for some!).

Thanks to the Northampton Club for staging the event; two signals at the start, plenty of transmissions, and not too much driving all contributed to a good day out. Even the weather was relatively friendly!

Tim Parker

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B
1 Tim Parker 15:28:03 15:28:03 14:30:14
2 Colin Merry 15:28:30 15:28:30 14:29:33
3 Graham Phillips 15:50:57 14:44:55 15:50:57
4 Gary Parker 16:07:50 16:07:50 14:28:44
5 Bill Pechey 16:21:07 16:21:07 15:05:37
6 Roy Emeny 16:27:52 14:54:28 16:27:52
7 Geoffrey Foster 14:51:04 14:51:04 -
8 Graham Jones 15:06:36 - 15:06:36
9 Paul Clark 15:19:00 15:19:00 -
10 George Whenham 15:19:40 15:19:40 -
11 John Mullins 15:43:58 - 15:43:58