2019 National Final

15 September 2019

There is an organiser's report by Paul Clark here

Winner's Report

First off I would like to thank Paul, Matt and Dick for running the final this year. You guys did a fine job, even if I did not entirely appreciate the sites that are somewhat invisible on the map and failed to find one of the stations!

I heard one good signal at the start. The other two signals were very weak, but identifiable, though my bearings were not quite as good. My start bearing on Matt was 216 degrees and went past Dawlish Warren! Having made the mistake of being satisfied with my bearings before, I decided that it would be worth waiting for the approximates to make sure I was in the right ballpark. Glad I did this!

I headed off to a good spot I know on the top of the Haldon Hills, just to the SE of the race course, along with a few other teams it would appear. The 13:30 transmissions were all reasonably audible at this point and bearings taken. Station B was quite strong, roughly due south. Matts signal appeared to be probably at the edge of the map on a bearing of about 210 degrees and appeared to be from a wood in a deep valley called Well Covert. Station A crossed with it’s start bearing in the middle of the St. Thomas area of Exeter.

At this point I elected to head for station B as it was obviously not too far away. Maybe this was a mistake, but we will never know. I wanted a better cross and headed a short distance further down the A380, coming off at a junction just west of Ascombe. As I exited the Station B came up again and I swung into a gravel layby on a minor road just off the junction. Here the signal was extremely strong, but I could not get a null. I took a guess and plotted what turned out to be a fairly good bearing! I drove a short distance down the hill towards Ashcombe and the TX came up again, this time my bearing was about 70 degrees off to the SE even though I was almost line of sight to the TX! Colin and Rosie, drove past and I happened to follow them to a spot about half a km East of Ashcombe where a path crosses the road. There was a suspiciously parked car in a gateway and I managed to find a spot to park before trying to catch up with Colin And Rosie who had sprinted up the path into the woods. This was useful to me as at this point I was not certain which side of the road the TX was on! I made a gallant attempt to try and catch up with them, but it took me a while. As I got in the vicinity of the TX, the set became less helpful giving erroneous sense readings. After a couple of transmissions and about 45 minutes, I eventually heard Rosie talking in the woods and sensed they may have had some luck, so I headed that way. I stumbled about and came across Alan and Steve, who’s body language said they had also been in, so after a few more minutes of frantic stumbling about, found Paul on the ground, quickly clocking in I fell out of the woods onto the track and headed back to the car passing Bill on his way in, but with a duff set, though he was not far away.

I drove back towards the A380 and B3192 junction and Matts TX came on, this gave me a similar result to my 13:30 bearing and pointed towards Well Covert woods. I headed South on minor roads, through Ideford, in the hope of getting a good cross on the woods and determine which end to park and run from. However, A bearing just to the south of Ideford indicated that the Tx might be in Lindridge Hill area. This threw me a bit. so I had to continue heading South and began to think I was not doing all that well at this point. Another bearing a bit further down the lane pointed at a reservoir marked on the map. Driving into the middle of Kingsteignton, I saw Chris Plummer coming out of a footpath. Interesting I thought, but they did not seem to act like they had found a TX recently. The TX came up and I got what turned out to be a really good bearing crossing with another one just on the SW side of the A380 bypass, but I was disbelieving of these bearings as I could not see anything resembling a sensible site on the map! I headed round to the SE side of Kingsteignton to get another cross. This confirmed that I should head back to the Rydon area of the town. I arrived at the road bridge over the cutting and there I found several other competitors all of whom looked like they were having a bad day. The Tx came up and it said over the bridge towards the reservoir, but I was under power lines, so quickly ran over the bridge and the set turned back to the town side of the bridge. Where to go? At this point Peter Lisle seemed to disappear. I decided that I would go for a bit of a local drive around and headed into a small cul-de-sac where I found Peters car! It took me a while, but I eventually saw the entrance into the scrub area behind the houses, the TX came up and said straight in to this area, Peter was running around in the area and then seemed to vanish, so I presumed correctly that he had found it, Chris was up on top of the embankment and when I got up there the signal was weaker. So back into the scrub and soon found Matt only about 50 ft away from where Chris was looking! “Well done” Matt said, “you should make it to station A easily enough”. Well Done! yeh right I thought, no chance, but I will give it a go.

Knowing I had to head to Exeter, it was a simple matter to get back on the main road and head north. I took the A379 exit off the A38 towards Alphington. Just by the bridge over the A30, the TX came up and was quite strong. My bearing was a little off to the left and I elected to head towards Ide on the narrow lanes. Just north of Ide, I got a bearing back to the SE aiming at the middle of Alphington. There are a couple of footpaths marked on the map in this area and I ended up parked at the end of one of them near the Sainsburys junction. The TX came on and my set said straight up the path towards the A30 junction. Signal still on and I end up at the junction! Set says go under the A30! So I go under the A30 and set says go left, down the A30!

At this point there are only five minutes left and I don’t really know. where to go so trudge back to the car thinking I have blown it. If only I had realised how close I was from the bridge over the A30 I might not have driven all the way round to Ide! So looking at the map I was within half a kilometre of where I understand the TX was! So that was two very sneaky sites!

Justin Snow

Bearings on station B

Bearings on B

Bearings on station C

Bearings on C

Bearings on station A

Bearings on A

Position Competitor Finish Time A Time B Time C
1Justin Snow15:36:01 14:27:5115:36:01
2Gary Parker16:01:2814:22:4816:01:28 
3Colin Merry16:09:06 14:21:5216:09:06
4Peter Lisle16:24:25 16:24:2515:32:08
5Geoffrey Foster16:25:31 16:25:3115:40:10
6Alan Simmons14:22:09 14:22:09 
7Bill Pechey14:33:46 14:33:46 
8Graham Phillips15:34:10 15:34:10 
9Roy Emeny16:09:2916:09:29  
10Chris Plummer