|Competitor||Time||Adj. Time||Time Diff.||Score||Bill North|
Well that was a wet day / evening wasn’t it? I went down to the area at the beginning of the week and found three sites, they all had disadvantages, used before Alan will remember – long run in Peter will be first – difficult navigation Graham will have a full team etc so difficult to decide which.
On the day and it is pouring with rain which puts all three sites in doubt so off early to find somewhere else, motorway is obscured with rain and spray so I am glad that I am in the Range Rover with it’s excellent wipers and demisting. A quick look at a site along the river near Shabbington and that is flooded so off to higher ground and a look at the disused railway South of the A 418 (remember when we used to start from the A 418?). So along the disused railway line and then South on the footpath to a large tree with an area behind it to hide in. NGR is 659 051 about 7 1/4 miles from the start on a bearing of 325 degrees. With little time to get a long aerial out I used an 8 metre pole as a vertical with a sloping wire forming a half triangle.
I was relieved to hear that I had got a signal to the start from my makeshift aerial but was afraid that everyone would be on site at 8:15 but it worked out well in the end and you all had time to go for a drink afterwards. I got back to the car about 9:15 had a hot coffee and set off to drive home, another problem on the motorway but not as bad as last time, so I am home about 11:00 pm.
My Peter Storm anorak is definitely waterproof, my M&S hat only showerproof.
Thanks to everyone who braved the rain and came to find me and to Brian Bristow who went out in the rain to give me a signal report.
The scene was set, the wipers were doing their best to clear the windscreen but failing miserably. I looked over to the driver “ Feel sorry for Geoffrey putting up an aerial on a night like this”. Graham's unspoken response was written in a smirk. I'd raced back from a job in Shoreham to take part in the DF so Graham and I were keen to make the best of it.
Arriving at the start, a car park on Christmas Tree Common near Stokenchurch, we were greeted by four other lunatics wanting to drown themselves on a wild and very wet night. Peter Lisle, Alan Simmons, Justin Snow and Roger Shepherd. This was the perfect night to test just how waterproof our outfits were. Graham had outgrown his water proof trousers some time ago and was having no luck in the pound shop to replace them. Booted up and ready we all heard Geoffrey on our DF sets at the 7.30 start. Our bearing of 310 degrees told us he was somewhere on the Oxford map so we eventually set off in a westerly direction along the A40. We'd only been traveling a short while before a large red sign loomed out of the dark informing us that the road ahead was closed, I vocalized my dismay in a loud retort of eloquent french. A quick look at the map suggested we were being diverted towards Thame, not good I thought. Anyway we did manage to stop for the 8.30 transmission on a road heading towards Shabbington and got a sharp bearing crossing our start line at almost 90 degrees, perhaps that A40 closure has helped us after all. Fortunately Graham insisted on getting another bearing before committing to anything, in this case it seems he was right, as with hindsight our start bearing was more than a little low! By 8.45 we were on a road heading for Waterstock and got a good bearing giving us confidence to head for Geoffrey somewhere along a disused railway line near Albury. Off we set only to find Justin and Alan had parked up near the site before us. Graham was faffing about parking as I saw Justin striding off, I was keen to see which footpath Justin was taking but we were too late. By the time we were ready to walk he had disappeared in the darkness. Graham curtly informed me that just because Justin often wins it doesn't mean he knows where he's going. This comment did little to relax my frame of mind!
I like to think of Graham and I having a good DF relationship, surly loudly vocalizing one's dismay confirms this. Anyway as luck would have it Geoffrey was still alive and able to put out a transmission so off we charged, torches blazing. The ground was flat and we made good time along our chosen footpath till Geoffrey treated us with another signal. I got Graham to point in the bearings direction and made a mental note. We took a left turn in the footpath taking us in the right direction and then another turn which, in my head meant we were now very close. I moved on but said to Graham “ don't go much further your bearing is just about hear” For some reason Graham actually listened to me and eventually called me back. It seems just at that spot Graham had paused and was rewarded with a glimpse of Geoffrey's transmitter tucked behind a line of trees, the call sign G3TRY proudly standing out on the lid!
Game over, we were first in, so off we set back to the car looking behind us wondering where the others had got to. Not long later we noticed Justin in the distance, his torch is recognizable from the way it can illuminate craters on the moon. Meeting up back at the pub at Shabbington we finally learned how the others had done. Unknown to us Alan had been traveling behind us on our A40 detour but had got to the site before us about the same time we'd spotted Justin. I guess we were lucky with Geoffrey's transmission times while the others had wandered past him. It seems Peter was unlucky too, we learned he had stepped into a puddle only to find it was more of a bath than a puddle. His leg disappearing in the murky muddy water, oh dear.He had cleverly found the shortest run-in from a lay-by on the main road. However poor Roger had charged off, I know not where, only not to make it to Geoffrey in time. We all have different techniques that sometimes pay off but sometimes end in frustration. If you want to win you need to take risks and commit to your hunch.