Gullane SOL Results 13/02/2022
Results from the first SOL of 2022 at Gullane ...
A big thank you to planners Murray and Tessa Strain, organisers Caspian Richards and Max Carcas, controller Dave Kershaw, and all the volunteers who helped both on the day and beforehand. The weather wasn't as we'd hoped, but the event was still a great success.
Planners' Notes (Murray and Tessa Strain)
Gullane is lovely, particularly when the sun shines. We visited several times while updating the map and planning courses: it didn’t rain once and several times we would see rain showers over Edinburgh over the Forth which looked to be heading our way but would then drift away or peter out (of course, our choice of when to go to Gullane may have been influenced by the forecast so there may be some observation bias in our experience). Typical then that Sunday was not one of those days, but at least we got all the controls out before the rain started at 9am on Sunday. Nonetheless we saw plenty smiling faces at the finish line, so the inclement conditions didn’t dampen spirits too much.
The challenge with Gullane is how to make interesting courses with a finish near the car park that don’t just involve mindless trudging back along paths through the gorse. We discovered that the rangers had made our job easier in this respect by hacking back large areas of vegetation to create new features for us. They have also removed all the gorse between the pine forest and the coast, which allowed a bit of route choice into the vague features on the seaward side of the dunes.
Only Black and Brown visited the area to the SW of the car park which would have been a shame if the views back down the East Lothian coast to Edinburgh and over to Fife were on display. As it was all the rest of you missed out on was some variety in the form of controls on the rocky outcrops at Gullane Point. At one stage in the planning the Green and Short Green were going to be exclusively in that direction too, but when we realised the tides meant there was only one route in and out this plan was scrapped. Hopefully a future event can revisit this area for more of the courses (possibly even on a map extended further south, as the dunes continue, although there may be SSSI restrictions which prevent this).
My (Murray’s) favourite control was 146, a reentrant where you really had to be in the feature before you found the flag which hopefully rewarded those with good interpretation of the contour detail and a good attack point. There were a few other controls that we managed to tuck away by tweaking the map a little to add some negative features: the LIDAR map is good but it seems to over-emphasise hills and ridges, and under-represent depressions and small reentrants. 149, 153, and 159 are examples of this map adjustment.
We are aware of the somewhat long times and relatively high numbers of mispunches on the orange and yellow courses. Split times do not point to a single source. We suspect that the dense nature of the path network around the gorse, the variation in path sizes, and the weather all contributed but would welcome any feedback from those who ran those courses.
All in all the courses seemed well appreciated and the decision to print most of them at 1:7500 justified by a number of positive comments. Many thanks to Dave Kershaw (ESOC) for supportive controlling, Caspian for calm organising and Max Carcas and William Ivory for useful discussions and negotiation with landowners. We can recommend a return for a walk or run when the sun is shining!