Holcombe Ranges, Dec 16 2018

Sunrise from control 123, GCS

Date of event: Sun 16th Dec 18
Type of event: Regional (C)
Nearest town: Ramsbottom,


Simple results and splits

Event photos for both Night and Day:  Marcus Schmidt of TSG Weisloch (near Heidelberg)  orienteering club competed on both the Night Blue and the Day Blue courses.  As he was "on holiday" at the time and not competing for UK ranking points he took many photos of the courses. 
See TSG Weisloch Facebook link or cut and paste:  https://www.facebook.com/TSG-Wiesloch-Orientierungslauf-1682398888710145/

Controller's Comments:

Storm Deirdre tried to put us off, but failed!  In fact Sunday dawned fair and calm though cold.   Night and day controls on the range proper had already been put out on the Saturday so it only remained to add the high moorland controls early on Sunday.  We were treated to a beautiful sunrise with low cloud drifting away for the scarp tops.  Thanks are due to Judith for her challenging courses and to Bridget for masterminding the camp security plan (complimented by the camp guard!) and the best parking and registration you could wish for.

Judith's day courses made full use of the very varied terrain:  natural woodland, contour detail, river crossings (too many for some), old mining detail, rough open slopes and, for the long courses, fast open moorland with pinpoint navigation required. Everyone was complimentary.

To summarise: Judith delivered first class courses, with no controlling issues at all, in a highly varied area and run by top class orienteers.  2 seconds under 1 hour as the winning time for Brown 8.5k/285m (@ 7m/k) is going some! 

We want to make you aware of the higher than normal entry fee which was occassioned by the additional access fees levied by the MOD for use of their area over and above our normal costs.  We think the area warrented the extra. We hope you agree

Well done to all helpers and thanks to a all competitors for rewarding all involved with your complimentary comments.  Thanks too to the MOD, Greater Manchester ACF and Natural England for access permission.

George Crawford-Smith PFO - Controller.


Organiser's Comments

I would like to give a big thank you to the landowners and other parties for allowing us to use the area for both the night and day events, Landmarc, The National Trust and Natural England were all very helpful in bringing together the licencing for the event.  I also need to give a very big thank you to Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force for the use of their training centre. The use of the White House, giving us heated indoor facilities for registration and download, as well as the use of kitchen facilities was a real bonus. Car parking was made very easy as we were able to use the tarmac car park, with overflow available if we had needed it. Access to toilets was also much appreciated.

The events seem to have been well received, I have not been made aware of any negative comments but plenty of positive ones – which is always gratifying. This must have been helped by the excellent planning and controlling by Peter, Judith and George.

The weather played its part, Saturday was very cold with freezing rain making the preparation for the event interesting, the conditions underfoot were treacherous and did cause us some concern. Surprisingly the rain decided to clear and for the majority of the actual event it didn’t rain. Sunday started with mist on the tops but this later cleared to give a nice sunny day – though cold. We still had concerns about ground conditions as there were patches of ice and all stones were very slippery. I am not aware of anyone hurting themselves for which I am grateful. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves.

I would also like to say thank you to the PFO members who gave up their time to help with the events over the weekend, it wasn’t the best of weather and all did a sterling job in keeping everything running as planned.

Thank you.
One item of lost property – a black glove – XXL, Quechua. Found in the registration room.  Please get in touch with me if this is yours.

Bridget Jardine PFO - Night & Day Organiser.


Pre-event info below here:
Important:  Holcombe Ranges is an active MOD training ground.  PFO must account for all competitors arriving and departing from the camp.  Download the security form in Downloadable Documents below:  Fill it in (vehicle reg, driver, passengers) and hand it in to the PFO marshal at the gate.  This will speed your entry into, and exit from, the camp.

Holcombe Ranges Day Event:  EOD only.

We are privileged to have access for our event, for which we must thank the MOD for their permission.  Our thanks go to the National Trust and Natural England for permission to use an extended part of the competition area.

The Holcome Range area is untouched by the usual commencial land uses so the mix of woodland and rough open has a very natural feel. This is a fantastic area with challenging navigation - well worth the visit.

Permission for Holcombe Ranges is not easy to obtain and this is a rare opportunity to orienteer here.  The date has been chosen to avoid live firing! Enjoy!

WARNING: Do not handle any unusual objects you may find in the area, however you should report their whereabouts to Registration.

Safety:  This is a winter event - WHISTLES and WATERPROOF JACKETS are MANDATORY - unless specifically relaxed by the controller.  Carrying hats, gloves, additional thermal layers and waterproof trousers may also be necessary. Be prepared.

The orienteering map is at a scale of 1:10000 for Brown and Blue courses (including a newly mapped adjacent area) and 1:7500 for other courses.  Military objects such as flag poles and notice boards plus isolated trees in open areas are not shown. Fences should only be crossed at stiles and gates.  Crosssing symbols designate traditional stiles, gates and a large number of military roll-over crossing points.  All are marked on the map and should be used.  The high and barbed wire topped Range perimeter fence must only be crossed at marked points. 

The previous night, Saturday 15th, there will be a NWNL Holcombe Ranges Night event using the same parking and registration.  Night Orange, Green and Blue courses.
Other previous events on the Range are the Northern Night Champs in 1972, a small part used for CAPRICORN 2013 using a 1:25000 OS extract and PFO's Regional in 2015.

events location


Nearest town: Ramsbottom,
Grid Ref: SD763158
Postcode: BL8 4JJ
Latitude: 53.63872
Longitude: -2.35910
Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)


Planner: Judith Wood PFO
Organiser: Bridget Jardine PFO
Controller: George Crawford-Smith PFO
Contact: For general enquiries -

Info for dog owners

Updated 6/12/2018: It is a condition of the MOD licence that NO DOGS are brought on to the site.  This is a change from previous information.


Toilets at Registration/car park.
First aid provided by members of PFO.  Details of nearby emergency care centres will be available at Registration.

Downloadable Documents

Holcombe vehicle and occupants entry form,

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

Sunrise from control 123, GCS

Sunrise from control 123

Spurs and re-entrants, GCS

Spurs and re-entrants

Spring, GCS


Grassy terrain., GCS

Grassy terrain.

Fast terrain, GCS

Fast terrain

The run in., GCS

The run in.

British Night Champs map 1972,

About the area/map

Holcombe Ranges

Holcombe Ranges is an army camp, opened 100 years ago for First World War training.  There has been very little development in the area, except for the camp itself and as a consequence the area, though farmed in part, has a very 'natural feel' to it.  In addition to the range there is mature woodland, young plantations, many water features, mining spoils with contour detail, plus open moorland for the longest courses.  Most of the area is fast runnable terrain, though steep in places.

Prior to 2015 the area had only once been used for orienteering competition.  That was in 1972 for the British Night Championships!

Read more about the Holcombe Ranges area and map


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Posted by Steve Wilson