Holcombe Ranges, Jul 12 2015

Northern Night Champs map, 9th December 1972.,

Date of event: Sun 12th Jul 15
Type of event: District (C)
Nearest town: Ramsbottom,


Results Summary
Full Results including Splits
Winsplits (splits analysis)
Splitsbrowser (graph of time loss)

Results & Routegadget now available.

To follow.

The map:  You were the first to compete on the newly completed map.  I hope you liked it.  
A few weeks ago I was told there had been a previous event on Holcombe Moor "in the 1970s" but could not find any other evidence or a map.  Miraculously an LOC member turned up yesterday with the original map of the Northern Night Championships of 9th December 1972.  Take a look at the photo gallery below and compare it to your map.  The second map image shows the new map superimposed on the old map.  Quite a change!  Apart from the 5 dgrees change in magnetic north and 25 foot contours, the map is very basic and sketchy, there are many fence changes evident, dangerous areas marked off with a red perimeter and the use of the moor to the east, which is not part of the MOD range and was not part of our competition area.  Mapping techniques, as used in the 2015 map, are more accurate with the use of geo referencing, Lidar and aerial images.  The register between the two maps is good to the west but poor to the east.
Interestingly 3 of the 1972 control sites were used yesterday. (No 1 Niche = 143 Re-entrant, No 12 Building = 109 Building W side and No 11 Knoll SW end was very close to 150 E Thicket S tip.)  I wonder what the winning times were?  Other competitors also claimed to have orienteered, and even planned here, many years ago.  Did you remember any of it?

The courses:  Early finishers declared that the terrain was "very tough" and the courses "hard", but later when the elephant tracks had developed, this changed to "lovely terrain" and "great course".  Interesting to note that the attrition rate on courses (retirements and mis-punches) was proportionately higher on the longer courses.  Brown suffered the most - it was tough at 9.4k and 425m climb.
One apology to the purists.  I am a great believer in "feature first" and planned accordingly.  Find the feature and the control will be there.  Where the features were low the kites were hung low too.  For anyone disadvantaged I apologise.  The IOF rule says "The flag shall be visible to competitors when they can see the described position."

The winners:  Well done to all our winners.  You made your mark and gave us respectable winning times in difficult (summer vegetation) terrain.

The helpers:  A big thank you to Judith Wood (Assistant controller) and Bill Griffiths (Organiser) for their help and guidance. To the SI team for Registration and Results and to Steve Wilson of SELOC for rapidly posting the results and Routegadget,  Thanks too to all the 20+ PFO helpers who made everything run smoothly on the day.  Too numerous to name, but you know who you are.  May you all run fast and navigate faultlessly!

The cake squad:  You made my day with Gradma's favouite recipe, and doubtlessly saved me from certain starvation.   You learnt too the golden rule of retailing - Position, Position, Position.  But no sooner had the far car park inmates started muttering that you were not on their nearest street corner, you responded with a travelling sales team bringing the goods to the consumer.  The nearest thing to on-line shopping and doorstep delivery.  I was well impressed.  Please come to the Howgills CAPRICORN on Sept 5th.

Finally:  I'm sure there is scope for another event at Holcombe.  The combination of facilities and terrain was superb.  Let's hope we don't have to wait another 40 years!

George Crawford-Smith - Planner.



All of the comments that I received were very positive. Competitors generally said that the area and the courses were tough but very enjoyable. It was said by many that it was a great area with lots of potential.
From the organiser’s perspective, the weather couldn’t have been better.  The parking, toilets and room for registration provided by The Army and Landmarc made it very easy to get everything close together and kept the need for manpower to a minimum.
Thanks to The Army. Landmark , Bury MC for allowing us to hold the event and thanks to the members of PFO who volunteered to help which combined gave us an event that went smoothly and without a single hitch,

Pre-event details below here:

Final details (10/7/2015):

  • Pre-entries are now closed.
  • There are a few spare maps available for EOD - more on Light Green, Orange and Yellow than on the TD5 courses.  When they are gone, they are gone.  Be early to have the pick of the courses.
  • Before you arrive please list your vehicle registration number and all occupants of your vehicle on a piece of paper.  Hand this in to the PFO gate marshal to speed up entry to the Camp.  We have to do this for the MOD to account for everyone going in and leaving the site.
  • Park as directed.  3 areas - the furthest is 300m from Registration. 
  • Registration:  EODs and dibber hires must go to Registration.  IMPORTANT:  There is no legend on any course maps.  If you need an IOF legend, go to Registration and pick up a free copy.  Special non-IOF symbols (man-made features, shooting butts and military roll-over stiles) are on the map.  Men's and Ladies Toilets at Registration.
  • Pre-entered competitors with dibbers may go straight to the Start (10 to 15 minutes).  Control descriptions are on the map, but loose descriptions are available at the Start only.
  • Forecast:  Cloudy with light showers, brightning later.  Teperature around 15°C.  Warm in the woods, cool on the tops.  Perfect running weather.  Be prepared!
  • There is seasonal undergrowth in many places.  Full leg cover is essential.  Shorts not permitted.
  • Finish is 50m from Registration/Download.  Orange juice and junior CAKE STALL here.  This is in aid of PFO's junior training program.  Bring your cake donation!
  • Our thanks go to the MOD and their tenants.  Also to Bury Borough Council for the use of Redisher Woods adjacent to the MOD range.


Holcombe Ranges:  We are privileged to have access for our event, for which we must thank the MOD for their permission.   This is a fantastic new area - well worth the visit. 

Pre-entry only.  Access to the camp and range is strictly controlled and all competitors and their vehicles will be checked in at the main camp entrance.  You must pre-enter to avoid delays on arrival.

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.  The competition area also uses part of Redisher Woods (owned by Bury BC), which is adjacent to the Range.

The orienteering map is new at a scale of 1:10000 for Brown and Blue courses and 1:7500 for other courses.  Military objects such as flag poles and notice boards plus isolated trees in open areas are not shown.  In the centre of the area there is a small archeological site of a 13th century iron works which is out-of-bounds.  Fences may only be crossed at stiles and gates.  Large ) ( crosssing symbols designate stiles and gates, whilst small ) ( crossing symbols designate military roll-over crossing points.  Either may be used.

The good news is that there will be no live firing on the range during the weekend of our event!  WARNING: Do not handle any unusual objects you may find in the area, however you should report their whereabouts to Registration.

A small part of the area was used for CAPRICORN 2013 using a 1:25000 OS extract. (Click for latest on Howgills CAPRICORN 2015.)  The prevous orienteering event in the area was in the 1970s!

events location


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


Planner: George Crawford-Smith PFO
Organiser: Bill Griffiths PFO
Controller: Jim Mitchell PFO, assistant Judith Wood PFO
Contact: For general enquiries -

Info for dog owners

No dogs in the competition area.  This is sheep country.
Dogs may be exercised under control on local public rights of way after your run.  Public rights of way run through the car park area.  We ask you to avoid the actual competition area.


Toilets at Registration.

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

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

Northern Night Champs map, 9th December 1972.,

Northern Night Champs map, 9th December 1972.

2015 map superimposed on 1972., GCS

2015 map superimposed on 1972.

Security Team at the gate., GCS

Security Team at the gate.

131 Northern Re-entrant (on Brown, S/Blue & Green), GCS

131 Northern Re-entrant (on Brown, S/Blue & Green)

141 Spring (on Brown, Blue, S/Blue & Green), GCS

141 Spring (on Brown, Blue, S/Blue & Green)

Between the Earth banks - Wintertime, GCS

Between the Earth banks - Wintertime

145 Between the Earth banks.- Summertime, GCS

145 Between the Earth banks.- Summertime

Coming out of 145,Between the Earth banks, GCS

Coming out of 145,Between the Earth banks

Jack Cryer PFO in full flight.to 109, GCS

Jack Cryer PFO in full flight.to 109

Heading to 109, GCS

Heading to 109

The run in.  Final control 109 to Finish., GCS

The run in. Final control 109 to Finish.

Judy Burge LOC at the Finish.  , GCS

Judy Burge LOC at the Finish.

Counting the takings.  PFO Cake Squad in action., GCS

Counting the takings. PFO Cake Squad in action.


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Posted by Steve Wilson