NWNL Night, Holcombe Ranges, Dec 15 2018

NWNL League,

Date of event: Sat 15th Dec 18
Type of event: Local (D)
Nearest town: Ramsbottom


Simple results and splits

Controller's Comments:

Storm Deirdre did her worst, but 'twas nothing compared to Storm Desmond on Pendle Hill in 2015 when we cancelled.  Top marks to Peter and Judith for putting out controls in the worst of the weather and thanks, too, to Bridget for masterminding the best registration and after event party you could wish for.

Peter's night and Judith's day courses had to be dovetailed together with over 60% common controls.  Thus some compromises on control sites had to be made due to different directions of approach.  Peter kept his night courses tight with figure of 8 loops on both Blue and Green.  From the Finish location we were treated to a grandstand view of headtorches on Blue leg 10 to 11 on the escarpment where there were three basic route choices, high middle and low.  All choices were used and, as we could see, the penalty for overshooting was difficulty in relocating.  Both at the Finish, and over hot pie & peas, competitors were compilentary of Peter's challenging courses: darkness, weather and slipery underfoot conditions forgotten.

Two competitors commented on (complained about?) a path missing from the map.  I've been back in daylight to check and all I can say is that that path will be on the next issue of the map.

To summarise: first class courses, in a highly varied area, in rotton weather and run by top class orienteers.  Under 38 minutes winning time for Night Blue 5.2k/250m is outstanding!  

NWNL league table after 2 events will be posted here as soon as available.

Next year's PFO Night and Day will be in a new area!  Be there.

George Crawford-Smith PFO - Night & Day Controller.


Planner's Comments:
It was heartening to see that we actually had competitors on Saturday night given the conditions.

Planning for the night event was to a large degree dependent upon the control sites chosen for the day event given the need to cap total control numbers at around 50.  The nature of the area was such that for safety purposes we also needed to keep the night courses in the valley as much as possible.  Given the topography which shortened the courses quite considerably I found there to be quite a tension between getting a good number of controls in to the courses and providing enough route choice interest.  This resulted in courses of long distance duration but which perhaps felt more like middle distance in content, I suppose best summed up as striking a balance.  One factor that did concern me a little was that in the open areas there might have been scope for competitors to observe others, particularly on the opposite side of the valley, thereby gaining an advantage of sorts.  I’d be interested to know if anyone felt this to be the case.  

For me the main point concerned the final course map checks.  I didn’t really concern myself with anything other than the course itself and the descriptions and had I checked other aspects it may have flushed out the scale error. (The map scale was 1:7500, but the legend said 1:10000).  I’ll be checking everything going forward.

I did hear that we had some novices and this concerns me particularly if they were released into the wild on a green or blue course.  I also heard that they were the last to set off.  Whether or not this is true we obviously need to be steering novices to the right courses and advertise that novices should aim for an early start.  At one point on the Saturday I couldn’t see any lamps in the field and thought that we were going to have to stay out very late or go looking.

Thanks must go to both the MOD range landowners, to GMACF for superb facilities at Registration and brilliant organisation from Bridget,

Peter Stobbs - Night Planner


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 Night:

This is event 2 in the 2018-19 North West Night League (NWNL) series.  The league is sponsored by BrightBikeLights.

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.  The area will provide challenging night navigation. 

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!

Registration will be in one of the meeting rooms in the GMACF Camp, next to parking.. 

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

The next day, Sunday 16th, there will be a Holcombe Ranges Regional event using the same parking and registration but starting elsewhere.  Usual courses.

Other NWNL night events (updated 26/11/2018) are:  

  • 19/01/2019  LOC Dale Park (off A590), Grizedale ... ish, South Lakes
  • 02/02/2019  SELOC Lever Park, Horwich
  • 09/02/2019  MDOC Brereton Heath, Holmes Chapel
  • 02/03/2019  DEE Nettlefold Woods and Old Pale Heights, Delamere

See NWNL standings after 1 event in Downloadable documents below

events location


Nearest town: Ramsbottom
Grid Ref: SD763158
Postcode: BL8 4JJ
Latitude: 53.63816
Longitude: -2.35890
Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)


Planner: Peter Stobbs 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.


Indoor Registration.  Indoor toilets. 
Post event meal option:  There is no nearby pub, so this year PFO will be serving Pie & Peas (mince or cheese & onion options).  Cost £3.50 per head and includes tea or coffee (including refills).  You can pay & reserve before your run.  Also available is tea and coffee at 50p (including refills) and FOC water or orange juice.

Downloadable Documents

Holcombe - Vehicle and occupants entry form., NWNL standings after one event.,

Image Gallery

Click the image for a larger version.

NWNL League,

NWNL League

Sponsored by BrightBikeLights,

Sponsored by BrightBikeLights

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 George Crawford-Smith