Summer Spunch - Oakhanger
and surrounding countryside
Sixth of a series of Summer Spunch events on midweek Summer evenings, using Satellite (GPS) S-punching.
Fri 11th Aug 2023
Type of event: Local, Score
Info updated: 17th Aug
Congratulations to all! There were some very impressive scores! Special mentions this time to Rich Price - nearly 24k and a score of 980 on the 120min course - Wow! Also to the "Vale Royal 5" a very respectable first time performance of 12k / 380 points including a stop at Bargain Booze! ��
This was Guy Lingford's third time as course-setter and once again he did a great job, both seeking out a new venue / area, and setting an entertaining range of course options.
We hope you enjoyed it! We are always looking for feedback so please do let me know - what did you like, and maybe what didn't you like?!
SpunchPix Comp: l have already received some great pics, but if any of you have more that you are happy to be shared anonymously on social media etc, please WhatsApp them to me on 07751932749 or email on . Best pic received by midnight Monday will receive a free entry to a future Spunch.
Big shout out to Helen and Robert Aspden at the Farm, for providing such a perfect venue and their excellent ice cream - Thankyou!
Finally to Guy for his work to plan the course (his post-match comments can be seen below), and to Peter, Eddie, Ian, Nick and Wang Ki for their help before and on the day.
So......what's up next? As the nights start to draw in, we now move to weekend slots for Spunch events through to next March 2024, the first of which is....
Sunday Morning 17 Sept - from Antrobus Village Hall - Another new area and venue just north of Northwich. This time planned by local Iain Bell. Again it will be fairly level going, and with an equally good network of paths, tracks and minor lanes, giving loads of route options - something for everyone. Back in the village hall there will be a charity Tea & home-made cake stall - so again plenty of opportunity to compare routes and anecdotes with refreshments after you've finished. For more details and to pre-enter go here: https://www.sientries.co.uk/list.php?event_id=12132
My thanks at the outset to all those who joined this evening’s event at Oakhanger. Whether you travelled across the county or indeed the country I do hope that you found the course and venue to be worth the effort to travel and that you headed home content with your run. I was delighted to hear a number of participants ask at the end when the next Spunch event would be.
There were a number of firsts for this event, a new area, a new night and indeed being held during school holidays. Also new, well almost new, was an A3 sized map which has its benefits but can be a bit distracting if you lose your place. I’m fairly certain too that this is the first Spunch event that has crossed the M6 which can be a bit noisy and detract from the relative peace of the rest of the area.
The course itself was recce’d over the wet months of March and April. The ground back then was tacky but reasonably runnable. Roll on four months during which time we’ve had dry spells in May, very warm spells in June and very wet spells in July which has led to an explosion in the fields all of which have made conditions more ‘interesting’ Certainly those that ran over land near Barnfields Farm will be forgiven for not being entirely successful in trying to find the path through the potato crops. Similarly fields with maize crops will have towered over even the tallest of you. The grass too was quite challenging in parts.
Control placement was also an interesting exercise as some of the features that I wished to include didn’t sit well when trying to provide a course that would suit all abilities. At the same time local knowledge told me where to avoid sending participants. This is dairy country and some fields I knew would be either represent a bog if the wet weather continued or be like rutted concrete in conditions that we enjoyed today. Hence one footpath running through the centre of the course became de facto out of bounds. Fortunately there were plenty of alternatives to address this.
The initial recce’s also identified a number of changes on the ground that weren’t reflected on the map. The dog leg around Oakhanger Hall Farm (control 50) plus the diversion on the Golf course to accommodate the driving range being good examples. However, everything dropped into place and, with the help of Andy’s control QA process followed by some fine tuning the course was complete. The efforts here were justified and just one VAR appeal (successfully upheld) was needed.
In retrospect I did feel that a couple of the controls on the housing estate, notably 7 & 30 could have been moved to be closer to the event HQ. The 60 minute competitors would have benefitted from this and maybe have saved time overall in preparing the course. A point to consider for the future.
Other reflections include seeing two herons and multiple ducks on the large pool that had appeared in the bottom of the car park the weekend before the event (after yet more heavy rain). I was assured that the field would drain (it did) and by the day of the event we were just down to one heron. Other areas of the farm have been set aside for environmental purposes and the lily pond by control 43 was a delight. There was also an Oystercatcher there too on one occasion. Not rare but certainly not common in these parts. When I confirmed to Andy that I was as content as I could be after the final pre-event checks I was as it was such a delightful setting. I also knew that all the arrangements that had been made were to ensure the safety of participants and give them a great Spunch experience.
Sadly this is likely to be our only visit to Oakhanger. Helen and Robert Aspden, who farm the land, retire at the end of the month and ownership of the farm and land reverts to the owner of the property, Cheshire East Council. We wish them well for a long and happy retirement.
Finally thanks to the support team without who such an event would prove difficult to deliver.
Pre Event Info
- 60, 90 & 120 minute score course options - choose on the day
- 20 points per control, 10 points penalty for minute or part minute late
- Registration from 5:30pm to 6:45pm
- "Rolling start" times from 6:15pm to 7pm
Venue: Butterton's Ice Cream Farm & Tea Room
Please pre-enter via SiEntries:
Nearest town: Alsager
- Grid Ref: SJ757548
- Postcode: CW1 5UT
- Latitude: 53.09038
- Longitude: -2.36333
- Google Map
- Streetmap (OS 50k)
- Bing Map (OS 50k)
Directions / Parking
Ample free parking on site at the Event Centre.
Butterton Lane, off B5077, west of Alsager.
Registration & Start Times
Registration 17:30 to 18:45. Rolling Start anytime from 18:00 to 19:00
Visit as many checkpoints as you can in the time available, S-punching using the MapRun app on your smartphone or Garmin.
Explanation of colour courses
- White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
- Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
- Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
- Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
- Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
- Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
- Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
- Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.
Seniors £5, Age 16-20/students £3. Under 16s go free but must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Online entry closing date: 08/08/2023
(£1 surcharge for late entries and EOD)
Refreshments available after your run.
Well behaved dogs welcome. Must be kept under control / on a lead at all times.
Contacts / Officials
Enquiries to: Andy Thornton
Safety and Risk
A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.
Privacy: when entering our events your name may appear in the results section of this website or in newspaper reports.