Harwich UrbanSun 21 May
National level event
Explanation of Event levels
Local events are usually low key and in the 'localised' area, ideal for newcomers to try the sport and Training events are non competitive and used for training and coaching, aimed at members of the club, but they can attract people from neighbouring clubs, and are often ideal for newcomers to try the sport. Regional events attract participants from around the local Region, National events are high quality competitions that will attract people from far away, Major events are Major Events such as a British Championships.
Terrain type: Urban
First of all apologies for the delay in publishing the results. This was due to the receipt on the day of a complaint in relation to the siting of Control 105 and the low levels of light in the tunnel. This was subsequently escalated to a protest and referred to the jury. The jury agreed with the decision that Sarah and I made that the results should stand while acknowledging that there was a degree of unfairness for some competitors with control 105. The full report can be viewed here.
I would like to apologise to all the competitors affected by the issue. The problem arose in the Beacon Hill Fort area with the 1:2500 section of map. This was much more complex than the rest of the map and as the jury said it enhanced the event. The comments that I received from finishers was that they had very much enjoyed the area and the complainant stressed that the event overall had been enjoyable. While the planner and controller believed there was sufficient daylight to view the control adequately, it became apparent that different people adjust differently to changes in light level and so struggled to see the control. If the club uses the Fort in the future, we will bear this in mind when placing controls.
Apart from this the event ran very smoothly thanks to my fantastic band of helpers. Even the weather cooperated. Sarah and Kevin were great to work with. Using the school as a base made much of the organisation easier so my sincere thanks to the headteacher and governors for giving us permission. Thanks are also due to Tending District Council Mayflower 400 and Active Essex for financial support to produce the map and to Barry and the volunteers at Beacon Fort for making us so welcome.
And finally, thank you all for coming.
It was wonderful to welcome you all to what has become my second home for the last year. I have certainly come to really enjoy my visits to Harwich and Dovercourt. The narrow streets of the old town of Harwich combined with some of the newer developments, make for an interesting environment for course planning. I hope I managed to present some interesting legs through the old town and port area. It was a great privilege to be allowed to use the Beacon Hill Fort (a big thank you to Barry and his team of volunteers for their welcome), which presented its own challenges, namely that the detail required meant a larger scale for those legs and also planning safe routes, not tempting runners too much to go where they were not meant to. It was decided that we could use some of the tunnels, but we were concerned, mainly for safety reasons, that the controls should be located where there was sufficient natural light to see. What we may have overlooked was that not all eyes are equal, and that some runners are in more of a hurry than their eyes would permit (and rightly so, as this is a competition). So, apologies to those that went into the tunnel at 105 and came out believing that they were in the wrong place because they couldn't see! Thank you to the jury who oversaw the protest and for the constructive way that they have ruled on this. Lessons to be learned for next time!
Harwich being quite a narrow strip of land, necessitated the extension into Dovercourt to accommodate courses 1 & 2. This presented the chance to have some longer legs and provide some route choice as well as some climb (Harwich being flat!) particularly beside the coast. Hopefully everyone felt suitably challenged and judging from the kind comments that I received at the end, that appeared to be the case. If you enjoyed your run in Harwich, please get the word around for the next time we have an event here!
A special thank you to Sarah for overseeing my planning and for her constructive help with some of the courses, and also for her enthusiastic approach. Also to Lyn and her fantastic team of helpers ensuring that all went well in the run up to the event and on the day itself.
Controlling urban events is fun, I get a chance to explore housing estates and their interconnecting paths without having to run! Harwich was made even more interesting as Colin, Lyn and Kevin had got access to use Beacon Hill fort. This was a fascinating place to explore and really made this a unique event. Having controls in the tunnels added to the experience and I think most participants enjoyed their courses. Following the complaint and the protest have certainly given me something to think about next time I control an event.
I enjoyed working with Kevin, who put a lot of thought and effort into planning the courses and getting the map right. There was no way that people would be able to see the detail in Beacon Hill Fort without using a bigger map scale so Kevin went away and worked out how to put the inset on the map.
Sorting out the start layout was also complicated as everyone would be going into the fort and coming back out again and we wanted to avoid conflict there. I think it all worked out okay on the day.
Lyn and her team of helpers did a great job on the day, and were helped by good weather. It seemed like a great event.
Two urban events on the Essex - Suffolk border.
Saturday 20th May - Sudbury - details on SUFFOC website here
Sunday 21st May - Harwich
Part of the UK orienteering league (UKOL), UK Urban League (UKUL), the Southern England Orienteering Urban League (SEOUL) and the East Anglian Urban League (EAUL).
Near: Harwich Lat,Lng: 51.93924,1.28793 Postcode: CO12 3NP What3Words: ///moguls.ruffling.wasp
Directions / Parking
There is no parking at the event centre. Nearest car parks are Milton Road, CO12 3LA and Wellington Road, CO12 3DL both 10 minutes walk from event centre. £3 for 4 hours. Pay by MiPermit. There is on street parking on the roads around the event centre - Barrack Lane and Harbour Crescent and on Marine Parade.
Lower Marine Parade car park is £1 all day. 30 minute walk from event centre.
Dovercourt and Harwich Town stations are both on Mayflower Line with an hourly service from Manningtree with connections to London Liverpool Street to Norwich main line.
Map / Terrain
Mapping was carried out by Kevin Machin in 2023 funded by a grant from Tendring District Council's Mayflower 400 Fund. The map consists of 3 areas. Harwich is an ancient port with many narrow streets and alleyways, Dovercourt has more modern housing estates and the complex area of Beacon Hill Fort.
Beacon Hill Fort
We are very grateful to have been given access to Beacon Hill Fort for our event, by the volunteers who manage the fort.
All the courses enter the fort immediately after the start. On courses 1 to 6 there is an inset on the map printed at a scale of 1:2500 (Course 7 is printed at 1:3000 for its entirety). The fort is a relatively small area that has a number of old buildings and battlements in place as well as some tunnels. Some are in a poor state, but have either been made safe or declared safe.
At the entrance to the Fort, there will be two lanes. Use the left hand lane for unimpeded access. On leaving the fort, use the same lane (right hand side on exit).
Some controls have been placed in tunnels, but have only been placed at points where they can be seen using natural light. The area should be crossed SOLELY USING THE PATHS, STEPS AND GRASSED AREAS. No-one is permitted to scale or jump down any walls or cross any ropes or barrier netting. Also, it is not permitted to stand on any rooves (these have signs on top asking you to keep off). If everyone sticks to these guidelines everyone should remain safe and we may be given access another time. Enjoy.
After leaving the fort, courses 1 to 6 head North. The track leading to the start is OUT OF BOUNDS.
All courses use pre-printed waterproof maps A3 scale 1:4000 with exception of Course 7 which is A4 scale 1:3000
Courses 1 & 2 have a double-sided map. Some legs are on both sides. There is no map ‘exchange’ scenario.
Course 1 – Side 1 permits you to navigate control 1 to 13 and 24 to 30. Side 2 has the navigation for controls 13 to 26.
Course 2 – Side 1 permits you to navigate control 1 to 14 and 23 to 29. Side 2 has the navigation for controls 13 to 29.
Tunnel Mapping, out of bounds and non standard symbols
In the competition area and particularly in Beacon Hill Fort, there are tunnels. Please read the description of the mapping of these here
Please do not enter OOB areas, or cross walls or fences marked with the thick black line.
Paths that are coloured pink (as illustrated here) are either private or blocked or closed (OOB), so please do not use.
|Length (km)||Climb (m)|
|Course 1: Open (MO)||30||8.4||115|
|Course 2: Women's Open (WO) Veteran Men 40+ (MV||29||7.2||85|
|Course 3: Veteran Women 40+ (WV), Supervet Men 55+ (MSV)||26||6.1||65|
|Course 4: Supervet Women 55+ (WSV), Ultravet Men 65+ (MUV)||24||4.3||30|
|Course 5: Ultravet Women 65+ (WUV), Hypervet Men 75+ (MHV), Hypervet Women 75+ (WHV)||18||3.6||20|
|Course 6: Junior Men 16 (MJ), Junior Women 16 (WJ )||23||4.0||25|
|Course 7: Young Junior Men 12- (MYJ), Young Junior Women 12- (WYJ)||20||2.0||15|
Courses subject to final controlling
Juniors aged under 16 on the day may only enter Course 6 or 7
Entry via Racesignup
Standard Entry fees for each event (until May 8th)
Senior member: £10.00
Senior non-member: £12.00
If you are entering both events there will be a £2 saving for each adult entry and a £1 saving per junior entry.
Late Entry fees for one event (after 8th May) Entries close at 23:59 on Friday May 19th.
Senior member: £12.00
Senior non-member: £14.00
Entry on the day subject to map availability. As at 18:00 on Saturday May 20th, the following maps are available:
Course 1: 4
Course 2: 5
Course 3: 5
Course 4: 5
Course 5: 8
Course 6: 2
Course 7: 4
To reserve a map, email the organiser Lyn West
Chip hire: £1.00 (replacement cost of £35 if not returned)
Registration and Start times
Enquiries open from 10:00am
Starts from 10:30-12:30
Courses close 14:30
Event centre at Harwich Community Primary School, Barrack Lane, Harwich
Enquiries, registration, clothing dump, download, first aid, toilets.
There is a cafe in Cliff Park serving drinks, sandwiches, bacon rolls and cakes
No dogs allowed on school premises
Contacts / Officials
Organiser: Lyn West
Planner: Kevin Machin
Controller: Sarah Mansel (SUFFOC)
Nearest A&E Hospital
Colchester General Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JL
NHS Urgent care search
As with all urban events, road crossings will be necessary. Please take care. High visibility clothing is recommended.
Course 6 will use only quiet residential roads
Course 7 will not involve road crossings
Courses 1, 2, 3 & 5 all cross the railway. There is a foot crossing and a bridge and you are advised to use these for minimum or no delay. Twice an hour a train may pass through, so please be vigilant, and wait for the train to pass. The road crossing with a barrier is not out of bounds, but it is not on the ideal route and you may experience a prolonged delay if the barriers are down.
All courses will enter Beacon Hill Fort. There are steep drops, deep holes, unsafe roofs and tunnels with uneven surfaces. You must stay on permitted paths and grassed areas in the Fort. Do not cross any ropes/barriers saying "Keep off'. Do not attempt to climb on any walls. These may be unstable.
Essex Stragglers are grateful for the generous support of Tendring District Council through Mayflower 400 Fund. The event was originally planned for 2020 as part of Mayflower 400 celebrations.
The support of Ian Boulton and Harwich Community Primary School in providing the event centre is much appreciated.
Thank you to Barry and all the volunteers at Beacon Hill Fort for allowing access for the event