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Discussion Forum - Events - Northumberland 100


Author: Norman C Corrin
Posted: Mon 12th Jun 2006, 9:48
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Beds, Bucks and Northants
Tony I agree with your last comments entirely. This is a hobby and we do strive to do the job as well as we can. Over robust criticism along with nowadays over regulation can put people off.
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Sat 10th Jun 2006, 23:09
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
Author: David Findel-Hawkins
Posted: Sat 10th Jun 2006, 16:52
Joined: 1980
Local Group: Beds, Bucks and Northants
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Sat 10th Jun 2006, 8:48
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
Hi. I agree that if the LDWA is set to continue to grow and evolve then we need to get out of the 'you should be grateful there is a walk in the first place' sentiment. I made a comment on the forum about a checkpoint on a previous walk - the fact that they were cooking the grub to order instead of having a pot of something on the go they could dish up quickly. The reply I got implied that if I had never run a checkpoint, then I am in no real position to comment (in so many words). I agree that we can't let the fact that the LDWA replies on volunteers, work as an excuse for poor management of a situation. 'You should be grateful' should be replaced with 'how can we improve things so the LDWA goes from strength to strength with the reputation as a professional organisation.
Author: David Green
Posted: Fri 9th Jun 2006, 19:02
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
Firstly let me say that I agree with 90% of what everybody else is saying. It was a great event, great scenery, great support from the volunteers and I too was touched by the spontaneous clapping at the finish but I cannot extrapolate this to agree that the organisation and management were also great. I found a number of shortcomings which hopefully will be addressed by future organisers.

Secondly, let me exclude from my comments all those management areas such as comms, safety back-up, transport etc. of which I did not have direct experience. I write only about what I saw and experienced myself.Also I have nothing but praise for the organisation and facilities at the Bolton Checkpoint which were only just topped by the Cornwall and Devons a few checkpoints later!

Ok, so lets be specific about those areas where I felt there was room for improvement. Not in order of importance, they are:

Volunteer Job Allocation

Food

Maintenance of Facilities

Night Checkpoints (Routing)

Instructions

So here we go - censor permitting!

Volunteer Job Allocation

I'll deal with this first because it affects the other issues. The fact that Peter felt it necessary to capitalise the word implied to me that he felt it had relevance to any criticism I might make of the event organisation. As a walker who marshalls at least three challenges a year, I feel that my own credentials are established. I would not look for any excuse for my own omissions or failures on the grounds that I was a volunteer because at the end of the day, what we are trying to do is make the events better, the fact that we are all volunteers is irrelevant. Nor do I disparage the efforts of the volunteers, quite the contrary, but on several occasions I witnessed volunteers attempting to carry out tasks for which they were not well-equipped. For example, there was the soul attempting to fill water bottles with a 2 litre jug that he could barely lift. My colleague got most of it in her erstwhile dry clothes in her day-bag. Similarly, if somebody does not perform too well under pressure, they shouldn't be given the job of recording numbers at the first couple of checkpoints.
These examples and the situation at Rotherbury which I will deal with later are not down to the front liners themselves, I am sure they did their best, it's the on site management which was lacking.


Food

Now, of course, you can't please everybody, a fact just illustrated by Garfield who thought the food was 'great' but there is a sizeable minority of vegetarians who were very poorly served on the first day. My colleague ate almost nothing the first day and I survived on chocolate and cake, most of the latter being provided by the volunteers themselves, I believe.

Please,please don't mention the cheesey pasties as the vegetarian alternative. Admittedly I did manage one but that was far and away my most challenging moment of the walk.Judging by the frequency with which they turned up at almost all subsequent checkpoints, I suspect my opinion was shared by most.

At Rothbury, we were told that the vegetarian alternative to the 'Full English' was 'an apple or a banana' - don't you just love that dry Northern humour when you've done 50+ miles on an empty tank! With cans of beans available from Tesco's at 9p a time, there really is no excuse.

In fairness, some of the latter CP's (notably the Cornwall and Devons) made a better fist of catering for we 'veggies' and the hot vegetables served at the finish were most welcome - pity though, that they hadn't been available elsewhere.

Maintenance of Facilities.

What was overlooked at Rothbury, was the fact that facilities deteriorate with use. When I arrived, the place looked as though it had just been hit by 200-300 walkers! Well it had of course, but little or no effort had been put into making them fit again for other walkers. Having sent my breakfast bag ahead, I expected to be able to change clothes and wash myself in reasonable conditions. The changing room was awash with water, mud, sticking plasters and tissues and some other objects I didn't care to investigate. For me and others it was unusable, and I changed outside ( my apologies to anybody I mooned! ). Similarly, the benches for feet washing were inadequate. I sat on the kitchen step, to the inconvenience of the over-stretched lady gallantly struggling in and out with bowls of water. Is there a better way? Of course there is.

It was the same story in the hall. The tables had been used and left. No clearing up and difficult to find a place setting. Plenty of jam though - pity about the scarcity of toast.

How others failed to observe this is beyond me, maybe it is just a question of individual standards.I guess that for the 'clip and go' community, the quality of checkpoint facilities is irrelevant but for more leisurely walkers it is an important part of the whole event.

Night Checkpoints ( Routing)

I have to question the wisdom of arranging a walk where the most dangerous and exacting terrain is covered at night. The consequences for safety coverage, the adequacy of night time checkpoints and the likelihood of walkers simply getting lost must have been obvious to all concerned. With around 4500 metres of ascent, the hundred miles would still have been a challenge if we had done Windy Gyle to Alwinton in daylight. ( I suppose some heroes did! ). One consequence of this is that at a time when decent facilities and hot drinks would have been most welcome, all we had available was the back of a vehicle and squash.

Instructions.

By and large the instructions were good enough to have done the walk without a map even. Congratulations. However, they were consistently sloppy in distances, something which should have been picked up on the Marshalls' Walk. At 8.1 for example, 350 yds should have been no more than 250 yds; not so important in daylight perhaps but a different matter at night. Having recce'd this part of the course, I was able to call back a trio of walkers who were presumably busy counting their steps whilst searching for a path they had long since passed. There were also a number of others which even just by looking at the OS were obviously very 'approximate'.

Over-complication at 15.6 sent me astray with a reference to a WM PB and bearing when a simple 'SLOT' or 'continue along path' would have done fine. Nit picking? Well - ok, but it cost me 30 minutes stumbling around in heather looking for a 'brow of a hill' which just didn't exist; before being rescued by a local entrant who strode past the WM PB without (as they say on 'Just a Minute') hesitation or deviation.

For the future, I suggest that more attention is given to:

Catering for vegetarians

Routing in a way that provides for better checkpoints at night

Maintaining the facilities at main-stop checkpoints

Checking route descriptions not just for instructions, bearings etc which I am sure was done but specifically for distance information.

The on-site management of volunteers.
Author: Anne Wade
Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2006, 21:33
Joined: 1994
Local Group: Heart of England
This week I am invigilating exams, marking exams and writing reports. To console myself I keep thinking back to last week - one of the best ever in England's secret kingdom (the beer of the same name was jolly tasty too!). As is usual we hired a cottage for the whole week of the 100 (which is why it's brilliant, because we get to know a different location every year). So, for us the 100 is not just an event, it's a whole experience. Northumberland is amazing. I remember the event itself for the vicious wind, especially on WideOpen Hill where I could hardly stand up; the immense scenery and stunning views; fantastic support and camaraderie at the checkpoints and en route; carrot sticks at Chatton; and the satisfaction of completing an awe-inspiring challenge. Thank you so much to the Northumbria group for organising such a special event and thank you also to the other groups who looked after all the checkpoints so marvellously. We spent the rest of the week visiting castles, hillforts, priories and seabirds. And we even managed an 18 mile jaunt to the top of The Cheviot from the door of the cottage! This was on the first non-windy day and we came across only 4 other people all day. We will definitely be returning to The Cheviot Hills, probably with a Gold D of E group. Thank you again for introducing us to this spectacular area.
Author: Philip Powell
Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2006, 14:14
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Northumbria
All the best countryside is this side of Sheffield!
Author: Ian Koszalinski
Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2006, 11:20
Joined: 2004
Local Group: High Peak
well i'm chuffed, so chuffed i ran down the hill into Wooler, the reception at the end was great, the sausages at breakfast were great, no real problems with the route except the da-ja-vu coming out of chatton all the way to the junction, although it was my first visit, even the sting in the tail at the end seemed to flatten out. A well organised event considering the logistics, my only quibles were the lack of sugar for my tea at a couple of consecutive checkpoints and unfortunately pastry gives me heartburn so a more variable food supply would have been appreciated. May i thank they lady at Alwinton, who fetched some bread from her car to make me a ham sandwich when the ham arrived, and thanks to the organisers who sent us through some of the best countryside this of Sheffield.
Author: Anthony Hammond
Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2006, 10:04
Joined: 2005
Local Group: Marches
apart from like Rebecca said, a lack of chairs, and overcrowding at some of the checkpoints, and also enough cow pie to keep desperate Dan happy for 6 months, it was very enjoyable event. Roll on next one!
Author: Avril E Stapleton
Posted: Tue 6th Jun 2006, 7:32
Joined: 1992
Local Group: Surrey
I can only praise East Lancs for the Rothnury CP. I was served a superb breakfast and beautifully cooked. It was probably one of the best breakfast CPs I can remember on a hundred! Thank you all.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Mon 5th Jun 2006, 11:24
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
So, a week has passed since I hobbled into Wooler. The blisters have all but gone but the memories are still vivid. I think some praise should be given to the photographers whose work can be accessed from the news items on the home page - such painstaking work. I've been running slideshows on my desktop this morning - wonderful memories. Roll on the Four Towers this weekend - gonna be a hot one ! - Garfield
Author: David Green
Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2006, 19:52
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
Having been urged by both Peter and Tony to get on with posting my comments on this forum, I got up early this morning, ordered my thoughts and posted them. I was somewhat surpised to then find that they had been removed without explanation by the Moderator. Fair enough - internet fora need Moderators whose word is final but nevertheless a shame because amongst my comments were some words of praise which I really wanted to air.................................
So I have snipped some of them from my original text and reproduce them here. I sincerely hope that this time they will escape the censor's attention - but we'll see.**********************************************************

It was a great event, great scenery, great support from the volunteers and I too was touched by the spontaneous clapping at the finish *************************************************

Also I have nothing but praise for the organisation and facilities at the Bolton Checkpoint which were only just topped by the Cornwall and Devons a few checkpoints later!*****************************************************

In fairness, some of the latter CP's (notably the Cornwall and Devons) made a better fist of catering for we 'veggies' and the hot vegetables served at the finish were most welcome ***********************************************************

By and large the instructions were good enough to have done the walk without a map even. Congratulations.***********************************************


For the future, I suggest that more attention is given to:
**************************************

Catering for vegetarians***********************
Routing in a way that provides for better checkpoints at night****************************
Maintaining the facilities at main-stop checkpoints************************
Checking route descriptions not just for instructions, bearings etc which I
am sure was done but specifically for distance information.**************************
The on-site management of volunteers.************************************


Finally, does this amount to damning criticism? No, of course not.**********************************
Did it ruin my enjoyment of the event? No, of course not.***************************************
Was the event organisation 'great'? Er ...no, of course not.***********************************


Sorry about the stars - just trying to introduce some formatting to this software.****************
Dave Green
Author: Norman C Corrin
Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2006, 17:26
Joined: 1981
Local Group: Beds, Bucks and Northants
Bill thanks for that. That explains why it seemed to take me so long to get there!
Author: Bill Lancashire
Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2006, 17:22
Joined: 2003
Local Group: South Wales
Sorry, I made a mistake in my last posting: of course, Windy Gyle also counts in the list of English 2,000 Footers.
Author: Bill Lancashire
Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2006, 16:39
Joined: 2003
Local Group: South Wales
Like others above noted, I too found Shillhope Law particularly challenging in the dark. I found myself in darkness, strong winds and alone at the trig point. I was very thankful of the useful and accurate compass bearing that was provided in the route.

For those interested in 'peak bagging', Shillhope Law is the only hill climbed in this years '100' that falls into one of the recognised tables. It is a 'Marilyn'. Bill Lancashire.
Author: David Green
Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2006, 8:31
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
How extraordinary that the Moderator has agreed to suppress any comment on the organisation in this forum. If it is to protect me from personal attack, let me assure him that it is not necessary. Perhaps he could say why he does not wish to have my views appear here. Dave
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 23:44
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
As moderator of this forum I am now closing the thread/discussion regarding the organisation of the event. I ask Dave Green to make his comments - once formulated - directly to Peter Morrill at the address given earlier in this thread. Thanks - Garfield
Author: David Green
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 22:27
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
Rebecca - I'm just going to bed and I really will try to lay this thing tomorrow. But just a significant correction to your last post - the argument as it started was not about whether the organisation was 'good or not' but whether it was 'great'. To me 'great' implies 'difficult to improve upon' and I just can't accept that ... more later. Dave
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 17:36
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
Read the forum's acceptable use policy and I'm sure from memory it says something about personal arguments and attacks? It is a real shame. I have asked the moderator to take a look.......I suggest everyone agrees to disagree on whether the organisation was good or not. I for one stand by what I say - apart from lack of chairs, well done Northumberland group and their helpers.
Author: David Green
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 17:10
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
you are going to have to "put up or shut up." All you are succeeding in doing at the moment is upsetting the people who have put the last 3 years of their lives into organising the event, and puzzling the rest of us, who have no idea what you are talking about.....

My God, Tony - why so touchy? Because I had the timerity to suggest that the King's new clothes may not be all they've been cracked up to be? All I have posted so far is a contradiction that the organisation was 'great' and implied that in my view that the organisation/management at Rothbury was lacking in some respects. I stand by both of these assertions and will post my reasons for this. However, I am a busy person and right now other stuff has priority. As I said before, I'll get back to you - that's a promise! Dave
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 16:09
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
David, Let me assure you that every effort is made to learn lessons from each Hundred and pass them on to future organisers. First of all there is a 12 page "Hints for Hundred organisers", which is itself a supplement to the "Guidelines for events" publication. Both publications are updated from time to time to recognise changing circumstances. Organisers are also asked to produce a warts and all "lessons to be learned" report to the Hundreds sub-committee, which is passed on to future organisers with similar reports from earlier events. Constructive comments are of course also taken on board. But with the best pre-planning in the world, unforeseen problems will arise on an event as complex as this - Northumberland was no exception, but the problems were overcome, and the atmosphere at the finish was an eloquent tribute to the success of the event. So far as your specific comment is concerned, you are going to have to "put up or shut up." All you are succeeding in doing at the moment is upsetting the people who have put the last 3 years of their lives into organising the event, and puzzling the rest of us, who have no idea what you are talking about.
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 9:56
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
I agree - well done. It must be hell to organise something like this. One person's rose is another one's thorn, I had no problems at all at Rothbury - got there about 9.15am sunday morning. Just had probs at outdoor centre - couldn't get in there for people, so gave my ravioli a miss. critisism is useful, but only if its given constructively. There are things I have mentioned which could have been improved upon, but on the face of things, its easy to be wise in hindsight. It is such a fabulous event and was a privilage to be part of it.
Author: Steven Gayler
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 9:08
Joined: 1998
Local Group: Dorset
Thank you Northumbria Group. I have only praise for the amount of time and effort that was put into organising the event. Thank you to all the people who manned the checkpoints and those who worked behind the scenes. I only fell over once. My feet ache, my legs ache, my hips ache and my shoulders ache, but I feel great.
Author: Tony Deall
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 9:02
Joined: 1985
Local Group: Cumbria
All else pales into insignificance after the event on Saturday night. This was brought home very forcefully to me as we passed the sad scene. I would like to add our Group's condolences to David's family and friends.
As Eva says it was sometimes difficult to get a good sit down due to numbers of walkers so when my low point came at Trewhitt the bliss of lying in the hay for 20 minutes was indescribable.It even transcended the glorious gloopy hell of traversing Shillhope Law in the dark! Maudlin tiredness almost made me weep in response to the ministering and attentive angel I met at Bolton.
I have only recently been involved in Event organisation after many years on the other side. It is staggering how much work is involved - and then people raise the bar again and organise 100's. Hats off to Peter and his team. Of course any problems have to be aired, though I saw none at Rothbury, and it would be courteous to the organisers if this was done in a prompt and constructive manner.
Author: Rebecca Lawrence
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 8:41
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Marches
Firstly condolences to David Mitchell's family, it was a terrible tragedy. I have now completed 3 hundreds, and found this by far the most challenging, and went through a second night, and yes, I did find the section across the moor after passing the 2nd radio mast very difficult. Generally I thought the organisation was really good, so well done Northumberland group and their helpers. The specific problems for me were over-crowding at initial checkpoints - perhaps a staggered start could have prevented this?, lack of variety of food (pies), again at the initial checkpoints, the latter ones were fine, and the lack of somewhere to sit at Hope Farm (68m).I think a few chairs or even bales of hay to sit on could have been provided. Other than this, for me and my partner it was a great event.
Author: Peter Haslam
Posted: Thu 1st Jun 2006, 8:27
Joined: 1992
Local Group: East Lancashire
I too would like to hear of any problems at Rothbury. East Lancashire were on duty from 14.00 Saturday until stood down at 18.30 Sunday some 28.5 hours. If there was a problem I was not aware of it at the time. East Lancs have a meeting next Tuesday June 6. Any comments on the running of CP 10 will be taken on board for next time.
Author: David Green
Posted: Wed 31st May 2006, 21:21
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
I am sorry Peter, what makes you think that I am unwilling to air my views on this forum? It could just be that I have other things to do at the moment. No need for the agression - I'll catch you later. Dave Green
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Wed 31st May 2006, 21:07
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
The walker who lost his life on the Northumberland Hundred was David Mitchell, the Secretary of Wessex group. As LDWA chairman I am sure that I am speaking for all members in sending my condolences to David's wife, family and friends.
Tony Willey
Posted: Wed 31st May 2006, 21:06
Joined: 1994
If Dave Green is unwilling to tell us in this forum what the problem was at Rothbury, maybe he would like to email me personally at senefelder@btopenworld.com so I can investigate.
I am, at this stage, unaware of any catastrophic problem at that checkpoint other than it having very busy periods that stretched the resources of the VOLUNTEERS running it.

Peter Morrill Chairman, Northumberland 100
Author: Albert Bowes
Posted: Wed 31st May 2006, 17:23
Joined: 1990
Local Group: Cleveland
Brillant event, Eva's first hundred, Alberts twelfth. Without doubt the best reception at the finish that Alberts encountered. Most of the helpers at the hall had been on the go as long as we had and they still took the time to cheer every single finisher. Well done Northumbria Group, and every other group who helped and supported us. What wonderful scenery.
Racked our brains but can't remember anything untoward at Rothbury or anywhere else, however a few more chairs in the remote checkpoints would have been helpful. Our condolences on the unfortunate loss of a fellow walker
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 16:30
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
My overall feeling for the event was that it was a great success and a celebration of all the LDWA stands for. The organisation seemed fine to me - I dare say there were individual moments where things went astray, but I witnessed none. What I did encounter was a joyous smile and welcome at each checkpoint; great food and plenty of it. Each local group put their individual stamp on their location which made arriving at each checkpoint a pleasure. When I arrived at the finish, after 39 hours of walking, the attendant staff and walkers broke out into applause which brought a tear to my eye. I too spent a large part walking alone - but I prefer this. I did find the route very challenging and I wondered how people spending a second night out would have coped on the two big moorland crossings before the end. The low point for me was Shillhope Law; I hope the route designer had no option but to choose this route. I have heard nothing further about the tragedy on Windy Gyle but I, too, express my condolences to family, friends and relatives. Otherwise, a million 'Thank You's to the organisers and checkpointers - volunteers every one. A brilliant achievment - Garfield
Author: Bill Lancashire
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 15:53
Joined: 2003
Local Group: South Wales
I was not aware of the fellow walkers misfortune until it was just mentioned in this thread. I would like to add my condolences to the family.

Bill Lancashire.
Author: David Green
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 14:29
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
Yes, I will post the draft of my letter to Strider but not just now.

In the absence of any official book of condolence, I would like to express my sympathy to the family and friends of the unfortunate fellow walker, we lost up on the moor. I don't know his name. Perhaps others would like to join me in this. Dave Green
Author: Bill Lancashire
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 14:16
Joined: 2003
Local Group: South Wales
David, I did not "just get carried away" when I wrote my original posting. I reflected on the Rothbury area and did not recall anything which to me raised any point of concern regarding organisation. Perhaps you could be specify what you mean when you make such remarks as Strider issue is a long time to wait to find out.
Author: David Green
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 12:47
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Dorset
'The whole event organisation was excellent'

What? Sorry - was I on the same event as you?
Did you go through Rothbury????

If we all just get carried away because we have completed a hundred and overlook or ignore the shortcomings of the organisation then nothing will be learnt for next time. Letter to Strider to follow.
Author: Bill Lancashire
Posted: Tue 30th May 2006, 11:51
Joined: 2003
Local Group: South Wales
What a great event. This was only my 3rd '100' event, but it was probably the toughest for me.

The scenary throughout was fabulous. The strong wind made it a bit more challenging and approaching the Refuge Hut checkpoint I was getting a little apprehensive with nightfall approaching. However darkness came and went and I found myself at the breakfast stop in good daylight. I was walking alone for most of the time, but did appreciate the company of variuos people on occasions throughout the event.

The most difficult section for me was the penultimate section that had about 3 miles of road walking. I found this hard on tired feet. The final stage was a super challenging climax.

Facilties at the school were great.

The people helping st the checkpoints were fastastic and very suportive.

The whole event organisation was excellent.

Congratualtions to all the organisers of this year's event.

When does that application form for next year's '100' in Radnorshie come out .........?.

Bill.

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