Hovingham Treasure Hunt – Planners comments

Results and Steve’s comments to follow soon.

My challenge for this treasure hunt was to reduce the size of the area, find some interesting questions beyond the standard “number on pole” and make it an enjoyable point scoring ride for everyone who came along.

I was a little anxious that the torrential rain on Friday would make it more challenging for riders than I’d hoped. But despite everyone returning in a wet and muddy condition everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Despite attempts to make it straightforward, and remove a couple of the questions that had previously been a problem, there were still a couple of things that could have been better, sorry if they caused you an issue.

#2 – the name of the pump maker at Scackleton caused a few people a problem, although others found it correctly. The description could have been better.

#16 – I incorrectly labelled the question – east of gate, south of forest – although the control marking was in the right place. It should have been north of forest.

#23 – most found this, but adding next to bench could have helped!

#28 – should have said “markers on gate post” rather than “markers on gate”

#29 – this was a red tag on a tree in Thurtle wood – this was reported as missing by early riders, found on the ground by another rider and put back on the tree! (sorry don’t recall who it was but thanks). So others then found ok.

I tried to mark the soft ground on the map and tell people about the worst bits at the start. Today was always going to be soft going but hopefully there were enough decent bits to make up for that. The worst bit was along Slingsby Bank – especially the bit from #19 going east to the road or south. Unfortunately, quite a few riders got lost by going into Wath Wood (the bit marked out of bounds) rather than following the track along the edge of the wood. Going into Wath Wood quickly becomes a dead end – but given the number of people who did it, probably easier than I thought and one to have pointed out at the start. Hopefully my strategy of making the 30 pointers the properly off-road ones, but the 25 pointers all accessible from lanes was considered reasonable.

It’s a different experience planning a treasure hunt as the spread of controls relies on there being a suitable question, and it can be tough to make them a bit different. Anyone wondering why I relied on the “colour of tape” for #13 will be interested to know that I put that tape the about two and half years ago when planning the Terrington MBO (and we never used that location so it’s never been removed!). So I figured it would be low risk for it to disappear in the last two weeks.

I was really pleased that people seemed to enjoy their ride. I dropped a couple of locations that I felt were just making the course difficult for the sake of it, but tried to provide a good mix of conditions. Nevertheless, I think I expected higher scores, but I think the mud put paid to that.

As a little incentive for those of us never destined to win (like me), I conceived the idea of the “where’s my bike” photo spot prize. Like guessing the number of sweets in a jar, I wanted it to be hard enough not to be obvious but still guessable. I think I may have made it slightly too hard. Comments afterwards suggested it was a good idea and maybe we can do it again for other treasure hunts. Other ideas welcome.

Hope you enjoyed your ride wherever you went!

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