HRCR Jogle 2021
Competitor Report - Lyn Gale
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Magazine - February/March 2022
I first came across table-top rallying at the start of the Covid lockdown in 2020 whilst doing an internet search for any virtual competition involving maps. As an avid fan of maps and, banned as was the world at large from going out and physically using them, I needed something to occupy myself. To start I was little daunted by the name - Table Top Rallying (TTR), having absolutely no experience of rallying, not even as a spectator, and certainly no familiarity with some of the navigational techniques that seem to be a quirk of these events. But, I thought, what do I have to lose? I've got plenty of time, it'll give my brain a stretch, and an excuse and purpose to study maps without being thought of as just a little odd!
The TTR website gives opportunity to practice all rally types, with a variety of route cards and navigational instructions for both plotting and real time rallies. They give a good insight of what’s involved and without which I would have been struggling to plot a route.
Fast forward to September 2021. I had already attempted other events: La Slog in 2020, CoRvid-19 at the end of 2020 and the Internet Table-Top Rally Championship at the beginning of 2021. I'm ready to face the 100-leg Jogle (John o'Groats to Land's End) Rally, sponsored by Historic Rally Car Register. Not only am I ready, I answer the call for volunteer route setters, to lessen the burden on the organiser "Crow", and join 9 others (like regulars Monica Dowson and Iain Tullie) to add to the route card variety that setters can give to each leg.
I found compiling the legs great fun, but as the day for their competitor release dawned, it was with trepidation that I watched my emails to see if errors had been found. Some comments were lovely, some not quite so good, but overall I think every competitor respects that someone has invested time and effort in putting together a leg for them to complete. However, I was glad I'd only done 5 of the legs and not the 58 that "Crow" had compiled.
The Jogle Rally attracted 59 entries and there were 52 finishers. Over 3,500 route answers were submitted, but since these were digitally recorded, marking was automatic.
My own experience of competing in the Jogle Rally was great. Each of the 100 route cards was different. Credit to the setters for coming up with so many novel ways to define a route on a map. Standard navigation techniques of spot heights, grid squares, tulips, references, herringbones and map features were frequently used but often they had subtle twists to make the plotting thought provoking rather than routine. Personally, I do like the card to be a little cryptic, it makes me take more notice of the map. Give me a simple route card and if I don't double check myself, the penalty points pop up with alarming regularity.
Most of the legs were on OS maps, with a few on Open Street maps in other countries. The leg in Queenstown, New Zealand being a particular favourite of mine. A handful used the map from the Rally Round board game. There was also a smattering of the real time rallies which I find very difficult and I'm sure my heart rate goes off the scale once there is a clock timing me - I doubt I would ever make a good rally navigator in the real world (though I'd love to try)!
Each route card was ranked with the favourites using coloured road junctions, map pieces at different scales, and grid line crossings. Least popular: a long stage rally with many hazards, and a plot & bash road rally with tricky passage controls to find. All legs, bar one, were cleaned by at least one competitor.
I also enjoyed seeing the different ways that competitors approached the event. There were those, like me, that tended to do the daily released route card each day. If I was late attempting the card, I would have a look to see how the other regular day plotters had done. However, I think I preferred to be one of the first to have a go so that I wasn't distracted by how well others had done and then had less hesitation at pressing the submit button. Others left the legs for a while and then did a group all together. Some, amazingly, at speed and error free!
In summary the event was a great experience and whilst some days I annoyed myself with stupid errors it was a lovely way to spend time. Thanks to everyone that compiled routes and those that had a go at my cards (I know that leg 60 – via telephones and churches - was not a favourite!!); and special thanks go to "Crow" as the organiser and HCRC as sponsor. As always, the entry fee for these events goes to good causes and over £2,500 was passed on to over 50 charities.
The top 10 and award winners were: 1. Phil Robbins, 2. Ian Oakey, 3. Monica Dowson, 4. Keith Cunningham, 5. Lyn Gale, 6. Andrew Green, 7. Rosemary Mead, 8. Robert Owen, 9. Phil King, 10. Glynn Hayward. Courtesy of the HRCR the winners received bespoke OS maps and/or 2022 calendars.