A Report on the 62nd Rodings Rally

Well that’s it! Our 62nd, and final, Rodings Rally has been completed. The results are available HERE as a downloadable document (.doc) form, the answers to the CLUES are HERE, and some competitors' comments are at the bottom of this page.

We have given many competitors over the past 62 years the frustration, dismay, and joy of having taken part in the Rodings Rally. Likewise with the many group members, who over the years have given their time organising and running this unique event.

It started at High Roding Youth Hostel, and when it closed we moved onto Ivinghoe YH, near Tring. This was not convenient, as we had to bicycle, or hitch hike to and from there. No cars in the group in those days. Then the small High Beach YH opened. We tried Hatfield Forest YH for a few years, and then went back to High Beach YH, and several years later the village hall because the hostel was too small when cooking for so many.

In the beginning the rally was only open to YHA (Youth Hostel Association) local groups, and when these groups started to close, the rally was opened up to all. In the early days the route map was the one-inch Ordnance Survey, so the courses were simple compared to the last three decades of having our own maps.

It has been fun organising the rally for so many years, but we are getting too long in the tooth to man the checkpoints, and others staying up all night without any rest, and because like so many other types of clubs no young people have joined us since the 90s.

So no more having to seek permission to run the rally in Epping Forest, and book the village hall at High Beach, before the group, as a whole, gets to know about the rally.

No more delightful walks in Epping Forest checkpoint plotting after the group had worked out the route one Thursday evening. Frustrating sometimes when the teams checkpoint plotting coming in from the three different directions do not meet up at the checkpoint grid reference, but happiness when we did get it right.

No more evenings thinking up the clues, or that rally meal before we went about our jobs.

No more having a night out at the start wondering what did I do to deserve this. Sitting in the cold some times with inadequate shelter, and light. Trying to sort out teams who have not done the RR before, or who turn up late, or not at all.

I’m sorry, guys and girls, that you will not have the joy of staying up most of the night, in a tent, possibly cold, waiting for a twig to break; is that someone? Or a flash of light coming through the trees that could be hunting for you, but is now going the wrong way.

The tea tent chills, no more. Standing or sitting around waiting around for ages wondering why nobody has turned up yet for a hot drink, then so busy you don’t know which way to turn, then dribs and drabs, no-one, then the next rush.

No more final checkpoint at the hall, or welcome breakfasts to cook. They did have a warm room, but that long wait for competitors to finish, with no chance of a kip until you got home, could wear you down.

So a really big "thank you" to all members, past and present, for making it a great event for 62 years.

What will we do now? Apart from going for walks, cycle rides, visits to other countries, theatres, visits to everywhere. What will we do now?

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Peter G.,  20th November 2018


Competitors' comments, via Facebook, following the Rally:

Ian Brazier: An amazing event... Very sad to see it go.. thanks for the memories.

Russell Stebbings: Very sad to see this truly great event depart. It was a highlight of our 'adventuring' calendar and gave us a great deal of pleasure. Thank you all so much for all of your many years of hard work and dedication. We miss you already. From the Carabids of Fire/Dragonfliers.

Bert Park: As always the best challenge event of the year, as always. Will be sadly missed, nothing else gets close to the combined challenges of clue solving, uncertainty, personal and group management, and of course night time navigation. I have done 19 of these, been fortunate enough to win it a few times, and humbled/ beaten/battered a few more times !!

Antony Goodall: As a competitor of the last three years, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone involved for putting the event on. What a wonderful experience you have enabled us to have - unlike anything else, and memories to treasure for many a year! Responding to "what did you get up to at the weekend?" has been met by both "that sounds mad", and "wow, that sounds amazing" - much more of the latter, actually. You've challenged us, frustrated us, delighted us and inspired us. Thank you.

Pam Linstead: Fond memories of manning a checkpoint in the 60s with Helga.

Yoginee Patel: Oh no. This is sooo sad. This is such a great night adventure. Glad I took the opportunity and did it when I did it. Thanks for organising. Still hoping it comes back.

Anne De Asha: Thank you for the memories. Frustrating and knackering at times but fun and we always came back for another year!!

Duncan Coneybeare: Thank you so much to everyone involved in organising such a brilliant event. I wish I had competed in more of them - I only managed 5 or 6 out of the 62 - and had a blast, something definitely out of my comfort zone!