Archive for December, 2015

The locations for my ready-made cards (£2 each, plus £1 if postage is needed) are shown on the map. But – from Oban down to Bude – I’m always adding new places as I make more cards!


Please click Order Form if you would like to order a customised card, based on a specific UK location (these are £5, but extra cards the same are £2 each – the main work is capturing the images of the old maps). Or, if you prefer, you can leave the typography and colour scheme to me and just email the post code or street address.

Just a quick preview of some of the reservoir cards. Others in this series are Rudyard Water, Kinder Reservoir (1899) and Fernilee Reservoir in the Goyt Valley (1938). Finished in 1798, Rudyard Water is one of the oldest reservoirs in the country. It was constructed to feed the Caldon Canal, which is a Staffordshire branch of the Trent-Mersey Canal. I couldn’t find any maps from before the reservoir, but it made a nice card anyway as the 1950s map has the working railway, which is now a footpath.

reservoir Carsington

Carsington (constructed 1980s) is our local reservoir and a favourite place to walk, run or cycle.

reservoir Ladybower.png

What a lot of us think of as Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District is in fact three reservoirs: Howden (1901-12), Derwent (1902-14) and Ladybower (1935-43).

reservoir Haweswater.png

One problem with using my usual GrazeBox mounts for the reservoir maps is that they aren’t quite big enough to explore properly all the now-submerged hamlets on the 1890s maps, so I’ve upscaled on this card I made of Haweswater for my father who lives in the Lake District!

Dam construction began in 1929 and farms and houses were demolished. Bodies in the churchyard had to be exhumed and moved to Shap. The church was dismantled and the stone was used in the dam. There must be so many stories to tell with these reservoirs …

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I’ve been saving the boxes from my Graze snacks for 4 years now, thinking of giving them to the local Scouts or Guides for crafts. But in August 2014, I had a eureka moment, when thinking what birthday card to make for my father-in-law, a retired Geography teacher and author!

I knew of the National Library of Scotland website as a source of old maps as I’d been researching my family tree and trying to locate addresses from nineteenth century census records. So I thought, four maps of the village of Corfe Castle, where my father-in-law now lives, and this was my first card.


Each card takes about an hour to make and shows a 2km2 area of map across about 120 years. It’s often fascinating to watch farmland change into suburbs, as happened in this card, made for a friend who grew up in Sheffield!


This card of Dawlish, in Devon, is the first one I’ve done of a coastal town…


Others in the coastal series are Blackpool, Lytham, Fleetwood, Southport and Formby (west coast), as well as Skegness, Whitby, Scarborough, Bridlington and Robin Hood’s Bay (east coast).

…and I’ve made lots centred on parts of Belper that are going to be stocked in the Belper North Mill Museum gift shop, selling at £2.

snowy belper

The cards will be plain, but there’s a small ‘Mappy Birthday!’ and ‘Mappy Christmas!’ tag included in the packaging so you can use them for either occasion!

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A successful event on Birchen Edge was almost cancelled 24 hours earlier due to the Assembly field being inaccessible as a result of muddy conditions, so I thought I’d put down some thoughts on how this can be avoided:

  • Add “Loss of Parking field due to weather/landowner” to the Risk Assessment as this will prompt to consider alternatives.
  • Hold a site meeting with Parking Team Leader 2 or 3 weeks before the event, to allow alternatives to be investigated.

Having visited the area 5 weeks before the event I was confident about the parking arrangements. However, on reflection, this visit was on foot as it saves meeting the farmer to unlock the gate. Next time, go in the car!

My first trip in the immediate lead-up was 2 days before the event, with 6 straw bales for the Start stile. I was unable to get into Assembly as the uphill sloping field was quite wet. The farmer managed it no problem, but they always do. I raised concerns with Stuart about the parking that evening, as he was heading up the late parking shift & is also Club Chair.

Six of us were meeting at 10am on the Saturday to put up the Marquee, place the rubber track matting and set up the stile for the road crossing. Stuart joined us, and, fortunately for me, was able to collect a car load of equipment – including the large ladder stile.

We got the marquee up and placed three more straw bales (to speed passage on existing stiles), then reassessed the parking. The only alternative was to park at either side of the track, and the farmer had suggested we do this on two occasions. Still, with 417 pre-entries, it had to be carefully counted out.

Stuart and Lester investigated pay and display parking next to the Robin Hood pub and reported capacity at 30. This could be used for the 80 club members, most of whom were helping, so would arrive early, before the public.

So, now looking at capacity to park cars of 340 competitors from other clubs, say 300 with >10% drop out rate. Somebody came up with the figure of 130 cars and this turned out to be the case, as takings were £272 = 136 cars.

Looking at all the firm places to pull off the track, and a field to the east, we concluded it was just about possible. In the end we had a vote, and went ahead with the event, but were all a bit anxious.

I should have held a site meeting with the Parking Team 2 weeks before the event, as certain changes such as laying gravel or creating an exit by dismantling a ruined wall could have given us another field. Obviously 18 hours before the event is too late for this. On the day, however, two rows of cars were parked in this field, exiting by the entrance (photo).

parking 2017

Sawdust soaks up the mud and acts as an abrasive so tyres can get more traction. We hope to be able to use this field for parking at future event – the entrance is at the top and an exit could be created at the bottom, with the farmer’s permission

We agreed the wording for:

  • a web announcement to car share where possible, and
  • an email to be cascaded to the Helpers to use the pay and display.

These were posted/mailed at about 5pm by Mike and myself.

On event day, I arrived at 7:30 to be ready for Traders and toilets at 8am. Mike, Liz and Dave were 10 minutes behind me. Dave put out the road signs, a time consuming job that I try and delegate! Mike and Liz set up the marquee for Download and Registration.



Stuart and Lester came prepared with a scythe to harvest bracken for putting in the mud and some big cubes of compressed sawdust. Both of these really helped! One competitor commented – rightly – that the DVO Parking Team were ‘absolutely 5 star!’

The track mats are good, but there are only 10 of them and they need to be laid in parallel. They are difficult to handle, so take a helper with you to load them.

track matting

Track mats in action

Ranald offered to act as Safety Officer, and I gratefully accepted! He had quite a bit to deal with – a head injury and any issues arising from parking, as well as liaising with the Start.

The person who was injured was also on the Jury, so I had to call the Reserve Juror and ask him not to go home until stood down. And sure enough, about an hour later, there was a complaint from an M18 who, after discussion with myself and the Controller, decided to make a written protest. In this circumstance, the Jury has to be called, so I had to go and sit in my car to make the calls, as the wind was such that I couldn’t hear outside!

The Prize Giving was scheduled for 2pm. Fortunately the Jury issue was so clear-cut that it didn’t impact the results.

prize giving

The winner on M10 collects his trophy

Packing up is a bit of a rush in November as it’s dark by 5pm, so you need to dismantle everything as soon as possible. And worse, the marquee was starting to blow free of the rocks we’d used to anchor it on the Saturday, so this was our priority. Then pushing and pulling the caterer’s van out of the mud, with the aid of the sawdust under his tyres!

We were off site by about 5pm, having left a car load of equipment including the stile to retrieve the following day. I couldn’t lift more than 3 track mats though, so another trip was scheduled with Stuart later in the week. We took the mats to Matlock car wash where they had a thorough pressure hosing – and so did my car!

It would have been more sensible to hire a van for the equipment and straw, but the requirement for 6 extra bales only came up about a week before the event – by which point, I’d written a timeline detailing when I would deliver all the equipment and it sort of worked so I stuck with it. I’ve included the Timeline and my safety folder contents page in a link as other organisers may find these helpful. The DVO Notes for Event Coordinators are very good and walk you through what to do in the months and weeks before the event.

We had 55 club members helping at the event, headed up by 7 Team Leaders. They know the detail of what they are doing because they do it at every DVO event and without them, the events couldn’t happen.

The bad weather (hurricane Clodagh) meant that about 70 of the pre-entered competitors stayed at home. This is about 15% of the 417 entries, so a higher no-show rate than usual. The weather was a little better than expected. It was windy and showery, but mild, so we didn’t enforce cagoules.

For the record, hay is a bit more expensive than straw at £3.50 a bale. And straw is a bit more robust for use in stiles, so quite a bargain at £2.50 a bale. If you do use hay, be careful farm animals can’t get at it – not an issue with straw!



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