Day 1 - Individual and Social
Saturday morning was quite a relaxing start for everybody already there, with the first start not until 11am, and all the controls were already out the night before after a successful dash-before-dark control hanging session by Ben, Zuzka, and Zuzka's dad. For those travelling in the morning it was a less relaxed start, but still OUOC turned up with an impressively large team, partially helped by having some recent good cross country recruits.
The prediction was for OUOC to win the Men's and CUOC to win the Women's, but especially in the men's it wasn't totally clear that OUOC would win, as both sides were fielding strong teams at the top.
It was quite windy at the start but also sunny with lovely views over the sea.
The first half of the course was very fast, runnable, and fairly flat, unless you went wrong and got stuck in the brambles. There were some technical sections of gorse bushes to navigate around, and also some longer open legs where you could see the control from quite a way off - unfortunately, as some competitors found, it wasn't always their control. The second part of the course went onto the steep southern slope of the area, where there were more brambles if you weren't careful about which way you went. There were two route choice legs initiating lots of discussion - a choice between running along a very steep slope with not much climb, or running along paths but having to climb 40-50m. The second was an over-or-round the valley route, with the straight route involving around 75m climb but the round route being about twice as long.
Once everybody had safely finished, it turned out OUOC had indeed won the Men's and CUOC had won the Women's, and CUOC's men's captain Jeremy had won the prize for worst team selection by (a) not selecting himself for the team and then being the fourth best runner and (b) possibly being the first time (ever?) that the captain hasn't been in the Varsity team!
Among the alumni it was tough going. All of JOK's one-man team mispunched, and JOK's two-women team were beaten by DrongO's many-women team.
Well done to John O and Helen P who won the best men's and women's alumni trophies, Jamie Parkinson (OUOC) who won the student men's, and Fiona Bunn (CUOC) who won the student women's.
In the afternoon there was a bit of time for some tourism, which included Ben Stevens going swimming in the sea, some people visiting a cafe, and some people visiting the garlic farm. Some unlucky people (thanks John and James) got to take Ben to Tesco to buy more food and boat race beer. Luckily John's car park fears didn't come true.
At the accommodation the showering situation was very non-optimal (very unlike Oxbridge) until near the end when the queueing system was optimised, ensuring maximum use of the showers by making sure there were at least four naked people in the changing/showering room at any one time.
The showers only delayed the boat race by half an hour, which took place very appropriately in a children's playground. Despite an impressive effort by Rowan from CUOC taking the place of 3 people in the team, OUOC still took the victory. Unfortunately Paul is silly and left the trophy in Cambridge, but at least there was a bottle of Cava to spray as a prize.
We then headed immediately across to the pub opposite for the social. This was buffet style, and we think there was enough food relievingly. There was also beer/cider included, but but 53 people did a poor job of drinking the 100 pints or so available, and there was still quite a bit left at the end! The prizegiving also happened, during which prizes were given, and then a band played for a while and some people danced.
DrongO won the party again by having the most people left shortly after midnight when we all went back over to the community hall to go to sleep.
Sunday morning was the relays - with 9 control hangers the controls were out in no time (good work team!). It was extremely windy, and Ben S decided not to hang a kite at one particularly windy control on the cliff tops because he decided it wouldn't be there for much longer. Luckily we avoided the rain, and a suitably sheltered location just below the start was found to put up the tent.
The relays were mixed teams to try to make them fair, and the one with Paul in it one because he's fast like Paul. Ben was presented with a very tasty easter egg for his organising (thanks Jeremy!) followed by an extremely efficient control collection, and we were all packed away before the rain arrived!
We believe Varsity 2020 will be abroad somewhere, to be announced a week or two beforehand, unless it's in Stockholm in which case it will be announced very soon ;)