It is still possible to print out a blank route sheet and fill it in by hand but in more recent years with speedy dispatch and handling in mind, Challengers have been encouraged to fill out an electronic form.
It is entirely possible to make a pig's ear of this sheet, as it extraordinarily easy to nudge margins and tabs all over the shop or turn the thing into three or four pages! The fact that the document available to download already has some some unintended errors to start with isn't great.
Uncle Roger might been very cross to receive such an abomination as it would not have sat well in his filing system at all! Twenty-odd years ago I sent in my and Bob Butler's entry forms, with our details cut up from separate pages of our two magazines. The cut forms were returned and we were required to resubmit on just the one sheet, as the instructions had clearly stated. Could it have been coincidence that we got our places from the standby list that year?
Lord Elpus and I are of the same mindset. Over the years we have taken a little pride in nudging the sheets back and forth to fit better on the pages, tidying up columns and rows, inserting tiny rows to make the text appear less crowded within the frame and rearranging the grid to make it more pleasing to the eye. Over-long headings are simplified, superfluous instructions removed, fonts swapped, and coloured text changed for greater contrast and ease of reading.
Of course, the complete fabrication that is the route description - the real meat of the document - remains the same whatever we do. But it makes us so much happier that it looks pretty.
Last night, just before the midnight chimes of Big Ben our vetted route plopped gently into our inboxes. This year our extraordinary Vetters were Les & Issy, and the Challenge Coordinators, Sue & Ali, were burning the midnight oil.
Happily, no changes are required. We are good to go!
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Postscript: An observation.
All Challengers should aim to get their route accepted, at the first attempt. From reading the Challenge Message Board it seems that a small number view the Vetters as a source of assistance when designing a route. It should be stressed that our admirable Vetters are volunteers and whilst happy to offer a route suggestion that might add interest to a Challenger, they might not be overly impressed receiving routes that are poorly prepared, needing countless revisions.