On the drive over to the Forest of Dean, the Severn looked engorged and menacing but also dramatically beautiful - a welcome contrast to the manicured and exclusive sterility of the Cotswolds.
We turned-up in good time and sat munching in the car watching the registration tent inflate and strain skywards in the cold wind. Hunched-up figures went about their business of setting-up, stopping from time-to-time to exchange cheerful words.
"Two dibbers..." Sam reminded me with a serious look as I got out of the car to go and register. This was the deal.
NGOC are a very friendly bunch of people, obviously keen to encourage participation at all levels of their sport.
Just as well really because it took me the best part of a quarter-hour to simply realise that the first control simply had the wrong number on it...