The Great Britain rowing squad were looking for a still water practice course, that had to meet international standards, and the Amateur Rowing Association were in negotiation with a company over a potential site in Oxfordshire. This was a part of a still active quarry restored in part to a large lake that was to be crossed from time to time by barges carrying gravel excavated elsewhere on the property.
In a large development team some technical matters became overlooked or at least lost in the detail. With all the variables at play there were a lot of potential construction options to be considered which was time consuming and expensive. All the technical items needed decisions but the key was that some things were within the control of the developer such as style of buildings, location of car parks and so on but some were not and were non-negotiable. One such thing was the route of a major underground gas pipeline and another was a line of high voltage overhead electricity cables in the same corridor as the pipeline.
The rowing course had to pass over the gas pipeline so that the water depth met the necessary standard and the pipeline was buried under the required thickness of ground, but also under the electricity lines such that they would be at a safe height above the rowers. Geological borehole records showed that only one place met these conditions so the basic orientation of the rowing course was easily fixed and many of the previously considered options could be discarded.
In a single meeting the key technical features were identified that defined the rowing course possibilities and the many expensively drafted options reduced immediately to two. The site is now the successful Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake.
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