Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to find out more about the areas which are hosting the Scottish 6 Days in Moray 2023. Today its the turn of Lossie…
Day 1 at Lossie is a long-distance race in classic Moray dunes terrain. The course terrain varies greatly with the Green, Blue and Red Start courses enjoying legs in the intricate dune topography along a scenic coastal strip. The vegetation here is a mixture of fast runnable mature pine, heathery open clearings and denser areas of low visibility natural regeneration. This coastal strip was affected slightly by Storm Arwen and most of the windblow has been recently removed leaving a few brashings and (unmapped) extraction lanes. Note that the combination of cleared windblow and selective thinning means that the most reliable way to navigate is by focusing on the contours!
The longest courses visit an area with a lot of new growth, giving a complete contrast to the mature forest. Inland from the coastal dune strip is a flatter area with a myriad of paths, tracks and rides amongst the heathery understorey. This is the area used by the White Start courses also where visibility and runnability can be affected by the pockets of whin and gorse encountered, adding to the navigational challenge in this area of subtle contours. A complex area of runnable but lower visibility forest will be encountered by all courses towards the Finish.
Lossie forest is used occasionally for motocross bike competitions which has left a legacy of tracks which are indistinct and discontinuous in places and not all have been deemed worthy of mapping but, like animal tracks, these can provide fast running through the terrain. The youngest junior courses will have tapes to assist them if the paths they are meant to be on are not suitably distinct.
The coastal dune area was heavily fortified in World War two and, protected by the trees, many of the defences have survived. On your course you may encounter some of the concrete anti-tank blocks, trenches, pits, pillboxes, the ruins of a coastal gun battery and the concrete foundations of a military camp where the soldiers who built and manned the defences lived.