Oban 2011

2011 is an ‘odd’ year and this means a 6-Day Event in Scotland; this year it was Oban 2011. The Central Organising Team of Ayroc, Clyde and EckO were ably led by Ross Lilley. Many obstacles were faced – but solutions were found and the 6-Day Company is extremely grateful to all who worked towards finding solutions.


  • Changes of Assistant Co-ordinator/SOA Professional Officer; Scott Fraser moved to Sweden; Derek Allison ‘filled in’ for a period of months and really moved the event on well before Colin Matheson took over in mid-January 2011. Colin hit the ground at a gallop, learning the job as it unfolded.
  • The Day Co-ordinator also resigned at the end of 2010 when the Day Organiser Manual needed to be revised. Lindsey Knox stepped in and drove forward the revision. Donald Petrie took on the Day Co-ordinator role in April and ensured that the day teams were kept to timetable.


  • The west is wet which meant that there had to be a large investment in infrastructure for the event. TracMats were extensively used to ensure that cars could access and egress the parking areas. However, campervans were found to be just too heavy for the ground in the car parking areas so a system of bussing had to be implemented.
  • The bracken is always taller in the year of the event than when the planners and controllers visited a year ago. This was backed up by local land owners in 2011!


This area is often outwith human control but requires controls to be put in place.

  • Neospora was identified by land owners as a risk they did not wish to take. This meant that, at a very late stage, measures to ‘contain’ dogs at the event areas had to be implemented. It is highly probable that many land owners will not wish to have dogs on their land in the future.
  • Bio-security is an area many land owners are becoming very aware of, especially with an event like the 6-Days when competitors come from many countries. A footbath was implemented on Day 1 at the request of the land owner.
  • The event was held in a very compact area (no Assembly Area was more than 10km from the Event Centre) to minimise travelling once the competitor was in the Oban area. This was welcomed by the competitors

The 6-Day Company has a responsibility to implement innovations which could enhance the event experience.

  • This year the A3 programme was one of the main innovations. Although viewed as controversial by some before the event, it was generally well received once competitors used it.
  • GPS tracking and a large screen were features of Day 3. There are very few people in Britain who could ‘manage’ this but Ted Finch & Brian Bullen (both FVO) worked to ensure all the technology could produce a visual experience of the race for the people in the Assembly Area.

No 6-Day event could be held without the enormous number of hours individuals give to ensure that it all happens. The Board of Directors recognise this and record their appreciation. It is also recognised that many clubs and individuals from outwith Scotland help with man-power ‘on the day’ and again, the Board of Directors record their thanks for this assistance.

Funding from external bodies is also sought to help to develop the event infrastructure. For Oban 2011, EventScotland and LEADER helped to provide a number of essentials and enhancements; some of these have been left in place (e.g. a bridge across the river in Glen Lonan) enabling the landowners to benefit from allowing orienteering to take place on their area. The 6-Day Company acknowledge the assistance these organisations have given.

There are always lessons to be learnt from a 6-Day event. Day personnel and the COT have completed comprehensive reports which will form the basis for Moray 2013.

Other news

Thistle Award

At the end of October, the Scottish 6 Day event – Tay 2009 – won the Thistle Trophy in the “Events & Festivals (National) Award” category. The Thistle Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in Scottish tourism. The judges were looking for a creative approach, innovative use of resources, examples of working in partnership as well as the local, national and international impact of the event. There was also recognition of the significant economic generation from the event for the local communities, along with a lasting legacy of new orienteering maps.  The event generated £2.5 million for the Scottish economy, with 81% of orienteers at the event coming from outwith Scotland.

The award also recognises the “excellent organisation, passion, commitment and focus on environmental best practice shown by the volunteer-led team”.

Anne Hickling (Director) received the award on behalf of the 6 Day Company, Tay 2009 and all the hard working orienteers who have contributed to make the event what it is.


John Colls finished ‘A Few Surplus Maps – the story of The Scottish 6-Days Orienteering Event’. 750 books were printed with sales to date standing at approximately 330; sales will be actively sought during the next few months, at JK2012 in Scotland and at Moray 2013. Comments have been very favourable.


The 6-Days Company invests in the development of Scottish Orienteering. In terms of ‘hardware’, this has meant T-bars for the control sites as well as SI units and associated computers etc. It was recognised that the T-bars were ‘showing their age’, as well as being a substantial weight to carry. Robin Orr (Director) investigated alternatives, coming up with a design he had made in Scotland. The 600 new stakes were well received and proved to be much lighter to carry to areas accessible only by foot.

Looking forward

There are exciting times ahead for orienteering in Scotland.
Moray 2013: work is well advanced with this event. Most of the COT are in place and looking at the lessons learnt from Oban 2011. An Event Centre has yet to be confirmed (the delay has been due to factors outwith the control of the Moray team). Competition areas have been decided with a variety of terrain to challenge the competitor; like Oban 2011, there will only be short distances to travel to the events.
2015: the IOF announced in August 2011 that Britain has been awarded WOC2015. The event will be based at Inverness. One of the strengths of the bid was the partnership with the 6-Days who will be in charge of the public races taking place during the same week. It can be expected that there will be a greater number of entrants for the 6-Days in 2015; it provides an ideal opportunity to showcase the variety of terrain in Scotland which along with good organisation and a holiday atmosphere could help to encourage repeat business from competitors coming to spectate at WOC2015.

The work now starts to identify clubs to form the COT as well as an event co-ordinator and the 6-Day Company link director.

Changes on the Board: there will be some new face welcomed to the Board of Directors in the autumn of 2011. Earlier in 2011 Murray Strain (Elite Director) resigned from the Board; Colin Eades will take up the position of Elite Director. Robin Orr resigns as Finance Director in October 2011; he is being replaced by Kenny Milton who was the treasurer for Oban 2011. Anne Hickling (Marketing & Sponsorship) will be taking over the position of Chairman from October 2011 as Lynne Walker resigns. Ross Lilley (who was the co-ordinator of Oban 2011) has accepted the position of Director (Marketing & Sponsorship).

This is my final report as Chairman. I would like to express my appreciation for the support I have received from the Board of Directors during my four years as Chairman and for the six years before when I was serving as a Director. It has been an enjoyable ten years and not without challenges!

There are many challenges ahead for the Board of Directors; I am confident that they will rise to the challenges, continue to develop the event and work to maintain the position of the Scottish Orienteering 6-Day Event as one of the foremost multi-day events in the world. I know the Company is in good hands and wish it continuing and ever growing success.