As an ‘in-between’ year, the past twelve months have focussed on the preparations for the challenging and exciting times ahead. It has also been a period of consolidation as new Board members settle into their roles. As always the primary objective of the Board is to retain the 6 Days’ international reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-day events; this means staging events of a quality which makes the competitors want to come back to future 6 Day events and recommend it to others.
Plans for the Moray event are progressing well under the leadership of George Esson and a central organising team from Gramp and MOR, ably supported by Professional Officer Colin Matheson. Over the summer months, publicity for Moray has been distributed around the world by travelling orienteers, and we are now preparing for entries to open on 1 December.
After many months of trying, attempts to secure the former RAF Kinloss as an event centre and campsite were unsuccessful, but an excellent alternative has been found in Brodie Castle with the National Trust for Scotland taking an enthusiastic role in the organisation.
The Moray event will have a particularly strong local flavour thanks to the work of Mike Rodgers to engage with the local community, and large numbers of local people are expected to take part.
The event continues to benefit from generous levels of support from Event Scotland.
There have been, and remain, several issues ongoing for the event:
- Changes in the embargoed areas for WOC2015 (owing to the presence of capercaillie in Strathspey forests) meant that Darnaway was lost to Moray. This was replaced by Carse of Ardersier. The loss of Darnaway was a disappointment but the event still uses a good range of high quality and varied areas.
- The event is facing significantly higher charges than expected: discussions are ongoing with FCS regarding proposed new charges for orienteering events; the DIO has imposed a high fee for use of the former RAF Kinloss for parking and access to Roseisle; and the expectations of landowners/tenants of fees for parking fields are rising in these difficult economic times.
- There is a degree of volunteer fatigue following a very busy period in Scottish orienteering, and it is proving more difficult than usual to recruit the main event officials.
- The demands of the event in terms of computing and technical expertise are rising and it is proving difficult to put together a team of people with the necessary skills.
An innovation for the Moray event will be the use of hired-in labour in the equipment team, thus relieving the organising clubs of the set-up and take-down of the assembly area each day.
Moray2013 will also host Euromeeting2013, bringing with it elite orienteers seeking some Scottish experience ahead of 2015. This will bring additional organisational challenges but is also seen as an opportunity to trial procedures ahead of 2015. Overall attendance at Moray is expected to be boosted as a result of the forthcoming World Championships.
Work is already well underway. Richard Oxlade (Gramp) has been appointed as coordinator, with ESOC and INVOC as central organising clubs. Lindsey Knox will represent the Board on the Central Organising Team. Richard is also a member of the WOC Organising Group, currently working on the programme for the WOC. The 6 Day programme will be arranged around this, giving 6 Day competitors the opportunity to spectate at some of the WOC events and to run on some of the same maps. The WOC/6Day partnership is working well so far. Anne Hickling is a member of the WOC Strategy Group, with a focus on ensuring that Highland2015 benefits from its association with the WOC and its quality is not compromised.
One of the main concerns around Highland is manpower and main officials, with a number of key figures in Scottish orienteering already taking roles within the WOC. Work will begin at an earlier stage than usual to identify suitable candidates for the key 6 Day roles, with clubs being encouraged to give relevant experience to potential planners and organisers over the next couple of years. As usual the bulk of the day organising manpower will come from the Scottish clubs, but extra help is expected to be required from clubs outside Scotland. The use of hired-in and local volunteer workers to staff the non-technical aspects of the event will also be further explored.
Oban2011 was named winner in the ‘Best Sporting Event’ category of the VisitScotland Thistle Awards for the Central South West region. Lynne Walker accepted the trophy at the awards ceremony in Glasgow in June. Oban2011 now goes forward to the National Finals and the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow on 9 November. Oban2011 was also a finalist in the 2011 Sunday Mail sportScotland Scottish Sports Awards in the ‘Best Sporting Event’ category.
‘A Few Surplus Maps’
John Colls’ history of the 6 Day Event went on sale at Oban2011 and was well received. To date 410 copies (of the print run of 750) have been sold. It is proposed to add a short supplement to the book to bring it up to date and to promote the book again through Moray2013.
Links with SOA
Cooperation with SOA is good with mutual attendance at Board meetings by the SOA President and 6 Day Chair. The 6 Day Company continues to fund 50% of the Professional Officer’s salary and to make a significant contribution to other SOA projects.
In conclusion I would like to thank my fellow directors for their work and support over the past year in advancing the Company’s aims. The next few years will be challenging for the 6 Day Event and for Scottish orienteering more generally, but by laying the groundwork early we can ensure that these challenges will be met and the 6 Day Event will continue to flourish.