The past twelve months have focussed almost exclusively on the preparations for the 2015 6 Day Event. Highland 2015, involving both the 6 Days and the World Orienteering Championships, will be a bigger and more complex event than any previously staged in Britain. Putting the two events together is proving challenging and demanding but we are confident that a world class event will be the result. As always the primary objective of the Board is to enhance the 6 Days’ international reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-day events; this means staging events of a quality which makes orienteers from around the world want to come back to future 6 Day events, and carry the message of its appeal to their friends and clubmates.
Highland 2015 is a joint venture between British Orienteering and the 6 Day Company which recognises the aims of both organisations in the staging of the combined event. A document was signed in June 2014 which lays down the financial responsibilities of both parties and an agreement on the distribution of the financial outcome. The combined event is managed by a steering group involving all event partners; the 6 Day Company is represented by Anne Hickling and the 6 Day event coordinator Richard Oxlade.
The success of Moray 2013 left the Company in a strong financial position and enabled us to make some significant investments in the 2015 event and in Scottish orienteering more generally. It also left us with confidence that we can boost the numbers attending in 2015 to a level which will ensure a satisfactory financial outcome for the combined Highland 2015 event within the agreed budget. Another success for Moray2013 was its nomination as a finalist in the sports category of the Scottish Event Awards for 2013-14, helping to raise awareness of our event in the wider sporting community.
The 6 Day event continues to benefit from generous sponsorship from Event Scotland which enables us to continue to move the event forward and make it more attractive to new participants. In addition the 2015 event has attracted the support of Moray Council and Highland Council, and we are very grateful to all these bodies for their support.
Particular challenges facing the organisation of Highland lie in the increasing demands on our volunteer workforce and in the additional infrastructure required for an event of this scale. As always we rely on the goodwill of members of the Scottish orienteering clubs to make the event happen; in 2015 these will be supplemented by clubs from outside Scotland and volunteers from outside the orienteering community, and we acknowledge help from the WOC organising team in sourcing this. We increasingly look for hired-in services to reduce the burden on the volunteers, but the cost of this has to be carefully weighed against the need to keep entry fees at an acceptable level.
We are also conscious of the environmental impact of our event, in particular the volume of traffic travelling to each day’s event. For the first time in 2015 we will be making an explicit charge for car parking at events in order to encourage car-sharing, and a comprehensive bus service will be offered.
Plans for the 2017 6 Day event on Royal Deeside are at an early stage, and these will continue to develop alongside our ongoing preparations for Highland 2015.
The Board were saddened to hear of the death in December 2013 of John Colls, after a short illness. John was the founding father of the 6 Days back in 1977 and retained a strong involvement in the event ever since, despite moving to Australia more than 20 years ago. John attended Moray2013 with members of his family, the first time for a number of years that he had not taken a role as a controller. In the 6 Day Event John has left us an exceptional legacy from the few surplus maps left over after WOC76, and his book ‘A Few Surplus Maps’ is a fine testament to the event he was instrumental in creating.
There has been no change in the membership of the Board over the past year, and I would like to thank my fellow directors for their work and support in advancing the Company’s aims, as well as Professional Officer Colin Matheson for his major contribution to the 6 Day event. We all look forward to an exciting year ahead.