The last year has been relatively quiet after the challenges involved in holding Highland 2015 alongside the World Orienteering Championships. The Highland event maintained the 6 Days’ reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-day events and was a financial success for both the 6 Days and the combined Highland/WOC events. This was vital as the money generated by each event is used to pre-fund future events prior to the receipt of entry fees and to support Scottish orienteering generally.
The post-event competitor survey carried out by EKOS indicated that 90% of participants rated the event as good or very good with over 80% likely or very likely to attend future events which augurs well for the future of the 6 Days. The event is estimated to have provided an economic impact of £9.5m in Scotland, £7.5m of this in Highland and Moray, showing the importance of the event to the Scottish economy.
The financial outcome from the joint WOC/6 Day Highland event was a surplus of over £44,000 with the 6 Day proportion being £32,000 on the formula agreed in advance with WOC. While this is a significant amount compared to previous 6 day events, it represents a return of only 6% of income received and indicates the sometimes fine financial margins on which the 6 Days operates.
The Highland event benefited from support from Highland Council, Moray Council, Active Places and Forestry Commission Scotland and continuing generous funding from Event Scotland which enabled us to enhance the event in a number of ways. Our thanks are due to all these bodies for their important and invaluable support which helps us to continue to enhance the event with the addition of new innovations and improved facilities for competitors. The financial success of Highland 2015 puts the Company in a strong position and enables us to make significant investments in Scottish orienteering. The Board has decided that one of the uses of the surplus from Highland will be to support the Regional Development Officers (RDOs) appointed by the SOA thereby assisting in areas not benefiting directly from 6 Day events in their area.
After every event there are lessons to be learned on how to improve things next time. The Central Organising Team for Highland 2015 have submitted reports and a number of recommendations and suggestions have been made by the Treasurer in his finance report. These will be considered by the Board and put into effect where relevant by the team for Royal Deeside 2017 and future events.
Royal Deeside 2017 is progressing well under the leadership of Jon Musgrave with the Central Organising Team composed of Maroc and Interlopers members. The areas to be used are all within a relatively short distance of the event centre at Ballater with minimal mapping required as most areas are relatively up to date. A campsite will be provided close to the event centre to supplement the other accommodation available on Deeside and buses provided to each of the six areas to lessen the environmental impact of the event. The event was marketed at Highland and a website and social media outlets have been set up. Contact has also been made with competitors attending Highland to encourage them to come to the 2017 event.
An announcement was made at the Scottish Championships in 2016 that the venue for the following 6 Days in 2019 would be Perthshire with an intended event centre in Crieff. An assessment had been made prior to this decision to examine whether a 6 Days in southern Scotland was viable. The last southern 6 Days was in 1991 and one of the aims of the 6 Days is to hold events round the country to encourage the growth of the sport nationwide. However, we had to be sure that, apart from other concerns, there were sufficient areas of high quality in the area to meet the expectations of competitors and, reluctantly, we came to the view that this was not the case at present though this does not preclude the holding of an event in southern Scotland at some date in the future. The support offered to the SOA in the funding of RDOs will, it is hoped, assist in the development of the sport in southern Scotland.
There have been a number of changes to the Board over the year. Following the Highland 2015 event, Anne Hickling resigned after ten years on the Board, the last four as Chair. I would like to thank Anne on behalf of the Board for the huge amount of work she put into the successful running of the 6 day events during this time. Lindsey Knox also resigned after eight years as director with responsibility for day organisation and was replaced by Rachel Wilson. Kenny Milton is resigning after this year’s AGM after five years as Finance Director and his replacement will be Kevin Reynard.
Ewan McCarthy has joined the Board and taken on Colin Eades former responsibility as Elite Director and Colin has taken over from me as Technical Director.
I would like to thank those Directors leaving the Board for their hard work and support over the years in advancing the Company’s aims and welcome the new members of the Board. There is a huge amount of experience amongst the Board members and I am confident that the work of the Board will be carried forward successfully with the new and the continuing members. I would also like to thank the SOA’s Events Officer Colin Matheson for his major contribution to Highland 2015 and to the 6 day Company generally.