The last year has seen the staging of the 21st Scottish 6 day event on Royal Deeside. The event was lower key (at least for the organisers) than the previous event in 2015 which ran alongside the World Orienteering Championships but maintained the 6 Days’ reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-day events. This was highlighted in the post-event competitor survey carried out by Sarah Dunn, the survey indicating that 98% of respondents rated the event organisation as excellent or good and 94% rated the quality of the course planning as excellent or good. The numbers were competing at Royal Deeside were lower than in 2015, at 3250, but in line with previous events.

The financial outcome from Royal Deeside has still to be determined but it is expected that there will be a small loss, a better result than had been projected prior to the event. This was assisted by a higher than expected level of late entries, a good entry on the day and the release of various contingencies.

The Royal Deeside event benefited from support from Aberdeenshire Council and Ramboll and continuing generous funding from Event Scotland which enabled us to enhance the event in a number of ways. Our thanks are due to these organisations 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.

After every event there are lessons to be learned on how to improve things next time. The Central Organising Team for Royal Deeside are in the process of submitting reports which will be considered by the Board and put into effect where relevant for future events.

Royal Deeside 2017 was organised under the leadership of Jon Musgrave with the Central Organising Team composed of Maroc and Interlopers members to whom thanks are due for putting on an excellent event. The areas used were all within a relatively short distance of the event centre at Ballater with minimal mapping required as most areas were relatively up to date. A campsite with improved facilities compared to most previous events was provided close to the event centre to supplement the other accommodation available on Deeside and buses provided to each of the areas to lessen the environmental impact of the event. These aspects were generally welcomed by competitors as indicated in the competitor survey.

An announcement was made at the Scottish Championships in 2016 that the venue for the 6 Days in 2019 would be Perthshire with an intended event centre in Crieff. The event, Strathearn 2019, will take place between 28 July and 3 August 2019 with the coordinator being Terry O’Brien. Publicity material advertising the event was distributed at Royal Deeside and preliminary work has been carried out to identify event areas, though a number of potential areas have had to be discarded due to issues such as access, suitable car parking and conflicts with other uses of the area such as pheasant shooting. The eventual list will include some new areas and involve different types of terrain over the course of the week.

The Board has had preliminary discussions regarding a venue for 2021 and an announcement will be made in due course once a decision has been made in principle and a coordinator appointed.

There have been a few changes to the Board over the year. Ross Lilley is resigning after this year’s AGM after seven years on the Board and David Sloan also resigned during the year. Richard Oxlade steps down following his 2 year co-option as coordinator of Highland 2015 and will be replaced by Terry O’Brien.
I would like to thank those Directors and co-opted members 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 continuing members. I would also like to thank the SOA’s Events Officer Colin Matheson for his major contribution to Royal Deeside 2017 and to the 6 day Company generally.