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Day Reports

Day 1: Lossie

Nairn enjoyed a relatively dry day but unfortunately the rain (lots of it) decided to fall on Lossie Forest only 25 miles away. The arena looked fantastic, even in the rain, with the national flags of most of our visitors on display. A Lithuanian EOD and Estonian were missed out – by Tuesday we hope that the Union Jack and Scottish Flag can be added in strict IOF Protocol order. For the first time the Scottish 6 Days has employed a professional event services company – Limelight of Inverness have proved their worth working long days moving around a growing quantity of equipment including double sets of marquees and hire equipment such as ground protection mats and crowd barriers for the run. Funding from EventScotland and Moray LEADER has made this all possible. In the deluge some 1,200 cars and 100 campervans or motorhomes took the long road along the forest and over the mats into a massive, flat and fortunately well drained parking and assembly field. The road was very rutted as we drove out, probably a direct result of the rain washing the sand out of the existing potholes.

In the forest the 9.9 km M21E was won by WOC 2013 Middle Distance Bronze medallist Gustav Bergman, in a stunning sub 5 min/km time. Graham Gristwood was a couple of minutes behind. Tessa Hill won W21E ahead of Sprint Gold medallist (2011) Linnea Gustafsson who is currently based in Edinburgh. Tessa (and Cat Taylor who ran Green) are heading off with Murray and Scott to Colombia for the World Games in a couple of days’ time. Most courses ran along parallel with the beach in the complex forested dunes but the presence of a motorbike track made navigation less complex than previously enjoyed in this area. That said it was easy to overshoot or undershoot and relocation became costly. The “easy” legs across relatively featureless terrain also caught out many runners. A small area of light to dark green at the end ensured a soaking if the long grass to the final control didn’t. 45 crowd barriers either side ensured the 100 metre run-in was fairly exact. Commentator Per Forsberg coped very well with the conditions, and a few teething problems with radio controls and start procedures will hopefully be ironed out as the week progresses.

Day 2: Carse of Ardersier

After yesterday’s torrential rain, and the sale of only one ice cream (just one Cornetto?) by Kone Cabin, today saw a complete change in the weather and by three o’clock there was a long queue for ice creams. How 24 hours can change things. Carse of Ardersier was a new day from the Scottish 6 Days perspective but has been used on occasion by local clubs and in one instance a GB selection race. Choosing a map scale of 1:7,500 seemed very wise and the size of the map promised good value for money. While much of the terrain was relatively flat with subtle changes in height it was a surprise to encounter a “hill” at the east-most end of the map. This is where the sole came off my O-shoe and hopefully there is still a good choice left with the traders.

The assembly field proved a great venue and there was time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere before and after runs. Instead of the mass exodus experienced yesterday it was a more balanced affair, and small problems like a campervan stuck on the exit ramp were overcome by some quick thinking and re-routing. Innovations we are trying out this week will include the high-tech but we have also made small changes, for example use of security fencing to hang results in folders. Much easier to set-up, and also a much better look and feel. The crowd barriers had a modest number of promotional banners – we couldn’t quite match the 1,200 metres of barriers or 2.5 km of banners used at the recent WOC in Finland.

Murray Strain on the eve of his departure for Colombia won the M21E (Middle Distance) ahead of Swiss Team member Baptiste Rollier. Riina Kuuselo of Octavian Droobers (and Finland) won W21E.

Day 3: Culbin

Culbin or Culbin West or what should we call it? That was the least of our worries as at one stage we wondered how we could stage an event in Culbin. A large chicken shed and a few thousand chickens were in the preferred assembly field and changing agriculture had led to a move from grass to crops. Local Moravians talked of a secret dune system to the west of the area and thanks to an excellent parking field and assembly area nearby we realised that we could start to extend the area. The Forestry Commission Scotland were a fantastic help and took a machine down some of the more difficult rides to make Junior courses possible. Assistance extended to a couple of gates – you all went through a new gate to the starts and a new gate to the finish at 100. To use the new area we did have to make the compromise with quite remote starts and a remote finish, but fortunately the weather was kind, the Red Cross positioned an extra vehicle and crew and all passed off smoothly. Commentary did of course focus on the race arena, a mixture of young, old and Elites, usually mixed up. Some of the youngest competitors seemed to be intent on winning the fastest run in against the M and W21E.

After tomorrow’s Trail O and Radio O Culbin returns to an embargoed state for WOC 2015. Listen out for announcements on Day 4 (Euromeeting and the World Ranking Event for the Elites). Moray 2013 has provided the opportunity for many of the WOC 2015 team to get together and look at the various race arena options – on walkabout tonight we did pass some orienteers (in urban areas) but they didn’t pass comment on the Assistant Event Director, Technical Director, Commentator, Film Director and Technical Support Staff /Planners/Controllers all gathered together.

The week has so far passed off largely without incident, though the scale of the event seems to have caught a number of local residents by surprise. Close on 100 entries on the day have been happening, but we are still waiting for a rush of local participants who had been primed by the Regional Development Officer.

Riina Kuuselo is proving the one to try and beat in W21E – Franziska Dörig was however only one second down today. In the M21E Gustav Bergman is showing his class, but Graham Gristwood seems determined to show he should be back in the next WOC with a number of fine performances.

Day 4: Loch of Boath

Loch of Boath was an extension to the west of an area previously used in 2003 – this ranged from absolutely perfect beautiful runnable forest to diabolical ditches, young trees and every sort of plant that snags and scratches. If you weren’t soaked by the rain from above you were soaked from the vegetation. We do try and introduce new areas and with help from Moray LEADER funding who supported the mapping programme (and the infrastructure including the Limelight team) local orienteers will benefit into the future. It was certainly a superb arena set in a natural bowl with magnificent views (on a clear day) over the Moray Firth. Day 4 was the Highland 2015 launch day, started in spectacular style at 14:00 hrs by 12 (B) Squadron aircrew and a XV (R) Squadron Tornado from RAF Lossiemouth. In keeping with the international feel of the event Pilot was Flight Lt. Rick Redgwell, RAF and WSO (Weapons Systems Operator) LCDR Bill Parmentier, USN. Flying conditions were pretty marginal but what a great start and sorry to anyone who might have fallen through one of the giant ladder stiles when startled by the noise.

There was great support for the VIP day and special thanks did go out to the various landowners and others who have been linked with this event and 2015. Richard Lochhead MSP pitched his speech just right and it was great to hear John Doune, Earl of Moray reminisce about use of Darnaway back in 1976. John has kindly agreed to become Patron for WOC 2015. Everyone was impressed by the arena set-up – even in the rain it looked spectacular with the array of club tents and banners and a U-shaped run-in that drew in a great crowd.

The World Ranking Event and Euromeeting finished exactly on time and well done to William Lind of the Swedish Team in M21E. Some great performances from GBR including Ralph Street (4th) and Graham Gristwood (7th). Alva Olsson made it a Swedish double winning W21E.

Day 5: Roseisle

After the soaking at Loch of Boath, Day 5 at Roseisle was a complete contrast with soaring temperatures, a hot wind and one assumes a robust trade in ice cream. Roseisle Forest may have been busy but it was quieter in the race arena. Per Forsberg, who has kept us all entertained during the week, had to return to Sweden for family reasons. We did however make use of ADI-TV’s big screen once again, as Karel Jonak and his Czech crew, ably assisted by Jonathon Hooton, volunteered to film for a few hours over and above their contracts. They did however want to get to the beach and I am sure that they were joined by many orienteers seeking to cool off their feet after long hot runs. Jonathon pulled together the launch video and his support for that is much appreciated – we have been recording all coverage so far and hope to produce edited highlights (it could be a very long video).

There was plenty of sand underfoot in Roseisle, a popular area for local club Moravian, but to avoid giving too much home advantage a new extension was added west to join up with former RAF Kinloss (now 39 Engineer Regiment at Kinloss Barracks). As parking and assembly areas go it doesn’t get any flatter so there was no problem extracting the big screen like the previous evening. Yesterday’s Tornado strike was a hard act to follow but we were pleased to have a couple of circuits from the bright yellow Sea King from RAF Lossiemouth. Fortunately this wasn’t required for search and rescue, but we were concerned about one competitor overdue in the forest past course closing time. As the team finally nailed together the fence there was a sense of relief when she appeared for a final sprint to the finish which had almost been removed.

Day 6: Coulmony and Belivat

On the sixth day of the Scottish 6 Days I suddenly worked out how to orienteer and shot up 50 places higher than any other day. This bodes well when we return to very near today’s venue for the start of Highland 2015 in Keppernach. The Elite courses just touched on Keppernach today, via the bogs and bushes of Achagour. Both Coulmony and Belivat have been used for smaller events, but the realisation that we could join areas by “bridging” the A939 made today’s event possible. We really did investigate a two way footbridge, but the cost, engineering, safety and logistical challenges made us look at the alternatives including closing the A road and forcing locals around a diversion or indeed installing traffic signals to at least slow traffic down and give orienteers a sporting chance of crossing quickly and safety. The only bridges used in the end were the sturdy structures with handrails that Limelight put up for us at Carse of Ardersier, Roseisle and for the Elites heading west out of Belivat.

Day 4 to Day 6 is actually one long continuous area, and this gave the planners the option to decide where to cut along the line and decide which bit suited them best. The birch and marshes in Belivat created perfect orienteering terrain, and after the big rolling moraines west of the assembly field there was then a long traipse through the bogs of Lethen Bar. A great mixture of different terrain types and orienteering types.

Once again we were lucky to find a fine parking and assembly field, and I was reliably informed this was more sheltered than nearer the coast at Brodie. I hope there were still tents left to return to. At one stage the big screen started to swivel alarmingly in the wind, and when most competitors had left one of the marquees tore loose from its moorings and came close to squashing the FVO team.

No event is ever perfect, and behind the scenes various issues were dealt with and resolved promptly so you as competitors could enjoy your runs. As Professional Officer for Scottish Orienteering I do enjoy the privilege of being paid to sort land access, order portaloos, liaise with suppliers, seek funding, dream up innovative ideas and a multitude of other tasks. Of course I am backed by the Scottish 6 Days Board, Scottish Orienteering, a Central Organising Team and excellent day teams including their planners and controllers. Thanks to all these volunteers who help make my life easier. I also enjoyed working with the many different suppliers, service providers and traders. There were new and innovative ideas trialled for 2015, and we will think about what could be (and has to be) done better.

There will be a survey sent out shortly by EKOS – please take time to fill this in as feedback from this event is vital, especially the economic impact on Scotland and the local area. I am happy to take comment and constructive criticism directly or through the email address on the website.

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Official Results and Split Times

Main events

Complete Results PDF

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Overall


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Sprint


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