Day 4 Report - Creag Choinnich
Competitors enjoying today’s terrific area and scenic arena were largely unaware of yet another Plan B. Earlier in the week we discovered that the corner of the race arena field was ankle deep in slurry – even our staging boards would have been hard pushed to bridge this. Many thanks go to Angus McNicol at Invercauld Estates and farmer Neil Fraser who allowed us to move into the adjacent field, as well as moving the cattle towards the Invercauld Arms. They (the cattle) seemed totally relaxed and chilled about the event. Essentially we did a complete mirror of the existing arena layout. Courses were always going to have a remote finish above the arena, so no changes to maps were needed.
The Amplified Sound commentary box was always going to be up the hill, but I think commentary team of Mark Nixon and Chris Poole were a bit anxious about the prospect of a runaway box heading down the hill. Commentary was part of a big IT set-up, masterminded by Keith Roberts and with professional help from Andrew Leaney and SteveMcLean of SPORTIdent. Dave Coustick once again helped with radio controls – some of you may have noticed extra wires and bits emerging from the SI boxes. This gives the commentary advance warning of runners at various stages of the race.
We promised a high up start for the race so of course the amount of climb on actual courses was reduced. Deep heather didn’t make it much easier however, and it was with some relief that our courses eventually dropped into some very pleasant forest. Conditions were still fairly typical Royal Deeside underfoot, and as part of my own contribution to the daily Red Cross sweepstake I came very close to hitting a tree headfirst but managed to twist and cut and bruise my arm instead.
We hope that the casualty stretchered out and ultimately airlifted from Braemar to Aberdeen makes a good recovery. As part of the event planning we had met with the Event Safety Advisory Group managed by Aberdeenshire Council and presented details of the event and our approach to organisation, management and safety. The Scottish 6 Days has a well-developed rescue plan template and completed plans were available to key staff in the arena but also circulated to NHS Grampian in advance. Please don’t make us initiate any more aspects of the plan over the final two days.
Events Manager Scottish Orienteering Association