History of the Scottish 6 Days book

A Few Surplus Maps, the history of the 6 Day Event from its beginnings in 1977, is a beautifully produced book full of maps and photos and charting the development of the event from small beginnings up to the world class event we know and love today.
Download a FREE sample chapter, Royal Deeside 1983, including a table of contents.

A Few Surplus Maps, the history of the 6 Day Event from its beginnings in 1977, is a beautifully produced book full of maps and photos and charting the development of the event from small beginnings up to the world class event we know and love today.

If you are interested in the 6 days, you’ve probably heard about this book on the event’s history even if you’ve not yet seen or bought a copy. With stocks dwindling, this is a great chance to fill that gap in your library. And with 216 full-colour A4 pages you can leave the book on the coffee-table too to impress the casual visitor.

Download a FREE sample chapter, Royal Deeside 1983
including a table of contents.

New for 2013 is a supplement bringing the story right up to date, designed and produced to the same standards as the book.

Prices (Special offer):
A Few Surplus Maps + 2013 supplement: £5
2013 supplement alone: £1.50

How to get hold of the book

You can buy it at the event in August or check if one of the following people are attending an event you want to collect it at; Lynne Walker (BASOC), Hilary Quick (BASOC), Anne Hickling (GRAMP).

What people have said about the book

The book is divided into three sections - The Series, The Events and The Facts.

The first of these (The Series) describes the evolution - always interesting and sometimes turbulent - of the 6Days during the past 35 years. It quotes extensively from original documents to give a sense of immediacy to the vast range of issues that were arising and had to be dealt with. These extended far beyond technical ‘orienteering’ topics into broader matters of policy and management. In particular, for more than 30 years, the 6Days has been designed to provide a family-based holiday experience as well as challenging competition.

The second (The Events) looks at each biennial staging of the 6Days (18 in all, including Oban) in some detail. It includes a copy of the map for every day of competition, interspersed with commentary and anecdotes gleaned from records and personal recollections. They are many and varied, with an emphasis on coverage of all aspects of events - from a learned article on the geology of Deeside landforms to hilarious snippets from such pillars of the press as the Faskally News, the Loch Lomond Lintie and the Forrest Times.

The third (The Facts) is a compendium of appendices. It gathers together, mainly in honour-board or graphical format as appropriate, key facts and figures from the past 35 years. The graphs include numbers and origins of competitors at each event as well as financial data. The honour-boards are similarly wide-ranging, from class winners to those who have taken major roles in directing The Series or organising The Events.


Gareth Bryan-Jones:
I think ‘A Few Surplus Maps’ is a fantastic read and thoroughly recommend it. It is a book to read, a book to browse in and a book to repeatedly dip into. Every map of the (108 event days to date) is reproduced – so at less than 20p a map it is also a fantastic bargain.
It tells the tale of how an idea to use surplus maps from the 1976 World Orienteering Championships in Scotland created one of the major European multi-day orienteering events.
If you have been to all or many Scottish 6-Day events then you are part of the story. Re-live the memories as you study again maps from previous 6-days. Learn of some of the problems and solutions that were in the background and often invisible to the competitor.
If you are a more recent recruit to the event then you will find this a fascinating story of how the event and orienteering has developed over the last 35 years. Through the years the event has been responsible for introducing many technical advances to Scottish and British Orienteering.

Toby Norris: The book is as fine as I had expected … it will be a collectors’ piece.

Graeme Ackland: I bought a copy out of obligation, as it is quite pricey and I find this sort of thing worthy but dull. In fact it’s really nicely compiled, presented and written, with a great collection of maps ( … and I like being described as ‘a classic of the genre’!).

Ken Broad: Congratulations! A real tour de force. I’ve been re-living some of my more memorable runs – sadly not always ‘memorable’ for the right reasons … I’ve forsaken orienteering of late in favour of my former fetish of cycling but, despite passing my landmark 80 years recently, I keep looking at the book and thinking I might just give The Thought Sport another go! What more of an accolade could you get!

Tony Thornley: If you love Scotland and the 6-Days, you’ll revel in this book. For me, the 6-Days has provided a series of landmarks in my orienteering life. We celebrated our silver wedding in the gloriously sunny week of Speyside ’95; I was the over-excited ‘whispering’ commentator in the forest when Yvette Baker won the WOC99 short distance, and was alongside a kilted and midged Dick Carmichael when Prince Andrew tried orienteering as a break from golf during Highland ’99. I can also remember, I think, camping with two under fives during the dreadfully wet Trossachs ’79 (and someone nicked our nappies from a drier in Stirling) and even winning once – before Andy Hemsted learned how to orienteer.
This superb book revives all these memories and more. John Colls leads us from the origins of the six days – making good use of ‘A Few Surplus Maps’ left over from the 1976 WOC – through key points in its development … Research of contemporary documents, many of which are quoted, draws out the highs and lows of the 6-Days, as well as tracing technological developments and key innovations … The low points are particularly revealing … all reflect deeply held and passionate views which the book documents well and without rancour. Alongside these tensions are the successes … above all, the book is a salutary reminder of the quality of our sport and its heavy reliance on volunteers and goodwill …
I really enjoyed the book … It’s not particularly cheap, but it is beautifully designed and produced.

07th Dec 2013