Finally the weather broke and Day 5 competitors at Creag Dhubh were treated to a soaking either from above or through wading through seas of wet bracken. In case this sounds negative it must be mentioned that for many competitors this was the best day’s competition and the best area of the week. Earlier there were real concerns that thunderstorms accompanied by lightning would be a real threat – very, very frightening especially if you were on one of the longer courses right up on top of the hill as were today’s Elites.
Thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people: the IOF (International Orienteering Federation) Controller Ted Finch was able to get the green light from the IOF for this to be staged as a World Ranking Event. GB athletes who have been starved of international competition finally had a chance to gain valuable points (but no prizes).
Slightly unusual was the fact that two completely different groups of competitors ran the same courses but on consecutive days. Day 4 competitors were urged not to share any information online or elsewhere that could have helped those going out on Day 5. Why would you anyway? I guess it was fairly obvious from the day report and video that there was a lot of bracken and it would be tough underfoot. Some very long times on Day 4 were replicated on Day 5 and though there were lots of elephant tracks it wasn’t always obvious where they were leading.
We are very grateful for the Day 5 team who found themselves doubling up for Day 4 – they knew the layout, knew where controls had to be. Paul Duley of GRAMP had everything well managed and thanks go to local club BASOC (as in Badenoch) and helpers from Roxburgh Reivers. Special mention goes to Jo Cumming for acting in a local liaison capacity and lead planner John Tullie who was able to talk animals (not to the animals) with landowner Angus Macpherson. Given his recent encounter with a bull we were delighted that Angus was able to visit the venue and meet our own orienteering VIPs as well as get a sense of what the event was all about.
A very limited number of competitors noted the sudden absence of white runnable forest marked on their 1:7,500 maps and the replacement on the ground by rough (but runnable) open. This was due to a printing error (not the printer’s error) but given the relatively easy terrain and good contour and rock detail this shouldn’t have hampered anybody’s run. I never noticed!
A small correction to yesterday’s report – Andy Llewellyn has confirmed he takes responsibility for loo roll stacking and offers a shoe repair service using duct tape to hold soles together.