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.