5 CUOCers decided to make the very long journey up to the Moray Coast, to take part in the Scottish 6 Days. I have been told that in the past this involved 6 days of orienteering and one rest day, but shrinkflation reaches all, and thus the week involved 5 days of orienteering and one rest day. The area had some beautiful dunes, and some long walks to the start!
According to google maps it takes a measly 9.5 hours to drive from Cambridge to Portknockie, our base for the week. After sitting in car for an unreasonable amount of time, Day 1 involved a long race around Lossie.
Once the 5km trek to the start was completed, the first half of the courses were spent navigating in tricky contour detail, leading me to predict it was going to be hard to read the map in the next few days. Interspersed with occasional legs running along the beach, the course also featured a mysterious path which existed on the map, but completely not evident on the ground. The second half of the courses involved long legs across flat and ambiguous terrain. Despite being at approximately 57 degrees latitude, it managed to reach 21 degrees Celsius with very little cloud cover. This left me desperately wishing for water the 3km walk back from the finish.
Day 2 featured a middle race in Darnaway, an area used for the World Orienteering Championships in 2015. This was the only day not run on sand dunes and was also the only day where I was able to read the contour detail! However, it was found that white ‘runnable forest’ could mean a variety of things from leaves underfoot to distinctly non-runnable undergrowth. Returning to the sand dunes for Day 3, which took place in Roseisle. This was a very fast forested area with high dunes and complex contour detail. Being next to a beach, presented the opportunity afterwards to swim in the freezing Scottish sea.
CUOC dispersed on the rest day, some went to Inverness, some fraternized with the enemy (OUOC) and some spent 3hrs stuck in a car due to an unfortunate accident closing the road.
The last two days took place in two different parts of Culbin. Day 4 was a long race with a long walk to the start (in some cases a longer to the start and back from the finish than the actual course). The planner took liberty in placing controls as close as regulation would allow, meaning there was ample opportunity to mispunch, which thankfully all CUOCers managed to avoid (this cannot be said the same for some unnamed members of OUOC). Back to the same parking field for day 5 meant just as long a walk to the start, however in a different direction this time. More intricate contour detail meant I for one had the most difficult day of reading the map. The final day was capped off with an hour and a half wait for what turned out to be not chips, instead effectively highly overpriced Doritos.
Overall, this was a very successful Scottish 6 days, albeit a very long distance away. Overall results in our class of choice were good, with Dom Dakin coming 40th overall, Sarah Pedley 14th, I (Adam Harris) 18th, Beth Ambler 5th and Ana Hernandez 17th.
I said I would write this on the 9-hour train journey home, but clearly that didn’t happen as I slept most of the way. All I can say was I am glad I wasn’t driving!