Edinburgh University Orienteering Club (EUOC) really knows how to host a great weekend of orienteering. The event is the club’s primary method of funding club training weekends and our vital trip to British Universities & Colleges Sport (B.U.C.S). The events take months of preparation behind the scenes, but it is all worth it to see another weekend of races.
Friday night got the metaphorical multiday-day-event ball rolling in style, with the classic Big Weekend Night Sprint around Kings Buildings, the site of most of the Universities Science and Engineering buildings. EUOC Event Coordinator Jack Leitch surprised us all with some excellent courses which proved a hit. Conditions were icy, a theme of the weekend, but orienteers are a hardy bunch and over 230 runners storming round the highly technical campus.
However, new for the 10th anniversary 2018 special edition Big Weekend was a bonus race of something many people have heard and read about, but never actually done - Indoor-O. Around the James Clerk Maxwell Building, the home of Edinburgh Maths and Physics, and very kindly planned and organised by Graeme Ackland, the event was a hit with all who ran. Requiring some confusing 3D map visualisation to figure out how the floors and stairs worked, as well as now finally having a great excuse to run in the corridors, the race was an excellent addition to the usual format of the weekend. I have been orienteering almost all my life, and I don’t think I have ever heard more glowing reviews of a race. The weekend was all going according to plan.
However, as the lucky EUOC control hangers met at the crack of dawn the next day to get the Saturday’s urban race underway, it became evident very quickly we had a problem as the whole of Edinburgh had become a huge ice rink overnight. After some somewhat painful deliberating, it was decided that conditions were too dangerous to let people race without filling Edinburgh A&E departments, and so courses were unfortunately voided. Not letting Klára Novotná’s fantastic courses go to waste, over 480 competitors still ran, but with everyone non-competitive people could take the ice at a safer pace and maybe casually take in a few more of Edinburgh sights along the way.
Other than the whole ice issue, it actually turned out to be an excellent day. Assembly was situated in George Heriot’s school in the heart of Edinburgh with the courses having large sections dipping in and out of alleys on the Royal Mile as well as finishing through the famous Grey Friar’s Kirkyard. People were incredibly understanding of the course voiding - something that everyone in EUOC is highly thankful for.
Ensuring people got the full EUOC experience, there was a Ceilidh on Saturday night which was remarkably well attended. People enjoyed a dance and bit of haggis before heading to bed to get what sleep they could before the final race of the weekend.
As always, Sunday’s event was some classic orienteering on Arthur’s Seat. Part of the UK Orienteering League, Ali Masson’s courses proved to be a challenge with people criss-crossing over Whinny Hill in the technical gorse, as well as some head-scratching long Legs across the area. Conditions were snowy and slippery in places, but everything was rather picturesque and enjoyable, resulting in some happy competitors. Even those caught in the somewhat impromptu snow storm seemed in high spirits. Almost 450 people ran and the day had no real issues organisationally - an excellent way to round off the weekend.
Huge thanks to the Planners, Controllers and the Weekend Organiser Matthew Fellbaum for coordinating everything and expertly dealing with the barrage of issues that came his way. Further, thanks to Robin Strain for doing a great job with everything Si-related, to Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (ESOC) and Interlopers Orienteering Club (INT) for lending us the kit, to all the EUOC members who volunteered to help and to everyone that came and ran.
As always, next year the EUOC Big Weekend will be in Edinburgh mid-January and is a great way to kick off your orienteering year - fingers crossed for no ice.
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Matthew Fellbaum and all the volunteers from Edinburgh University Orienteering Club and other clubs who helped organise and making this a great weekend of orienteering.