Report by Chris Smithard member of Forth Valley Orienteers and Organiser/Coordinator, Masterplan Adventure
The first Christmas Orienteering Cup took place over four days of orienteering in central Scotland using a variety of different terrains that attracted people from all over the UK in what is normally a quiet time for the sport.
Day 1 took place at Callendar Park, though as more than one competitor remarked the word 'park' did not do this area justice especially as the courses stayed pretty much in woodland the entire time!
The second day was the area most people had been looking forward to the most - the Trossachs. If you've never heard of the Trossachs before then it's definitely one to add to your bucket list: contours, crags, rocks, and marshes all covered in a gorgeous deciduous woodland. Did we mention the contours? There's a lot of them which makes the area super tough, the long course was only 4.3km but it took multiple British Champion Graham Gristwood 43 minutes to complete! Don't let the toughness put you off coming in the future, it really is a magical place!
After a day off we were back into the Loch Lomond National Park, not so far from the Trossachs with a trip to South Achray. It's a super mixed area: from vague knolls sticking out of the marsh, a steep slope which changes from good visibility to very low visibility, a large rolling open and semi-open area, and finally a small pocket of beautiful oak woodland with a mix of contours and the occasional rock.
For the final day, we headed into Edinburgh for two sprint races: a prologue followed by a chase. The intricate areas along with Graeme Ackland's planning caught most people by surprise with many people even running the wrong way out of the start on the prologue! In fact, many people enjoyed the sprint areas as much as the Trossachs.
To find out more and keep up to date on the plans for next Christmas you can sign up to receive news here on the Christmas Cup website.