40 years after the first Scottish 6 Days over 3,000 competitors from 30 countries across the world converged on the scenic Glen Tanar Estate near Aboyne in Royal Deeside. Following a pleasant drive along the dusty dirt track cars emerged onto a vast field to the south of the River Tanar.
Over a 1,000 cars fitted comfortably into the space but we are grateful to the bus users who helped reduce any possible pressure on parking. Fine weather, aluminium trackway and a well-drilled parking team ensured this element of the event went smoothly. The race arena was situated in the top north west of the area – a departure from previous events that allowed an area of forest new to many orienteers to be used, especially suitable for juniors and those orienteers of more advanced years.
Red, Green and Blue starts were accessed by a beautiful path along the banks of the river. Many of the courses dropped back down the hill and took in a complex area of boulder fields, boulder clusters and boulders. There is a symbol for each of these! Inevitably there was a climb back again and all courses had a long trek across deep heather and areas of bog before climbing over or contouring round the western most hill. Courses finished through a small enclosure before emerging onto the pleasant runnable slopes above the arena. This looked terrific “dressed” with international flags (sorry USA nobody told me you were coming) and the Scottish 6 Days and EventScotland “Scotland the Perfect Stage” branding.
The British Red Cross was kept busy with the usual array of scratches and sprains. We apologise to the senior competitor who slipped and was severely lacerated on the final fence crossing – barbed wire worked its way through the protective lagging and competitors are reminded to take care on other days. On Day 2 there are bouncy bridges and a rather impressive set of stairs up and down over the final fence.
Thanks go to landowner Michael Bruce and all the estate staff, especially Ranger Eric Baird and new Sales & Events Executive Eilidh Connolly. Tayside Orienteers and Edinburgh South Orienteering Club did a great job organising, planning and controlling the day, and Davie Frame as Organiser will be a hard act to follow.
Back at base, not everything went entirely smoothly – vandalism to the water supply pipe (across Monaltrie Park) cut off the water supply that fed toilets, showers and water supply at the well-attended event campsite. It is hoped that with supply restored that we don’t need to switch to Plan B.
Looking forward to another day of sunny weather and runnable forest at Balfour Woods on Monday.
Footage from the first day of the 2017 Scottish 6 Days Orienteering Festival at Glen Tanar, Royal Deeside can be viewed here.
Report by Colin Matheson, Assistant Coordinator.