Aberdeenshire is famous for cattle (Aberdeenshire Angus) but unfortunately, they need somewhere to eat, sleep and carry out bodily functions. We only discovered a few days ago that beasts were still on the Day 2 and Day 3 arena, and had marked their presence. Apologies for anyone who stood or slipped in something fragrant.
Balfour Woods were new to orienteering – I initially had doubts that the area could support a quality event, influenced no doubt by my decision to cross a large open area on the initial recce. Experienced Technical Coordinator, Sarah Dunn, convinced me otherwise and indeed it was a fine area for this event. Fortunately, the courses were nearly all in white forest, certainly more runnable than Day 1 though there were still a large number of sprains caused by rough ground (mossy boulders?) and cuts (low hanging branches) treated by British Red Cross. There were some excellent contour features and some surprisingly massive boulders that aided relocation. Runners were treated to elaborate wall and fence crossings, fitter runners choosing to launch themselves into mid-air rather than bothering to step down.
Thanks go to John Emeleus (Day Organiser) and helping clubs of Kingdom of Fife Orienteers, Solway Orienteers and Inverness Orienteering Club.
Planners Iain Shepherd and Marsela McLeod set some excellent courses.
Scotland has an (unfounded) reputation for being wet so it is somewhat ironic that the lack of water has been a major issue! It’s a long and complicated story but essentially Ballater does not have enough water to supply 500 dirty and thirsty campers. Scottish Water (left hand) gave permission to discharge to the sewer but nobody questioned where this water might be coming from. Scottish Water (right hand) thought there was a water leak somewhere until someone spotted the event campsite. Essentially Scottish Water turned off the tap and now we need water tankered in. We pay for each litre you use, so any measures you can take to reduce water usage are most appreciated.
So Day 3 and it is back to Day 2 parking and race arena, but a very different orienteering challenge awaits.
Footage from the second day of the 2017 Scottish 6 Days Orienteering Festival at Balfour forest, Royal Deeside can be viewed here.
Report by Colin Matheson, Assistant Coordinator.