ESOC

Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

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Lochaber 2021 - Scottish 6 Days

1 - 7 August

Due to Covid restrictions, the 6-Days was in doubt until mid-July, and eventually was split into two 3-day events to reduce numbers attending on any one day. Competitors who had entered all 6 days were allocated 3 days out of 6 - Group A on Days 1, 2 and 5; Group B on Days 3, 4 and 6. ESOC’s organising day was Day 6, so most ESOC members competed in Group B. Some were in Group A, if they were travelling with people from other clubs who were in that group. Another complication was that Day 5 was a World Ranking Event, so M/W21E competitors ran that day instead of Day 4. 
The weather was mixed but generally good, there were fewer midges than feared, and the scenery was beautiful, with some wonderful views. Although there were no rest day activities or programme of social events this year, there was plenty to do in the surrounding area, including many different walks, boat trips and rides on the West Highland Line.

Day 1: Ardchattan, Sunday 1 August
Ardchattan is on the north shore of Loch Etive, near Connel Bridge, north of Oban. It’s a large area, mainly hillside with panoramic views over the loch. The terrain includes open moorland and marshes, with many rock features, and vegetation is tussock and bog myrtle, bracken on the lower slopes, and some patches of gorse. There are trees along the streams, some of which are in deep gorges. The weather was fine and sunny.
Just a few ESOC members competed – the most notable result came from Mary Williams, who won W70L.

Day 2: Inverlochy, Monday 2 August
A new area, Inverlochy includes the golf course on the northern edge of Fort William, up onto the lower slopes of the Nevis range. The terrain is very mixed, including open fairways on the golf course, birch scrub and areas of marsh, oak woodland on the steeper slopes, and extensive bracken on open areas. 
This was a Middle Distance event, and again just a few ESOC members competed.

Day 3: Arisaig, Tuesday 3 August
Arisaig is on the Road to the Isles (west of Fort William) where there is great coastal scenery with beautiful sandy beaches. Some had orienteered here before at a Purple Thistle event. The terrain is open moorland, mostly grassy, with some bracken in places. There are a lot of complex contours, plenty of rock features, marshes, streams and small lochans, and glorious views. Some courses had a very long first leg. Most ESOC members competed on this day, and there were wins for Rachel Brown in W18L and Alison Cunningham in W55L.
Some ESOC members enjoyed a social on the beach at Arisaig afterwards, though parking was difficult.

Rest Day: Wednesday 4 August
ESOC competitors found lots of interesting and energetic activities on the rest day. Several turfing groups toured Fort William; some parties went hillwalking; lower level walkers visited various destinations including the northern corries of Ben Nevis, Steall waterfall in Glen Nevis and the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall near Kinlochleven. There was an online Rest Day quiz in the evening too. 

Day 4: Creag Dhubh, Thursday 5 August
Originally, Day 4 was planned to be at Achnacarry, NE of Fort William along the Great Glen, but various circumstances led to it being moved to Creag Dhubh, the Day 5 area.
Creag Dhubh is further east, near Newtonmore, and is a new area for orienteering. The map covers open birch woodland on the SE side of the hill, and the longer courses continued over the top of the hill onto the open moorland on the NW slopes. The terrain includes steep hillsides, boulder fields, areas of scree and marshes, and was reported as pretty rough, with much bracken hiding the features. The weather was dry but mainly cloudy. Most ESOC members competed on this day.

Day 5: Creag Dhubh, Friday 6 August
This was the same area as Day 4. Day 5 was a World Ranking Event, so M/W21E entrants ran this day, and not Day 4. A few other ESOC members ran Day 5 too. Although there was an extensive network of elephant tracks from the day before, these didn’t necessarily help!
It was quite wet, with heavy showers but luckily not the thunder that was forecast.

Day 6: Creag Meagaidh, Saturday 7 August
Creag Meagaidh is a National Nature Reserve, east of Spean Bridge on the north side of Loch Laggan. The terrain is mainly open grassland and heath, with extensive marshes, boulder fields and lines of crags. It was reported to be rough.
This was a Middle Distance race. Except for the youngest juniors, there was a long walk to the starts, and a remote finish. This was ESOC’s organising day; many people were there early to help and/or stayed late clearing up. The weather was mostly dry, with a couple of heavy showers.

There was no prizegiving this year. In the overall results, scores were calculated using the Scottish 6 Day points system. Points were awarded for each day’s result, based on finishing position (i.e. 1 point for 1st place, 2 points for 2nd place, and so on). A competitor’s best 2 out of 3 results were added up to give their overall score, and with such a limited set of results, there were a lot of ties. 

ESOC competitors in the top half of the overall results were:
   M12A (22 competitors) – Calum Robertson 7th=
   M14A (25) – Fraser Lupton 10th
   M16B (9) – Adam Clark 4th 
   M21S (22) – Tyler Morrison 1st=, James Fathers 8th 
   M45S (14) – Walter Clark 1st= 
   M50L (65) – Peter O’Hara 12th 
   M50S (25) – Clive Masson 3rd=, Mark Wood 7th= 
   M55L (96) – Keith Brown 27th 
   M55S (41) – Finlay Ross 10th 
   M70L (61) – Les Dalgleish 31st 
   W12B (7) – Rebecca Daley and Zoe Clark 3rd= 
   W18L (13) – Rachel Brown 1st= 
   W21E (30) – Rona Lindsay 4th, Katrina McLeod 8th 
   W21L (16) – Isla Simmons 1st=
   W45L (31) – Fran Daley 8th 
   W50S (32) – Hanner Robertson 9th, Judy Bell 15th= 
   W55L (54) – Alison Cunningham 1st, Helena Nolan 6th 
   W55S (25) – Rachel Fawthrop 1st, Karena Hanley 9th 
   W65L (39) – Margaret Dalgleish 14th, 
   W65S (17) – Jayne MacGregor 4th 
   W70L (31) – Mary Williams 2nd=

The Scottish 6 Days website gives further details, including description of the competition areas, day reports, video highlights, and full results for each day, including Routegadget.

Day 2 (Inverlochy), Day 3 (Arisaig) and Days 4 and 5 combined (Creag Dhubh) were the 3rd, 4th and 5th events in the 2021 UK Orienteering League. There are more details about the UKOL, including the league tables, on the UK Orienteering League page of the British Orienteering website. ESOC is now lying 22nd in the club league. The score for each club is calculated automatically from the 15 best club members' scores (across various age class groups) - so the club members whose scores are included may change as the year goes on and more events are included.

  

Image Gallery

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Arisaig - parking and general view of terrain, Rona Lindsay

Arisaig - parking and general view of terrain

Arisaig - route to Starts, Rona Lindsay

Arisaig - route to Starts

Arisaig beach - Starts were by the mast in the background, Rona Lindsay

Arisaig beach - Starts were by the mast in the background

Creag Dhubh - parking and general view of the hill, Rona Lindsay

Creag Dhubh - parking and general view of the hill

Creag Meagaidh, Walter Clark

Creag Meagaidh

Creag Meagaidh - view NE, Walter Clark

Creag Meagaidh - view NE