Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

Race the Castles 2014 (part 1)Edinburgh/Stirling, 10-12 October

The first weekend of this eagerly-anticipated “new International Orienteering Festival” lived up to expectations, and there were some excellent ESOC results.  

Friday evening saw the warm-up sprint event in a new area of central Edinburgh, The Exchange, in the triangle bounded by Morrison Street, Lothian Road and Shandwick Place/Atholl Place. The start and finish were in Festival Square, and courses swiftly headed into the complicated multi-level surroundings of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Sheraton Hotel, then crossed the Western Approach Road (via a bridge) to the new offices and contrasting Georgian terraces beyond. There were many confusing route choices and sometimes working out any route at all was a real challenge! The weather was fine, following a heavy shower in the late afternoon. Early starters had the benefit of running in the light; later starters had the chance to check out their headtorches and brush up their night orienteering.

ESOC results in the top half were:
Open Men (87 competitors) – Ray Ward 6th, Andrew Lindsay 10th, Walter Clark 24th, Craig Nolan 25th
Open Women (37) – Claire Ward 1st, Rona Lindsay 4th, Gemma Karatay 11th, Fran Daley 13th
Veteran Men 40+ (41) – Alistair Hindle 3rd, Mark Wood 4th
Veteran Women 40+ (25) – Alison Cunningham 3rd, Fiona Murray 13th
Supervet Men 55+ (42) – Mike Stewart 7th, Martin Caldwell 9th
Supervet Women 55+ (25) – Maggie Scrugham 2nd, Sally Lindsay 4th, Mary Williams 5th, Janice Nisbet 9th
Ultravet Men 65+ (25) – Alastair Lessells 7th, Roger Scrutton 12th
Ultravet Women 65+ (11) – Katy Lessells 2nd, Eleanor Pyrah 5th
Junior Women 16- (4) – Kerry Wood 2nd
Young Junior Women (2) – Rachel Brown 1st


On Saturday, it was the Edinburgh city event, with a Sprint for the elites and a regular Urban event for everyone else. The assembly arena was at the Ross Bandstand, in West Princes Street Gardens, which was a colourful scene throughout the day. The elites raced first, and the start for senior courses was by St Giles Cathedral.
As expected, there were many steps and closes to negotiate, and lots of climb. Some tricky control sites caught out the unwary, and other hazards included large crowds watching street entertainers in the Royal Mile, a wedding and street market in the Grassmarket, and a surprising number of tourists everywhere.
The weather was sunny and warm.

ESOC results in the top half were:
Women Elite (50 competitors) – Claire Ward 6th, Helen Bridle 14th
Open Men (62) – Mehmet Karatay 26th
Open Women (45) – Gemma Karatay 6th, Fran Daley 20th, Gill Martin 21st
Veteran Men 40+ (77) – Mark Wood 18th=
Veteran Women 40+ (58) – Alison Cunningham 3rd, Helena Nolan 11th
Supervet Men 55+ (72) – Mike Stewart 18th, Crawford Lindsay 25th
Supervet Women 55+ (50) – Janice Nisbet 8th, Maggie Scrugham 9th, Sally Lindsay 10th, Mary Williams 13th, Margaret Dalgleish 18th
Ultravet Men 65+ (51) – Roger Scrutton 9th, Ian Pyrah 16th=, Alastair Lessells 19th
Ultravet Women 65+ (24) – Eleanor Pyrah 7th, Janet Clark 10th=, Katy Lessells 12th
Junior Women 16- (16) – Kerry Wood 8th
Young Junior Women 12- (14) – Rachel Brown 1st

On Sunday, Stirling was the setting for the next race in the series. It was an early start for those competing on the elite Sprint courses; very misty and cool to begin with, though it brightened up later. The finish arena was on an old bowling green beside the 17th Century Cowane’s Hospital, with good close views of the final control and run-in.
The courses had the added excitement of going into Stirling Castle itself. This proved to be very complicated and great fun, with multi-level routes on battlements and through passageways to gardens and courtyards. The old town provided plenty of varied challenges too, particularly on the longer legs. Most urban courses descended all the way to the grassy banks of the King’s Knot below the castle, before returning to the higher ground, to wind their way through the old town. The longest courses had double-sided maps.

ESOC results in the top half were:
Men Elite (80 competitors) – Andrew Lindsay 40th=
Women Elite (43) – Helen Bridle 10th, Rona Lindsay 22nd
Open Men (46) – Jonathan Ellis 20th
Open Women (35) – Gemma Karatay 9th, Gill Martin 14th
Veteran Men 40+ (68) – Mark Wood 21st
Veteran Women 40+ (50) – Alison Cunningham 3rd, Helena Nolan 13th
Supervet Men 55+ (66) – Mike Stewart 21st, Crawford Lindsay 33rd
Supervet Women 55+ (40) – Sally Lindsay 4th, Janice Nisbet 5th, Margaret Dalgleish 12th, Mary Williams 15th
Ultravet Men 65+ (43) – Roger Scrutton 13th
Ultravet Women 65+ (20) – Eleanor Pyrah 5th
Junior Women 16- (18) – Kerry Wood 8th
Young Junior Women 12- (10) – Rachel Brown 2nd

Full results for all three events are available on the Race the Castles website, along with a wealth of other information including links to photo galleries and also Routegadget, so you can see where the courses went.

The Edinburgh and Stirling Urban races were part of the 2014 UK Urban League, whose prizegiving took place on Sunday. The best ESOC results came from Rachel Brown, 2nd in Young Junior Women 12-, and Kerry Wood, 3rd in Junior Women 16-. More details about the UK Urban League, and the league tables themselves, are available on the UK Urban League website.

These events were also the 16th and 17th in this year’s 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.

Other entries categorised under: Event Reports