Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

Scottish Spring 2016A weekend of events on 22/23/24 April 2016

Billed as a weekend of high quality orienteering in Pitlochry with the Dark Thistle Night Race at Craig a' Barns, the JOK Chasing Sprint at Faskally (UK Elite Orienteering League - UKEOL) and a Middle Distance Race at Bonskeid Estate (World Ranking Event and UKEOL).

The Scottish Spring was a weekend of racing in Perthshire. All the events were based around Pitlochry with the Faskally Caravan Park used as a base.

The weekend kicked off with the Dark Thistle Night Race at Craig a’Barns, organised by SEDS (the Scottish Elite Development Squad). This is a mass start night race, with all competitors starting at 9pm and courses closing just before midnight. Although there was a mass start, the courses were gaffled. There were 2 courses on offer: a long which was 9.2km and a short which was 5.5 km. From ESOC only the Lindsay family were (brave enough?) to enter the Dark Thistle Night Race. There were some long times, especially on the short course where almost half the field retired. Andrew Lindsay finished 6th on the Long and Rona was 4th on the Short.

The Saturday and Sunday events used the Caravan Park at Faskally as a base, with Saturday at Faskally and Sunday at Bonskeid (Turn right from the campsite on Saturday and left on Sunday).

Saturday was the famous JOK Chasing Sprint. JOK is a closed club formed of alumni of Oxford University Orienteering Club. Their Chasing Sprint is the same idea as ESOC’s sprint with two races: a prologue followed by a chasing start in the 2nd race, where your start time is determined by your time in the first race, with the fastest starting first and the first past the line is the winner. The big difference though is that this is sprint orienteering in forest rather than urban.

It was a cold and showery start to the day, but it stayed dry for the racing. As the entry was small, only 2 courses were on offer. Course 1 was for M/W21 and M40 and everyone else was on course 3. The start and finish of the first race were remote from the Caravan Park. There was a lot of wind blow and it was very rough underfoot in places. Some of us also had a lot of trouble interpreting an area of crags on the map. The Chase started roughly 1.5km away beside the car park for Faskally Woods, and wound its way through the forest before crossing through what appeared to be someone’s driveway into the caravan park for the final few controls.

There were only a few ESOC members there.

On course 1 (59 Entries), the best results were Andrew Lindsay 16th, Alistair Hindle 32nd, Rona Lindsay 37th.

On course 3 (49 Entries), the best results were Crawford Lindsay 18th, Rachel Brown was 20th, Margaret Dalgleish was 26th.

The prize giving was held after the race and the amazing Flying Pig Trophies were presented. The winners were also given cuddly pigs (apparently still in training as they had no wings) and sweets. The JOK website has an interesting history of the club and the origin of the flying pigs. Although there were only the 2 courses, each had many classes and the prizegiving reflected this with Rachel Brown 3rd in W16, and Margaret Dalgleish 2nd on W55+.

Many then stayed on at the campsite or in Pitlochry for the weekend. Others of us had a trip back down the A9 to return the next day for the Elite Middle Distance Event at Bonskeid. This was a World Ranking Race for the Elites, which was then open to all, with the Women’s Elite offered as a Green Course and the Men’s as a Blue. There was also an Orange course on offer. For the Juniors there was a Yellow course which remained on the campsite and caravan park.

ESOC had 3 competitors in the Elite race with Claire Ward finishing 3rd and Rona Lindsay 4th on the W21E and Andrew Lindsay finishing 20th on the M21E. Although special mention has to go to Andrew, who according to the splits took 0 seconds on the run-in!

It was then time for the mere mortals to have a go at these courses and see how we compared. The courses were fun and criss-crossed the area with some steep climbs. The final few controls in particular were on crags on a steep slope, where the best route choice was probably a descent to the path and then climb, rather than a traverse through an area which was rough underfoot. The Blue course also had a very steep descent down to the last control.

There was a larger turnout from ESOC for the Sunday. ESOC members in the top half:-
Blue (44 Entries): Clive Masson 16th, James Martin 24th
Green (77 Entries): Rachel Brown 13th, Alastair Lessells 16th, David Kershaw 17th, Gillian Martin 21st, Les Dalgleish 26th, Sally Lindsay 30th, Bill Stevenson 31st, Margaret Dalgleish 36th
Orange (17 Entries): Katy Lessells 7th
Yellow (5 Entries): Laurence Ward 2nd, Megan Brown 3rd

Links to results for all 3 of the above events can be accessed from the Scottish Spring website.

The Caravan Park again provided an excellent base to enjoy the sunny (but cold) weather and catch up with others to dissect courses and routes (as well as providing a play park, plenty of toilets and a shop selling ice-cream).

Report by Judy Bell

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