30 July - 5 August
Day 1: Glen Tanar, Sunday 30 July
This was ESOC’s day for helping, which meant an early start and/or late finish to the day for many, but most managed to fit in a run as well. The longer courses had a long walk to the start, along the Water of Tanar. The area covers several hills, with some large tracks and open rides through mature conifer forest, steep and rocky near the far start, but mostly on gently rolling slopes. The longest courses encountered some intricate contours and rock features further east. There was much bracken in places, and a lot of open marshland to cross, which was slow going.
Day 2: Balfour Forest, Monday 31 July
This was a new area, further east, again quite hilly, with terrain varying from fast forest to rough open, as well as one part with complex contour features. Many people seemed to enjoy this day more than Day 1.
Day 3: Birsemore Hill, Tuesday 1 August
Birsemore Hill lies between Balfour Forest and Glen Tanar, and the arena for Day 3 was the same as for Day 2, though with a different run-in. M/W21E had a Middle Distance race (a World Ranking Event). The terrain included some vague contours on the top of the hill, and intricate areas on the steep northern slopes, where there were a lot of rock features. The far west of the map overlaps with Glen Tanar, and the longer courses also had some controls in a complex area there. The final few controls for all courses led through dense forest and marshes, before a gentler approach to the final run-in.
Rest Day: Wednesday 2 August
On the rest day, the weather was mainly warm and sunny, and people ventured far and wide to take in the attractions of the surrounding area. There was orienteering available too, with a Sprint race in Ballater (this was the sixth event in the 2017 Scottish Orienteering Urban League - see separate report), and Trail O at Cambus O’ May.
Day 4: Creag Choinnich, Thursday 3 August
Many remembered this area from the Scottish Relays in 2012. The longer courses, from the far (high) start, had a tough beginning on open moorland with in deep heather, before descending steeply to the forest, which was very rough underfoot, eventually heading to gentler slopes and marshes south of Creag Choinnich, near the lower start. The shorter courses avoided the rougher, higher and steepest parts. All courses led round the hill to several easier controls and then a fast descent over fields to the finish.
Day 5: Glen Feardar East, Friday 4 August.
Glen Feardar was the venue for the Scottish Championships in 2012, and the eastern part of the area features open hillside, birch woodland and patchy natural pine forest, with bracken on the lower slopes. The longer courses ventured onto high ground and had lovely views. All crossed the river to a few controls on open ground before a steep downhill finish.
Day 6: Glen Feardar West, Saturday 5 August
Day 6 had the same arena as Day 5, and used the western part of the area, which is mainly conifer plantation, very steep and rocky in places. The longer courses looped around the hill and emerged from the forest onto heathery ground (which some had visited the day before), then descended to the final few fast and furious legs across fields. Shorter courses, from the nearer start, avoided the roughest terrain. M/W21E started in reverse order at fixed intervals based on overall times from first 5 days (i.e. the leaders started last).
ESOC’s best overall result was Rachel Brown’s well-deserved 2nd place in W14A. Others who finished in the top half of their classes were:
M12A (43 competitors) – Adam Clark 19th
M14B (15) – Jamie Lawlor 5th
M18S (13) – Ben Brown 5th
M21E (48) – Andrew Lindsay 24th
M40S (31) – Walter Clark 3rd
M45S (39) – Clive Masson 4th
M50S (70) – Finlay Ross 20th
M55L (109) – Keith Brown 34th
M60L (98) – Crawford Lindsay 30th
M60S (59) – Alistair Armitage 9th
M65S (49) – Roger Garnett 2nd
M70L (83) – Alastair Lessells 26th, Roger Scrutton 31st
W10B (11) – Zoe Clark 4th
W12A (34) – Maja Robertson 12th
W21E (20) – Rona Lindsay 7th
W35S (18) – Anna Morgan 8th
W40L (29) – Heather Thomson 10th
W45S (38) – Leonne Hutchinson 14th, Judy Bell 18th
W50L (73) – Alison Cunningham 8th, Helena Nolan 21st
W60L (51) – Janice Nisbet 9th, Sally Lindsay 18th
W65L (54) – Margaret Dalgleish 6th, Mary Williams 7th, Anne Stevenson 15th
W65S (41) – Fiona Findlay 7th
W70L (39) – Eleanor Pyrah 10th
W75L (18) – Janet Clark 6th
For M/W21E, scoring was based on cumulative time over the week (to be competitive, they needed to run every day, and only those who ran every day are included in the numbers of competitors shown above).
For all other classes, 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). Competitors who did not start, retired, or mispunched were awarded a score 5% higher than the maximum number (over all 6 days) of entrants for the class. A competitor’s 4 best scores of the week were totalled to give their overall score. Those with a low enough score could buy a gold, silver or bronze cloth badge. Badge standards were based on the number of competitors in the class; the full list is available on the Competition Information page of the Royal Deeside 2017 website (see "Cloth Points Award Badges").
The Royal Deeside 2017 website gives further description of the competition areas, comments and results for each day, including Routegadget, and links to many photos.
Day 2 (Balfour Forest) and Day 4 (Creag Choinnich) were the 13th and 14th events in the 2017 UK Orienteering League.
ESOC is now lying 33rd in the club competition. There's no need to formally enter a team for the club league - the scores are calculated automatically from the 15 best club members' scores (across various age class groups) - so the club members whose scores are included have changed as the year goes on and people's scores increase.
There are more details about the UKOL, including the league tables, on the UK Orienteering League page of the British Orienteering website.
Click the image for a larger version.