Badenoch & Strathspey Orienteering Club

Edinburgh 'Big Weekend'

Rebecca, Paul and Lynne at Edinburgh Big Weekend 2024
Rebecca, Paul and Lynne at Edinburgh Big Weekend 2024
Credit: Clare Kemsley
Published: Wed 7 Feb 2024

So, just what does the Big Weekend (BW) involve? Rebecca takes on her first one and shares her experiences with us.

Orienteering just gets better and better! Having had a brilliant introduction to the sport over the summer I have had a super time attending a variety of events over the autumn and winter. There are so many forest events on offer, urban orienteering hadn’t featured on my radar. I knew it existed, but the thought of running round the city didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. However, with a number of events having been cancelled over the past few months I was starting get withdrawal symptoms and the lure of city streets won over when school weekend exeat coincided with the Edinburgh BW. I have to admit, I wasn’t overly excited about the prospect but thought of it as a good opportunity to try something different and get some time running with a map in hand.

Saturday’s event was held in a sunny South Queensferry. A quick low down from Lynne and I was off to the start. Before I knew it I had map in hand and was completely absorbed in a fast and furious blur of controls, houses, pavements, lanes and pounding feet. Fifteen minutes later it was all over and I emerged, a little dazed, into the calm after the storm. I am not sure I had even remembered to breathe. My competitive nature was whet and the next step was to work out how to go faster and cleaner the following day.

Sunday was a much longer course round the Bughtlin housing estate in Edinburgh. Now that I knew what was coming (and had learned that the little thin black lines were pavement edges and not walls), I felt a little better prepared, a feeling which quickly evaporated as the 30 plus controls came thick and fast. Forty minutes disappeared in the blink of an eye and I went through the finish line buzzing with adrenaline. The level of concentration required was immense with the slightest mistake or mis-read adding significantly to times. I couldn’t believe the speed of the elite runners, it was incredible to watch and utterly inspiring.

Janette summed it up perfectly on Sunday afternoon when she said “It is a whole different sport”. It was a great fun weekend and I would definitely recommend giving it a go. There will be lots of opportunities to do so as part of the Tour events at WOC24. There are also volunteering opportunities - you could end up 'guarding' a control and being face-to-face with the elites as they speed around their course!

Thank you for sharing this with us Rebecca. You can look at the courses by following the RouteGadget links on the BW results page. Clare, Alice, Janette, Paul and Lynne all took part in the races over the BW.