Summer time orienteering events

Alice Adrian

Alice Adrian
Credit: Clare Kemsley

Posted: Wed 11 Aug 2021

BASOC members have been out and about - Coast & Islands at the end of July and Lochaber 2021 at the start of August. Read the reports below from some who went to those events.

1. Lochaber 2021

This multi-day event was reduced from S6D to S3D this year.
Day 5 at Creag Dhubh was also the day BASOC helped to stage. Read the report from the day on the Lochaber 2021 website – Jo is given special thanks and features in the photos. The website also has links to videos from each day – Jo stars in the video from Day 2 and Janette at the run in of Day 6 - and the overall results as well as RouteGadget (so you can see the areas, courses and routes competitors took).
Here are the overall results for BASOC folks (overall results are a merger of Group A and Group B positions):



Overall position

Duncan Francis



Callum Scott



Rob Hickling



Adrian Hope



Alice Kemsley


1st =

Faith Kenyon



Jane Chisholm



Janette Macleod



Clare Kemsley



Hilary Scott



Jo Cumming



Marion MacCormick


1st =

Well done to all, there were some very tough courses. Special mentions for Marion, Adrian and Alice who were all 1st in their class!

Reports from those who ran the races.

From Marion:
The 3 competition areas which we used were varied as usual. The use of a golf course allowed for some fast running and those who went further afield had some tough parts but the shorter courses were perhaps less of a challenge than in other areas.
The areas we used were in very scenic places as usual! Loch Etive on Day 1 and Ben Nevis on Day 2 were spectacular.
However having the split days was not so good. In some classes the split was very uneven. The idea that overall results can bring both groups together seems unrealistic. It would have been better to keep to 2 3 day events for each section.
However the Scottish 6 Days is not so much about competition and so for me it felt pretty flat. Our own club had few runners. The clubs in which most of my friends run were not using our 3 days. The opportunity to catch up with them all is the most attractive aspect of this event and that was largely missing.

From Ann (String course i/c):
The forecast was ominous but wasn't as bad as feared and as the morning progressed more entrants arrived for the string/off string course. A lovely little area of wee hills, fallen trees, stone wall and lots of boulders. A lovely course was planned by Clare. The children all enjoyed looking for the "wild cats". Great fun hearing their stories of how they got round and they all loved their stickers and prizes for getting round.

From Duncan:
So I didn’t even know what S3D was until Jo reminded me…! :) What a shame, I was really looking forward to Arisaig. But never mind, better three days than none. Even if I had to change from Day 5 to Day 4 due to work commitments, and thus wasn’t able to help out with the Day Five parking… Sorry again Jo… :( Anyway….. It was odd not having all of the club tents, or shops, or food outlets, and not really seeing much of other people, but as I say, better that than nothing. t was just so good to be out running in large events again.
Day 1. Ardchattan. Wow. As a Swedish orienteer once said to me a Penhale Sands, “Where are all your trees?!” Fast and furious over the heather. Navigate…navigate… All was going brilliantly until No 5, which I could see from 200m away. Sadly, I couldn’t see it from 20m away, got distracted, and went straight past it. Agh. Three minutes of dithering. Oh well, back on course, and finished 8th, with Championship ranking, so not so bad in the end.
Day 2. Inverlochy. More traditional terrain, and again I was going well until I left No 5, and went too fast after someone else heading in the same direction. always a bad mistake. Got very confused in the bracken, went downhill both physically and technically, and lost another three minutes getting to No 6. That has a much bigger effect on a middle distance race, and I was down to 11th and ‘only’ Gold standard. Sigh. But I wasn’t the only one; Jane Chisholm, Jo and Clare also had a ‘hiccup’ on a single control….
Day 3. Creag Dubh. What an absolutely amazing map! Just the one track on the whole thing. As close to running in Sweden as you can get. Careful now… Navigate, navigate, navigate…. Slight mishap on No 3 but nothing too serious, and started to get some serious speed through the bracken. Navigate, navigate…. Finished! What a great run! Effusive thanks to planner and controller at the finish. It looked as though they were all going to be bingo controls, but through fabulous planning, they weren’t; the attack points were there if you looked for them. It was just absorbing from start to finish. If you got lost on the other hand…. all was lost! Best run of the event, and came in 5th, with another Championship Award. Fabulous. What a great way to finish. Roll on the next S6D!

From Jo: (coordinator of BASOC helpers, Day 5)
Paul Duley GRAMP was the DO and Tim Darlow RR was the ADO. They were great to work with. Once they realised BASOC could pull together an experienced team for the Strings and Parking they let us get on with it and I kept them up to date. Between the 3 of us I think we thought of most things in addition to what is in the 6 Day Organisers' Manual. I was able to provide local knowledge and know Angus Macpherson. I picked up his loathing of litter and hopefully put his mind at rest over a few other things. Some weird edicts come down from on high, like having just one helper on the Strings, but I know from Strathearn to either challenge or work round them. Fortunately our Wanderer returned safely and the Rescue Plan was not put to the test! I think we have a great team ethos in BASOC. I always find the people able to help at an event are willing to share their experience and get the work done which makes organising much easier.

From Ian:
My reflections on the training sessions and my day 5 at the 6-day.
"I need to take more time to find a way of aligning distances on the ground with those on the map in my mind",
"Getting totally lost on the first control on Day 5 was not fun but could have been avoided by targeting the path running E/W above the control and using the 2 sides of the triangle rather than the hypotenuse",
"If you're one of ten people looking for the same control then you're probably in the wrong place" - discussion after the event!
And finally, "It's very easy in a craggy area to force what you are seeing to fit where you think you are on the map, but not usually very helpful in finding the control!"

2. Coast and Islands

Alison, Ross & Lynne took part in the new event, held over 6 days and on areas from Lochinver to Armadale (Skye).

From Alison & Ross:
Well Ross and I had decided that the Coast & Islands week of orienteering sounded like a safe bet it would go ahead with only 200 entries available, and bonus that Ross already had that week off work due to shutdown. So we begged his parents for a borrow of their camper van so we could set off on our first campervan trip. What a great week! It was actually the intro back to orienteering we were needing after being stuck in Glasgow for too long! Chris and Masterplan Adventures did such a great job putting together really quality races for the week but also the holiday atmosphere. We did two different hill walks, a trip to the Gairloch museum and Inverewe gardens, oh and a few castles as well! It was also such varied terrain throughout the week which kept one on their toes! The sprint in Ullapool was fairly straightforward, but right in there with fast decision making. Then we had an interesting "middle" in Lochinver, the map scale was 1:5000 and it really took me a bit of time to get my head around. The swim was also very nice afterwards as was rather warm, and the pies for dinner just topped off the day! We then had some days more of normal Scottish moor land which again was nice to get back to. The "middle" at Kyle of Lochalsh and the Plock was an entertaining one! I'm very glad we were not first starters with the bracken well above head height, and not just my short head either! We then drove over to Skye which was a total treat having not spent much time there before and Ross only ever driving over the bridge. The last day there was a course of I'd say three very different sections, which kept one on their toes the whole time! After really messing up the start I settled in and really enjoyed my 6th day and super happy to just come away unbroken after a winter injury.

From Lynne:
Like Alison & Ross I entered this event as I was reasonably sure it would go ahead; I also was attracted by the areas we would be orienteering in. Pre-event information was comprehensive and also gave recommended places to visit each day. When you read that the maps scale caried from 1:5000 (Culag Wood & The Plock) to 1:7500 (Inverewe & Ben Shieldaig N) to 1:10000 (Armadale) you knew that it would be technical.
It was a great event – a chance to connect with some in the ‘O’ community again, low key organisation and great courses. Chris (Smithard) basically ran it as a one-man show and he had designed excellent courses which were all technically hard and (for an oldie like me) quite physical.
Ullapool Sprint got us all going. Unfortunately I had a problem with my feet (severe pain on both feet at the metatarsal by the little toe) after this so I ended up putting cotton wool pads there, held in place with micropore which worked along with the sifter ground for the other races.
Culag Wood at Lochinver was an experience. To quote from someone’s AttackPoint blog “I can’t remember a rougher orienteering course than that, I really can’t. I don’t know whether it was because we were first starts, but it was really, really extreme. I think even the last starts would have had a fair bit of commando crawling under face-scraping spruce. 3-4 was particularly rough, and at 4 I could see the control, but couldn’t work out how to get there. In the end I had to get right down to the ground and pull myself along like a snake.” Yup it was hard and physical and really easy to make errors. There was great satisfaction from completing it! The pies from the Lochinver Larder were excellent!
Day 3 was a late afternoon / early evening race at Inverewe. This started in the wood and then on the open moorland; the change disorientated some. I had a melt down on the way to #6, basically a glucose low so lacked concentration for this leg but picked up again after that.
I loved Day 4 at Ben Shieldaig North – it was wet from above & below, it was tussocky moorland and compass work had to be spot on. If you had to relocate it was really really difficult. Many controls were visible but the one you wanted was well placed and often the feature was seen before the control.
The Plock at Kyle, well I have written on my map “Visit this place only in the winter”. After 3 controls I had a mantra “Take the path, take the path”.
On Day 6 at Armadale Castle on Skye, I manged the first part well (a control pick) until the last control in the area when I went round three sides of a rectangle. The final controls on the steep slope required careful navigation with diagonal legs up or down slope.
Results for this event probably do not matter to most, we have a mini-competition at our area of the results. I did Short Technical and was happy to be in the middle third each day, avoiding the long tail. As I found the ground quite tough to move over I was walking most of the time which meant it was easier to nail the navigation. All results and daily videos are on the Coast & Islands website.
Finally the coffee shops! As well as the Lochinver Larder, the ‘burger’ van serves good freshly cooked food. Inverewe had an interesting coffee shop with nice cake. The best find of the week was on Skye, An Crubh near Oronsay. This is a community built shop / café / meeting space. The food was excellent.
Next year MasterPlan Adventure have pencilled in 24th – 30th July 2022 and the event might be on the Isle of Arran.

Published by Lynne Walker