Mixed Moray

Flying to ScotlandThis year’s Scottish 6-Days was around the Moray Firth and, after much juggling of options, we eventually decided to fly up from Luton (near my parents) to Glasgow. This meant that Duncan would finally get to experience flying without the pain of long haul! It also meant we could take in some Scottish scenery, stopping in Stirling on route to our caravan site on the outskirts of Nairn. Christine’s cousin and family were staying in the adjacent caravan so the children would often disappear next door during the week. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we did really get to make the most of the nice sandy beach just 50 metres from the door.

Day 1: I had a reasonable start to the week finishing in 12th in the coastal dunes at Lossie. RouteGadget shows my main blunder was at the 8th control where, having just nipped off the path for each of the earlier controls, I actually had to do some fine navigation. A few smaller blunders towards the end at 16 and 17 where I had fallen in with Roger Goddard (interestingly, RouteGadget seems to show that he slowed down to my pace rather than my gaining from running with him!). It was pretty wet and, post run, I just sat in the car with the children waiting for a decidedly damp Christine to return.

Day 2: This time we headed west along the coast to Carse of Ardersier. I had a good run if a little lonely. Once again, RouteGadget shows a small miss at six and again at 21 although my route choice to 26 left a little to be desired as everyone else I spoke to had spurned the heather in favour of legging it round the path.

Culbin String CourseDay 3: Another nearby coastal location, this time Culbin. This was my best run of the week with a 5th place and, perhaps not coincidentally, was my first late start. This meant I got to take the children round an excellent string course which had activities at each control (bean bags in the bucket, blowing bubbles etc.). RouteGadget shows a pretty steady run except for an overshoot at the fourth control.

Fort GeorgeRest Day: We spurned all of the orienteering activities and went just up the road to Fort George where the children enjoyed the talk by a redcoat, displays, and just generally running around a working army base (complete with ‘armies’ as Duncan likes to call soldiers). We then had a fun afternoon at a JOK birthday bash.

Day 4: Loch of Boath was billed as ‘classic Highland forest’ which is always a bad sign in my books, particular when combined with another early start. RouteGadget really just shows too many fumbles to highlight any in particular and I came tumbling down to 17th place.

Roseisle String CourseDay 5: Today there was the excitement of parking on a taxiway of what was once RAF Kinloss (now Kinloss Barracks) and I got to partake in another fantastic string course with aeroplane related characters at every control in a fantastically runnable piece of mossy forest. Unfortunately this was the high point of the day at Roseisle as I had a terrible run. Thankfully I forgot my GPS so you can’t see the point at which I found control 14 when I was looking for 9 where I realised I hadn’t been to 8! That cost me around five minutes and there was more time lost just a control later. On top of which, the Inov8s that I had bought to replace my (dis)Integrators left me with a massive blister on my heel. At least things improved again with a trip to the beach at Findhorn.

Day 6: The last day was always going to be a disaster at the point at which we decided that, rather than having a late start, I should use my punching start to get out early so we could make a quick getaway. Coulmony was another ‘classic’ forest with a mix of bilberry, marsh and head high bracken. Interestingly, although RouteGadget shows some noticeable blunders, SplitsBrowser appears to show a pretty straight line so I must have been uniformly bad throughout! The only remarkable thing is that, despite taking 10 mins/k, I still had a 14th place to count towards my best four of the week and a 14th place overall.

Despite having already confirmed her 3rd place on W35L, Christine still managed to pull out a win on the final day! We didn’t stay for the prize giving though, instead setting off West to head down towards Glasgow via Loch Ness, Fort William and Glencoe. Unfortunately the rain had returned in force and we only stopped for a couple of short leg stretches on the way to our B&B. The return flight from Glasgow the following day was pretty uneventful, Emma being engrossed in the in-flight magazine for most of the journey!

All in all, it was a good week with enough sunshine to make you forget the rain and (some) excellent areas. Most importantly, the children enjoyed themselves!

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