Day 6, Glen Dye
I had run on here before, many years back, but the only thing I remember of it was that I didn’t enjoy it.
It must have been a different part of the map, or maybe the pleasant weather made a difference, but I really enjoyed the area, it was lovely and technical, but no big hills (apart from the one we started on top of) made it the day with the least amount of climbing – always a good thing. It was all gloriously runnable, and I had another good race – convieniently, the fourth out of six – with four days to count. The course had 21 controls – a crazy number considering the course was only 5.9km long. That meant a control every 300 metres on average! My worst mistake was the very first control – highly embarrasing considering it was a dead easy leg. I’ve never been great at first controls – witness Day 2 – but this one was only 100m from the start! Maybe the start kite was slightly off – it has always confused me why the start kite is not on the start line. Maybe I was just trying to hard to get a good run. In fact, it was another runner than pulled me down the slope too far to the left, or maybe it was my dodgy, cheap Type 7 compass. I don’t know… but it only cost me 60 seconds.
The rest of the course, up to 19, was easy going. 6, 7, 8 and 9 were all very technical, and I know other JOKers made mistakes here. 8-9 was an odd route. I’d just caught up with Tim, saw him make a mistake at 8 and so put on some extra speed to make clear water. I didn’t go around the path – the obvious route, but instead dropped into the marsh and along. I didn’t mind getting wet – it was the last day – but it was heavy going through the ferns and marsh. 9-10 was nice – I was completely alone here for some reason, but I thought I had done a good route so I don’t know why. Similarly, 10-11, the longest leg, was a lovely, pleasant run through hidden glades, straight to it, with every feature marked on the map, and used by myself to aim off.
14-15 had quite a chasm on it and it was tough to get across the river dry-shod. By now I should have been accelerating, but the other extract, below, shows why not – a very technical area, full of little hills and depressions, controls and confused orienteers. 16 was fine, 17 was also OK – some random Yorkshireman asked me at this point where he was, to which I pointed vaguely in the region of 17 and said “Somewhere here.” “Yes, I know that, but where here?” he said, but I had sped off. He wasn’t a little kid – so he should relocate himself and waste his own time. I guess he must have pissed me off, because I made my only other mistake at 19 – misreading the description for 18 as 19, I search in a thicket, on the edge of a small cliff, not for the depression 50m to the south where the control was. 20 was a bit mean – no one likes an uphill finish, but putting the penultimate control in a 10 metre pit was a bit much! And then it was on the the finish, the end of another six days and time for a nice lie down.
Special mention must be made of the campsite, in the grounds of lovely Crathes Castle. The first night was enlivened by a Status Quo concert. Some paid Â£30 to go along, but everyone heard the music, even from the campsite 500m away. Us non-paying cheapskates went along anyway to the barrier and could even see the stage from there so it was good enough. Shame about the music though.
We were in the “Youth” campsite, which was largely deserted as I guess everyone else wanted their sleep. But it wasn’t too bad actually – the main noise was a generator for the concert for the first two nights, rather than other campers. I didn’t have to cook myself – thanks to 3 BBQs (thanks Tim, ELO and JOK), 2 restaurant meals, 1 palming a pasta meal off Tim, and 1 Wilf’s takeaway – and it was great having a large marquee for social events every night, weather it was playing cards and drinking cheap beer from the bar, a quiz night, or a ceildh night. Oh, there was a “youth” disco – we stayed clear of that one! But having a marquee was definitely a good idea, and something I hope that future 6-Day organisers have. Even if future events are nearer normal forms of entertainment, having a marquee would still make a big difference.
All in all a great six days – the best one I’ve been to, beating Breadalbane 97, Highland 99 and Lochaber 2001. The forests were great, it wasn’t too hot, I was on form (suprisingly) and going with the JOKers meant for interesting evenings too. Nice to get away from the city, and rough it a bit camping. I definitely was getting used to campsite/orienteering life and genuinely felt bad when the week finished. Bring on Speyside 2007.