Christmas Cup 2021 | Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

28 December – 1 January

Organised by Masterplan Adventure, the Christmas Cup consisted of 4 days of orienteering in locations across the Central Belt.

Day 1 – Callendar Park, Tuesday 28 December
Callendar Park is in Falkirk, south of the town centre, and is a large area of ​​varied parkland centerd on the historic Callendar House. The terrain was described as “A mixture of fast open parkland and deceptively tricky woodland”. The area includes dense forest sloping to the north, with some intricate detail, many gullies and ditches, with contrasting open parkland, and a network of paths and tracks throughout.

Roger Scrutton commented, “Conditions were good at Callendar Park, dry, soft underfoot but no rain, and the brambles and bracken were as down as they are going to be. Developmental, if you’ve run there you will know that the trick is to use the paths as much as possible to reach a good attack point and then dive into the undergrowth to find the control. The planning was clever – 20 controls in 3.8km on the Short course – using a lot of short legs to keep you off the paths as much as possible.”

ESOC members in the top half of the results were:
Long (41 competitors) – Helen Bridle 8th, Alison O’Neil 13th, Rachel Brown 16th, Ben Brown 21st
Medium (46) – Alison Cunningham 15th
Short (23) – Roger Scrutton 8th, Mary Williams 10th

Day 2 – The Trossachs, Wednesday 29 December
The Trossachs orienteering area is beside Loch Katrine, and although this event only used the part to the west of the road to the Loch Katrine pier, it lived up to the area’s fearsome reputation. It’s very technical, with steep slopes, lots of rock (including some very large crags) and intricate contour detail, mostly open deciduous woodland, plus many marshes. Such rough terrain meant that most courses had a lot of climb, and there were some very long times and retirals. The weather was very wet, and cold at the beginning, but luckily it wasn’t windy.

Crawford Lindsay commented, “It was very wet everywhere – in the air, on the ground, and a complete change of clothing was required afterwards. The course was fun and I didn’t do as much ascent as I expected, going round most of the major obstacles and following the ‘fast, runnable’ marshes. My shoes have never been cleaner at the end of an event!”

ESOC members in the top half of the results were:
Long (49 competitors) – Andrew Lindsay 12th, Rachel Brown 24th, Helen Bridle 25th
Medium (52) – Rona Lindsay 6th, Richard Oxlade 14th, Crawford Lindsay 17th, Hanne Robertson 19th, Roger Garnett 25th
Short (30) – Mary Williams 6th, Roger Scrutton 7th, Margaret Dalgleish 8th, Rhona Fraser 15th
Yellow (5) – Calum Robertson 1st

Day 3 – South Achray, Friday 31 December
South Achray is part of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, and lies just north of Aberfoyle. The terrain was varied, described on the event website as “An area with 3 distinct sections. The western section is an interesting mix of contours, rocks and marshes. The northern section is steep with occasional low visibility but which is still runnable. The southern part is a mix of open, semi open and mature oak forest with distinct hills and occasional rock.”

Alison O’Neil commented, “It was very typical Scottish terrain: mix of runnability including some grotty bits!, marshes that were even wetter on this rainy day including bonus unmapped streams, scattered rock features, and often quite subtle contour detail especially in the first third of the course, which meant you needed to keep an eye on your compass as it was easy to drift off in the wrong direction. Definitely a late start was an advantage. Great choice of area to complement the other 3 days, and great planning with lots of controls meaning mostly short legs requiring constant concentration.”

ESOC members in the top half of the results were:
Long (45 competitors) – Helen Bridle 10th, Rachel Brown 18th, Tyler Morrison 22nd
Medium (40) – Richard Oxlade 16th
Short (22) – Megan Brown 7th

Day 4 – West Edinburgh, Saturday 1 January
This was a 2-part Sprint event in complex modern housing estates. The event parking was in Gyle Park, off the Glasgow Road, and the first race started by South Gyle railway station, with courses in the maze of the South Gyle and Gogarloch housing estates.
The second race had an optional chasing start, and was to the north, with the start in Craigs Road, off Drum Brae, and courses leading around East Craigs, another great area for Sprint racing. Both races featured many courtyards and narrow pathways between the houses, with pockets of parkland, trees, fences and other features.

Eleanor Pyrah reports: “This was a proper Sprint race, as opposed to an Urban. It called for a lot of concentration to stay in contact with the map and at the same time make sure you spotted the best route in and out of the little alleyways and courtyards; a ‘Sprint for the mind’ as they say, as much as for the legs. The Prologue was in the South Gyle housing estate and the Chase a short distance to the north, in Drumbrae. Both areas provide excellent Sprint terrain with irregular patterns of housing, small grassy areas, numerous cut-throughs and very little traffic on the minor roads. The planner, Graeme Ackland, had set a number of little tricks where the most obvious way often ended in a dead end and it was essential to look at the whole leg before setting off if you wanted to avoid mistakes. The optimum route often entailed making a considerable detour from the straight line. The quoted course lengths were for the optimum routes, rather than for the straight line distance, which I think is recommended practice for Sprint races. Certainly, I felt pleased when I had reached the finish in a surprisingly short time, about 18 minutes for both my short course runs.
The weather was mostly warm and sunny which helped the socializing element. All in all an excellent way to spend New Year’s Day.”

ESOC members in the top half of the results were:
Prologue
Long (45 competitors) – Helen Bridle 8th, Ben Brown 15th, Walter Clark 17th, Tyler Morrison 22nd
Medium (46) – Alison Cunningham 12th, Ronnie Nolan 14th, Richard Oxlade 18th, Maja Robertson 23rd
Short (34) – Judy Bell 7th, Calum Robertson 8th, Megan Brown 11th, Roger Scrutton 13th, Eleanor Pyrah 15th, Ian Pyrah 16th

Chase
Long (39 competitors) – Helen Bridle 11th, Walter Clark 17th, Ben Brown 19th
Medium (41) – Alison Cunningham 11th, Maja Robertson 18th, Helena Nolan 19th, Ronnie Nolan 20th
Short (25) – Calum Robertson 6th, Judy Bell 8th, Megan Brown 12th, Roger Scrutton 13th

Full results and further details about the event are on the Christmas Cup website.

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