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Orienteers complete ice challenge in the dark!

By SPP Reporter

Just staying on your feet was important as staying on track when around 80

Orienteers Alan Halliday and Kathryn Barr at the start of the course.
Orienteers Alan Halliday and Kathryn Barr at the start of the course.

 local orienteers gathered on an icy Forres Golf Course last Wednesday night.

Children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent had teamed up with Moravian Orienteers and Forres Golf Club to stage a night navigation racing challenge in memory of Roseisle teenager Matthew Campbell who had successfully battled cancer for virtually all his 16 years until two years ago.

Freezing conditions had made ice rinks out of the tracks and paths on the golf course, and adjacent Muiry woods, tempting runners to take the more tricky cross-country routes.

Despite a few slips and slides, the best of the bunch was local man Jon Hollingdale who won the 5.7km long course in just under 39 minutes.

Hollingdale had some good-quality opposition with British international orienteer Jessica Tullie and Inverness-based climber and mountain runner Johannes Felter separated by just seconds in runner-up and 3rd spot.

The event was included in the 6-race Northern night Cup series, encouraging some of the best orienteers in the North to mix with the fun runners.

The 4.2km medium course was won by Nikki Howard (Rafford) hotly pursued, in a very metaphorical sense, by another fast female in Dagmar Borrowman (Inverness).

The Muiryshade head green keeper Ross Macleod, a member of Forres Harriers, was hoping that his intimate local knowledge of the golf course and his running ability, might signpost the way to a win. All was looking rosy with a 5-minute lead as the route left familiar surroundings for the gloom of Muiry Woods. Imagine his frustration after 18 minutes of going round in circles in the dark meant an impossible 12-minute deficit that was never going to be made up. If ever there was going to be the perfect illustration of the hare-and-tortoise side to orienteering this was it! “I don’t care, I enjoyed it” said Ross philosophically afterwards. “It was good fun”.

Although the expected attendance of around 100 was reduced by the icy conditions, a respectable sum of around £350 was raised for CLIC Sargent with everyone involved vowing to return next year for a repeat performance.

Local orienteering continues this weekend with an “urban” event at Nairn on Sunday using the same map that was used in the World Championships. Registration is at the Nairn Sailing Club from 10am and all are welcome, including children for whom there will be a specially-designed route avoiding traffic.

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