On Sunday 5th December an impromptu ski orienteering competition was organised by Sarah Dunn at Dess Woods near Kincardine o’ Neil to take advantage of the fantastic cross-country skiing conditions on offer.
Ski orienteering is a big winter sport in Scandinavia where it is highly competitive and many kilometres of ski tracks are specially prepared and pisted for events. Not surprisingly few ski orienteering events have ever been held in Scotland. The Dess event perhaps bore little resemblance to the Scandinavian version in terms of track preparation and conditions (despite many hours of pre skiing in the preceding week) but provided a novel and fun opportunity for local orienteers to give it a go. The event was organised with a format that allowed competitors to find the control points in any order, with the winner being the fastest time to visit all points.
36 skiers and 1 snow shoer ranging in ages from 7 – 65 came along to have a go. The long course was won in 65’ by Dave Hirst (Maroc) with Ian Hamilton (Gramp) second in 69’. A shorter course allowed competitors to skip a certain number of the control points. This was won by Esther Gooch (Maroc) with Andy Tivendale (Maroc) runner-up. A cleared parking area was kindly provided by Deeside Activity Park and competitors were appreciative of their tea room facilities after the event.