This weekend was the British Orienteering Championships. The slight inconvenience was the destination: Culbin near Inverness. Nevertheless, we tried to make the most of our time in Scotland. We drove up on Friday afternoon, taking in the sights of the World Heritage Site at New Lanark (a very nicely renovated mill village) and the Falkirk Wheel, which although closed and not spinning around, was an interesting spectacle.
We arrived in Ballater rather late and headed straight to bed. On Saturday morning I had my third skiing lesson at the Lecht. Richard helped me master all of the lift types – although I wasn’t impressed with the steep descent form the chair lift, which nearly had me the other side of the mountain – and I managed to ski down an intermediate run without falling over (once). So I think I just about have wedge turns mastered on anything which isn’t too steep. I await the next lesson to return back to some of the other turns I was trying to master when in Scotland last time. The skiing was highly successful – I just need to clean my skis now (unfortunately there was a small bit of the slope that didn’t have snow and somehow I ended up skiing over this peat mound … which is now also all over my ski salopettes (or Richard’s ski salopettes, that I borrowed)).
After skiing we moved swiftly on to Culbin, where we participated in the Orienteering Champs: the first exciting spectacle was the car parking ….
The area was highly complex: sand dunes covered in vegetation. This basically means that it is almost impossible to relocate if you go the wrong way or if your bearing is out. Neither of us got hideously lost on the Saturday thankfully. I was 10th out of 17 (I would like to think that only the really decent people turned up) and Richard was 6th out of 25, which was fab. On Saturday night we headed out with our orienteering chums to a pub, which made a spectacular effort to welcome us and provide a wonderful, very Scottish room in which we could have a quiet meal.
Sunday was the British Orienteering Relay Champs. I’m still not sure whether orienteering and relays really go together. It is tricky to win as someone in you team is bound to lose the plot at some point or other. In my team, it was probably me, as I wandered around a certain area of sand dunes for 20 minutes mid-competition. I bumped into another Harlequin (our club) member who I followed for a time in hope that he’d find it, but decided that I was better alone and then consequently found it … sure the map was wrong. Success in the relays for the club was rather limited, but a good time was had by all.
The drive home was uneventful, although we are worried that the food at Tebay may have gone downhill since the refurbishment and that we may have to divert to Pete and Tish’s house instead on the way home in the future.
As for cake, we made our own chocolate brioche on Friday, which was delicious, although required more chocolate. We therefore made brioche chocolate sandwiches with a block of dark chocolate and the already chocolated brioche.