Pat and I started our Scolty weekend when I picked her up at 9.10 am on Saturday. Two hours later, in the best traditions of Westerlands ladies, we stopped for morning coffee at Finavon – should you consider making this trip this is a strongly recommended stop. A drive over the Cairn o’ Mount saw us parking in the Scolty forest car park before 1 pm. We warmed up sticking strictly to the paths as advised in the orienteering details. It was now threatening to rain, after the hot sunshine on the way up and there was the occasional rumble of thunder. The race started with a "3,2,1 go" and we were off. The start is level then downhill and so I quickly found myself near the back. Then it starts to climb (and climb) – up and up to the tower which is pretty impressive as towers go. Over the top and careening downhill through the heather on a narrow path. Then there’s a section through the woods where you have to decide whether it’s over or under the fallen tree. More track, more uphill track and it’s back up to the tower on a different path. Another downhill track through the heather with more rocks to watch out for and then a steep downhill through the woods. The final winding section through the woods seemed to go on forever but finally the finish is in sight. I was first FSV and Pat was 2nd. Meanwhile Adam Gatens seems to have won the junior race although the results seem a bit complicated and so I’m not sure if I’ve interpreted them correctly. It certainly confused me when a Westerlands vest passed me on the track across the moor. I didn’t realise that he was a junior and wondered whether he’d missed the start.
I enjoyed the race – it is fast but very run able and my trophy is lovely and very unusual. I don’t think I’d make the trip purely to do the race, although excuses to stop at Finavon are certainly welcome – we stopped for lunch on the way back on Sunday. I’d do it again if I was in the area.
On Sunday, Pat and I went back – this time to orienteer in the area. The only advantage from doing the race was being able to identify the tower and, for me, it was deciding to contour across the hill rather than run up one of the paths to the tower yet again.
Results:
Junior race M19 1. Adam Gatens 16.02
Senior women 8. Pauline McAdam (1st FSV) 51.43
11. Pat McLaughlin (2nd FSV) 59.51

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