Maroc help to fly flag as Scots crowned junior champions

editorial image

Some of the Mar Orienteering Club (Maroc) juniors had a very successful time in Pitlochry recently as part of the Scottish Orienteering squad.

The Orienteering Junior Home International was held on home turf this year and athletes from England, Wales and Northern Ireland found their way to Tay Forest Park on October 13-14 to battle it out on some tough, typically Scottish terrain.

The pressure was on for Scotland with England having taken the win by only three points last year but the nine Maroc junior orienteers from Banchory, Aboyne and Alford were more than ready for the challenge.

On the Saturday the individual competition was held at Errochty, where the home advantage paid off and the Scots took the win in all six classes.

Joe Wright from Banchory won gold in the M18, negotiating the rocky 7.725km course with 280m climb in 58 minutes.

Matthew Gooch and Ewan Musgrave (both Aboyne) were first in the M16/M14 classes respectively and Banchory’s Kirsty Campbell won the W18 with a nine-minute lead.

Making her JHI debut for Scotland was Catriona Chapman (W14) from Finzean, who also made the podium with a bronze position.

Felix Wilson (M18) of Alford won silver and Alistair Chapman (M18) of Banchory took fourth.

The Scots went into the relay day on Sunday on the slopes of a wet and windy Bonskeid 21 points clear.

Following an exciting relay with 14 girls’ and 14 boys’ teams fighting for podium places, the overall result was convincingly decided, with Scotland winning both relay competitions and dominating the weekend’s competition.

Kirsty Campbell came home safely in the lead for the girls, running in with Megan Keith of Inverness and Isobel Howard of Moray.

The boys team of Joe Wright, Matthew Gooch and Ewan Musgrave were also winners, followed shortly afterwards by another Scottish team of Felix Wilson, Peter Molloy (Linlithgow) and Aboyne’s Joel Gooch in second place. Alistair Chapman’s team was fourth and the final Scottish team, with Luke Graham, was seventh.

Despite the less than welcoming weather, the youngsters had a great weekend of friendly competition, socialising and introducing their visitors to some ceilidh dancing.

STAG and Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Clubs hosted the event.

Final points totals were Scotland 143, England 114, Ireland 55 and Wales 45.