Moray school festival helps to hone skills of future orienteer champions

Youngsters from primary schools throughout the region enjoyed the late summer sunshine as they gathered at Gordonstoun for the annual Moray Schools Orienteering Festival on Wednesday.

Pupils from 20 primary schools joined others from Elgin and Forres Academies to hone the skills they have been gaining throughout a summer during which they have been learning about the sport and taking part in local orienteering festivals.

Gordonstoun provided the perfect secure environment for the festival which included experienced competitors such as Forres Academy pupil Kathryn Barr who is the UK sprint distance champion.

Also attending the festival was Scotland’s leading Under-13 age group competitor, Elgin Academy’s Daniel Campbell.

Organised by sportScotland’s Active Schools Moray and Moravian Orienteers, it is hoped the festival will help encourage young people in Moray to go on and play a part in the World Orienteering Championships to be held in the Highlands and Moray in August 2015.

Active Schools manager John McMulkin said: “It is the culmination of the local schools orienteering season. PE teachers have been teaching skills in class while most school groups have had their own ‘mini-festival’ in the lead up to this event.

“We have great forestry blocks in this part of the world such as Culbin, Quarrelwood and Roseisle.”

Mike Rodgers, who is the regional development officer for the sport in Moray, said: “The standard was good and it lets the kids learn in a fun way by looking at maps – it was a lovely day.

“The grounds at Gordonstoun are complicated and it is a secure environment, PE teachers gave the kids basic training and they then pick the best kids to run at the festival.”

Forres Academy came out ahead in the secondary schools category while in the primary school boy’s section, Bishopmill Primary came first with Kinloss in second place.

In the girl’s primary school section Kinloss went one better as they came in first place with Milne’s and Bishopmill in joint second place.

The overall winners of the primary schools’ trophy was Kinloss.

(More images from the festival can be found on the insideMoray Facebook page while a full listing of the results from the festival can be found on the Moravian Orienteers website.)

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