Forres to host joining of two sports for unique challenge

Sandy Aird and Mike Rodgers

Two of Scotland’s most popular sports are coming together in Moray for the benefit of a major children’s charity with a unique challenge event.

Forres Golf Course will be the venue for a night ‘navigation challenge’ later his month that is dedicated to the memory for Moravian Orienteering Club junior member Matthew Campbell, who sadly lost his battle with cancer at this time last year.

Cancer charity CLIC Sargent provided wonderful support to Matthew and his family – and with Matthew’s younger brother Daniel having just been accepted in to the Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad, Moray’s Regional Development Officer for Scottish Orienteering, Mike Rodgers, decided that staging an event in Matthew’s memory would be an ideal way to remember the Roseisle teenager.

Mike said: “He never let his illness get in the way of his ambitions. He achieved so much in his 17 years and has been a huge inspiration to many – so it will be good to follow Matthew’s example by doing something positive.

“I heard of a similar event happening at Dunning Golf Club in Perthshire and was delighted when the Forres professional, Sandy Aird, liked the idea and offered us use of the course.

“With Forres having become a Community Sport Hub it’s also a great way of demonstrating how two different sports can work together to share facilities to everyone’s benefit.”

Mike added that while it may not be immediately obvious, Golf and Orienteering had a lot in common – explaining perhaps why so many Orienteers are also golfers. He explained: “Just like a golfer trying to achieve a perfect round, orienteers are always seeking that elusive perfect run.

“In golf you might get a par or a birdie every hole and then spoil the whole round by a triple bogie at the 18th. In orienteering you might have got the navigation spot on until disaster strikes and you lose track of where you are on the way to the last control point.

“Unless you’re right on top of your game it usually pays to take the safe route by steering clear of the trickiest terrain or the bunkers, take it steady and play safe shots.”

The challenge has been set to take place at night as Mike believes it would simply be too easy in daylight hours – the darkness making the challenge a very different game entirely.

“Forres Golf course is such a brilliant venue for night orienteering” Mike said, adding: “There are pockets of woodlands and plenty hills and hollows to make for interesting courses.

“It would be too easy in the daytime – but while it will be impossible to get completely lost, the cover of darkness will make it a different game entirely! The courses have been designed to steer runners clear of the greens which will be marked on the maps as out of bounds.

“It might seem an odd way of getting round the course for the regular golfers but we hope a few will be up for the challenge.”
There will be a short course of 2.6 km with 16 checkpoints to visit, ideal for juniors and families, while those up for a more challenging course can opt for the 19-control long course at 4.2 Km which ventures in to the Muiry Woods at the mid-way point.

Entry for the event, which takes places on January 27, is by donation to the CLIC Sargent charity and it’s open to absolutely anyone. Registration will be open at 5pm allowing people to tackle the courses at any time up to 7.30 pm. Participants will be able to relax in the Club House after doing their course with some small prizes handed out at around 8.30pm.

Mike added: “With Forres set to be a major focus of next summer’s World Orienteering Championships, there is no doubt that the Royal Burgh’s showpiece course will be a favourite for visiting orienteers when not competing.”

Club professional Sandy Aird added: “We at Forres Golf Course are delighted to welcome Moravian Orienteers to use our facilities for their event.

“CLIC Sargent is a most worthwhile cause and I am sure many of our own members will be participating. I am sure this will be a very successful meeting and hopefully can become an annual event.”

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