Communities from throughout the Highland and Moray regions are being informed and encouraged to play their part in one of Scotland’s major sporting events of the year.
Organisers of the World Orienteering Championships and Scottish 6 Days events which combine to form ‘Highland 2015’ have been talking to community groups, clubs, businesses ahead of an influx of thousands of visitors to their doorsteps from July 31 to August 7 this year.
A presentation was made to businesses connected with Tourism in Moray and Speyside at a seminar at the Andrew Graham Bell Centre in Elgin last month, while presentations have been made and are being planned to Community Councils in Moray and the Highlands.
Meanwhile shops in the centre of Nairn are planning to decorate their windows during Highland 2015, which will open the international orienteering events in the town and nearby Forres on the weekend of July 31 to August 2.
Mike Rodgers, who is the Moray regional development officer for the Scottish Orienteering Association, said: “I have already been in touch with community councils in Moray and their members have been very welcoming and keen to learn more about Highland 2015, with many surprised at the depth and breadth of the championships happening on their doorsteps.
“People are becoming excited about the prospect of welcoming thousands of the finest orienteer athletes from around the world as well as club athletes and enthusiasts of the sport who will competing in every age group and at every possible level at centres throughout the Highlands.”
Paul McGreal, who is Director of the World Orienteering Championships 2015, added: “A great deal of interest is now being shown in the championships and we are delighted to see the response from people throughout the Highlands to what they are recognising will be an amazing spectacle.
“At the Moray/Speyside Tourism Seminar in Elgin we presented some film of the World Championships held in Italy last year and that brought home to people just how fantastic it is for Scotland to be hosting the World Championships.
“Excitement is certainly building now that we have just a little over three months before the Highlands welcomes the orienteering world – we are anticipating a wonderful time for all with typical Scottish hospitality in abundance.”
Nairn-based professional officer for Scottish Orienteering, Colin Matheson, is anticipating thousands of visitors to the town during the opening weekend – and has revealed that local business leaders will be offering prizes to businesses that dress up their shop fronts for the occasion.
He said: “The Association of Nairn Businesses are offering prizes for the “best themed window displays” during the championships.
“Cash prizes of £100 and £50 will be given to the charity of choice for any business judged to have the best window display.”
Mr McGreal added: “We are delighted to learn of the initiative in Nairn and would be delighted to hear of ideas from other businesses around the Highlands and Moray who might have similar ideas to help celebrate the championships.”