Help needed to find a way of feeding the five thousand

The view over Moray in 2013 from a Sea King helicopter - this year there will be over 5000.
The view over Moray in 2013 from a Sea King helicopter – this year there will be over 5000.

FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND with five loaves and two fish worked for Jesus but organisers of a world championship event in Moray and the Highlands this summer are not so sure how it will work for them!

Running alongside the World Orienteering Championships in the first week of August is the Scottish 6 Days event – the first aimed at the elite athletes from around the world, the second at thousands of club athletes and enthusiasts.

When the Scottish 6 Days competitors start rolling in there will be 2500 from outside the UK taking part from a total of 5280 – a 50% increase on the numbers that turned out in Moray for the event two years ago.

While so many extra competitors are more than welcome it has caused a host of problems for the event organisers – not the least being how they will feed their own hungry 5000.

“We’re not exactly down to five loaves and two fishes – but we could still do with some divine intervention” said Scottish Orienteering’s Regional Development Officer in Moray, Mike Rodgers.

Just four food traders and four coffee and ice cream sellers have been lined up which would have coped with attendance levels in previous years – but with an extra 2,000 hungry mouths to feed, at least one additional main caterer is required.

Mike added: “In 2013 we really did have divine intervention when the local Dyke church set up its own catering operation at Culbin on day three.  Not only did this take the pressure off the other traders but it created a great vibe in the assembly field with locals able to swap banter with visitors.

“The Kirk folks were brilliant ambassadors for the area – we would welcome similar interest this year.”

Richard Oxlade is heading up the organising team and highlighted the enormity of the task they face: “We have a stack of maps 71 feet high to hand out to runners.

“To make the nine days of competition in six different locations happen, we have assembled a team of 1200 volunteers who will ensure that 35,000 individual runs all go ahead as planned.

“It’s a £1million budget event with outside broadcasts and live webcasts going on – it truly is a colossal undertaking.”

As well as over 5000 competitors in the Scottish 6 Days there are 350 of the world’s finest athletes from 50 countries competing – for these a separate organisational structure is in place with an additional 800 volunteers recruited from throughout the UK and overseas.

Races in Forres and Nairn are set to be being televised live by BBC Alba and combined with the Scottish 6 Days the event is expected to bring a £5million boost to the local economies in Moray and the Highlands.

Any local traders or community organisations interested in setting up a catering operation at any of the main seven days of competition are invited to contact organisers via with a copy to  Any phone enquiries should be directed to Anne Hoy on 07732 928937.

All caterers will need to provide the standard information on health and hygiene, insurance, risk assessment and other appropriate documentation.

The Scottish 6 Days event dates and venues are as follows:

Sunday 2 Aug – Achagour (12 miles South of Nairn)
Monday 3 Aug – Glen Strathfarrar (near Beauly)
Tuesday 4 and Thursday 6 Aug – Darnaway Castle (near Forres)
Friday 7 and Saturday 8 Aug – Glen Affric (W of Beauly)