Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 4-5 September 2021

Summary
The 2021 Senior Home International was hosted by MAROC and GRAMP on behalf of the SOA. The event was originally planned to be held in September 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic. The individual race was held on the Sunday at Glen Tanar, a typical tough Scottish forest with the relays on Balmedie, an area of open sand dunes just north of Aberdeen, the day before. The whole weekend was coordinated by Sue Barrie of MAROC. GRAMP and MAROC organised the SHI races in conjunction with their double-header SOL weekend. Sue organised more than adequate accommodation for all four Home Nations at the Britannia Hotel on the outskirts of Aberdeen. Unfortunately neither Ireland nor Wales were able to field complete teams. Therefore it was basically a two-way competition between Scotland and England with the result between Wales and Ireland largely decided by the number of competitors they managed to field.

In the Men’s relay one of the Scottish teams mispunched. The other two Scottish teams finished 1st and 4th with England in 2nd and 3rd. Therefore honours even in the Men’s relay. In the Women’s relay Scotland finished 1st and 3rd with England in 2nd and 4th so a 2 point advantage to Scotland overnight (and the Dolgellau Bowl for the winner of the first day’s racing). Ireland and Wales each had only one competitive team. Ireland in the Men’s relay and Wales in the Women’s. These were both 5th counter and therefore honours even between the two countries. The following day Scotland won 3 of the 4 classes (albeit narrowly) to cement their overall victory. The only class not won by Scotland was W20 where England split the points. Wales and Ireland were again tied on points and therefore the tie break rules came into effect. These gave Wales 3rd place thanks to their outstanding performer, Megan Carter-Davies, who won the W21 class.

Day 1 Relay
Balmedie.

Balmedie was a short drive from the hotel and is situated on the coast, just north of Aberdeen and adjacent to the Donald Trump International golf resort. The Men’s relay started first. There were only eight teams on the start line: three from each of England and Scotland, one Irish team and an Ad Hoc team made up of a mix of spare Irish and Welsh runners. Scottish teams were in 1st and 2nd place at the end of the first leg but one of these teams unfortunately went on to mispunch on the second leg. This allowed English teams to move up into 2nd and 3rd place and this is how it finished. The Scottish team of Matt Gooch, Scott Fraser and Sasha Chepelin took victory. The top English team (Flurry Grierson, Duncan Birtwistle and Chris Smithard) finished 2nd. Points were therefore shared equally in the Men’s relay.

The Women’s relay started 15 minutes after the Men. Again there were only eight teams on the start line. Three teams from each of England and Scotland plus, this time, one competitive team from Wales and an Ad Hoc team. Megan Carter-Davies was comfortably first back for the Welsh team but this lead was soon swallowed up on the second leg. After two legs it was England, Scotland, Scotland, England so heading for another tie. However a strong run from Grace Molloy on last leg took the win for Scotland with England in 2nd. Scotland were also in 3rd place and therefore took the honours in the Women’s relay by a margin of 2 points. An overall 2 point lead for Scotland after the first day. Scotland therefore won the Dolgellau Bowl for the leading team after the first day’s competition.

Relay Team Results

  Men Women Overall
Scotland 13 14 27
England 13 12 25
Wales 0 4 4
Ireland 4 0 4

 
 
 
Day 2 Individual
Glen Tanar

The terrain for the individual race was very different to the relay. Proper tough Scottish forest with deep heather and plenty of hills. The planning style was also different with lots of long legs compared with the previous day. The Women’s Open course was combined with the M20 course which, given these classes are both meant to be won in 75 minutes, led to some interesting comparisons. As for the previous day, the weather was perfect.
The Men’s Open class was won by Sasha Chepelin of Scotland with Chris Smithard of England in 2nd. Sasha covered the 11.6km with 540m of climb in 84 minutes. The Women Open class was once again won by Megan Carter-Davies. However, her winning margin of 4 minutes was somewhat down on what she had managed in 2019. Grace Molloy (Scotland) was 2nd with Sarah Jones of England in 3rd. The M20 class was a 1, 2 for Scotland. Matt Gooch won in 70 minutes, but Megan’s time of 79 minutes would have put her in 3rd place in this class. England had more success in W20 with 15 year old Imogen Pieters in 2nd and Rachel Duckworth 3rd. Scotland’s Eilidh Campbell won W20 and, with Mairi Eades in 4th, the points were shared equally with England in this class. Overall Scotland won Men Open, Women Open and M20 and therefore won the Individual race by 6 points to add to their 2 point win in the Relay the day before. Once again the Welsh and Irish finished with exactly the same number of points.

Individual Team Results

  Men Women Overall
Scotland 15 14 29
England 11 12 23
Wales 3 7 10
Ireland 7 3 10

 
 
 
 
 

Overall

  Men Women Overall
Scotland 28 28 56
England 24 24 48
Wales 3 11 14*
Ireland 11 3 14

*Wales 3rd on tie break due to most individual wins

Accommodation and travelling

All four teams were accommodated at the Britannia Hotel near Aberdeen Airport. The accommodation was fully catered from Saturday morning through to Sunday morning with packed lunches provided each day. Two team members took flights to Aberdeen and the rest travelled by car from various parts of England.

Acknowledgements
Huge thanks are due to Sue Barrie who co-ordinated the whole weekend and to GRAMP and MAROC for hosting the orienteering.
My thanks also to the senior England team members for advice and generally helping to make my job easy over the whole weekend.

Charlie Adams
England SHI Team Manager