Neil McLean

Name and age class
Neil McLean M75 on 1st January
Tell us about when/where/how you started orienteering.
I first heard of orienteering when an SOA rep gave a talk to my youth and community course class at Moray House College in1966. I knew that I'ld like the sport as I loved maps and the outdoors. Sadly I was fully committed to rugby and didn't bother trying orienteering. Working in Paisley in 1968 I heard of the West Area Champs and took some young people to the event. I enjoyed it and went back for the 1969 event. I enjoyed both but rugby still took precedence.
In 1972 I moved to Elgin to be the assistant youth and community officer for Moray and Nairn. About a year later the Council appointed an outdoor education officer who shared an office with me. Early in 1974 he, Rob O'Brien, organised a minibus load of teachers to go to an orienteering event at Kinnoull Hill near Perth. That was the first time the name Moravian Orienteers was used. I can't recall who was on the bus. I think Kate and Findlay's grandpa Donald was one plus a Willie MacDonald and a Leslie Davidson. I was hooked and rugby no longer took precedence!
There weren't too many events in the North for a while,but when Bob Climie moved to Elgin he and Rob O'Brien got busy. About the same time Grampian Orienteers got going properly. North orienteering was on the move and I was hooked.
Why do you like it?
I'm very competitive, I love maps and feel at home in woodland.
Your best orienteering memory?
The day I won an individual day at the 6 Days in 1995 at Inshriach.
Your worst (and/or funniest?) orienteering memory?
In a chasing start race in Denmark I had worked my way up to about 5th place when I was attacked by a dog. It lunged at me and tore my T-shirt without touching me. The owner pulled it away but I had lost the plot and when I finally regained my composure I had lost about 10 places.
Your favourite O area?
Highland Perthshire seems to be lucky for me. I've won 5 of my 10 SOC age group titles there.
A top O tip for others/favourite piece of kit?
Never be casual in using a technique,always be very deliberate.
In your other life... what do you like doing when you're not orienteering?
I love doing things with any of my 4 grandchildren. 3 of them are colour blind so orienteering has difficulties for them.
I'm climbing the Munros for the 4th time and love the beauty of our mountains.
What's your orienteering ambition for the next year?
I would like to have an injury free year so that I can be competitive in all the events I go to.