Orienteering is an exciting outdoor adventure sport which involves walking or running whilst navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass. The aim is to navigate in sequence between a set of control points and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace.
Orienteering can take place anywhere from remote forest and countryside to urban parks and school playgrounds. It’s a great sport for runners, joggers and walkers who want to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors. Whilst it is seen as a running sport, there is absolutely no obligation to run whilst doing an orienteering course, and beginners usually find they are better off going fairly slowly to concentrate on reading the map accurately rather than rushing round.
Although the top orienteers are very physically fit, it is rarely the fastest runner who wins – rather the person who can combine running with map-reading and complex decision-making at speed. At the top level, orienteering is highly competitive. Our elite class athletes compete for GB in international competitions, but the majority of people participate in the sport for fun, and there are events throughout the year catering for the very widest possible range of ages and ability levels. The social side of the sport is very important too, and you will soon meet many other like-minded people from all walks of life.
Most orienteering events are held in areas of natural beauty, usually forests or heathland. It is a superb way to get out into the countryside and into beautiful terrain which you would otherwise never have visited, whilst enjoying an adventurous sport at the same time. Smaller orienteering events can take place in country parks or event around the streets!