Take several acres of woodland a compass a map and a pencil and you’ve got everything you need to go orienteering in Yorkshire! Well nearly everything. You’ll also need some sturdy boots outdoor clothing and a bit of lateral thinking to succeed.
Orienteering is an adventure sport to exercise the mind and the body. It actually started in the early 20th century in Scandinavia where it is still very much a popular pastime today be it as a leisure activity or a hardcore sporting competition and there’s even an international federation that governs the sport. With miles and miles of varied countryside to explore at either a woodland estate near Leeds or the grounds of a castle near Harrogate will certainly whet you appetite for learning all about navigational pursuit.
These introductory courses are principally aimed at beginners with instructors on hand to show you the basics but there are three different routes plotted so you can go easy medium or hard depending on how much of a challenge you’re up for.
In essence it’s a race around the natural terrain on foot to see which team navigates its way through all the check points to the finish line first. And we have to say it’s very much back to basics with the map and compass so there’s no Google maps or TomTom to help you out that’s for sure you’ll have to learn to use your brain to be an orienteer!
As for the best method to adopt there are several theories including those who make a dash for it from the start literally running around the course which means learning the art of reading the orienteering map whilst tackling tricky terrain at a pace. Then there are those who take a bit of time to work out the shortest route possible between each check point before setting off. In essence an orienteering race can be a bit like the hare and the tortoise.
And in case you were wondering these are not just standard maps you’ll be issued with when you tackle orienteering around either this Leeds or Harrogate. They are proper orienteers’ maps that have been specially produced for beginners to intermediate navigators in partnership with Eborienteers a local Yorkshire orienteering club. So the gauntlet has most definitely been laid down here let’s see if your team can bring in the win!