Have you just started University?
Are you now in your second or third year and wanting to try something new?
Want to keep fit but find running boring, why not try orienteering?
University Orienteering is a great place to either continue involvement in the sport or start it from new. There are a number of Universities with clubs and groups around the UK.
Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map 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.
There are many orienteering clubs are already being enjoyed by many students at their Universities whilst studying across the UK.
University of York Orienteering Club (UYOC) like many University Orienteering Clubs across the country is an exciting club that organises trips to events and training weekends across the country.
Jennie Taylor Communications Officer asked Alex Lines about his time at University and how the sport of orienteering played its part from first starting to finishing his degree course. Alex has since graduated and highlights why he would recommend getting involved in orienteering even if you have orienteered before leaving home or if you have never taken part and are new to the sport.
Alex says: "My favourite part of University wasn’t finally escaping from my parents, partying most nights or the persistent concern I wasn’t visiting the gym enough to justify the cost – it was shockingly to my flat mates the orienteering! If I’m completely honest after first arriving at York I repeatedly told my parents over Facetime that I wouldn’t be joining the orienteering club. Despite doing it since I was 10 years old, Uni felt like a new start where there was only room for new experiences. However, this mission didn’t last long. The relentless night outs and lack of sleep started to take its toll on my fitness – and after exhausting my Netflix library I even started to feel a little bored.
One Wednesday evening I finally surrendered and took a bus over to a local village where an event was being organised by the Yorkshire Orienteering Club Eborienteers; I googled British Orienteering and used the website to locate a nearby event. Within minutes of arriving I had already been offered a lift to next week’s event on the moors and had been informed that every Monday evening there were friendly ‘club night’ training sessions held locally. The club nights quickly became a highlight of each week – these were attended by all ages and abilities and were equally about the laughs than the coaching.
Before I knew it, I was orienteering Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Yes, I admit maybe it got a little out of hand! The problem was that with so many friendly people offering lifts to some of the best countryside in the UK there was nothing to lose and so much to see. From running around the summit of a mountain to having a post-race ice cream on the beach, the experiences were incredible.
I also noticed I was concentrating much better in lectures and writing essays was a breeze – I’m sure the increased mental activity must have been a big factor with this.
I soon discovered the University itself also had a welcoming club which I joined and after Christmas headed off to BUCs, a national inter-university event. This was a mega fun weekend of races with lots of opportunity for making new friends over a meal and an optional night out. In my 2nd year, I was elected as President of the University Orienteering Club and made it my mission to organise lots of novelty events that would appeal to students and bring them to the sport. This was definitely worth doing as it looks great on my CV.
When I think back to my time at Uni I would say 80% of my happiest memories were related to the orienteering club and the club nights are probably the thing I miss most about living in York. It’s so nice to have friends willing to give me a bed for a night or two when I want to visit the north. I honestly couldn’t recommend the sport more for those going to or already at University. I promise it will transform your experience into something you’ll remember forever.”
Joining in is easy!
Here are details of these orienteering clubs with contact links for each:
Interested in orienteering, but just want to know more? Find out more here.