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Key milestones achieved along the way!

17 June 1967 - 17 June 2017

British Orienteering celebrates 50 years!

Highlighting some of the key milestones achieved along the way!

1930

  • 1930’s: Early records of orienteering in Britain.

1940

  • 1940s: Outbreaks of orienteering activity but not on a coordinated basis.

1950

  • David Lee (North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club) recalls an occasion in 1959:

    "In the spring term we arrived for our usual training session to be told that we were going to 'orienteer'. Black-and-white O.S. maps were doled out and a course was marked on the map. We were also given a compass.”

1960

  • 1960’s: Organised orienteering started in Scotland.

  • 1960’s: The first orienteering maps were black-and white-photocopies. 

  • 1960’s: New-drawn black and white maps, some with a few symbols introduced.

  • 1960’s: Self-inking stamp used on a first-generation control card.

  • 1960’s: A ladder of wooden strips with individual results pasted on.

  • 1961: First recognisable event in Scotland held on the Penicuik Estate on 16 April.

  • 1962: Scottish Orienteering Association founded on 24 June.

  • 1962: Laurie Liddell appointed first Scottish Orienteering Association President.

  • 1962: Growth in the south-east of Scotland began.

  • 1962: District courses for Instructors organised in Scotland.

  • 1963: West Midlands Orienteering Association inaugurated on 21 November.

  • 1963: Second Scottish Orienteering Championships held.

  • 1963: First 'proper' orienteering event held in England at Whitewell near Clitheroe.

  • 1964: Orienteering featured in a 7-minute film on Scottish TV.

  • 1964: First club formed in England – South Ribble Orienteering Club.

  • 1965: 'Know the Game: Orienteering' book was first published.

  • 1965: Schools Association was formed in Scotland and activity was growing in many different areas.

  • 1965: Ex-athletes – Roger Bannister, Chris Brasher, John Disley, Martin Hyman, Gordon Pirie and Bruce Tulloh started orienteering following a Surrey Education Committee course led by Disley.

  • 1965: Southern Navigators Orienteering Club was formed - the first southern club.

  • 1965: Formation of the English Orienteering Association at a meeting in Bishops Castle on 31 October 1965. Five regional associations were represented.
    Executive Committee set up: Chris Brasher (Chairman), Gerry Charnley (Secretary) and John Disley (Treasurer).

  • 1966: The International Orienteering Federation insisted that a British Federation be formed to enable a British team to compete in the World Orienteering Championships.

  • 1966: Government agencies required British Orienteering Federation to comprise four national associations plus English regional associations using boundaries standard with other sports.

  • 1966: Chris Brasher's influence was immense in all aspects of orienteering's development in the early days in the UK.

  • 1966: John Disley developed course planning, mapping and training standards.

  • 1966: Races organised in North Wales, South-West of England and the Peak District.

  • 1966: First World Orienteering Championship participation.

  • 1966: (May) the International Orienteering Federation Council accepted both England and Scotland as temporary members, pending formation of a British Federation.

  • 1966: The English Orienteering Association paid an IOF affiliation fee of 400 Swedish Crowns, and selected a team of ten athletes to take part in the World Orienteering Championship.

  • 1966: Chris Brasher led the GB team to the World Orienteering Championships, Finland.

  • 1967: The Scottish Orienteering Association and the England Orienteering Association met to consider affiliation to the International Orienteering Federation.  The meeting was held in March 1967 in Dalbeattie, in conjunction with the 1966 Scottish Championships.

  • 1967: The joint meeting agreed on the need to form a British Orienteering Federation.

  • 1967: Extraordinary General Meeting in April 1967 agreed disbanding of the English Orienteering Association.

  • The formation of British Orienteering Federation. The inaugural meeting was held at 7.30 pm on
    17 June 1967 in Barnard Castle, Co. Durham.

  • 1967, British Orienteering Federation's National Office ran out of 3 Glenfinlas Street Edinburgh.

  • 18 June 1967: First British Orienteering Championships took place in Hamsterley Forest, Co. Durham.

    • The 10.2km course was won by Gordon Pirie in 1:51:50

    • Carol McNeill won the Senior Women course by more than 11 minutes!

    • Southern Navigators won the Senior Men's Team Trophy.

  • 1967: First British Orienteering Federation logo produced.

  • 1967: Sponsor: Guinness (to 1972).

  • 1967: British Orienteering Federation First Chairman: Chris Brasher – Olympic Gold-medallist in 3,000m (to 1969).

  • 1967: Chris Brasher and John Disley, Olympic medal-winners, both championed the sport.

  • 1967: First Individual event took place on 19 March 1967. (SEOA).
    JK Overall Champions: Gordon Pirie and Jenny Tennant.

  • 1969: Chairman: John Disley (to 1972).

  • 1969: Four of the first clubs to be formed were:

    • Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club

    • Edinburgh University Orienteering Club

    • South Ribble Orienteering Club

    • Southern Navigators.

  • 1969: First JK Relay race introduced. Kielder (NEOA). JK Relay Champions: Men’s Team – Edinburgh University Orienteering Club and Women’s Team – no race.

Photo (left): Chris James (left) with Jeremy Denny (middle) and John Disley (right).  Credit:  F.Ashford

Photo (middle):  Chris Brasher (left) competing in the 1975 Northern Championships.  Credit:  T. Astbury

Photo (right): First self-inking stamp.  Credit:  Sheffield University archive

1970

  • British Orienteering Federation logo revised.

  • Unusual now to compete with a black and white map.

  • Orienteering maps changed to 3-colour maps - black, brown and blue.

  • 4-and 5-colour maps were becoming commonplace.

  • Standard competition scale at many events was 1:20,000.

  • 1:15,000 soon after became standard scale for 'classic’ distance orienteering races.

  • Photogrammetry used along with aerial photos led to over-detailed mapping.

  • Map making tools introduced.

  • The pin-punch used on a next-generation control card often a different colour-card was used for each course.

  • New technology for displaying results: the 'washing line' carrying multiple control card stubs.

  • 1971: Pen-ultimate Association formed – Northern Ireland Association.

  • 1971: First President, Sir Francis Chichester appointed (to 1972).

  • 1972: Last formed – East Anglia Association.

  • 1972: Chairman: Bob Climie (to 1975).

  • 1972 (May): First Professional Officer Tony Walker appointed.

  • 1973: John Disley became a member of the International Orienteering Federation Council (until 1984).

  • 1974 (April): National Office within Lea Green Centre, Derbyshire.

  • 1974: First British Relay introduced. Brierley South (SWOA). British Relay Champions: Men – Piz Hasi (Switzerland) and Women: Fjaras (Sweden).

  • 1974: National Office based in Matlock area of Derbyshire onwards.

  • 1975: Range of international standard map symbols established.

  • 1975: Chairman: Chris James (to 1978).

  • 1976: Great Britain staged the World Orienteering Championships in Scotland.

  • 1976: Chris Brasher was the Event Director for the World Orienteering Championships in Scotland.

  • 1976: Standard of map drawing in the UK improved rapidly.

  • 1976: Maps for World Championships 1976 drawn by Robin and Sue Harvey reaching new levels of detail and accuracy.

  • 1976: Brian Porteous appointed as Professional Officer.

  • 1976: President Sir Roger Bannister appointed (to 1979).

  • 1976: Sponsor: Wm. Younger (to 1978).

  • 1977: Maps printed on waterproof paper introduced - used at the JK at Leith Hill.

  • 1978: First Harvester event introduced. Ecclesall Woods (YHOA).

  • 1978: First British Night Championships introduced. Ash Ranges (SCOA).

  • 1979: Major sponsor: Robinsons Barley Waters (to 1982).

  • 1979: President The Earl of Moray appointed (to 1983).

Photo below:  Original - style results display with Gordon Pirie, another pioneer who was a house-hold name athlete (Silver medal in 5,000m at Melbourne Olympics, and John Disley.  Credit:  Source:  John Disley

1980

  • 1980s: Sponsor: Novotel.

  • 1980s: Sponsor: Peter Dominic.

  • 1980: National Office moved to 41, Dale Road, Matlock, Derbyshire.

  • 1981: Chairman: Toby Norris (to 1979).

  • 1981: Change to British Orienteering Federation Limited - a Company limited by guarantee. Management Committee formed.

  • 1981: Sponsor: Batchelors Cup-a-Soup.

  • 1981: Chairman: Clive Allen (to 1984).

  • 1982: The Orienteer was combined into CompassSport.

  • 1983: Sponsor: Rank Xerox (to 1984).

  • 1980s: Great Britain contributed to International Orienteering Federation’s work, in Council, on various Committees and in other ways through the 80s and 90s.

  • 1983: Sue Harvey became the International Orienteering Federation Secretary General (to 1986).

  • 1984: Chairman: Ian McMillan (to 1987).

  • 1985 (August): Sir Chris Bonington became President and still is today!

  • 1985: Sponsor: West Bromwich Building Society.

  • 1987: Chairman: Roger Lott (to 1988).

  • Helped greatly by the publicity gained from the World Orienteering Championsips in 1976, orienteering grew rapidly and became firmly established in all parts of the UK.

  • 1987: Sponsor: Rank Xerox.

  • 1988 (or thereabouts): British Orienteering Federation's office moved to Riversdale, Darley Dale. Since then the office moved to another office nearby in Darley Dale.

  • 1988: Chairman: Clive Allen (to 1989).

  • 1988: Sue Harvey was elected as International Orienteering Federation Vice President.

  • 1988: Sponsor: TSB (to 1991).

  • 1989: Chairman: Anne Braggins (to 1992).

1990

  • 1990's:  Course print-outs pasted on to boards or scrolling screen displays in the early days of computing.

  • 17 June 1992: Silver Anniversary;
    25 years of British Orienteering Federation.

  • The British Orienteering Championships was re-enacted on the 25 Anniversary (1992); the first day with the old map and courses and the second as a modern event.

  • 1992: Chairman: David Thomas (to 1994).

  • 1993: Great Britain won its first World Orienteering Championship medals in Foot Orienteering, with a bronze for Yvette Baker (nee Hague) and silver for the men’s relay team.

  • 1994: AGM passed a restructuring proposal ('subsidiarity') but it was never implemented.

  • 1994: Chairman: Richard Speirs (to 1997).

  • 1994: Sue Harvey became International Orienteering Federation President (to 2004).

  • 1995: Yvette Baker (nee Hague) won two silver medals at the World Orienteering Championships.

  • 1995:  Electronic punching: EMIT was first used widely in international events.  No more control cards!  SI introduced a little later.

  • 1997: Chairman: David Peregrine (to 2000).

  • 1998: Goran Andersson was appointed Performance Director.

  • 1998: First British Middle Championships introduced. Tarn Hows (NWOA).

  • 1999: Yvette Baker (nee Hague) won the gold medal in Short Distance at the World Orienteering Championships held on home soil.

2000

  • Growth and development in the new century saw British Orienteering Federation moving with the times.

  • Domestic championship events began to grow in number as in the International Orienteering Federation.

  • 2000: Chairman: John Woodall (to 2003).

  • 2001: JK2001 cancelled; outbreak of the epidemic of Foot and Mouth Disease.

  • 2003: Chairman: Bob Roach (to 2006).

  • 2003: Jamie Stevenson became World Champion in the Sprint by winning gold at the World Orienteering Championships, 2003 in Switzerland.

  • Urban orienteering became a popular alternative to outings in forest and open terrain.

  • 2004: First British Sprint Championships introduced. Haverthwaite (NWOA).

  • 2004: Sue Harvey was awarded International Orienteering Federation Honorary President for Life.

  • 2004: Great Britain TrailO team won gold in the World Orienteering Championships.

  • 2004: Brian Porteous became a member of the International Orienteering Council.

  • 2005: Great Britain TrailO team won gold in the World Orienteering Championships.

  • 2006: British Orienteering Federation Chairman: Neil Cameron (to 2010).

  • 2006: Dave Gittus won gold in TrailO World Orienteering Championships.

  • The First JK Sprint on Good Friday was introduced. Temple Newsam, Leeds (YHOA).

  • 17 June 2007: Ruby Anniversary;
    40 years of British Orienteering Federation.

  • October 2007: Extraordinary General Meeting agreed new management structure of Board and Directors. Working name changed to British Orienteering. New logo introduced.

  • 2008: First Directors appointed.

  • 2008: The Men’s Relay team won gold in the World Orienteering Championships.

Photo (left):  Kristian Jones (Forth Valley Orienteers / Swansea Bay orienteering Club) competiting in the Sprint race at the JK 2016.  Credit Rob Lines.

Photo (right):  Megan Carter-Davies (Mid Wales Orienteers)  Credit:  Ben Mitchell.

2010

  • 2010: Chair: Lyn West (to 2013).

  • 2012: Great Britain staged the World TrailO Championships in Scotland.

  • 2012: Brian Porteous became the second International Orienteering Federation President from Great Britain and held office from 2012 to 2016.

  • 2013: First Independent Directors appointed.

  • 2013: Chair: Martin Ward (to 2016).

  • 2013: Xplorer launched.

  • 2015: Touch-free electronic punching!

  • 2015: British Orienteering's National Office moved to Tansley, near Matlock.

  • 2015: Great Britain staged the World Orienteering Championships in Scotland for the third time.

  • 2015: Live results and GPS tracking.

  • 2016: Xplorer Schools launched.

  • 2016: Plas y Brenin becomes the first British Orienteering Recognised Centre.

  • 2016: Emily Benham won two gold medals in the Mountain Biking orienteering World Championships.

  • 2016: Brian Porteous awarded International Orienteering Federation Honorary President for Life.

  • 2016 (April): Public Memorial Service celebrating the life and achievements of John Disley CBE took place in London.

  • 2016 (May): First ever World Orienteering Day takes place with record breaking results!

  • 2016: Chair: Judith Holt (to present).

  • 2017: New British Orienteering Strategic Plan 10 year plan (to 2027).

  • 2017 (14 April): Cutting of the 50th Anniversary cake by Chris James (North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club) and Judith Holt (Chair) representing all the volunteers over the 50 years who have contributed to growth and development.

  • 2017 (24 May): Second ever World Orienteering Day 2017 takes place.

  • 17 June 2017: Golden Jubilee Anniversary;
    50 years of British Orienteering.

  • It is exactly 50 years since the British orienteering Federation came into being.

  • The occasion is being marked by the production of a short film and a special multi-page feature in British Orienteering’s member magazine Focus.

  • BBC One Breakfast Sport Present Mike Bushell took part in the orienteering course held by South East Lancashire Orienteering Club at Media City.

Congratulations British Orienteering!

Celebrating the past, the present and the future.

Have you got any additional milestone which you think can be added to this timeline?

Email: jtaylor@britishorienteering.org.uk

Let’s celebrate together and look forward to the next 50 years!

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