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Tweet Saturday 24th March 2018

Spring into action...and try orienteering

The clocks change this weekend which means time springs forward by one hour (BST).  

The evenings are gradually becoming lighter...So why not try a new sport?

Orienteering is an exciting adventure sport suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Participants have to navigate their way between a series of checkpoints (called controls) shown on the map. There’s no set route, you find your own way using the map.

What are you waiting for? Orienteering is a great way to spend more time with your family and friends. Throughout 2018 you can take part in local orienteering activities or events. UK events are listed here. You can contact your local orienteering club who will be happy to welcome you. This is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. UK orienteering clubs are listed here.

Permanent Orienteering Courses are also a great way to get outside and go orienteering with family and friends. A great way to keep in touch and chat whilst you explore outdoors at a time and place that suits you all. Permanent Orienteering courses are listed here.

Xplorer is also suitable for young families looking to get into orienteering and take place across the year. Xplorer activities are listed here.

Are you interested in orienteering, but don’t know enough about the sport?

This set of Frequently Asked Questions will help you find out more.

Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Growing participation in orienteering in England

Sport England has today published the latest data from the Active Lives Survey, a comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s sport and physical activity habits, based on a sample of almost 200,000 respondents.

The results show that activity levels in England are stable. 27.7 million (61.8%) of people (aged 16+) in England are active – meeting the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week – and are gaining the health benefits, including a reduced risk of dementia, depression, diabetes, and improved mental wellbeing. At the other end of the scale, 11.5 million people (25.7%) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. 

  • 27.7 million people (61.8% of the adult population) do the 150 minutes of activity each week recommended by the Chief Medical Officer
  • Walking remains the most popular way to get active, and there’s been a rise in the number of people doing interval training such as HIIT sessions
  • Levels of activity are stable across the population as a whole.

Other findings include:

  • Older people are getting more active, with an increase in the number of 55-74-year-olds meeting the 150-minute threshold (up 1.3% to 58.3%). This is important given that we have an ageing population. Brisk walking, including hill and mountain walking, appears to be driving this increase.
Growing participation in orienteering

Peter Hart, Chief Executive at British Orienteering, says:

“This report is very encouraging. The Active Lives survey is based on respondents in England and not the UK as a whole. I am very pleased to see that Orienteering is showing a growth again with more adults aged 16+ taking part in orienteering now up to 39,800 participants from 37,200 this time last year. This data continues to trend upwards and is certainly very positive for the sport of orienteering.”

Commenting on the survey results, Jennie Price, CEO of Sport England said:  
“While the overall activity levels of the nation are stable, what people are choosing to do is moving with the times. The popularity of HIIT shows the power of social media, and many older people are choosing to spend their leisure time in the great outdoors. Sport England has worked closely with the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and others to support more activity outdoors, and this will remain a significant area of investment for us.

The figures also show the huge importance of investing to tackle inactivity and the inequalities between different groups in society, which was highlighted in the Government’s strategy Sporting Future. It’s why Sport England's 2017-21 strategy has, for the first time, allocated 25% of its investment to tackling inactivity.

This is a long-term task but it could not be more important.”


The full report can be found here.

Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Sports Governing Bodies Launch New Scheme to Beat Older Adult Inactivity and Loneliness with Fun and Games

Older adult wellbeing expert Oomph! partners with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s

The national governing bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with older adult quality of life experts, Oomph! Wellness.

Oomph! aims to tackle inactivity and loneliness with its national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations - equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week. The small start-up, well-known in the care home industry for operating exercise classes and outings, is one of the largest delivery partners of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund.

Sports resized for older adults

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.


Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said: “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”


Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented:  “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”

Tweet Monday 4th December 2017

British Orienteering Strategy Consultation – Youth. “Every Junior Matters”

Between the ages of 12 and 18, we lose approximately half of our junior orienteers.  There is a significant drop off from the age of 14. Whilst a level of drop-off is to be expected in any sport during this turbulent time in young people’s lives this rapid decline is something we can’t ignore.

British Orienteering membership by age

Individuals fall out of the sport at all levels but more so at the base of the pyramid. They may never make a British Orienteering talent squad or even a Junior Regional Squad but every single junior matters.  

There is clear evidence of a considerable number of children are trying orienteering, with some joining clubs, but the majority drop out during their teenage years.

There is also a degree of segregation between junior and adult orienteering. For example, there are many schools leagues with events well populated by juniors. However mainstream orienteering events show consistently low numbers of junior participation, frequently with <10% of runners as juniors.

British Orienteering wishes to build a strategy to address youth membership and participation across all ages & experience levels. This is intended to deliver a more balanced and integrated orienteering population, with clear pathways and satisfaction for juniors at all levels of achievement.

There are many questions to address. Some example questions are:

• How can we boost junior membership & participation?

• How should we best target juniors & families to start orienteering?

• How can we encourage juniors in schools leagues to take up club membership?

• What should a club offer for teenagers?

• Should we encourage more junior coaching in clubs? How?

• How to develop more university clubs?

• What should the sport provide for juniors not in the squad and talent systems?

• How can we leverage new technology and social media?

• How should we celebrate and involve juniors in the running of our sport?

• How can Orienteering events be more youth-friendly?

• How should we work together to develop juniors in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland?

Much of the work needed can be achieved at a local level, and there is already great work for juniors being done in many sectors of the orienteering community. There are also actions required on a national basis to provide a better experience for our young orienteers. This will build on the Junior Development Framework presented at the 2016 Association & Club Conference.

Any thoughts on juniors and youth retention?

All ideas large and small are welcome! Please share your input by e-mailing (in any format) by 31 December 2017 to Phil Conway development lead for youth. Email: