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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 Friday 16th March 2018

Interland 2018

In the 2018 Interland match, England were narrowly beaten by the Belgian (Flanders) team. This year hosted by Nederlandse Oriënteringsloop Bond (NOLB) on 11 March in the woods and dunes of Herperduin, near Oss in North Brabant (Netherlands), Interland takes place annually between England, two Belgian teams (Flemish and French speaking), the Dutch, and a NE France team. Teams, 42 strong, include athletes from 14 classes across the age groups M/W14 to M/W60.

Photo: Phillip Gristwood

England athletes won six of the classes: Niamh Hunter (WCOC) in W20, Lesley Ross (OD) in W50, Jackie Hallett (BOK) in W60, Euan Tryner (SYO) in M14, Nick Barrable (SYO) in M40, and James Crawford (GO) in M60.

Other England athletes in the top 4 in class were: Sam Crawshaw (SYO), Alastair Thomas (WCOC), Duncan Archer (CLOK), Clive Hallett (BOK), Steve Whitehead (EBOR), Maya Hampshire Wright (NN), Jess Ensoll (LOC), Abi Weeds (SLOW), Alison Harding (HH), Janet Rosen (HH) and Christine Kiddier (GO) – the last two making it an England 1,2,3 in W60.

For the individual, team results and a full report by John Rye – England Team Manager click through to the Orienteering England website

Next year the event will take place in France (10 March 2019 in the Val Joly departmental park (59132 Eppe-Sauvage) located near the Belgian border where England will look to regain the trophies.

Tweet Friday 9th March 2018

Badaguish Talent Squad Pre-Season Camp: Training Diary by Alice Wilson (Clydeside Orienteers)

Training Camp Diary by Alice Wilson

Club: Clydeside Orienteers

Age Class: W16

Badaguish British Orienteering Talent Squad Pre-Season Camp. 

The focus of this final training camp before the racing the season begins was to put together the orienteering techniques that we had worked on in detail during our previous weekend camps and practice them under race conditions.

Day 1:

On the first day, we were based at Inshriach. The first exercise was practice for running the first Leg of a Relay, so we all started in a mass start and, like in a Relay, we had different gaffles.

In the afternoon we moved to a different part of Inshriach where the contours are much more complex. There, once again like in a race, we were all given different start times and it was our responsibility to be fully warmed-up and to get there on time. This exercise itself was a Middle distance course and was all about orienteering like you would do on race day.

At British Orienteering Talent Squad training camps the evening review session is just as important as the physical training itself. We normally upload our GPS traces onto websites that allow us to put our routes directly onto the orienteering map so we can see exactly where we went. 

Alice Wilson (Clydeside Orienteers)

Mark Nixon Talent Squad’s Technical Coach usually gives a presentation debriefing us about the day’s training. Also, depending on what phase of training we are in, Mark talks about the orienteering technique we were practising, and if we have made a mistake, we can look at the Leg and identify where and why the mistake happened.

Day 2:

In the morning of the second day, we went into Aviemore for a Sprint exercise. Once again, like on race day, we were issued start times. As always in Sprint Orienteering this course forced us to focus on route choice. This was really interesting as later when we reviewed the session in the evening, we measured the lengths of the different routes we had chosen, taking into account turning sharp corners or zigzagging in and out of buildings, and could work out what the best routes were.

After lunch we did exercises at Loch Vaa with a combination of longer and shorter Legs, practising for Long races. This was helpful as it gave me a better understanding of how many decision points I needed to safely get me to the control, and how that can differ in an area of vague or complex contours. Also, it helped me to understand when marshes and open areas are useful to navigate by - just in case you’re wondering in Loch Vaa they are.

Day 3:

We drove up to the Moravian coast, and in the morning attended a local Moravian event at Darnaway East, where they had especially planned male and female Middle distance courses for us. This was great as we could use this event, even though it was small, as practice for what it would be like at a bigger event, in the sense that there would be more distractions – such as more people in the forest not on your course – and proper SI punching. Distractions in the forest are something that everyone struggles with on some level, so using a real event was good practice for coping with this.

Afterwards, we headed to Culbin for more Relay practice, except that this time we did it as if we were heading out on the final Leg; meaning there were staggered starts and once again different gaffles.

Day 4:

For our final exercise, we went to Uath Lochans and did a Long distance course. This was a good exercise to finish with as it gave you a good idea of how your navigation had improved in the last four days.


Overall, the training camp was great fun, and I think it was especially helpful that over the four days I was able to practice all of the different disciplines of orienteering:  Long, Middle, Relay and Sprint. Also, this camp taught me to properly analyse my routes and choices after racing, which is a skill I will be able to put to good use whenever I go orienteering in the future.


Thank you, Alice, for providing this insightful account of your time at camp.  British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all the members of the Talent Squad all the very best with your training and preparations for the 2018 season.


Read Angus Harrington's Badaguish Talent Squad Pre-Season Camp: Training Diary here