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Share  Tweet Friday 16th February 2024

Recruitment - British Orienteering Performance Manager

British Orienteering have an unparalleled opportunity to lead and shape our Performance Pathway Programme towards the World Championships in 2024 and beyond.

We are on a mission to secure sustained success and make our mark on the global stage. This isn't just about competition; it's about transcending boundaries, defying expectations, and showcasing the very best of our collective talents.

As the leader of this programme, you will lead and co-ordinate the immense potential and will inspire and unite all those involved in the programme including athletes, parents, support staff and volunteers. Your Leadership will provide the opportunity for our athletes to fulfil their potential and reach new heights.

So, are you ready to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

For further information regarding the post please see here.

Join us as we embark on this extraordinary journey towards the World Championships in 2024.

Closing Date for applications is 10 March 2024

Performance Manager
Share  Tweet Thursday 29th February 2024

Thinking of becoming a Planner? Take advantage of our special E-Learning course offer this March!

Considering becoming a Planner?

Planning is the one of the most rewarding and enjoyable roles. Not only does it improve your navigation skills, but it can also provide you with a different and new type of orienteering challenge.  

The British Orienteering E-Learning Course, Introduction to Planning , developed with the expertise of Barry Elkington (Octavian Droobers) and the educational robustness  of Pauline Olivant (Nottinghamshire Orienteering Club) is a great place to start.

This course is aimed at current and experienced Orienteers who wish to become a Planner.

By the end of the course you will have a great understanding of how to plan your first local event and how the roles of the main officials interact.

Course objectives

  • To understand what is expected of a planner before, during and after the local event, and how the planner’s role interacts with the other event officials.
  • To understand the different technical and physical requirements for planning orienteering courses to meet the requirements of the full range of expected competitors and the role of the officials.

The course content is designed to only address the course objective rather than attempting to cover the full scope of Planning. As we recognise that Planning is a skill that takes much time and practice to hone.

The course should only take around 45- 60 mins to complete and for the whole of March is only £6.00

To access the course and find out more information about our other E-Learning courses, please visit the E-Learning homepage.

Interested in learning about our other E-Learning courses on offer? Visit the E-Learning homepage and access information on all the other resources we provide.


Share  Tweet Wednesday 28th February 2024

Patience, Persistence and Politeness – key factors in gaining access

Written by Ranald Macdonald, Derwent Valley Orienteers


For many years Derwent Valley Orienteers had gained permission to hold Level C/Regional events at Linacre Reservoirs, to the west of Chesterfield in northern Derbyshire. The three reservoirs used to provide drinking water for the Chesterfield area but became non-operational in 1995 and are now managed for wildlife and visitors and provide a popular local amenity, particularly with dog walkers and families. The woodland around the reservoirs is a mixture of runnable forest and areas of slow run with ground vegetation, mainly brambles. The area continues to be managed by Severn Trent Water.

Prior to the pandemic DVO held its last event at Linacre just before the first lockdown on 8 March 2020, which attracted 215 competitors. As with previous events, we were not asked for any access fees.

In January 2022 we started planning for an event in November that year and, having been given an earlier indication that a request would be successful, approached Severn Trent with a draft risk assessment, a previous all controls map and the BOF indemnity policy.

A setback

We were therefore surprised to receive an email saying that our request had been rejected “due to the Event straying away from the main footpaths/walks. These areas are not included in our Tree Safety checks.” It turned out that their concern was with ash die-back and that they were concerned about allowing groups into areas that they couldn’t be 100% certain is safe. My initial reply pointed out that orienteering is an individual sport and the only groups might be families who would stick to paths, within the areas covered by their safety checks. I also noted that no other major landowners whom we approached for permission to hold events had raised the issue of ash die-back; these included the National Trust, Forestry England and Chatsworth Estates.

At this stage I was communicating with Severn Trent’s Senior Visitor Engagement Officer and the Visitor Experience Operation Manager (who thinks up these titles?), who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their visitor sites. We went through several rounds of communication, with no movement on their part other than to say we shouldn’t have been given permission in the past!

A tactical error?

Finding I was getting nowhere, I arranged a meeting with Emma Monkman, British Orienteering’s Access and Environment Officer, and we agreed to ask Peter Hart, BOF Chief Executive, to contact the CEO of Severn Trent Water, Liv Garfield CBE. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she backed the decision of her staff and suggested we arranged a meeting with Dan Taberner, the Visitor Experience Operations Manager based at Carsington Reservoir, to discuss alternative arrangements for an event.

Emma and I met with Dan on 15 May 2023, having sent him previous maps and risk assessments in advance. It was a very positive meeting and we were more hopeful that the event would be allowed to go ahead. Because it had been referred back to him he may have felt empowered to make a different decision, though that is speculation on my part. However, there was still opposition from the main person responsible on the ground who reiterated his concerns about safety and falling trees.

A key meeting to negotiate access

In late September 2023 Richard Parkin, DVO’s mapper for the area, and I met on site with Dan and his colleague. It became clear that Dan was open to persuasion if we agreed to meet certain conditions. His colleague, somewhat tellingly, said very little. The main condition was that no control should be more than 40 metres from a path. We agreed to this as there are many paths at Linacre and we only lost a few controls from previous events. Dan told us that we had permission, in principle, when they had seen the final All Controls map. A tip: increase the size of the circles enough and they all look as if they are close to paths!

The event was due to be held on Saturday 25 November 2023. We had gone for the Saturday because South Yorkshire Orienteers, a neighbouring club, had scheduled an event for the Sunday and we thought it was good to have a couple of relatively adjacent events over the one weekend.  SYO subsequently moved their event into early 2024! However, we decided to stick with the date already publicised.

We had to plan as if we had permission even though it was still touch and go. I had agreed to be the Controller as we had a relatively inexperienced Planner and I am a Grade A Controller who has mentored many Planners and Controllers in the past. It also fitted with my role as Access Officer for the area and DVO’s Event Safety Officer as I could make play of the fact that safety was always my primary concern but that no outdoor activity could be 100% risk-free. Our safety track record as a sport is excellent and our environmental credentials stand up to scrutiny as well, though we could always do better.

A last, we have permission!

On Friday 10 November 2023 Dan emailed me to say the event could go ahead as planned if we agreed to include in the Risk Assessment that the event would be cancelled if there was a Met Office Yellow, Amber or Red weather warning for wind, which we would have taken account of in normal circumstances anyway.

Two weeks before the event we finally had permission to go ahead! The event went ahead successfully, with just over 200 competitors on a very cold but sunny day. It was almost two years since I had made the first approach for permission.

A further complication over the last few events at Linacre has been that we lost parking at a pub adjacent to the area as their customer numbers had gone up and they couldn’t release the space. However, we have been parking at Holmebrook Valley Country Park, also to the west of Chesterfield, which has a lot of hard standing, and using Community Transport minibuses. As it was only a 10-minute ride away, this arrangement worked well, though some competitors did get cold waiting for the return ride. As a club, we have become much more comfortable with parking a short distance from the event and using minibuses.

Lessons learned?

What lessons did we learn?

That it pays to be patient, persistent and polite. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. With hindsight, I would reflect a bit more about whether to escalate it too far up the organisation as most managers will support their staff. Be patient but keep badgering, whilst remaining polite, even though you really want to say “don’t be so stupid!”

If you can, meet with the person able to make a decision. In this case we had been told that Dan was a very reasonable and amiable person, and this proved to be the case. His colleague seemed less experienced and was working to the book rather looking for compromises or solutions.

It was a LOT of effort for a Level C event. However, we have been losing areas, or had restrictions curtailing access, so we couldn’t afford to let a relatively good orienteering area go without a fight.

Share  Tweet Saturday 27th April 2019

2018 Volunteer and Club Award Winners

Thank you to all of those who submitted nominations for the awards it is good to see so much activity going on to develop the sport and we thank all those volunteers and clubs who make orienteering happen across the country.  

British Orienteering is pleased to announce the winners of the awards:

Young Volunteer of the Year 2018 

Winner:  Holly Stodgell of Walton Chasers 

Holly has started up an after-school orienteering club at her school and is leading the training sessions, providing motivation to the group and setting the training schedule. She has coordinated a group of adults to take on the coaching and getting the group from nothing to light green/green standard is a huge achievement. 

It is great to see the next generation of volunteers so committed to the sport.

Volunteer of the Year 2018 

As part of our Year of the Volunteer, we launched this new award to recognise those volunteers committed to orienteering.  

Winner:  Alan Honey of Bristol Orienteering Klub 

In 2018 Alan has been Chairman of Bristol Orienteering Klub (BOK), organised the British Sprint Championships at Bath University, initiated the successful Track to Terrain project, started a training course for new coaches and volunteered numerous club events and activities. Alan put huge amounts of personal time and effort into these projects and, together with the team he leads has been responsible for BOK’s continuing successes. 

The commitment shown by all volunteers to the sport is a fantastic example of some of the work going on to deliver and develop orienteering across the UK. Congratulations to Alan Honey who this year is announced as Volunteer of the Year 2018.   

Holly Stodgell (Walton Chasers)
Alan Honey (Bristol Orienteering Klub)

University Club of the Year 2018 

Winner:  Loughborough University Orienteering Club is University Club of the Year 2018. 

After the club was revived in 2014 following a long period of being dormant, LUOC has gradually increased membership, participation orienteering activities at the university to become one of the UK’s most active student orienteering clubs. The club has a busy training schedule with sessions on most weekday evenings and regular competition on weekends with much support for local club events from LEI, DVO, NOC and OD. Regular coaching for beginners means many have progressed to competiting on m/w21 elite courses. The club works closely with the University to support volunteers in a range of training provision for coaches and volunteers.  

It is fantastic to see such strong University Clubs and we can only hope that we see more University Clubs developing this strength in the future. 

Loughborough University Orienteering Club

Peter Palmer Coach of the Year 2018 

Winner:  Jason Falconer of Wessex Orienteering  

Jason is Head Coach of Wessex Orienteering and regularly delivers the Tuesday evening club training for all members. In addition, Jason works closely with Active Dorset to promote Orienteering, delivering a series of coached sessions over 6 weeks (half a term) to groups of Key Stage 2 children. The sessions progress through all skills of the sport and include a competition finale using S.I. kit; often off-site on one of WSX permanent courses. In Autumn of 2018 Jason worked closely with Beat the Street to link families in the Poole area to the club. 

Club of the Year 2018 

Winner:  South Yorkshire Orienteers is Club of the Year 2018. 

South Yorkshire Orienteers 

In 2018 SYO has continued to grow and develop through offering a wide-ranging program of events, club nights, socials and monthly coaching sessions. Club Nights are a recent addition initially funded by Sport England they are now self-sustaining with 60-70 participants per week during term time. The clubs Volunteer Coordinator ensures that the club's program is well supported and run regular training opportunities for members. In 2018 the club introduced a point scheme similar to parkrun where participants and volunteers get points towards a club t-shirt for their participation. SYO have strong links with community organisations across Sheffield and this has led to a diverse participant and member demographic.  

Jason Falconer (left) with Craig Anthony, Head of Development
South Yorkshire Orienteers

SILVA Award 

SILVA Award winner 2018 is John Warren (Wimborne Orienteers).

John has been an active member of Wimborne Orienteers since 1976 and in the years following has been involved in all aspects of orienteering. John took on the assistant organiser role for the JK in 1979 just 3 years after starting in the sport and didn’t look back organising, planning and controlling events at all levels over the past 42 years including organising the World Orienteering Championships Relays at Avielochan in 1999. Yet John has a particular passion in working with newcomers, helping introduce them to the sport and he is always on hand to offer skills advice and encouragement. He works closely with the local council to deliver Activate events and acting as lead coach for club activities on permanent courses he helped map, plan and install. To quote John: ‘‘Volunteering’ hasn’t been so much of an effort, it has mostly been a real sense of satisfaction and I hope that in a small way has contributed to a lot of people having enjoyable experiences taking part in the sport that we love." 

Judith Holt (Chair) presenting John Warren with The  SILVA Award