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Tweet Friday 11th October 2019

Ward Junior Home Internationals - Northern Ireland

This weekend, juniors representing the 4 home nations will be making their way to Northern Ireland for the annual Ward Junior Home Internationals (JHIs).

The event is hosted by Lagan Valley Orienteers and is based at the YMCA Greenhill, in Newcastle, County Down.

The Individual and Relay competitions will be held on the slopes of the Mourne Mountains. The Individual event will be held on Saturday at Cassy Water near Rostrevor,

and the Relays at Donard Forest, Newcastle on Sunday, with the Relay arena located within the grounds of the YMCA.

We would like to wish all the competitors the very best of luck over the weekend, in what always proves to be a very close competition. The ceilidh on Saturday night is always a great event too!

Tweet Thursday 10th October 2019

World Mental Health Day - Wednesday 10 October 2019

British Orienteering supports World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day celebrates awareness for the global community in an empathetic way, with a unifying voice, helping those feel hopeful by empowering them to take action and to create lasting change.

Did you know?

Orienteering is a sport that challenges both the mind and the body.

More and more people are discovering that orienteering is a fun and challenging activity that gets them exploring the great outdoors. They are gaining new skills in finding their way in unknown terrain and crossing rough and sometimes hilly ground. You are always discovering somewhere new! It's a competitive sport with something for everyone, from 10-year-olds to grandpas and grandmas.

The sport of orienteering offers many benefits, but its foremost attraction is that it is fun!

The aim is to navigate between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course. 

Photo credit: Steve Rush (Bristol Orienteering Klub)  

5 Health Benefits of the sport of Orienteering

1.  Time outdoors is great for us physiologically:

For one it improves our Vitamin D levels. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance to certain diseases. The Vitamin D Council says “your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight”.

2.   Increased time being outdoors with nature improves people’s health and happiness:

Increased time being outdoors with nature has been shown to significantly improve people’s health and happiness. The UK’s first month-long nature challenge, which took place in 2015 by the University of Derby involved people "doing something wild" every day for 30 consecutive days. It showed that children exposed to the natural showed increases in self-esteem. They also felt it taught them how to take risks, unleashed their creativity and gave them a chance to exercise, play, and discover. In some cases nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a calming influence and helping them concentrate. “Intuitively we knew that nature was good for us as humans, but the results were beyond brilliant,” said Lucy McRobert, Nature Matters Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.

3.  Increased cardiovascular capacity:

Orienteering involves walking, jogging and running, often in rough terrain. All three of these activities increase aerobic capacity and cardiovascular strength. The Department of Health in their Start Active, Stay Active report state: “regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.”

4.  Sharpens decision-making skills:

Orienteering offers the development of individual skills in navigating while problem-solving to locate each control. Decision making is paramount: Should I go left or right? Should I climb that hill or go the long way around it? These decisions that constantly arise require thinking more than quick reactions or instinct; again, that is why orienteering is often called the thinking sport.

Research shows even one 30-minute cardio session pumps extra blood to your brain, delivering the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at max efficiency. Cardio also floods the brain with chemicals that enhance functions such as memory, problem-solving, and decision-making.

5.  Balance between the physical and the mind:

The ultimate quest for the orienteer is to find that balance between mental and physical exertion, to know how fast they can go and still be able to interpret the terrain around them and execute their route choice successfully. 

Photo credit:  Steve Rush (Bristol Orienteering Klub)
Photo credit:  Steve Rush (BOK)
Photo credit:  Rob Lines 
 Photo credit:  Steve Rush (Bristol Orienteering Klub)
 Photo credit:  Steve Rush (Bristol Orienteering Klub)

Do something different on World Mental Health Day – try orienteering.

Permanent Orienteering Courses are a great way to get outside and go orienteering at a time and place that suits you.
Permanent Orienteering courses are listed here.

Interested, but want to find more about the sport of orienteering?  This set of Frequently Asked Questions will help you to find out more. 



Tweet Wednesday 9th October 2019

Boost for public health with new running trails open in the nation’s forests

Forestry England has launched new waymarked running trails in 18 forests around the country. From 1km running routes right up to 10km, the new trails have been designed with both beginners and seasoned runners in mind. They provide an opportunity to run on safe, off-road, traffic-free trails in beautiful forest locations.

200km of mixed terrain trails have been created this year, supported by Sport England using funds raised by players of the National Lottery. Sport England and Forestry England are working together to offer people of all abilities even more opportunities to be active in forests.

Trudi Else, Strategic Lead at Sport England, said:  

“More people than ever before are getting active by walking and running. Providing fun and practical ways for everyone to start or continue running and waking will be critical if we are to continue to boost the nation’s activity levels.

That’s why Sport England is proud to be working with Forestry England and investing National Lottery funding into developing a fantastic network of marked trails. By making running and walking through the forest more accessible many more families, friends and communities will feel confident to hit the trails, enjoy nature and benefit from being active outdoors.”

Rachel Tallon, Active Forests Programme Manager at Forestry England, said: 

"We have lots of visitors who would like to run in our forests but are not familiar enough with our trails or worry about getting lost. The new waymarked trails remove all those concerns so that runners can just enjoy the benefits of being in the forest; fresh air, wildlife, spectacular views and escape the stresses of life.

The different distances on offer are also a great way to build up endurance and to progress from 1k to being able to run 5k or 10k routes.”


Alex Lines is a regular runner on the new routes at Bedgebury National Pinetum and said: 

“It's easily accessible, you just follow the signs until you're back where you started; simple! It's also a standard distance, and as such, you can repeat it whenever you like and time yourself to track progress.”

More information about all the new waymarked running trails can be found at

You can also join Forestry England’s Strava club to see how others have got on across England.

Here is a flavour of what you can expect at some of Forestry England’s new off-road trails:


Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent

Route: National Pinetum

Distance: 3k

Highlights: A stunning route through the National Pinetum, where you will run past impressive conifers and picturesque lakes.

Terrain: All-weather tarmac and gravel paths.

Challenges: With a mixture of gentle downhills, and short inclines this route offers a great introduction to trail running.


Alice Holt, Surrey

Route: Alice Holt 3k

Distance: 3k

Highlights: Gorgeous variations of tree species and multiple deer spotted regularly.

Terrain: Mixed; forest roads, trails, muddy in parts.

Challenges: Dragon Hill (check it out on Strava!).


Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria

Route: Whinlatter 5k

Distance: 5k

Highlights: Amazing Douglas fir trees, stunning views of the Lake District National Park and Grizedale Pike and the opportunity to spot wildlife including red squirrels and osprey.

Terrain: Forest road with one short section of path.

Challenges: A long climb up that takes in 210 meters of mountain ascent.


Haldon Forest Park, Devon

Route: Haldon Challenge and running route

Distance: 5k

Highlights: A lovely mixture of scenery; you get to run through the butterfly conservation area and a magical tree tunnel.

Terrain: Mixed; surface path, gravel and grass.

Challenges: Mixed terrains, steep gradients, ups and downs.


Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Route: Staindale Lake

Distance: 10k

Highlights: A beautiful tree tunnel and magical views across the North York Moors National Park and Langdale.

Terrain: Mixed; stoned road, footpath and grass.

Challenges: Mixed terrain and steady climb to the viewpoint.


Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire

Route: Cannock 10k

Distance: 10k

Highlights: The stunning Fairoak pools and model railway crossing.

Terrain: Mixed; flat, well-surfaced trails and rougher, looser forest tracks.

Challenges: A long challenging climb (over 1km) and testing terrain.


Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire

Route: Sherwood 5k

Distance: 5k

Highlights: Mighty trees, enjoyable winding path, dense forest and wildlife.

Terrain: Mostly forest trail.

Challenges: With only slight undulations throughout the trail it is great for beginners.


Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Route: Salcey 5k

Distance: 5km

Highlights: Fast, flat, off-road surfaces will lead you through the picturesque autumnal colours created by the wide variety of tree species in the ancient woodland of Salcey. Whilst winding your way through the course you may catch a glimpse of the Druids Oaks believed to be around 400 years old.

Terrain: Mixed; a combination of forest road and surfaced trails.

Challenges: With the flat terrain the biggest challenge here is your own; can you beat your best time?


Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

Route: Wyre Forest 5km

Distance: 5km

Highlights: Beautiful mix of forest views; through the oak and beech trees, you may spot some deer.

Terrain: Well surface forest roads, wide solid paths

Challenges: A number of steep gradients up and down with a steady uphill climb of around 200 metres to the finish.

Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.


Tweet Wednesday 5th June 2019

A Fun Volunteering Day with West Anglian Orienteering Club

Tim Herod Development Officer talks of his volunteering opportunity to help out at a local Park-O orienteering event at Impington Leisure Centre.

Tim, says:  "I was recently contacted by the club to see if I was available to come and help at a local Park - O orienteering event at Impington Leisure Centre. I thought it would be a great opportunity to help and see what volunteering for an event entailed. I replied 'yes' and within a few hours received an email from Andrew Henderson the organiser of the event thanking me for offering to help and then detailing the times and areas that he was hoping I could help with.  

The day of the event arrived, and it was not raining so things were looking good, I was scheduled to arrive at 12.00 noon and help another volunteer Peter set out the signage and car parking routes for potential participants. Andrew met us both and then gave us the necessary resources and a briefing so that we could get things set up for a 1.00pm start. It was great to have a chat with another member of the club as we set out signs and directions. After we completed the task designated, I then went to registration which was inside the leisure centre reception area and was asked to help with the process of showing new participants the way to the start and giving them the basics of taking part at their first event. The registration team were excellent and very well organised ensuring people did not have to wait a long time but still ensuring they all understood the process of taking part.  

It was at this point that I noted orienteering was the main sport taking over the grounds and facilities at this busy leisure centre and not the normal fitness/football/swimming activities, which was great to see.  I proceeded to take my groups of families across to the start, for many this was their first experience of orienteering. When they arrived at the start, it was time for me to hand over to the start team who then gave a very professional briefing for all those going out onto the course. This back and forward from registration to the start continued for the next 2 hours and gave an opportunity to meet over 100 people taking part in the event and really seeing how much people were enjoying the experience.  

After each family completed the course they returned to registration where they were getting the results from the recent run and being told about future events that they would be welcome to attend locally, all within 3-4 miles of the city of Cambridge. The final orienteers have returned and it's time to help clear away taking down banners, signs and other bits and pieces and finally off home after what has been 4 hours of really good fun helping with a really great group of people from the club, delivering an excellent event. It was great to receive an email thanking me for my help on the day, and it is something that I will most definitely do again, supporting  the dedicated volunteers at the club, so my thanks go to the two Peters, Andrew, Hebe, Hazel, Helen, Fiona, Iain, and Stephen on the day but also the other volunteers such as Caroline the planner, who all help with mapping, promotion and all the other key areas of running a successful orienteering club. 

It was great to see the club was awarded a substantial Sport England Grant to ensure the club can continue to deliver excellent orienteering activities for the local area."  


British Orienteering is proudly supporting Volunteer Week:
1 - 7 June 2019.

Have you got a volunteering orienteering related story you would like to share with others?  Email: