As a sport, we must work together to resume orienteering responsibly and within the relevant Government guidance.
The Board of Directors have committed to following the respective advice of each government, and therefore there are likely to be periods when types of orienteering activities permitted, vary between different parts of the UK, depending on the Government guidelines and regulations.
British Orienteering has developed a dedicated webpage here.
On this webpage the guidance for each of the nations will be updated accordingly as further announcements by local or national Governments are made.
All guidance is subject to any further restrictions that may be imposed by local or national Governments.
This webpage also includes links to key documents and information to support clubs and participants in delivering safe orienteering and includes the following support resources:
British Orienteering recently launched a national campaign 'Outdoor Adventure Awaits' on 18 June promoting Permanent Orienteering Courses across the UK.
The campaign was launched as lockdown restrictions started to ease British Orienteering worked alongside orienteering clubs promoted their Permanent Orienteering Courses as a way of discovering the outdoors in a socially distanced way.
A new video was also released by the Orienteering Foundation, and included as part of the campaign, explaining how to get started on a Permanent Orienteering Course.
The video sets out how to understand the map and how to orientate it to match the environment around you. It gives examples of the checkpoints you could be looking for and shows you how to download a map.
If you haven't yet seen the new video, you can watch it here.
Jennie Taylor British Orienteering's Communications Officer, comments:
"The campaign's aim was to promote our club's over 500 Permanent Orienteering Courses and encourage people who had never tried orienteering before, to download a map from the British Orienteering website and enjoy being outside whilst exercising in the fresh air in a socially distanced way."
"Within the first couple of weeks of the campaign the main focus was on targeting families outside of British Orienteering, via social media and through online family websites and local radio. Then the next couple of weeks targeted competitive adults. This was done via national media and running websites, social media, national organisations, groups, and partners."
"Looking at the campaign stats and the groups of 6 or less using the maps there is a participation increase of over 11,000 on the same period last year.
This is great news!"
Permanent Orienteering Download Data from the British Orienteering Website
The data below refers to the data period of 1 June to 6 August and compares the same periods from 2019 and 2020.
This is data from the British Orienteering database:
Difference to 2020
Number of participants
More information can be found on the British Orienteering website on the campaign dedicated landing page:
Permanent Orienteering Courses are one of the first steps on the way to re-starting our sport of orienteering in a socially distanced way.
Jennie Taylor Communications Officer caught up with Stephen Borrill member of West Anglian Orienteering Club and Volunteer Permanent Orienteering Course Coordinator at his club to find out what is involved in his role and why he enjoys Permanent Orienteering Courses so much.
Jennie: How long have you been Permanent Orienteering Course Coordinator for your club and what does your volunteer role entail?
Stephen Borrill: "I’ve been the Permanent Orienteering Course Coordinator for West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC) for a couple of years now. This volunteer role entails liaising with the landowners for permissions and maintenance, people who may want to sell maps (for example in cafés) and British Orienteering to ensure the list of on the British Orienteering Permanent Orienteering Course database are up to date."
JT: How did you first discover Permanent Orienteering Courses?
Stephen: "I rediscovered orienteering in my early 30s having done it at school and found out that WAOC was my local club. I re-started orienteering tentatively, but then soon started doing some of the club's summer mid-week events, one of which used the Permanent Orienteering Courses markers at Ferry Meadows, near Peterborough. Before then, the last Permanent Orienteering Course I did was part of a school trip to Normanby Park, Scunthorpe in the mid 80s."
JT: What enticed you initially?
Stephen: "I work away a reasonable amount, so I need to find something to do in the evenings and to avoid just sitting in the pub! Permanent Orienteering Courses fit the bill perfectly. Many are score courses, so you can set your own rules. Set a time limit if you need to be back to the hotel in time for food. Pick the shortest route to do it as quickly as possible. Get the controls in numerical order if you want to challenge yourself with longer legs."
JT: How do you select which Permanent Orienteering Courses to do?
Stephen: "Mainly just proximity to where I’m working! On the other hand because I’m doing them in the evening, how easy it is to get the map is very important to me. In general I won’t be able to get to a Visitor Centre during its opening hours. Of 582 Permanent Orienteering Courses uploaded on the British Orienteering site, 289 have downloadable maps. I’m in charge of Permanent Orienteering Courses for West Anglian Orienteering Club and since the lockdown, I’ve managed to get all our landowners to agree to free map downloads. I also apply my general orienteering rule of thumb: "Don’t do an event that takes longer to drive to than it does to run it."
JT: What do you like about doing Permanent Orienteering Courses - exploring? Discovering new places? Or is it the challenge?
Stephen: "Permanent Orienteering Courses are a great way to explore new places. Like regular orienteering, you get to see places that you wouldn’t if you were just going for a walk around a country park. When you go for a walk and just wander without a map, you always feel like you’ve missed the best bits. Because you have something to actually look for when doing a Permanent Orienteering Course, it’s more rewarding/distracting, so good for doing with a family. For me, discovering new non-East Anglian countryside is fun and the terrain is often more challenging."
JT: How many Permanent Orienteering Courses have you done to date?
Stephen: "So far I’ve done 37 from the South Coast up to Humberside, from Gloucestershire across to Kent. In terms of the places where I tend to work away, I’ve done most of the nearby ones. While there are Permanent Orienteering Courses all over the country, some areas, and clubs, have many more than others. In Cambridgeshire we are in one of the most sparse areas along with neighbouring Norfolk and Lincolnshire. By comparison, near Bracknell I once did 5 courses in one evening. To be fair, all 5 only totalled 10.7km and took less than 2 hours including driving between each."
JT: Do you tick them off in a notebook? Make notes about individual Permanent Orienteering Courses you have completed?
Stephen: "I keep them on a Google map and, of course, I keep the actual maps themselves with the letters I found on the posts and any notes about missing posts, etc. I try to send feedback to the club who’s responsible if posts are missing or vandalised. So far I can remember all the Permanent Orienteering Courses I’ve done, maybe I’ll make notes when my memory starts to fail or if I do too many."
JT: Have you got a favourite Permanent Orienteering Course which particularly stands out?
Stephen: "I prefer Permanent Orienteering Courses which present a navigational challenge so are more akin to regular orienteering (of the 582 POCs, 171 say they have Green standard controls). Also, living in East Anglia, hills are always a novelty. Finally, an up-to-date map without lots of missing posts or hidden in waist-high bracken is helpful. Bearing all of these in mind, I think Shorne Woods in Kent, even though when I did it the map was very out of date, I’m pleased to see it has just been updated, Shotover Country Park near Oxford and Crickley Hill Country Park in Gloucestershire are my favourites. I have others which are memorable such as Sherwood Pines where I did 16km before giving up as it was getting dark and Oakley Park near Farnborough which was the complete opposite; a 1:2000 map that was only just over 1km in total."
JT: Are you on a mission to complete all Permanent Orienteering Courses?
Stephen: "I think I’ve quite literally got a long way to go to achieve that! I’m not like a Parkrun tourist, but on the other hand, Permanent Orienteering Courses don’t really stand up to repeat visits. Perhaps with more UK-based staycations, I’ll be able to not just do them when I’m working away."
JT: What is next for Permanent Orienteering Courses in your view?
Stephen: "I’ve been doing quite a lot of MapRun courses. These work well in urban areas or country parks with big, obvious control locations. It’s great that you get results and they’re immediate, but most are not based on proper ISOM maps. I’m developing http://maprun.uk/ as a easy way to find MapRun events along with their maps all over the country as well as offering guidance to newcomers and planners. I think both Permanent Orienteering Courses and MapRun are a great entry point into our sport and should be promoted outside of the usual orienteering channels where you already have a captive audience. The MapRun.uk site can auto-generate event pages, so could save clubs independently reinventing the wheel, but it still allows clubs to add their own details such as parking and the exact start location.
Standard Permanent Orienteering Courses still provide a more authentic orienteering experience. They have better maps, more challenging courses and something you need to physically find. Combining Permanent Orienteering Courses and MapRun is an obvious next step and it is good to see some clubs doing this. If you define your Permanent Orienteering Club markers in OpenStreetMap, Ollie O’Brien’s OpenOrienteeringMap will soon be able to import this and generate MapRun courses in a couple of clicks."
Thank you Stephen.
Permanent Orienteering Courses are available across the UK.
Find a course by following five easy steps here.
Sunday morning 5am. The enveloping darkness edged inexorably towards dawn. A passing meteorite broke into twinkling, descending lights. 200 junior orienteers and their coaches were assembled on a dewy school lawn amidst lush rhododendrons in deepest East Sussex. The Peter Palmer Junior Relays 2019 were ON!
A competitive field of junior teams had been assembled by the organising club Saxons Orienteering Club for this year’s race. Favourites on the start-line included last year’s winners: West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC), the leading small club Guildford Orienteers (GO) and the top young team from South Yorkshire Orienteers (SYO). Juniors ran in teams across 6 legs, ranging from 2-5km, Yellow to Green standard.
The race started at 5am in total darkness. This was a chance for some of the country’s leading junior orienteers to show their Night-O skills. Joe Sunley from WCOC finished the first leg in first place, just 3 seconds ahead of Adam Conway from GO and Stanley Heap of Southdown Orienteers (SO). Joe is an accomplished Night-O runner, with experience from the regular WCOC Night League races, and international experience at the legendary Tio Mila relays in Sweden. “I executed my plan well, pulling away from the field, but dropped a 40 seconds mistake in the final loop, which allowed the other teams to get right back on my tail.” said Joe.
As second and third legs set off into the dawn, the Daybreak Relay then started at 6.30am. The Daybreak class is run across 4 legs, ranging from 2-4.5km, all at TD2-3 level. “This is a great innovation.” said Janet Cronk, the Team Manager from WAOC. “It allows more clubs to take part who can’t raise a junior team with Night-O skills.”
As the sun came up, the music and commentary provided by Nick Lightfoot of SYO added much to the atmosphere and fun of the event. WCOC proved unbeatable again for a fourth consecutive year, the whole team running in triumphantly together as they finished. An exciting race ensued for second place, with Troy Southall of SO just winning out in a magnificent sprint finish against Emil Bostrom from OK Linné in Sweden. In a repeat of last year’s other results, GO took the Norwich Anniversary Trophy for smaller clubs, and SYO won the Joan George Trophy for younger teams with total class ages 90 years or less.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Swedish juniors to experience international competition.” said OK Linné team manager Åsa Hedin. “We have had an excellent few days, training with the South East Junior Squad and even sight-seeing in London! The juniors can learn from the different terrain than we are used to, and we are impressed with the standard and speed of junior orienteers in UK”.
The Daybreak Relay was won this year by West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC). “This race was so much fun, hanging out and racing against friends.” said Alex Wetherill from WAOC. “I feel really motivated now, and plan to focus more on my training this winter”.
|Peter Palmer Trophy||A New WCOC, West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC)||
|Joan George Trophy||Killer Bees, South Yorkshire Orienteers (SYO)||180.22|
|Norwich Anniversary||GO Nuts, Guildford Orienteers (GO)||235.19|
|Daybreak Trophy||The Jabberwaocs, West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC)||122.03|
Huge thanks go to Saxons Orienteering Club (SAX) for organising and planning the event, and to Southdowns Orienteers (SO) for coordinating the school-based accommodation.
Next year’s Peter Palmer Junior Relays take place during the weekend 12 - 13 September 2020 in the Lake District, organised by West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC).