If you love being outdoors, active, visiting places you’ve never been before, then orienteering is the sport for you. Orienteering is quite unique in that people of all ages and abilities can take part at the one event at the one time - from a toddler to an octogenarian and everything in between. It’s a sport for all ages. It’s also up to you if you want to walk, jog or run. You set your own targets and compete against the elites at top speeds on complex courses or take a gentle jog around the mapped
area on a simpler route! The beauty is, this can all be done at the one event.
But what is Orienteering? Well it’s a worldwide sport where the competitor uses a special, detailed map of an area on which a number of controls or checkpoints are marked. The competitor decides on a route to reach these specific points or controls, in order, as quickly as possible. The controls are marked by orange and white flags and there are markers at each location that allows the course organiser to know you have visited the correct control in the right sequence.
How can I get involved?
Orienteering can take place anywhere there is a map available, from parkland to open mountain, from an urban housing estate to a forest, or any combination of
those! Each terrain has its own character and mental and physical demands.
In Ireland we have seventeen clubs around the country, and orienteering areas from Cork to Donegal. There are a number of events held each week around Ireland. You don’t need to
belong to a club to try the sport, just check the fixtures and turn up, there’s always a helper on hand to show you the basics and get you going. It’s not expensive to take part: usually adults pay less than €10 and normally there are reduced rates for juniors, families and club members.
What about special equipment? To start, all you need is some suitable outdoor clothes and a sense of adventure!