Orienteering is an exciting outdoor sport that fits comfortably with the aims of the Scout Association in that it exercises both the mind and the body. Orienteering can be participated in both recreationally and competitively, either way the aim in orienteering is to navigate around a course marked on an orienteering map. In a competitive environment participants will look to find the best route to complete the course in the quickest time.
Scouting can introduce young people (and leaders) to the sport of orienteering and those that are interested may go on to compete with local specialist clubs. One of the features of orienteering is that everyone can participate (or compete in orienteering competitions) no matter what age or level of fitness. As an individual improves navigation skills and fitness levels they will be able to see improvement in their orienteering results.
Buckmore Park is fortunate to have an orienteering map covering a significant proportion of Buckmore Park with a variety of terrain types and features and an interesting network of paths and tracks.
At the moment 4 permanent orienteering courses (Courses A, B, C and D) have been set up at the campsite for leaders to introduce young people to the sport of orienteering. Courses A and B start near the toilet blocks and are all contained within the eastern area of the campsite and ideal for beginners. Courses C and D start at the container in Activity Valley next to the caving. These course go into the wilder area of the campsite and are much more demanding. It is important that leaders are confident their young people are competent map readers and know what to do if they get lost! If you want to use Courses C and D as training exercises why not go as group with a leader. As well as 4 courses there is a master map and master descriptions with all the orienteering markers. This enables you to make up your own course or try to find as many markers as you can in a fixed time. The master map is definitely best printed in A3.
It is hoped to organise a Scout orienteering badge course at the campsite in the next year – if you are interested keep a look out for information.
The maps and course descriptions (you need both) are provided at the links below. Please print out what you need and bring them with you to the campsite.
Start the course at the location described on the map and in the description. As you follow the course you are looking for Orange and White Markers (normally placed at least 3 metres up a tree). When you reach the marker you can check the marker number to ensure you are at the right one (there are currently 60 markers around the campsite!). Then, to prove you have been at the location write down the two letters on the marker in the box on the course description sheet). If you not sure what is required feel free to email Gavin for further advice.
Groups should bring their own compasses to aid navigation but are not essential for the 2 beginners courses (Course A and Course B) but should be carried (and used!) for Courses C and D.
As with all Scout activities safety is of paramount importance. Please ensure young people understand the boundaries of the course to avoid them getting lost. Consider whether the young people need to be closely supervised, in groups or they have the skills to work individually.
If your young people already have some navigation skills why not use the courses to run a competition – who can complete the courses in the fastest time?
A map with all the markers / controls on site will be published in the near future to allow groups to make up their own courses.
We would love to hear how users get on with the orienteering courses. Please provide feedback to Gavin@buckmorepark.org.uk – tell us where you are from, whether you managed to complete the course and if you couldn’t find any of the controls. Who completed the course in the fastest time and what was the time?