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Overview of orienteering

How to enter an orienteering event

Basic navigation

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This section gives an introduction to the sport of orienteering.

To find out more, contact a member of CLOK or come along to one of our events.

Apologies.  A lot of this section is now rather badly out of date.  The bits about navigation are still valid, but the technology used for timing people's runs and checking that they've visited all the correct controls has changed dramatically since those pages were written (over 15 years ago!).  You'll almost certainly never come across pin-punches and paper control cards these days and there are some excellent new facilities to let you review where you actually went (which is not always where you thought you went!) and how you did each section of the course relative to other people.  There are even "virtual" orienteering courses that use your smartphone's GPS tracking to tell you when you've reached each control site.

Using this Section

This section of the web site contains three sequences of pages.

Overview of orienteering aims to give an introduction to the sport and to answer the question "What is involved in orienteering?"  If you've never come across orienteering before then start here.

How to enter an orienteering event takes you through what's involved in entering an event.

Basic navigation describes some of the navigation techniques that you can use to get yourself round an orienteering course.

YouTube Videos

You may also be interested in having a look at these short introductory YouTube videos, produced by Manchester & District Orienteering Club (MDOC), that introduce you to the basics of orienteering.

  • Getting Started
    Gives information on orienteering maps, useful symbols to note, how courses are drawn, and what to look for at checkpoints or controls.  It also shows how to line up the map with features nearby, a key skill to help the novice orienteer set off in the right direction.
  • Getting Going
    Covers more detail on the map, shows how to use a compass, simple route choices, how to use features other than paths as handrails, and when to cut corners.
  • Getting Confident
    Gives tips on techniques that help build more confidence in navigational decisions.  These include learning to take a sure route into a checkpoint, finding a safety net if you overshoot, and using control descriptions to visualise the checkpoint.
  • Getting Faster
    Demonstrates where to plan ahead, where to speed up and slow down, and gives some tips on reading the map on the run.

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