Life is all about trying new things, and there are plenty of things to do in Warwickshire.  One thing in particular is Orienteering.

For most people, their first introduction to Orienteering is during a PE lesson at secondary school. A competitive sport, it requires a balance of speed, strength and agility from participants, not to mention a lot of concentration! Warwickshire is the perfect location for Orienteering events. Here are our tips for beginners.

What is Orienteering?

Put simply, it’s a unique outdoor sport in which you need to visit specific control points in order as quickly as possible. With no taped course there are virtually no rules; you will navigate a map with a compass and your own intuition. Participants have to get across rough terrain usually as part of a time trial so people can’t follow each other. Orienteering is a fun outdoor sport which involves finding the quickest route between control points using a special map to navigate.

Who will enjoy Orienteering?

If you like pushing yourself to the limit and you want to break free from the rigid routine of your daily life then orienteering will be for you. You control which direction you take and you have to take responsibility for the choices you make as they will impact your race! If you have an interest in maps, varied terrain, hill walking or cross-country running and have a keen sense of adventure you will enjoy orienteering.

What do I need to start and what should I wear?

Regardless of what you might hear, all you need to start with is enthusiasm and some sturdy, comfortable running trainers. It’s required that your legs and torso must be fully covered (short sleeve stops are allowed) and this is imposed during all weather conditions – you don’t want to get scratched or hurt during undergrowth sections of the course. The official orienteering club for Warwickshire has a full list of events that you can view here.

What makes Orienteering Maps different?

Orienteering maps are drawn to a large scale. All maps use an internationally agreed set of symbols that are easy to learn. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the symbols before you start the sport – they are colour coded and important to the map symbols. Some examples include black for man-made features, brown for landform, blue for water and white and green for showing the density of woodland and how difficult it is to navigate. Here are two quick tips to get you started;

  1. Always make sure that you fold your map this will help you easily see the part of the map where you are.  It goes without saying that Orienteering involves the orientation of your map – make sure it is the right way around and that you keep features that are ahead of you, ahead of you on the map.
  2. When you start using a compass, make sure that North points the same way as the map as on the compass needle. When you change direction, rotate the map so you stay orientated to North.

Popular places for orienteering in Warwickshire include Ryton Pools Country Park, Pooley Country Park and Kingsbury Water Park.

If this blog has excited your interest in orienteering, then you can visit Warwickshire Country Parks website for more information. During your trip, why not stay at our Warwickshire country house hotel? Book directly with us for the best rates and you can get involved with orienteering our wonderful landscape in no time at all.
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