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Orienteering and Woodlands ~ by Linda

Orienteering and Woodlands

If you've ever fancied trying orienteering, Linda Thornton of Cleveland Orienteering Club, describes the challenge of combining speed, maps and compasses in a woodland setting:

Silent runners, light of foot, gliding through the forest shadows, following faint paths or seeking a clear route, feet rustling on dry leaf litter. 

Navigation is tight: the compass needle fixed on North, the thumb tracing progress across the map; follow a wall, over a ditch, up to the saddle where the trees thin. 

The quarry is found between the crags; the small, sentinel red and white marker, and the runners hardly pause as they dib their electronic dibber and wordlessly disappear into the forest.

This is orienteering - a navigational race - a challenge to muscle and mind in the woodland, each participant competing with themselves at their chosen level.   The sport welcomes and caters for people regardless of age, sex and ability.  It offers the youngest the excitement of discovering independence through route-finding; the fit find a challenge to match their ability and everybody can enjoy a day of discovery and quiet enjoyment of the countryside. 

The key is to understand a map and read the terrain, matching one to the other in intricate detail. Running fast is an attribute only if it is in the correct direction!  And thanks to the Woodland Investment and Wynyard Estates, orienteering is coming to Newton Hazzard woods in June. 

Beginners are welcome all you need is a sense of adventure, and a pair of trainers or outdoor shoes and outdoor clothes. Help is available at the event.  Full details are on the Cleveland Orienteering Club website 

Posted in: Woodland Activities ~ On: 8 May, 2009

4 comments so far

5 November, 2013

And not one giving a thought to the woodland they are trampling through, the plants they are crushing, the small species they are scaring and destroying the homes of, blind to the wonders of nature, incapable of even identifying common trees, these apes rush around from one neon plastic litter to the next on some idiot drive to be ‘first’. How lame, how ignorant, how cut off from what sustains our lives. See a lovely woodland, trash it with plastic markers and trample it down into tracks. Yeah, hominids endless pursuit of happiness, sums it up, selfishness, greed and ignorance all rolled into one species, the hairless psychotic ape. Not that any of you have the intellect to understand what I’m talking about.

bobby jane
31 August, 2009

this informative article helped me on my endless pursuit of happiness. I now have found joy and hope in this humble abode called orienteering. thank you all those kind souls who help me in this unforgetable way, you will always hold a place in my heart.

Marion Archer
28 June, 2009

What a lovely woodland today at Newton Hazzard at the orienteering event. Not very good at the “running” the course nowadays, I had ample time while walking to appreciate the fabulous trees and the birdsong. And it contained the northeast’s answer to Burnham Beeches – a lovely small beech wood! Great.

Christine Roberts
25 June, 2009

I support Linda’s sentiments whole heartedly.
As a slimmer youngster I could move faster. Now as a red-faced, puffing, grey haired pensioner the mental challenge has not changed and neither has the beauty of woodlands in all their different guises.

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