Competition Calendar Review: Give your input by Monday 21st!

If you haven’t yet given your input on the competition calendar review, please give your views by Monday 21 October! You can read more about the background of the review below.

Over the years more and more events have been added to the competition structure – sprint, middle, urban, Jamie Stevenson etc, but nothing has been taken away. To help solve the congestion this has caused, we’ve spoken to clubs and come up with a possible plan, which we’d like to strengthen with comments from individuals like you.

Give your input:


We’ve studied various options and the following is a suggested outcome but for this to work both clubs and individual members of SOA would need to accept it and work towards its aims.

The main two aims of the proposal are to increase the level of a few major events and to reduce the number of weekends with national level events, thus freeing up time for more local events and training/coaching sessions.

Raising standards at major Scottish Championships would make the events higher profile, increase attendance from Scottish orienteers (a more attractive event to attend) hopefully encourage more competitors from the rest of BOF, and provide a showcase of the sport for external funders (sponsors, SportScotland etc).

Other national events would be re-jigged to combine events into more double-header weekends in order to make travelling more rewarding, increase social possibilities (nominated event campsite, club get-togethers, barbecues etc), and free up weekends for more local events and club coaching.

So what could this potentially mean? 

1 – Two major Scottish Championship weekends:

  • Scottish Long/Relay
  • Scottish Sprint/Middle
  • SOA professional staff could provide support to help with some of the non-O aspects of a championships race eg land access, parking, on-day branding eg on run-ins, banners, prize-giving, generic SOA medals, list of specific “championship” needs over and above normal O-event needs.

Possibly these events could be bid for by club or clubs rather than current rotation round areas, which would allow those clubs with good forest areas to apply more frequently for long/relay and those with better sprint areas could apply for middle/sprint weekend.

2 – SOLs to be changed to include middle and sprint eg 3 x long, 2 x middle, 2 x sprint.

  • Winner could be from the best 3 or 4 scores which has to include one from each category.  This would mean the winners would have to master all individual disciplines.
  • Combine SOLs into double header weekends wherever possible
  • Also combine SOLs with Score, Nights, Jamie Stevenson etc to make weekends more attractive.

These two measures would create more space for local events/leagues and also more coaching – all clubs would be encouraged to arrange club coaching sessions following best practise.  More coaching would lead to improved standards across all orienteers and crucially would provide a pathway for beginners to develop quickly technically and also meet local orienteers socially at coaching sessions, both aspects encouraging them to stay involved in orienteering.

Offering coaching sessions only to club members would be a way to encourage newcomers to join a club rather than just attend events.

Possible Event calendar:


  • Night Champs/SOL weekend
  • SOL double header


  • Scottish long/relay


  • Scottish sprint/middle
  • Scottish Schools


  • SOL double header
  • Score/Sprint relay/Inter-areas
  • SOL/Jamie Stevenson

Reasoning for some of the above:

Some clubs are struggling to put on events with volunteer workload being mentioned as a constraint.

We have to fit round UK major races (JK, BOC, junior selection races, plus international races – eg Tio-Mila & Jukola relays).

Individual Scottish Champs find best orienteer on the day, SOL series find best orienteer across all disciplines across the year.

Bidding for events – some areas have more/better forest areas, others have more sprint or middle type areas.

Spring races give a chance for preparation races for major UK (JK/BOC) plus junior selection races.

May/June – Major champs

Sept/Oct section gives good series of events for everyone to focus on and also possible preparation for JHI/JIR, SHI, VHI

Greater use of double header weekends means less travel for more events and potential for greater social interaction. Plus it frees up weekends for club coaching

Club coaching helps develop club members technically and also gives newcomers a structured, systematic pathway into the technical challenges of the sport. Also coaching sessions tend to involve more social interaction than events – thus letting newcomers get to know existing orienteers more quickly which should aid attraction and retention.

SOULs are not mentioned because they are currently “regional” level events and so fall below the overview of the competition review.  They can continue as at present (as and when clubs wish to host them).  They could possibly be tied in with a SOL or other major race.


  1. Potentially higher numbers at Scottish Championships.
  2. Potentially higher numbers at SOLs and other races on double header weekends.
  3. More social aspect for double-header weekends.
  4. Environmental benefits of less travelling for same number of events.
  5. More space for local events (local or club leagues?) and also more club coaching (club weekend?).
  6. Cost, the use of professional staff does raise a cost implication. Partly this could be covered by increased numbers at major events but this is not guaranteed and won’t happen instantly.
  7. Easiest way to increase revenue would be to increase entry fees at all 9 or the vast majority) of events and take a levy from all competitive events.  Participation numbers have been fairly consistent over the past few years (varying from approx. 22-25,000.  If a levy of £1 (average) was raised from each participant this would raise approx £24,000, compared to current levy income of approximately £4,000.
  8. The increased income could be used for major event support and also for more support from clubs in development plans and help with courses for volunteer development, eg coaching, controller, planning, organiser etc.
  9. Increased participation leads to more income – leads to more staff time – more development – more members – more participation…

Give your input:

– Jon Musgrave