Full course list

The SOA runs a range of outdoor practical training courses – the full list is below. We run many of the courses below on request so, if you’re interested, please get in touch with Denise Martin, our Coaching and Volunteer Officer.

Upcoming courses

View our calendar of upcoming courses here, or contact Denise Martin to enquire about a course you’re interested in.


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Improve your orienteering       Learn to teach/coach other people       For event and club officials


Improve your orienteering

You can request a course for beginners and improvers by contacting the Coaching and Volunteer Officer.

Coaching Weekend – Beginners (CWB)

  • INTENDED FOR: Adults (anyone over 16) with LITTLE or NO experience of orienteering
  • USUAL DURATION: 2 days (residential at Glenmore Lodge)
  • ASSESSMENT: none
  • COST: £ Please enquire
  • MIN/MAX. 4/6
  • MAIN TOPICS: All basic skills building up to more advanced techniques
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Reasonable level of physical fitness
  • OTHER NOTES: Speyside offers some of the most varied, enjoyable and challenging orienteering areas in the UK. By the end of this weekend you will have the skills, strategies and confidence to tackle any of them!

Coaching Day/Weekend – Improvers (CWI)

  • INTENDED FOR: Adults (anyone over 16) with some experience of orienteering
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 or 2 days
  • ASSESSMENT: None
  • COST: £30 per day, less £10 for SOA members
  • MIN/MAX. 4/6 per coach
  • MAIN TOPICS: All basic skills and other more advanced techniques as required by participants
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Some experience of orienteering; reasonable level of physical fitness
  • OTHER NOTES: These days/weekends are very much geared to the needs of those taking part. You will be asked beforehand what you particularly want to work on. Although we aim to help you improve significantly, we also ensure that the whole experience is enjoyable. We use some of the most delightful and challenging forests that the UK can offer, and all our coaches are qualified, licensed and very friendly!

Learn to teach/coach other people

We offer courses for teacher, outdoor leaders, and would-be or qualified coaches. You can request a course by contacting the Coaching and Volunteer Officer.

Introducing Orienteering (IntrO)

  • INTENDED FOR: Teachers, Outdoor Centre instructors, Scout leaders etc..
  • USUAL DURATION: One day (6 hours), or two 3-hour sessions. Tutor led, highly practical.
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: From £49 to £70 per person (one day version)
  • MIN/MAX.: 6/14
  • MAIN TOPICS: Introduction to the basic skills of orienteering through indoor and outdoor activities, and how to bring a variety of subjects to life through the medium of orienteering.
  • PRE-REQUISITES: No prior knowledge of orienteering is required, but you are expected to have a basic understanding of how young people learn.
  • OTHER NOTES: Courses are often arranged in response to local demand.
  • MORE DETAIL: Download the course leaflet below

Coaching Foundation (CF)

  • INTENDED FOR: People with some knowledge of orienteering, who are interested in trying their hand at coaching; also useful for qualified coaches in need of a refresher
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 day (6 hours approx.)
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: £60 per person (non-members £100)
  • MIN/MAX. 4/14
  • MAIN TOPICS: Discussion around how to teach/coach orienteering, practical exercises
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Competent orienteers at least at TD3; age 16+
  • OTHER NOTES: This course is a pre-requisite for the Level 1 Coach course; you might apply to go straight to Level 2 after this course.

Level 1 Coach (L1C)

  • INTENDED FOR: Capable orienteers
  • USUAL DURATION: Approx. 6 hours home study, then 2 days of tuition and assessment
  • ASSESSMENT: Merged with tuition days; short written tasks and observed coaching delivery
  • COST: £250 per person; subsidy may be available from sportscotland
  • MIN/MAX.: 4/10
  • MAIN TOPICS: See course detail
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Attendance at Coaching Foundation course; participants must be aged 17 or over; evidence of competence at orienteering at TD4 or above
  • MORE DETAIL: Qualification awarded by SQA

Level 2 Coach (L2C – launching in 2019)

  • INTENDED FOR: Capable orienteers with some coaching experience
  • USUAL DURATION: Approx. 10 hours home study, then 2 days of tuition and formative assessment observed coaching session, further home study and written tasks & reflective practice (approx. 20 hours), half-day final observed session
  • ASSESSMENT: Written tasks and observed sessions
  • COST: £300 per person; subsidy may be available from sportscotland
  • MIN/MAX.: 4/8
  • MAIN TOPICS: See course detail
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Usually Level 1 Coach or equivalent; direct entry possible on application after completion of CF course (Recognition of Prior Learning); evidence of orienteering competence at TD5
  • OTHER NOTES: Qualification should normally be completed within 2 years
  • MORE DETAIL: Qualification awarded by SQA

Level 3 Coach (L3C – launching in 2019)

  • INTENDED FOR: Experienced coaches
  • USUAL DURATION: Will require an amount of home study; 3 days tutor contact (discussions and practical activities); formative assessment (half day); further home study and practical experience, written tasks; 2 half-days of observed coaching delivery
  • ASSESSMENT: Written and practical tasks assessed throughout the learning process; formative assessment of coaching delivery; final observation of coaching delivery (2 sessions)
  • COST: £450
  • MIN/MAX.: 4/8
  • MAIN TOPICS: See course detail
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Level 2 Coach or equivalent qualification
  • OTHER NOTES: Qualification should normally be completed within 2 years
  • MORE DETAIL: Qualification awarded by SQA

Coach CPD (CCPD)

  • INTENDED FOR: Qualified coaches
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 day (6 hours approx.)
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: Usually no charge, though in particular cases there might be a small charge to cover costs
  • MIN/MAX: 2/20
  • MAIN TOPICS: Each session covers a specific topic (or 2) relevant to orienteering coaching
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Orienteering coach qualification and experience
  • OTHER NOTES: Qualified coaches are required to attend and log CPD (Continuing Personal Development) sessions, which might be generic (e.g. those run by UK Coaching) or orienteering-specific. Attending any of these one-day sessions will earn you 3 points on your BOF CPD log. If you organise and lead one of the sessions, you earn double points! You should also log learning achieved through interaction with other coaches, reading and studying online resources.

Tutor CPD (TCPD)

  • INTENDED FOR: Qualified tutors of coach education or IntrO courses
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 day (6 hours approx.)
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: Usually no charge, though in particular cases there might be a small charge to cover costs
  • MIN/MAX: 2/20
  • MAIN TOPICS: Each session covers a specific topic (or two) relevant to orienteering tutoring
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Orienteering tutor qualification
  • OTHER NOTES: We are keen to ensure that our tutors are totally up to date with the content and best delivery practice for all the courses that they teach. Qualified tutors are therefore required to attend a specific CPD session at least once every 2 years; we generally offer some CPD every year.
  • MORE DETAIL: Attendance by invitation only.

Scottish Orienteering Young Leader Course (SOYL)

  • INTENDED FOR: Young people aged 14-17 who want to be able to assist at school or club sessions
  • USUAL DURATION: One day (6 hours), or two 3-hour sessions. Tutor led, highly practical.
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: No charge
  • MIN/MAX.: 6/14
  • MAIN TOPICS: Introduction to the basic skills of orienteering and some games and activities to teach and develop them
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Some knowledge of orienteering
  • OTHER NOTES: The one-day course is for young people aged 14-17 who want to assist qualified coaches or teachers in providing orienteering within a school, youth organisation or club environment.
    The purpose of the training is to give you the skills and awareness to assist a suitably qualified adult working in a safe, enclosed area such as a school, outdoor centre, park or small wood.
    The course is highly practical, there is no assessment and you will receive a set of printable resources which you can adapt and use as often as you wish.

For event and club officials

We offer courses for event officials and club officers. Please contact the Coaching and Volunteer Officer if you’d like to request a course.

Event Safety & Welfare Workshop (ESW)

  • INTENDED FOR: All event officials (Controller, Planner, Organiser)
  • USUAL DURATION: 3 hours (usually delivered as evening session); largely group activities and discussion, practical learning
  • ASSESSMENT: No assessment
  • COST: Usually no charge
  • MIN/MAX. 4/20
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Awareness of how public orienteering events are organised
  • OTHER NOTES: British Orienteering require all Controllers, Planners and Organisers to have attended this course.

Organisers’ Workshop (OW)

  • INTENDED FOR: Anyone considering taking on a role of event organiser
  • USUAL DURATION: 3 hours (usually delivered as evening session); largely group activities and discussion, practical learning
  • ASSESSMENT: No assessment
  • COST: Usually no charge
  • MIN/MAX. 4/20
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Basic awareness of orienteering
  • OTHER NOTES: An excellent introduction which removes the stress of the unknown for new organisers.

Introduction to Course Planning (ICP)

  • INTENDED FOR: People with orienteering experience, who have little or no experience of course planning
  • USUAL DURATION: 3 hours; tutor led and practical activities
  • ASSESSMENT: Not assessed
  • COST: Usually no charge
  • MIN/MAX. 2/20
  • MAIN TOPICS: Event roles; planning aims, rules and standards; common problems, practicalities
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Some experience of participating in orienteering.
  • OTHER NOTES: This course is usually delivered by an experienced club member, using materials developed by SOA. Should usually be followed by CONDES training.

CONDES workshop (CDS1)

  • INTENDED FOR: Orienteers with an understanding of how to plan courses
  • USUAL DURATION: 2-4 hours; tutor led or self-pace tutorial using downloadable document
  • ASSESSMENT: None
  • COST: No charge
  • MIN/MAX.: n/a
  • MAIN TOPICS: All the basics of how to use Condes, plus the main things you need to know in order to produce a full event file.
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Knowledge of how to plan courses, competence on computer. Condes software needs to be installed – it only works on Windows, not on Apple machines.
  • OTHER NOTES: You might find it helpful to have someone get you started with Condes.

Advanced CONDES workshop (CDS2)

  • INTENDED FOR: Anyone with a good level of familiarity with course planning and with Condes
  • USUAL DURATION: 2-4 hours; peer led
  • ASSESSMENT: None
  • COST: No charge
  • MIN/MAX.: n/a
  • MAIN TOPICS: Various advanced techniques depending on interest of those present. Topics might include gaffling for relays, making alterations to the map for coaching activities, using multiple maps and/or multiple scales.
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Good level of familiarity with basic use of Condes. Participants will also be encouraged to share their own expertise.

OCAD workshop (OCAD)

  • INTENDED FOR: Orienteers who want to be able to update club maps
  • USUAL DURATION: 4-6 hours
  • ASSESSMENT: None
  • COST: Usually £50 per person; club usually pays.
  • MIN/MAX.: 4/10
  • MAIN TOPICS: Basics of how OCAD does things and how to update existing maps; can be extended to include making maps from outline maps available online
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Good level of understanding of orienteering maps; competence with computer
  • OTHER NOTES: It’s important to remember that OCAD is just a tool; in the wrong hands it can be dangerous! Clubs are advised to implement effective version control for their maps, and to be circumspect in who they allow to update them.
  • MORE DETAIL: Usually run in response to specific demand.

Grade C Controllers (GCC)

  • INTENDED FOR: Experienced orienteers wishing to become qualified as a Controller
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 day (6 hours)
  • ASSESSMENT: Assessed through participation and written application
  • COST: Usually £20-25 per person, which is usually paid by the club
  • MIN/MAX. 2/20
  • MAIN TOPICS: Roles of event officials particularly the role of controller, application of BOF Rules, technical & inter-personal aspects, practical exercises
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Experience of organising and planning can be completed before or after attendance at this training; applicants must be at least 18 years of age, though because of the people management aspects of the role we recommend that candidates should be at least 25 years of age.
  • OTHER NOTES: Grade C is the first level of Controller qualification; to complete the qualification you are required to have organised and planned events as specified on the British Orienteering website.

Grade B Controllers (GBC)

  • INTENDED FOR: People with experience as a Grade C Controller
  • USUAL DURATION: 1 day (6 hours)
  • ASSESSMENT: Assessed through participation and written application
  • COST: Usually £20-25 per person, which is usually paid by the club
  • MIN/MAX. 2/20
  • MAIN TOPICS: Update & refresher of Rules, consideration of additional factors involved in Level B events
  • PRE-REQUISITES: Recent experience as Grade C Controller