Like most sports, engaging and retaining juniors and young adults is a challenge in orienteering. One of the best ways to address this issue is to look at good practice within other sports and how this can be applied to orienteering. This article is part of a short series of articles that will look at good practices within orienteering and within other sports to determine ways we can engage and retain people in orienteering. The first case study within this series is looking at Oban Sailing Club.
In the Large clubs, Forth Valley Orienteering Club (FVO) remains at the top of the table with Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (ESOC) trailing by 18,0000 points in second position which is possibly too large a gap to make up in such a short period. Moravian Orienteering Club (MOR) and Mar Orienteering Club (MAROC) lie in third and fourth position respectively but are in all likelihood too far off the pace to challenge the top two at this stage given the location of the last few events. There is however potential for MAROC to overhaul MOR and take third place if they can get a better turn out for the final fixture at Balmedie.
For the Small clubs the race for the title is still wide open! Roxburgh Reivers (RR) are at the top of the table lying 2400 points ahead of the second placed St Andrew’s Orienteering Club Glasgow (STAG). The last weekend proved a good scoring weekend for STAG but with four of the last five events based in the Lothian region can they get the counting members to travel? East Lothian Orienteering Club (ELO) are currently in fourth position and 12,000 points off the pace, but they are hosting two of the remaining five events this may give them the opportunity to climb up the table as it gives some of their lower scorers an opportunity closer to home to shine.
The picture is similar to the seniors for the Junior Large clubs table with FVO topping the table but MAROC lying in second. MOR have six runs in hand which could allow them to overcome MAROC if they can get their runners out.
Whilst in the Junior small clubs, ELO are at the top of the table and as we said before as they are hosting two of the last five events this might give the edge to hold on to the first spot. RR have potential to gain a few more counting runners as events are relatively local but possibly not enough to challenge.
Looking to the overall individual scores, the juniors are leading the way with James Hammond of FVO in top spot, Finlay McLuckie of MOR climbing after a great run at the weekend into second and Sam Hunt of FVO being knocked down to third. The only senior in the top five being Will Hensman of FVO.
As we near the end of the year your feedback on the structure of the Inter-Club Championships would be appreciated. This is the first year of the competition in this format and are looking to incorporate any learning/ concerns into the structure of next year’s format. Please direct any feedback to either Steve Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nikki Howard at email@example.com before 31st December.
It has been an exciting weekend for the Scottish University orienteering clubs as the Scottish Student Championships were held for the first time in three years. The 2022 event was of particular significance as it was the first Scottish Student Orienteering Championships to be affiliated with Scottish Student Sport in 10 years. Six Universities took part in the event: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Strathclyde and Durham as a guest University. The event was sponsored by Durty Events who provided the championships with a new trophy for the overall winning university
The Senior Home Internationals is the annual competition between teams from England, Ireland (Northern Ireland and Eire), Scotland, Wales – the home nations. It would normally involve 3 men and 3 women in the M/W 20 age category (aged 20 and under) and 6 senior men and 6 senior women (aged 21 years and over). It is an important event for offering international competition opportunity and experience to many up and coming British and Irish elite athletes.
This year’s competition had a number of challenges – the location near Southampton (almost as far as you can get for most of our athletes!), the November date (out of competition season for the top runners), and the clashes with various other competitions (such as JWOC and cross country races) and life events (university open days) – all of which made selecting a competitive team very difficult. Despite asking a number of athletes, we were unable to fill the team in M21 or W21, but fortunately Alex Carcas took a day trip out from working in London, and Lorna Eades kindly stepped up from helper role to make sure that we at least had 3 full relay teams for men and women.
Well they say that the sun shines on the righteous. The forecast for Sunday did not portend well and most who travelled to Cumbernauld had a damp journey there but the sun emerged in time for the 2022 Scottish Score Championships!
We are excited to announce the Senior Home International team. The team heads down to England this weekend to represent Scotland in the Senior Home Internationals. On the Saturday the team will compete in relays at Hogmoor, followed by individuals on Sunday at the New Forest hosted by Southampton Orienteering Club.
The provisional results of the 2022 Compass Point Scottish Orienteering League (SOL) have been prepared and can be viewed at Provisional 2022 SOL results link. Participants are asked to check the results and any mistakes should be notified to the SOL Co-ordinator, Paul Hammond, via firstname.lastname@example.org by 30th November when the results will be made final.
The Scottish Orienteering Association has a small pot of money available each year for clubs to support the development of grassroots orienteering. These sports development grants are funded by sportscotland to enable clubs to make a tangible difference in their area. Roxburgh Reivers (RR) applied to the SOA development fund last year to support the appointment of a club development officer to initiate and deliver their Earlston High School project. The application was successful. They additionally sourced funding from Build Back a Better Borders, Live Borders, Toddleburn Wind Farm and the Orienteering Federation to make the project possible.
The project involved RR hosting orienteering at Earlston High School during school time which was attended by P7s at each of the cluster primary schools as part of their transition to High School after the summer. This was followed up by ‘Come and Try’ (CATI) events hosted at each of the cluster primary schools. The CATI events would then feed pupils into the RR so they could continue to engage with orienteering.
The cluster Primary Schools session at Earlston High School was very successful. With 158 pupils taking part on a sunny day, activities could take place outside. During the session pupils could try out three different activities including linear, score courses and an orienteering maze. The linear and score courses were particularly well received from pupils, who enjoyed using a dibber and getting a print out of their splits at the end. The maze had mixed feedback as some pupils were too slow creating a queue meanwhile others loved it and raced round. The maze format may work better for smaller groups.
Giving pupils a positive orienteering experience in schools is great, however this needs to be followed up to engage them in the sport and get them involved in the local club. In order to do this the next stage of the project was a series of CATI events at Earlston High Schools cluster primary schools. The events were at the schools to take the activity to the pupils rather than them having to travel. If they did need to travel it wouldn’t be far. Come and try it events were held on a mix Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays to suit a range of availability. The CATI events were free of charge to pupils and their parents.
The CATI events took place throughout August and were promoted through the RR mailing list, Facebook and through posters around the schools where the events were hosted. Two of the schools circulated the information about the events through their Parents Group App. These were also the schools which had the best turn out, highlighting the importance of involving their parents when engaging children in orienteering. Pupils were also given a flyer after the first session about the CATI events.
Apart from the first CATI, they were well attended. Over the month 81 beginners attended the CATI events however, there wasn’t a huge number of P7’s attending. Many people commented that they’d always thought they’d like to try orienteering. At one of the CATI events 26 newcomers came along.
Following on from the CATI series RR have hosted one local event where two people from the series attended and ran an orange. Most people who attended the CATI events gave the RR their email address and are now on their mailing list for more follow up activity and events.
Overall the project has been a success and has increased awareness of the RR and orienteering in the area. Going forward the club is planning on implementing a similar series of events for next year and learning from feedback from teachers, parents and pupils to make next year’s programme even stronger.
The club is planning on implementing a schools league next year between the Earlston High School cluster primary schools. This is where an orienteering training session would occur during school time and out of school pupils can attend local events hosted by the club and compete for their school. Hopefully this will motivate more P7s to come along to the events. Hosting a Schools League has been very successful for other clubs such the South Yorkshire Orienteers. We are very excited to see how the schools league goes next year for RR!
At SOA we are very keen to support the development of grassroots orienteering. If you have a project in mind or want to discuss an idea please contact us or submit your applications to Fran.Loots@scottish-orienteering.org. Applications for financial support for club development projects are welcomed from SOA clubs, groups of clubs, regional associations, or squads. Depending on demand, the likely upper limit for funding is usually around £1000.
When I started orienteering 47 years ago I had no idea of the riches the sport would gift to me. I honestly cannot imagine my life without this wonderful sport of ours. I will be forever grateful to the two sixth form teachers who introduced me to the sport and then further encouraged me. The experiences of places visited, races and events completed, events planned and organised, forests mapped and athletes coached. A motivation to keep fit, the great people I have met, the sense of club community and of course the great fun, have all enriched my life beyond measure.
Having been a member of clubs in four different countries, and orienteered in over thirty, I know that wherever I travel in the world I can find a community of like minded people with whom I can share and enjoy the fun. How do you feel Orienteering has enriched your life? To introduce a newcomer to our sport and encourage them is a wonderful timeless gift to bestow.