View from the Chair

Keith Dawson, SOA Chair

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.

Many people have re-evaluated their lives post Covid Lockdown(s). We have much to offer those looking for a physical and mental challenge in nature, together with a wider social community with which to engage. All improving their quality of life immeasurably. This requires the opportunity to try the sport locally, driven by our strong club structure and a ladder of progression for those who aspire to it.

I believe that Scottish Orienteering has come out of Covid in good heart, due to its strong committed clubs and volunteers, together with the good governance of the SOA Board in difficult times to help facilitate this. There is a demographic and travel cost challenge ahead, but I believe that orienteering is unique in offering the public coming out of Covid just what many are looking for. With WOC24 in Edinburgh fast approaching, there are great opportunities ahead for the sport in promotion and development.

 Newer disciplines such as Urban, Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) and Turfing give new opportunities for engagement with a wider community. In Orienteering we have a great experience and lifestyle which can enrich lives immeasurably.

Let’s all try and gift someone new to the sport, the riches that others gave us, as we move towards another great Scottish WOC year in 2024. That would be a wonderful and Capital personal WOC legacy for us all. Who will you introduce to the sport?