What is orienteering?
Orienteering is the competitive sport of land navigation. Using a highly detailed map, you choose a route between points marked on the map, and return to the finish line in the shortest amount of time. The route between each point is not specified, and the crafty and quick navigation decisions required are the essence of the sport. More advanced competitors usually speed through the course solo, while beginners often go out with a group to help each other learn and have fun. Either way, you complete the course at your own pace, and everyone gets the satisfaction of finding their own unique route.
I’m new and this all looks a bit much
We’re a fast-growing Club, which means that we’re good at supporting new people, just like you. We encourage you to come along and join in.
Beginners are welcome at all SHOO events, and we plan courses at each event just for beginners. You won’t get badly lost, you won’t be in danger, and no-one will laugh at you (more than we laugh at ourselves for silly mistakes, anyway).
We always teach free beginner clinics at our events so you can learn everything you need. You don’t have to be a SHOO member to participate in a SHOO event. And you don’t need fancy gear - just some shoes and a willingness to give it a try.
What do I do at an event?
Get there: Each of our events has an “assembly area”, which is where we start courses from. You can find out where this is on our events page, or on Facebook. Turn up, say “hi” at the desk, and we’ll take you through from there.
Register: Decide who will be participating, and their skill level (which decides your course), and pay.
Get some coaching: We always have club coaches on hand, and we’ll give you simple ways to understand the map, and get you started. We’ll also show you how use your technologically-advanced SI stick (it beeps at flags to record your time). You can ask as many questions as you like, and we can even walk you through a point or two to get started. As much or as little support as you like.
Adventure! Head out on your course(s). Fast or slow, beginner or advanced, you’ll make it through in your own time. Everyone has a great time at the end comparing how they made it through the course, where everyone made “interesting” choices, and who won.
If you want to learn more, see our orienteering resources page.