Orienteering is a sport where participants navigate through unfamiliar terrain using a map and compass. It originated in Scandinavia during World War I and became popular in Britain in 1962. Orienteering is a mental and physical exercise suitable for all ages and is relatively inexpensive. A good whistle, pen, and map case are essential items. Orienteering is also a social activity and a great way to stay fit and have fun.
Orienteering is an outdoor sport, the art of navigating from one point to another through unfamiliar territory. Originating in Scandinavia during World War I as a military exercise, it first found popularity in Britain in 1962. The combination of physical and mental exercise makes orienteering an ideal recreational activity for male and female competitors. Using little more than a map, a compass, and a sturdy pair of running shoes, individuals, or more commonly teams, make their way on a cross-country race from one agreed-upon destination to another.
The mental activity comes from reading the map and evaluating what would be the quickest route to reach the intended destination. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. For example, it may seem faster to move in a straight line, as the crow flies, but more skilled orienteering competitors can judge, by reading their map, that it might be faster to climb hills and ford streams than to take a well-worn road. but tortuous. path.
Orienteering is a growing minority sport, one that is enjoyed and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from five-year-olds up to sixty-year-olds. It’s also a relatively inexpensive hob. Orienteering compasses can be purchased for as little as $5, and running shoes, with or without studs or spikes, can be found at any good sporting goods store. In the event of changing weather conditions, waterproof clothing is also advisable and is relatively cheap.
Another indispensable element for the orienteering enthusiast is a good whistle used to signal help in case of emergency. The universal signal is six short blasts and then a pause. This should be repeated until help arrives. The whistle must not be blown at any other time as this may cause other competitors to abandon the race to look for the distress signal. You will also need a pen to plot your route and a map case to protect your map in bad weather.
A big draw for the orienteering enthusiast is the social aspect, a chance to meet like-minded people and participate in exercises and competitions. You can get fit and healthy while taking in the spectacular scenery. There should be no problem finding an orienteering club near you, and as it is now a world-recognized sport, many hold weekly events with prizes and trophies. After a hard week at school or work, this is a great way to have some fun over the weekend.