Orienteering is a sport that’s growing in popularity. And that might be because it’s truly something for everyone. From relaxed recreation seekers to competitive athletes, all that’s needed is a map, a compass, and a love of the outdoors.
It’s known as “the thinking sport” because orienteering involves not just a physical challenge, but mental work too. Map reading, compass reading, and decision making.
Chris Ling, one of the organizers of this weekend’s BC Orienteering Championships event, explains what the sport is all about. “Orienteering is a sport where you navigate around a series of control flags using a map and compass, and the idea is to navigate around them as fast as possible.”
And while it’s not as huge as some weekend pursuits, it is a fun sport that’s growing in popularity.
“We attract new members fairly regularly” says Ling, “and other people move away from the sport, so it’s pretty steady I would say. Growing slowly perhaps…”
Joan Roos registered for the two-day championship in California. “I came for a vacation! I live in Berkeley, California. Victoria is a scenic area. Orienteering is terrific for all ages. Way fun!”
The bc orienteering championships were held at two locations over the weekend. In Sooke’s Thunderbird Park on Saturday, and Camosun College’s Interurban Campus Sunday.
“You don’t really need any skills” says Ling. “Beginners can get a brief instruction, and they’re good to go on easier courses. As it’s gets harder, you need to be pretty competent about being able to read a map, and navigate over the ground at speed in the advanced courses.”
And what about a sense of direction?
“That helps, yes!” says Ling with a laugh. “I personally don’t have much of a sense of direction. I very much rely on my map and my compass when I’m going around, but that certainly helps!”
Orienteering is a sport that can be enjoyed for life, if you like maps, exploring, and the great outdoors.