Orienteering Devonport Park

On Wednesday five schools arrived in the park to take part in the first schools orienteering event of 2014. For quite a few children from Weston Mill primary this was their first go. High View had done some on their schools grounds and some of the older competitors were including the events in their GCSE work.


Paul Roberts, Martin Northcott and Kate Maidment set out controls, Michaela took charge of registration at the start tent. Kevin Sellar arrived in time to collect tea and supervise the finishing times. There were four levels of difficulty white, yellow, orange and light green providing plenty of choice. Teachers who came with their groups circulated in the park to observe and help keep everyone safe.


It was dry fortunately and so the impact on the grass minimal as children applied their map reading skills to run the fastest route around their course. Orienteering is a running and thinking activity where the fastest around who comes back having proved they visited all the controls wins. The proof is a punch mark into the correct box of a control card. There were about 10 or 12 on each course to find.


Many children who had not done this activity before started with the white course but came back for more and completed the yellow as well. Their success demonstrated how the skills judgement and application to use a map while running can quickly be mastered. Indeed the success was very evident on the excited faces of those running in to stop the clock.


For safety reasons the children and young people we competing in pairs. At a club event you go out alone with a whistle and only yourself to reckon with when things don’t go according to plan. Choosing the right level of challenge is particularly important so there is a reasonable chance of success. Course get longer as well as more challenging with controls getting further off the beaten track.


Both Cornwall and Devon havean Orienteering Club and so there are regular events at the same levels of difficulty. The dates and locations can be seen on their websites. Each club has people who help first timers and these members have the appropriate measures in place to work with children. Anyone going along would be made very welcome as each has junior team who compete nationally.


The next event is in Saltram Park on Wednesday the 26thMarch2014, do please enter at http://www.plymouthssp.co.uk/events 


Learn more and discover tips on improving performance by looking on the www.britishorienteering.org.uk website or www.devonorienteering.co.uk or www.cornwallorienteering.org.uk . search for the schools orienteering association. There are some helpful short clips on you-tube where children explain more about taking part.


Thanks are due to the parks Department for letting us use Devonport Park for this event.


Paul  Roberts

Paul Roberts
OAA Coach

Mobile: 07908 818151
Email: [email protected]

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