Night Orienteering for Dummies


Hi all,
I've been well & truly spammed into organising an orienteering competition for a sqn of not particularly energetic TA RLC Drivers. Never done orienteering before so it’s all new to me.

We're lucky to have a country park with big hill & golf course just next to TAC so it's obvious choice for location.

It'll be dark, cos its to be on the weeknight, and will have to be over in a couple of hours max.

There's gonna have to be prizes to motivate them I reckon.

The guys & gals are not bad at navigating roads in trucks, but thought they’d better have a quick prep to brush up their bearings etc so current plan is 10 mins prep talk, three teams, 5 minutes staggered start, different route for each team, not marked but using existing features that can be IDed in the dark. Maybe even using flour markers like in hashing.

Planning to give them a mix of grid refs to go to, distances on a bearing to go along, and features to look out for, presume I have to prepare route cards for them beforehand, and will have to recce the route in the dark at some time too. Also assume that I’ll need transport & medic on call.

What sort of distance should I aim for? I’m a cross-country runner (hence spammimg for this) & could run a fair way in 90 – 120 minutes, even in the dark, but don’t want to kill any fat lance jacks – just yet anyway.

Any ideas on the best way to go about it??
Personally, I do a walk through/talk through on a drill night and organise the competition for a weekend when you will stand more chance of getting the necessary back-up. Consider the implications if someone is as bad as you're making out, gets lost and you have to spend time finding them (beyond drill night hours). Or if someone decides to stop off at the 19th hole without telling anyone...
I'd suggest 5-6 miles max. 10 grid points and only give them the first grid. At the first point is the grid to the second and so on. Give them the bearings and distance but not the grids as this is an incentive to get to each grid ref.

Does that make sense?


All wise words, and perfect sense, thanks. I'll post what we did & how we got on after the event.

Make sure that you have a large collecting feature for them to relocate to in case they get lost, together with a cut-off time. The alternative is that you sit there waiting for a few hours whilst they gently wobble back in their own time. Shielded cyalumes (harry black) work well just to ensure that they find the true feature from 2m or so away. Enjoy.
Have a marker point to start & finish at, & surround it by lights so it can be seen, contact your local orienterring club they may have proper orienteering maps for your area or maybe able to avise of night orienteering in your are on a set weekend where u can tip up pay 3 pound & enter a already run event less hassle then for the planning has its already been done by the local club, if not may be able to advise on setting up one at least.

also if its next door to you some people might know it well so speak to the local club & see if anywhere else local has places for orienteering some have established perminent courses you can use,

If you are doing hte grid system you may want to have marhsalls walking round but may also decide to place a marshall at one if the checkpoints.

make sure all teams have at least, a Map, a Compass, & torch & a whistle to advise if any problems are about, think about minimum groups of you are planning it & sort the groups out of strong people & weak people in both Phys & map reading skills.
Ask your Q bloke to get you Cyalums. If he is a decent sort he will get them for you in a couple of days, they are readily available. (But not the IR ones - get the eyeball visible ones) Use them beside O Controls - helps you find the things when you go back out after the lads to collect them as well :D
just ot add to my last post go to google type in BOF & its the first link that comes up i think then go to clubs it should give you an idea of clubs in your area

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