Finding your way in Orienteering

An event invite from Western Eagles Galway Orienteering popped up on my Facebook timeline a few weeks back and I added myself as a plan for a Sunday morning outing with the family.

My son loves maps and is always drawing treasure maps which only he can follow so I pitched the idea to the family for a bit of fun outing.

Edel has never done orienteering, its been 20+ years since I did any (outside of +Beast of Ballyhoura Adventure Race this year) and its great fun for the kids to go exploring in the woods.

So off we went this morning to register at Merlin Park Woods in Galway. We were handed two maps and two control cards.

Getting the maps and outline instructions

Ruaidhri had it all worked out that we would work as a team with him and daddy going one way and the girls going the other way.

He’s 4.

Once I explained the map and what we would be doing he decided we could all go together. He was ‘Chief Navigator’, daddy was assistant, mummy was the controller in charge of dibbing in at the stations and Rachel was scout, who took instruction on directions and found the control points.

Chief navigaor pointing out the way.

All sorted and off we went. The course was mapped out nicely and the first control points were easy to pick out. Once we were into the woods we had options of following trails or cutting through the woods.

We had to make team decision on what route to choose and at one point after explaining that (1). we could go through the woods but if we got stuck we’d have to turn back and go around or (2). we could stick to the main path and make good progress.

The scout decided to stick to the path.

Fun in the sun.

There was one sticky situation towards the end where we pushed through a trail in the woods to find we were heading away from our goal. Doubling back along the fence line we found a gap and with a quick one, two the kids were fired over and we followed off to CP8.

From here it was a short trot back towards CP9 and a circum-navigation of a fenced area back to the starting point were scout ensured that the team was together (good practise for #AdventureRacing) before dibbing in and handing back the control cards.

All in all a great morning adventure and the best thing is there will be another event in 2 weeks time in Renville Park.

Keep an eye on the Western Eagles blog or Facebook page for more details. If you are are looking for a fun way to get fit and involve the family, orienteering is a great option.