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Anyone for Orienteering...?



Anyone For Orienteering…?

As a girl who finds it very difficult to read a map, follow directions and gets very easily lost in Manchester despite the fact that I’ve lived here for 23 years, orienteering is something I have generally avoided.  Until now……

On Wednesday evening after work, the Refresh PR team slipped out of our heels and in to our slightly more practical trainers and headed down to Salford Watersports Centre to take part in an orienteering lesson.  We are working with Greater Sport, which has teamed up with British Orienteering to open up opportunities for local people to get involved in the sport.  I was a little apprehensive to say the least as we met up with coach Simon Khan, but as soon as the session started I couldn’t help but get involved and just a little bit competitive.Refresh PR capture Simon Khan of British Orienteering & Greater Sport's photo shoot with the MEN

I was really intrigued with the way that the session had attracted a diverse group of people, some with great experience in orienteering, and some, like me, who had never taken part in the sport before.  Simon got the group together to teach us some key map-reading skills for orienteering, and sent us off in search of small tokens he had hidden in the surrounding area.  As beginners we took our time and got a feel for using the maps, the group did brilliantly on the whole; I was impressed with how well team Refresh was doing, that was until I realised that I had my map upside down and was generally heading in the wrong direction.  But other than me, the group was turning out to be quite the bunch of orienteers!

The Greater Sport team with Simon Khan getting a lesson in map readingAfter this we moved on to another method of training called “naughty numbers” which uses some brilliant pieces of electronic equipment.   Here, a series of small electronic packs labelled from 1 – 20 are laid out on the ground in a random order in a grid shape.  With a device attached to our fingers to record our time between each electronic box, we clicked on the start ‘pack’ and then had to follow our special orienteering map to go from one box to the next, in order, as quickly as possible, clicking in each pack as we went.   The device on our fingers monitored the speed at which we move around to identify the location of each pack in the sequence until we reached the elusive 20th pack.  It got a little competitive, and was very funny to do.  This was my favourite exercise as we ran to make sure we kept our speed up – none of us wanted to go back to learn of an embarrassingly slow time!

The Hi-Tech equipment used in the orienteering lessonOrienteering is a great way to exercise as Simon incorporates some fitness training into his sessions too, whilst orienteering is still the main focus; it’s great to feel like you’ve had a workout and a lot of fun at the same time.  The Refresh PR team loved it, and we were really pleased with our map reading skills as the session progressed.  Urban Orienteering is something that is growing in popularity all the time, and it is easy to see why.  It takes the skills needed in orienteering in the countryside and puts it together with the challenges of taking part in the sport in a built up area.

I would definitely recommend orienteering to anyone who fancies getting out there and doing something a little different.  It’s a real twist on exercise, it’s a lot of fun, you can meet some great people and it’s a workout for the brain too.  What more could you ask for?  If I can do it, anybody can!

Laura and I after the lesson, very impressed!

If you fancy trying orienteering get down to Salford Watersports Centre at Salford Quays on a Wednesday evening at 6.30pm-8.00pm to meet Simon and his team and start reading those maps.  You can also call Simon on 07530 909807 or email salfordorienteeringclub@gmail.com for more information.

Good Luck!

Tagged with: MEN, Orienteering, Photo Shoot, Sport, Sports