A tramp in the woods

Last weekend I took the older boys orienteering for the first time.  I hadn’t orienteered for approximately 20 years but since getting to know the lovely @gallop484 on Twitter who is mad keen on the sport I felt inspired to give it another go.

So with my rusty map reading skills and no compass we set off down the road from our house to an event in Bradenham Woods in the Chilterns which had been organised by the Thames Valley Orienteeing Club.  It is just one event of six which have been organised in our local area between now and August.

The event was really well organised and we were helped to register and decide which colour course to try (different colours equal different levels of difficulty with White being the easiest, through Yellow, Orange, Light Green and Green).  We were advised to go for the Yellow course which had 11 control points to find, all shown on a map

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You must find each control point in order and you are given an electronic punching card at the start which you use to register at each point. You can just see this in the top left of the photo. At the end of the course the information on the cars is downloaded to give you a print out of your overall time and split times between each point, and the next day you can see how you did compared to everyone else who did the same colour course by visiting the TVOC website.

We started off quite well finding Control Points 1 to 3 fairly easily.

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View from the Start

View from the Start

We were a roll. ‘This is easy’ said the boys. I was thinking we would be home within the hour drinking tea. Then we got hopelessly lost. 😦

Everywhere in the woods looked the same..
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We all got really disoriented and couldn’t work out where we were on the map. Forty minutes later after lots of moaning and ‘I want to go home’ we eventually worked out where we were and from then on in it was a breeze.

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Finding the control points really kept the boys engaged, it was good fun and getting lost meant we all got a lot of exercise. We didn’t even come last!! Next time though I will definitely be taking a compass.

Kirsty x