Welcome to British Orienteering

Orienteering is an exciting and challenging outdoor sport that exercises both mind and body. The aim is to navigate between control points marked on an orienteering map; as a competitive sport the challenge is to complete the course in the quickest time choosing your own best route; as a recreational activity it does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run or walk making progress at your own pace on the courses planned to suit you.

Orienteering can take place anywhere from remote forest and countryside to urban areas, parks and school playgrounds. Orienteering is a fulfilling sport for runners and walkers of all ages who want to test themselves mentally as well as physically or who want to add variety to their leisure activities. Read More


European Orienteering Championships - middle qualifier

After a much-needed rest day, Thursday brought the Middle Distance Qualification races on Olovena Stola writes Kirsten Strain

Conditions contrasted with the start of the week, with lower temperatures and low-lying mist but a long walk from quarantine to the start gave opportunity for an extended warm up. The courses were similar to those predicted in the pre-race geeking session, which gave some GB athletes additional confidence.

Qualification in the Men's race proved a tough challenge, with only Alan Cherry reaching the standard. In the words of Hector, who missed qualification by 42 seconds:  "For me, I just misjudged it. It was easier than expected. I spent too much time hesitating and reading the map on approach to controls, when instead I should have maintained a high speed and focussed on flow. Physically I felt full of beans. I should have been more aggressive." Similarly, Peter Hodkinson commented on how playing safe, even making some legs into orange-standard, allowed him to qualify for the Sprint final but was not a tactic that paid off today. Ralph was also below the required pace and didn't get the qualification he wanted. Jonny Crickmore and Matt Speake are also through to the B final, in the esteemed company of Long-distance winner Daniel Hubmann. All of the Swedes qualified as did all the Czech team but none of the Kiwis.

The Women's race provided more opportunities for celebration in the GB camp. Stealing the limelight was Cat Taylor, winning her heat by a peachy 10 seconds. Cat said: "I wasn't very confident with my current form but I kept a level head and decided not to go bananas. I was pleased with the fruits of my labour and I hope that I can have the same result in the final tomorrow." Jess came 8th, 1:44 off the lead. Jess said afterwards that she felt well prepared, finding the course very much as she'd expected and happy that her tactics of safe routes and minimising time in greens paid off. Jo came 13th in her heat, despite a small mistake on number 13, in a soup of green and gullies. Jo and Jess both said they are excited about tomorrow and are pleased to have qualified for A finals twice this week. Kirsten had fun but narrowly missed on qualification, with 19th place, 24 seconds off qualification time. Alice Leake ventured into the forest, missing her usual olive green and buildings. Unfortunately Alice got herself into a bit of a pickle by running off a crag and hurting her back when landing on a rock, but she bravely finished her course to take 25th place. Alice commented: "Ow! Top tip: don't fall off a crag. It hurts." Hollie was still suffering from some niggles that develped on Tuesday and decided not to run the Middle distance but plans to be fresh and strong for the relay.

The Middle distance finals are today at Cerna Voda. The B finals are from 12:30 (CET), the Men's A final starts at 13:45 and the Women's A final starts at 15:30.

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European Orienteering Championships - Long final

For the British team, today’s Long Final was the best day so far of the European Championships writes Peter Hodkinson.

Yesterday’s qualification races were physically demanding and the ability to come out of the woods, shake it off and begin again with a positive attitude was crucial.

The standout performance of the day came from Hollie Orr who ran a fearless race to finish in 6th place. Interviewed afterwards, she said “Today was a fairytale. The last time I ran EOC in 2014 I finished in position 22 – I was aiming for a top 10 but didn’t expect this result even in my wildest dreams. Thinking back to December when I was struggling with injury and there was a long blank space in my training diary makes this result mean all the more to me because everything has changed. The last few kilometres of the race were some of the hardest I can remember but all you had to do was stay in the red, breathe and keep pushing to the limit. I know places I could have saved time but overall I’m really happy with my run”. 


There were more solid GB results in the women’s race with Jess Tullie 28th, Jo Shepherd 31st and Kirsten Strain 45th who commented that her debut at the Europeans had been really fun. 

Hollie on the run-in

 In the Men’s race, Graham Gristwood’s love story with the long distance continued as he ran in style to an excellent 11th position. Despite battling with cramp and a bad blood blister towards the end, he made it to the finish safe and sound and was pleased to improve on his 16th position from EOC in Portugal two years ago. He reflected that, while it would have been nice to be inside the top 10, you can’t be in control of what other runners do. He is now really looking forward to the Relay at the end of the week.

Hector Haines enjoyed running head-to-head with 3-times world champion Matthias Kyburz and dropping him on the climbs on his way to 21st place. Ralph Street, who finished 28th, was pleased to reach the final control after a long and hard race, while Alan Cherry and Matt Speake finished close together in 37th and 39th respectively.

The team are taking a well-deserved rest day tomorrow before the action resumes with the Middle Qualification on Thursday.


Matt pushing hard


Hollie celebrates with British Orienteering Coach of the Year Liz Campbell



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Recognised Centre Organises Orienteering Competition for over 900 pupils


East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service, who achieved recognised centre status in 2015, organised an Orienteering Festival for East Lothian and Mid Lothian schools.  A total of over 900 pupils attended, competing as either pairs, teams or solos.  A total of 24 primary schools were in attendance, some of whom brought over one hundred pupils.

Organising the competition was a real team effort and East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service who worked in conjunction with Mid Lothian Outdoor Learning Service, wish to thank East Lothian Orienteers, Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club, East Lothian Rangers Service Volunteers, Mid Lothian Active Schools and Venturing Out (a Community Interest Company).

A special thank you also went to Robin and Shelia Strain for all their help, especially with keeping the I.T. running!

Andy Duff from the East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service said: “The pupils really went for it, they were challenged and they were buzzing”. He also added that more importantly “It didn’t rain”!


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European Orienteering Championships - Long Qualifier

The first venture into the woods at these championships was the long distance qualification writes Kris Jones.


Today's race moved from the streets to the forest. The fast runnable forest meant that athletes knew that they would need good speed to progress although significant climb ensured that the courses were not as fast and furious as expected and the shining sun also meant that temperature soared. While some like it hot, this turned the qualifiers into a titanic struggle. Winning times proved to be longer than expected and the sound of music and commentary was much appreciated approaching the finish.


The terrain proved to be a field of dreams and GB's athletes proved that they could step up. 100% qualification is a great achievement and all British athletes ensured that their final destination will be the A final tomorrow.


Hollie Orr (pictured left) put in a fine performance for 3rd in her heat and Hector Haines (pictured below) was just as impressive with his 5th position. Graham Gristwood performed as expected and was rewarded with 7th, Graham is one of the usual suspects with a lot of experience at this level. The hangover from a fine sprint relay did not affect Jo Shepherd who qualified comfortably in 11th place.



















Tomorrow's final promises to be even longer and tougher, the anticipated rain might help make for cool runnings, but it is still sure to challenge all involved.


Hector Haines, Men A - 5th

Ralph Street, Men A - 14th

Graham Gristwood, Men B - 7th

Matt Speake, Men B -16th

Alan Cherry, Men C - 14th

Cat Taylor, Women A - 11th

Jess Tullie, Women A - 13th

Hollie Orr, Women B - 3rd

Kirsten Strain, Women B - 16th

Jo Shepard, Women C - 11th


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European Trail Orienteering Championships 2016 start tomorrow!



21ST – 28TH MAY 2016




The Great British TrailO team have now all arrived in Jesenik ready for the European TrailO Championships which start with the relay tomorrow. 

The full programme of the European Orienteering Championships highlights when the TrailO competitions are taking place on the days of the championships. 

British Orienteering wish the GB TrailO team all the very best as they compete in this international competition.

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Nick Barrable best in TempO

Nick Barrable (South Yorkshire Orienteers) gained a creditable 16th place out of 111 in the TempO competition in Slovakia. Nick made only 3 mistakes on the 28-control course - four problems at each of seven stations.

Second and third Brits were Charles Bromley Gardner (British Army Orienteering Club), 33rd (6 mistakes) and Tom Dobra (University of Bristol Orienteering Club) 35th (7 mistakes).

The winner was the Swedish trail orienteer Marit Wiksell who made only 2 mistakes overall and was quick at all the stations.

For more information and full results visit: European TrailO Cup 2016 competition.

The Great British TrailO team are now travelling on to the Czech Republic to compete in the European TrailO Championships 2016 this week. 

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Top-ten results for Peter Huzan and Tom Dobra in Slovakia

The second round of the European Cup in Trail Orienteering took place this weekend in Slovakia.  Most of the British team are there warming up for the European TrailO Championships which are in the Czech Republic this week.

In the PreO competition yesterday, Peter Huzan (South London Orienteers and Wayfarers) scored 22 out of 23 points + only 10 seconds on the 2 timed controls and finished 5th out of 129 participants. Tom Dobra (University of Bristol Orienteering Club) also scored 22 and used 15 seconds on the timed controls, putting him in 7th place.

Charles Bromley Gardner (British Army Orienteering Club) was 11th, again with 22 points but with a timed-control error, and Sarah-Jane Barrable (South London Orienteers and Wayfarers) made it 4 Brits with only one mistake out on the course, but she got both timed controls wrong and so ended 24th.

A curiosity was that Nick Barrable (South Yorkshire Orienteers) had one less correct on the course but the timed controls correct, and ended next to his wife in the results list in 25th place.

Three competitors got everything correct on the course, and the winner was Lennart Wahlgren who also got both timed controls correct in just 7 seconds - impressive!

There is also a TempO event before the team travels on to the Czech Republic.

For more information and results of the European Cup TrailO Championships

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European Orienteering Championships - Individual Sprint

You can't always get what you want from an area and Lazne Jesenik, the venue for today's sprint final, did not play to the strengths of the British team writes Ralph Street.

In my life I have not been at a sprint race where there as been so much routechoice where height has played such a significant role. This is in contrast to the generally flatter housing estates and university campuses where the British team do the majority of their technical training. However, the hilliness of the area was something that we were aware of, but it is one thing to imagine running various legs in the area but actually executing them on the day is a different matter.

To whittle down the field before the final, a qualification race took place in the morning, in Jesenik. For one British athlete, this meant waking up in the small hours of the morning in order to eat in enough time before starting. The town was not closed to the public during the race and so running through the streets whilst dodging the public gave an added challenge to the complex routechoices. The qualification race must always be treated with respect and there is a requirement to run hard in order to qualify. All four British men made it through to the A final while in the women's it was a heartbreaker for Kirstin Maxwell as she missed out by the closest possible margin but two out of three isn't bad, Charlotte Ward and Alice Leake in with room to spare.

Everybody hurts in a sprint and this final was no exception with a steep climb to control one, which really made sure the lactate began to build from the start. Following the climb, the crazy routechoice legs began with the classic “climb vs distance” choice being enhanced by artificial barriers and forbidden areas.

In the men's race, Matthias Kyburz won in front of Gustav Bergman and Florian Howald. In the women's, Judith Wyder took the title ahead of Nadiya Volynska with Galina Vinogradova and Maja Alm in joint 3rd. Of the top 10 athletes in both men's and women's, there were just four who were not from Switzerland or Nordic countries.

Kris Jones finished with the best result of the British team, 15th place. Kris commented: “It was okay, I am bit disappointed because I expected my shape to not be so good, but in the end it was my technique which let me down. It was a really brutal course, but really cool and really tricky”.

Peter Hodkinson (pictured) was just 15 seconds behind Kris but with the close packing this put him into 27th. “I had an average run. I was quite safe and clean, but I wish I had been a bit more aggressive at times. My goal was a top 20, and I am disappointed to not make that goal, but I can take positives from it as I got very close.

Alice Leake (pictured) came in 37th, Jonny Crickmore 39th, and Chris Smithard and Charlotte Ward both finished in 46th place.

We are young as a sprint team though and the experiences of these tough championship races can only help us for the future.

Picture - Men's team (left to right): Chris Smithard, Kris Jones, Jonathan Crickmore and Peter Hodkinson


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European Orirenteering Championships - Sprint Relay

The European Championships began today with the inaugural Mixed Sprint Relay (MSR) taking place in the Czech town of Bruntál and the first fight for Gold writes Hollie Orr. 


Left to right - Liz Campbell (Performance Coach), Jo Shepherd, Charlotte Ward, Peter Hodkinson and Kris Jones

If this is setting a precedent for the week to come then it will be a week of challenging racing full of excitement and, for some, turmoil, but the courses certainly screamed 'take me on!' 

Possibly the most exciting MSR to date played out in the streets of Bruntál with Russia finally coming out triumphant taking advantage of a late mistake by Denmark after they had caught 45 seconds on the leading teams.  The podium was completed with Switzerland in 3rd place after Sweden missed out a control on the last leg and the winners took it all. 

This was not the only mistake of the day affecting the top places, the lead and gaps changed continuously from leg to leg leading to some nail biting watching for those in the arena and at home.

When the going gets tough the tough get going, this was certainly true of the long route choice to number one, splitting the first leg runners and unfortunately causing Charlotte Ward to drop off the first group.  Hard work and determination, however, saw her move back through the pack from 13th up to 9th place at the finish 1min 15s down.  She commented:"number one was the decider and strung out the pack, this was followed by a fairly straight-forward remainder with more parkland than I  anticipated.  I just tried to put in as much effort as possible to catch up the time I lost on the first control."

Peter Hodkinson took over the chase with a gap both in front and behind, the lonely hunter.  Peter had a very stable race taking 5s off the deficit to the leading teams and finishing in a group with Denmark and France setting Kris Jones out in a strong group hunting the front runners.  Pete said he was quite happy with how his race developed after a wobbly start, but it had been great fun and one of the most exciting races he had done. Pulling Great Britain up one place to 7th in a breathless effort he said:  "it was quite technically easy, so the small errors in my race were annoying, but over all it was ok and a good race in preparation for the individual tomorrow.  I think it was an on par performance from the team and all of us could identify room for improvement."

Kris had a solid run on the third leg before handing over to Jo Shepherd. Although Jo was disappointed with her performance on the long run to the first control she recovered well to execute the rest of the course and bring the team home in very credible 7th.

Tomorrow, the sprinters will compete in a morning qualifier before the finals take place in the afternoon, in Jesenik.

Good luck to Jonathan Crickmore, Peter Hodkinson, Kris Jones, Alice Leake, Kirstin Maxwell, Chris Smithard and Charlotte Ward.




Photo: Jo Shepherd running into the finish.






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The British team have arrived in the Czech Republic for the 2016 European Orienteering Championships

Most of the British team have now arrived in Jesenik, Czech Republic, where everyone is excited about the upcoming European Championships competitions writes Jo Shepherd and Kirstin Maxwell.



The races kick off tomorrow with the mixed sprint relay, so today was a chance to test the model areas and settle into our accommodation.

Jo, Cat and Ralph went off to check out the long distance model area, which had some steep slopes and leafy underfoot conditions. The model area was very close to the arena for the long distance race, so was a great chance to sample what the terrain will be like and practise some specific techniques such as for tricky diagonal downhill legs.

Those running the sprint race enjoyed a relaxing morning run and then went to the sprint and sprint relay technical model event in Jesenik.

The sprint relay team line-up for tomorrow's race will be Charlotte Ward on 1st leg, Peter Hodkinson on 2nd leg, Kris Jones on 3rd leg and Jo Shepherd on final leg. Charlotte will be racing the first leg of the sprint relay for the first time and said she is really excited to be racing at the European Championships for the first time.

Everyone is in high spirits and looking forward to the week's races.


Photo: Ralph Street admiring the map wall



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Nick Barrable best in TempO

Nick Barrable (South Yorkshire Orienteers) gained a creditable 16th place out of 111 in the TempO competition in Slovakia.

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