Legacy of world championship event on show this weekend

Young Orienteering enthusiasts to test their new skills this weekend (pic: ActivNorth)
Young Orienteering enthusiasts to test their new skills this weekend (pic: ActivNorth)

A YEAR-LONG PROJECT aimed at ensuring local children become more active out of doors will be putting their newly discovered map-reading skills to the test this weekend.

The Moray and Highland Junior Orienteering Championships will be taking place at Roseisle Forest on Sunday, the culmination of a year-long project involving school events and taster sessions throughout the regions that were hosts to the world’s elite athletes in the sport last summer.

While the world championships boosted the local economy to the tune of £7.4million, the legacy of hosting the prestigious events has seen its potential to inspire local youngsters to try it for themselves in their own local environment.

A massive appetite has grown in Moray for outdoors adventure with tots participating under the guidance of their parents in the Moray Mini Adventures phenomenon, which has attracted over 5000 people through Social Media to search for ‘treasures’ in countryside, woodland and beaches around the region.

Many will move on to Orienteering – as many have, with September and October last year seeing over 1200 school-age children taking part in Orienteering Festivals throughout Moray in woodland areas such as Megg’s Widd at Dufftown to Grant Park in Forres.

This Sunday’s championships is part of a larger club event for all ages – but according to Moray’s orienteering development officer, Mike Rodgers, the courses are designed with novices very much in mind.

Mike explained: “We have Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 classes – and all of them are planned at the same sort of difficulty level that we used for the schools events.

“It is all about making it achievable for youngsters who might only have tried it once or twice. We cater for the experts by putting on a special “Junior Select” class and even that is open to complete beginners who aren’t afraid of a challenge.”

The action begins between 11am and 12.30pm on Sunday, and organisers are appealing to participants to enter online before Wednesday so that they have a chance to prepare the correct number of maps and electronic timing tags for all taking part.

Details, including information on how to enter, can be found on www.moravianorienteering.org – parents are very welcome to accompany very young or less-confident children out on the course.

Adults wishing to try a course are also welcome to take part with junior entry fees applying to adults doing the novice-level courses.