Original ‘Pokemon’ has a regular Castle base

Semi-Permanent Orienteering available at Brodie Castle
Semi-Permanent Orienteering available at Brodie Castle

A FEW POKEMON GO fans might wish to have a look at the ‘original’ concept of their cult game thanks to a partnership between Moravian Orienteers and Brodie Castle.

Orienteering – and another of its siblings, GeoCaching – are the forerunners to the current craze, with those taking part in each activity aware of their overarching goal, finding points on a map be it the paper or electronic version.

Moray is considered a prime Orienteering area, having hosted the Scottish 6-Days international in 2013 and several events in the World Championships last year. In addition, the work of Mike Rodgers during his time as the development officer for the sport in Moray saw it spread amongst schools throughout the region.

A relationship between Orienteering and Brodie Castle has boomed since it was a venue for the 2013 event – with the National Trust site hosting several club competitions since. Now, thanks to the National Trust wishing to make Brodie Castle an even greater family-friendly venue, Moravian are to set up two ‘semi-permanent’ Orienteering courses within the Castle grounds.

“We traditionally take a short break from organizing local events during the summer,” club Chairman Donald Grassie, adding: “So it was no trouble lending some of our event equipment to the National Trust for Scotland while we weren’t using it.

“Our map of the Castle grounds is fairly up to date so it was no problem designing a couple of courses. I’m delighted to see that they’re now available for people to try for the rest of the summer holidays – and I might even come and have a go myself.”

Unlike Pokemon Go, a smart phone isn’t needed to tackle the two challenges on offer, as for Orienteering all the technology needed comes in the form of an electronic tag which participants collect from the castle shop along with their course map.

The tag records which stations you’ve visited and the challenge is to “catch them all” in as fast a time as possible. Shop staff are keeping a “roll of honour” folder where anyone getting a clear round can add their names to the list.

The short course, which is ideal for younger children and orienteering novices, is over 1.8km while the other, for adults and older children, is 3.6km with a few more challenges.

A week after the courses opened, the best times are 19:58 on the short course and 28:48 on the long course. “The times are there to be beaten!” said Donald
Visitors can tackle the courses during the Castle shop opening hours of 1100-1600 in return for a donation of £3 to the National Trust, which goes towards upkeep of Brodie Castle and the grounds.

Once you have your map you can come back and do the course again any time you like free of charge, but electronic tags are only available during shop hours. The courses are expected to remain set out until August 14.