During the coronavirus lockdown members of West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC) haven’t been able to continue their usual outdoor orienteering activities but this hasn’t prevented some from taking part in virtual competitions.
Lockdown Orienteering is the brainchild of one of GB’s elite orienteers Chris Smthard who, along with his team, have organised several events that can be completed from the comfort of your own home.
Activities (usually against the clock have included: Street-O (orienteering around a town using Google Maps); Up & Down (looking at a control on a map to decide whether you are running up, down or a combination of both – which sounds easy but isn’t at all!); Trail-O (one control, four photos – which is the photo of the control); Shortest Route (the competitor has to plot the shortest route between 2 controls); and the classic Catching Features game which involves completing a route on your laptop but, unlike in real orienteering, you need to avoid the grumpy gorilla who will knock you for six if you get too close!
Club member Joe Sunley is proving to be as talented in the world of virtual-o as he is in real orienteering, having won two Lockdown Orienteering events in a row. Last week he took the win in the biggest event so far, which attracted more than 1,000 entries from across the world, and this week he topped the individual standings in the team competition.
Joined by club members Mike Billinghurst, Emma Crawford, Sophie Crawford, Isaac Hunter, Jane Hunter and Janette McKendry, the WCOC team finished 20th out of 44. However, there was some club interest in the first GB team in the standings, from Edinburgh University as Niamh Hunter helped them to a sixth place finish.
It is obviously not the same as being out and about in the woods and hills but Lockdown Orienteering is a good way to keep the orienteering brain ticking over and encourage some healthy competition.
More lockdown events are planned and anyone can visit the website to try the activities for themselves at lockdownorienteering.com