For more information, click on one of the following
Why orienteering is different
Map and compass
The seven point plan
At a control
At the Start
Getting lost .... and found again
Punching at the wrong control
Return to the main About Orienteering page
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5. Check the feature (and the control code) of the next
When you get a spare moment between controls, look at your control
descriptions and check the feature that your next control is on.
The rules of orienteering state that each control must be on or
beside a mapped feature and, where possible, the planner will design the
course so that you find the feature before you see the kite. Knowing
what feature you're looking for helps you to go to the right place, and
also helps you to ignore other controls that you might see on your way.
There's a great temptation to go and check every kite that you see -
"just in case" it's your control. That's a bad idea for two reasons.
First, it wastes time. Second, and more importantly, veering
off your planned route to check controls is a very good way of losing
track of where you are and where you're going.
6. Are you seeing what you expect to see?
As you go along, keep checking whether you're actually seeing the features
that you'd expect to see. For example, if your strategy is to turn
off the path at the third junction on the right, are you coming past the
first and second junctions at about the right distance? If the map
shows a cleared area on the left of the path, is the cleared area there?
7. Are you expecting what you see?
Also, if you see a significant feature then check whether you would expect
to go past such a feature. For example, if there's a ruined building
beside the fence that you're following then check that a ruined building is
shown at the appropriate place on your map.
Early warning that you've gone off route.
Checking that you're seeing what you expect and expecting what you see is
a very powerful way of making sure that you don't go astray as you execute
your strategy for getting to the next control.
If you either (a) fail to see a feature that you expect to see, or
(b) see a significant feature that you don't expect to see then that's
an indication that you've gone off route. I'll come back to what to
do about that in the page on Getting
lost .... and found again.
Go back to step 1.
In most cases, however, you will arrive safely at your next control, where
you go back to the beginning of the seven point plan (i.e. check the
control code) and run through it again.
By the way, it's a good idea to keep your map turned so that straight
ahead on the map is the same as straight ahead on the ground. And
don't be shy about folding your map. There's no reason to treat an
orienteering map with kid gloves.
Go back to the main About Orienteering page.